Growing up in Maine, when I was in grade school I watched my friends go on winter vacations to Florida, Louisiana, North Carolina, and California. I can’t say I wasn’t jealous when they came back with their tans and stories of the beach and sun. Because my parents did not take us south. We went [...]
Growing up in Maine, when I was in grade school I watched my friends go on winter vacations to Florida, Louisiana, North Carolina, and California. I can’t say I wasn’t jealous when they came back with their tans and stories of the beach and sun. Because my parents did not take us south. We went north. To Canada. In the winter.
Now, however, I appreciate going north to Canada in the winter. There is a certain beauty about being in the North in Winter. It’s like seeing the Costa Rican rainforest in the rain, or the Sonoran desert in the summer, there is something raw, natural and magnificent about seeing a landscape in its extreme form.
Embrace winter and head to Canada to enjoy the snow, skiing, ice skating, hot chocolate and poutine.
Located in British Columbia, Whistler is one of the most famous skiing destinations in the world. Located only about an hour and a half drive from Vancouver, it is accessible and strikingly beautiful. It was the home of alpine and Nordic skiing events during the 2010 Winter Olympics. It has over 8000 acres of trails, huge mountains and deep powder. It also offers lots of other activities like tubing, zip lining, dog sledding and snow shoeing. The resort village is bustling in the winter, making it a great place to go skiing in Canada with your friends.
Banff National Park
Banff National Park, in Alberta, is Canada’s oldest National Park and is 2,564 square miles of beautiful Canadian Rocky Mountains. It has three ski resorts: Sunshine Village, Lake Louise Mountain Resort, and Mount Norquay ski resort, which means that it is a great destination for skiiers of all experience and ability levels. Make sure you buy your women’s and men’s snowmobile gear and skis before you come though, as prices are much higher in Canada. You can also check out the world’s top skiiers at the Lake Louise Alpine Ski World Cup.
Quebec Winter Carnaval
If you are more of a city person, head to Quebec City for the Winter Carnaval. The Carnaval features parades, performances, an international snow sculpture competition, and the famous ice palace. For a unique outdoor adventure, try ice canoeing. A crew of five push and row a fiberglass canoe across the frozen Saint Lawrence River, pushing over the ice where the river is frozen and rowing where the ice isn’t solid. If you aren’t feeling quite that adventurous, you can watch an ice canoeing race at the Carnaval.
Located in Ontario, the canal connects Ottawa to the city of Kingston on Lake Ontario. In the winter, a 4.8 mile section in central Ottawa is transformed to the world’s largest naturally frozen ice rink. Visit during Winterlude, an annual winter festival in Ottawa, for even more fun winter activities like ice and snow sculptures, ice slides and special events.
Montreal is so big on winter that they have three winter festivals. The most famous is Montreal En Lumiere, a winter festival in February featuring lots of activities including music, dance and theater performances, a light show, foodie activities and the best part is that lots of the activities are free. There is also a snow festival, Fete des Neiges de Montreal, on the weekends in January featuring free outdoor snow activities like zip lines, tubing and sledding, sled dogs and ice skating. Finally there is the electronic music festival, Igloofest. While Montreal is lovely for a romantic stroll in the snow, if you want some more adventure, Mont Tremblant Ski Resort is only a two hour drive away. Mont Tremblant has 96 ski trails and offers great runs for the beginner to the advanced skier. But it also offers lots of other winter sports like snowshoeing, dogsledding, snowmobiling, ice fishing, and ice climbing.
Last year watching my six-year-old daughter playing in the snow I got inspired. She didn’t feel the cold, her nose red and her boots full of snow she begged for one more sled ride down the hill or five more minutes making snow balls. This year I am going to try not to be scared of winter but to embrace it by buying a super warm parka, and traveling up to Canada for some real winter outdoor adventures.