Kinosoo Ridge is developing its own unique ski culture on the banks of Cold Lake
Like Our Facebook Page
Learn more about what Northern Alberta has in store for you this winter visiting our #SkiNorthAB page, where more stories and videos will be coming out all season long.
By BARB MARTOWSKI for #SkiNorthAB
Cold Lake, AB – You have to love alpine fans. Nothing will deter them, not even living on the Prairies. Prairie topography may be devoid of mountains, but it’s not devoid of big hills and alpine fans definitely make use of them.
In the 70s, ski enthusiasts From CFB Cold Lake Medley built a two-run, single tow rope ski hill to satisfy the need to ski. A few years later, it was evident that the little hill just wouldn’t do and it went through its first transformation, which included a geographical move, a decent lodge, more runs and an actual name. The name was in honour of a local Dene Nation legend about a big fish named, Kinosoo.
Today, Kinosoo Ridge Snow Resort is owned by the MD of Bonnyville and has morphed into a full-fledge resort with a beautiful lodge, full line-up of rentals, 13 runs, a terrain park, tubing park, bag jump, five lifts, night skiing and a summit elevation of 647m, all nestled in 60 acres overlooking the actual lake of Cold Lake, home of the Kinosoo.
From a single tow rope to five lifts today, Kinosoo Ridge has grown into a popular destination for skiers and riders in Northern Alberta.
“We saw roughly 42,000 visitors last season,” said general manager, Jergen Grau. “Despite the economy, we’re aiming for 50,000 this season.” And he has a plan.
“We’re seeing a decline in female riders and as a result, we are trying to make the experience more tailored for the female rider by partnering up with Elleboard out of Calgary to do some ladies-only riding camps,” said Grau. “I truly believe if we can remind them what they love about the sport as a kid, they will get back into it. Even if they’ve never tried, Elleboard is the perfect company to partner as they provide a positive and safe environment in which to learn.”
But it’s not just the ladies Grau has his sights on, it’s kids as well. While Kinosoo’s school program is almost fully booked already, he believes in inspiring the kids to dream big and turn their enjoyment of the sport into something more.
“In February, the entire Cold Lake community celebrates Snow Fever on the Family Day Long Weekend and we’re bringing in Canadian national snowboard team member, Craig McMorris to talk to the kids and do a little riding with them. He and his brother, Mark were born and raised in Saskatchewan and I want our kids to know that while they may be starting here a Kinosoo Ridge, it will be their desire that takes them anywhere they want to go in the sport. That there is plenty of opportunity, even when you’re from small town Alberta.”
Grau started working at Kinosoo 23 years ago and his goal has always been to create a solid ski culture in the area through fun, education and experience.
“Every year, we change things up, create bumps and hills where there weren’t any, smooth out areas, just keep changing it up each year, so our guests never get bored. And we try to bring in new events and activities. It’s all about having fun in this sport and our staff plays a big part in that experience. We believe in diversity and inclusion here and our staff know this; they get to be themselves and they enjoy coming to work. That enjoyment translates into a positive overall guest experience.”
Shred Kelly hanging out at with staff at Kinosoo Ridge.
Kinosoo Ridge is scheduled to open December 1 and besides the Snow Fever weekend, other events and activities include Holiday Camps, Blizzard Blast (Nancy Green Races) in February as well as the 55+ Senior Winter Games, Feb. 28 to Mar. 3.
If You Go
Cold Lake is located a little over three hours northeast of Edmonton, Alberta and Kinosoo Ridge is a further 20 minutes east of the city. Similar to Sunshine Village's Great Divide where you cross the B.C. border, at Kinosoo Ridge, you'll come across a sign telling you you've reached the Saskatchewan border.
Along with Kinosoo Ridge, the Cold Lake area offers great accommodations and dining, plus winter activities that almost every Canadian grew up with: ice fishing, Nordic skiing, snow shoeing, snowmobiling, curling and of course, skating. Looking for a workout? Look no further than the state-of-the-art sports and fitness facility, The Energy Centre. It has everything you need, including fitness classes and an indoor running track.
For more information about Kinosoo Ridge, including its reciprocal ski pass program, head to the official Kinosoo Ridge website
Through winter 2018/19 SnowSeekers has teamed up with #SkiNorthAB partners and contributors to bring you #SkiNorthAB - a season of exceptional video, photo and stories to inspire you to #ExploreAlberta via a #SkiNorthAB adventure. Read on...