Kinosoo Ridge feeds a hub of ski culture in Cold Lake
Cold Lake, AB – Take a Dene First Nation legend about a big fish, add some diehard skiers and drop them on the prairies in northeast Alberta and what do you get? A: Kinosoo Ridge Resort.
From its modest beginnings nearly 50 years ago, this ski area has grown to one of the region's main winter attractions, feeding a love for winter sport across the Bonnyville area, whether skiing, snowboarding, cross-country skiing, ice fishing or just nature getaways in big open spaces. (Just watch the video below to get a taste for the ski scene and all the winter adventures in the region.)
It all began in the 1970s when ski enthusiasts From CFB Cold Lake 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, 14 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.
For the occasional rider like Alexa Prodaniuk, a fun day at Kinosoo is perfect: “I haven’t been to the mountains in a few years, but now knowing that this is here and it’s fun, it’s a good way to work on my skills before I get to the mountains,” she says.
To add to the fun, Kinosoo offers creative apres offerings like a self-roasting s’mores kit, perfect for an apres treat or a ski and dessert date.
While Kinosoo’s ski school program sees a steady stream of kids and beginners, Grau maintains the importance of inspiring the kids to dream big and turn their enjoyment of the sport into something more. In past, that's translated into festivals and hosting events with Canadian national snowboard team member Craig McMorris (brother to Mark McMorris).
"He and his brother, Mark were born and raised in Saskatchewan," says Grau. "I want our kids to know that while they may be starting here at 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.”
WHEN YOU GO
Plan to spend an epic winter adventure here, with these tips to make your travels smooth.
Getting to Cold Lake/Kinosoo Ridge
- From Edmonton, Cold Lake is located a little over three hours northeast.
- 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.
Winter activities, things to do
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.
For more information about Kinosoo Ridge, including its reciprocal ski pass program, head to the Kinosoo Ridge website.