Sled, ski, shop, apres on a Whitecourt Weekend Getaway
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It may be known as the snowmobile capital of Alberta, but with expanded new ski terrain at Eastlink Park, cool local shops and a laidback vibe there is so much to make your visit to Whitecourt a memorable winter adventure! Follow along with us and tag #SkiNorthAB to tell us what you’ve discovered.
Whitecourt, AB - Past the chain link fence, the billboards advertising rig services, the machinery of industry, a little piece of the Laurentians lies tucked away along the Athabasca River valley in Whitecourt, AB. Willowy birch and lodgepole pine cast Robert Bateman shadows onto the snowy slopes. (Narrate this, if you like, in your best David Attenborough voice.)
It’s such a pastoral woodland scene you can almost imagine birds singing, flutes playing and doe-eyed deer poking their heads out from behind trees, until Kristy Tuts and Petra Pohankova carve through on their skis, gleefully tearing up the canvas.
This is Eastlink Park, a community ski hill that until recently didn’t command much attention. Quietly over the last two years, though, the non-profit ownership has expanded terrain along the gentle slopes of the valley, weaving through the mixed-growth forest.
“It used to be only that magic carpet, that was pretty much it,” Tuts recalls. “They’ve opened up that whole other area, which makes a humongous difference."
“There’s more diverse terrain to ski, even in the terrain park they added more features so it entertains the kids longer,” She says, surveying the ski hill's layout from the crackling fire at the top of the new t-bar.
Whitecourt is offering exclusive #SkiNorthAB deals to snow seekers like you!
- 10% off on accommodations
- 20% off dining
- ... & more!
“And they opened up the trees more so you can go through the trees!" Tuts adds. "Having that feature right in our backyard is amazing!”
The two women are out on a little bit of a local getaway, mixing it up with some skiing, shopping and sledding over a couple days in town.
Skiing Eastlink Park
With the new t-bar and expanded terrain giving the hill a whole new feel, there’s good reason to make the trip out to Whitecourt for a weekend, or a day trip, to get those mountain legs under you.
The glades are like few you’ll find in Western Canada - on the beginner to intermediate side, with undulating hills and wider spacing between trees to hone those jedi skills. Skiers and snowboarders will find lots of playful features on the new runs and additional park. For the non-skiers or a break for the legs, the hill also offers snow tubing.
Of course, it wasn’t skiing that put Whitecourt on the map. Guinness World Record snowmobile parades and extreme sledding stunts did that. The Snowmobile Invasion has long been Whitecourt’s claim to fame, and the Whitecourt Trailblazers’ snowmobile rally remains the town’s biggest annual draw for good reason.
Early next morning Tuts and Pohankova are out catching first snowmobile tracks just minutes from town.
Snowmobiling in Whitecourt
From the outskirts of Centennial Park, they climb the winding Centennial Trail up to a lookout above town, before following the Silver Summit Trail north, eventually opening onto the McLeod River for some wide, banking turns.
This is just a taste of the extensive trails maintained by the large, active Trailblazers club. The volunteer group maintains over 400 kilometres of trails, including a large section of Alberta’s Golden Triangle, a snowmobiling loop that connects from Whitecourt to Edson, Fox Creek and Swan Hills.
When it’s time to ease off the throttle, the women head back to town for some retail therapy—which, in Whitecourt, is a real thing.
Shopping and Apres
No big box outlets, no traffic, no stress: shopping here means popping into Beaver Creek General Store, or White Wall Handmade. Think locally-made birdhouses, fresh handmade fudge and crafted goods and apparel from Alberta designers.
Follow that with some cocktails and appies and the ladies have unlocked the formula for a perfect winter weekend away.
At every turn, whether on sleds, skis, skates or street, there’s a feeling of community underpinning a Whitecourt escape, and a sense of ease.
#SkiNorthAB and Save
Check out Whitecourt's special #SkiNorthAB Experience offers for package deals and great rates on hotels, dining and activities.
When You Go
- Connect with the Whitecourt Trailblazers and discover the snowmobile scene in Alberta's snowmobile captial.
- From the Microtel Whitecourt or the Days Inn, you can hop on snowmobile trails almost from your door.
- Mr. Mike’s Steakhouse Casual and The Crown & Anchor offer #SkiNorthAB apres specials, to enjoy a recap after your day of adventure.
For more winter activities and inspiration, check out Whitecourt Tourism.