#ABWays2Winter – Come play in the snow with these incentives
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We can’t count the number of activities you can get up to in the west central region of Alberta this winter – and all of them good for the mind, body and soul.
After all, most of us are staying close to home this year and looking to put some fun into our days, or maybe even trying something new, like Nordic skiing which is having a moment, snowmobiling, snowshoeing, ice fishing and skiing or boarding. Any of these sports will get us out into Alberta’s beautiful wintry landscapes.
You don't have to go far outside of Edson to find incredibly beautiful cross-country ski trails, set amid stands of towering aspens and fir trees. Hornbeck Cross-Country Ski Area, about 15 minutes outside of town, has about 40 kms of marked and groomed trails for new and intermediate Nordic skiers. There's a high chance of wildlife sightings like moose, deer and the Great Horned Owl. You'll also find a warming hut with a wood-burning stove.
Get a trail map here and make a weekend out of your trail blazing. Here are two offers in Edson happening all winter, when you mention #ABWays2Winter or #SkiNorthAB
Looking for a quick escape to experience outstanding cross-country skiing and spectacular landscapes? The Pembina Nordic Ski Club, located near Drayton Valley in Eagle Point Provincial Park, boasts 18 km of well-maintained classic and skate skiing trails for all skill levels. With the scenic North Saskatchewan River as your backdrop, skiers will enjoy beautiful vistas with exceptional amenities including two chalets, picnic areas, fire bowls and a three-season disc golf course. Those who would like to try snowshoeing are welcome to do so on designated trails. This is an active club that welcomes new members with affordable membership fees, but also loves to welcome guests. For more information, check out their Facebook Page or register for a membership here.
Looking to stay the weekend? Be sure to mention #SkiNorthAB at the time of booking at any of the Drayton Valley Hospitality & Tourism Authority partner hotels for preferred rates.
Hinton and area are home to some excellent cross-country skiing, including at the Hinton Nordic centre. Grab the skinny skis and check out the 35 kilometres of trails, where you might spot some wildlife along the way. There's a cozy lodge, a biathlon range,and the groomed trails are lit for night skiing, too. To register and rent equipment, go here.
When you're ready for some post-adventure downtime, check out some of these hotel offerings. You’ll receive a 10% discount when you mention #SkiNorthAB at the time of booking at the following hotels:
Rocky Mountain House
You could spend a lifetime of winters in the Rocky Mountain House area and never exploring the vast number of trails.
Laura Button is an avid Nordic skier and program co-ordinator of the Rocky Mountain House Cross Country Ski Club. "Cross-country skiing in Rocky Mountain House is an exercise in adventure," she says. "We don’t have manicured trails or heated clubhouses, but we do have an enthusiastic crew of volunteer trail-setters and groomers that emerge after every snowfall!"
Here are her favourite places to clip into her skis:
The Rocky Mountain House Cross Country Ski Club maintains 7km of skate and classic trail at the Pine Hills Golf Club. Trails are groomed with the first snowfall and are kept in great shape all season. She loves the 7-km loop with several cut-backs and making for a great workout. Youth lessons run every Sunday afternoon. She describes the terrain as rolling, with a great chance of spotting deer and rabbit.
The Rocky Mountain House National Historic Site interpretive centre is closed to public in winter, but the grounds are open year-round for walkers, snowshoers and skiers. Skied-in and trackset tracks start just inside the gate at the Bison paddock. Two to 3-km loops wind through the fields and along the banks of the North Saskatchewan River. "This is where I have done all of my early season skiing this year," Button says, noting the trail is excellent for beginners as it is flat terrain with rewarding views of the river.
Three more Nordic skiing spot that Button recommends are. For more details on these spots, check out the Nordegg Community Association Facebook page.
- Pony Club/Twin Lakes Trail
- Crimson Lake Provincial Park
- Nordegg at both the Nordegg Golf Course and Shunda Creek Campground, about 90 kms from Rocky Mountain House.
Serenity and snowy landscapes make Whitecourt the perfect basecamp for all kinds of oh-so-Canadian winter activities. It may be the snowmobile capital of Alberta, but if you prefer your adventures slower and human-powered, you'll definitely find it here. Check out these top spots in the area to get your winter on:
- Whitecourt Golf & Country Club offers Nordic skiing and skate skiing trails at Whitecourt Golf & Country Club. Wind your way through treed trails along the Athabasca River.
- Eastlink Park is the local ski hill for the beginner skiers and boarders. The sports and terrain park with a tubing area is the perfect spot for a few hours of fun in the snow.
- Head to Rotary Park Pond for ice skating by day or night. Bonfires, an interactive playground, trail system and a winter picnic area make this the perfect spot for a family outing.
This package deal from Microtel Whitecourt by Wyndham is offering a group snowmobile package.
The package, for $119 per person, includes a guided snowmobile tour and hotel accommodation including
• Complimentary breakfast, daily
• Complimentary high-speed Wi-Fi
• Sundries / Mart
• All rooms include microwave, minifridge,
and a coffee machine
• Large vehicle parking
• Pet friendly
• A guided tour through amazing local trails guided by a
local 20-year snowmobiling veteran
• One-night's stay in a standard room with two queen beds
• A six-pack of Red Bull and an in-room snack upon arrival
• 20% off your meal at the Crown & Anchor Pub
• 50% off any appetizer or dessert at Mr. Mikes
• Minimum six people required for package
* Full day snowmobile rentals are available for an additional
$325 each. (A $750 deposit per rental is required of
which $250 is required at the time of booking. A signed
damage waiver is required. Pre-payment is required seven
days prior to arrival. Rentals are non-refundable.)
Also, the following hotels are offering discounted rates when you mention #ABWays2Winter at the time of booking:
- Super 8 by Wyndham – 20% discount
- Days Inn and Suites – is offering the following for tourism bookings with Whitecourt Trailblazers Snowmobile Club. 20% discount. ($89 a night) Rates include all amenities. and $10 donation to the Whitecourt Trailblazers Snowmobile Club
- Microtel – 15% discount and free hot chocolate on arrival