— The List —

Catch Cold

Six activities that’ll have you wishing for longer winter

figure skater
Snowy Excursions:
Get off the beaten track just like the first Canadians used to—in snowshoes. Strike out on your own by trudging across Victoria or Hawrelak parks’ open snowscapes, or, if you require guidance, sign up for a guided tour with River Valley Adventure Co. Headquartered in Louise McKinney Park, the company doesn’t just rent out know-how, but snowshoes too. Gather a group of four or more, buckle on a pair of ergonomic MSR snowshoes (designed to improve your traction without weighing you down) and spend the day crunching over the river valley’s snowdrifts with a trusty guide. (Open Friday–Monday, 11am–4pm; 780-995-7347; rivervalleyadventure.com)

Skate Free
What’s more Albertan than an outdoor skating rink? The rink on the Alberta Legislature grounds. Revel in the limited but bright winter sun or appreciate the twinkling Christmas lights adorning the park through December and January. For more space and bigger crowds, head to the Victoria Park Oval—and while you’re there, check out the Winter Chalet at Victoria Golf Course (weekends, 9am–4pm) to warm up with hot chocolate and bannock by the fire. Both rinks are open for free public skating everyday (10am—10pm) until it’s about to melt—but don’t wait too long because climatologists are expecting a short winter. Make the best of it.

Ski the Valley
Take advantage of the well-groomed skiing trails in Hawrelak, Victoria and Kinsmen parks—all three locations are furnished with chalets, so you can thaw your toes before hitting the track again. The Edmonton Nordic Ski Club organizes group skiing in the river valley every Wednesday evening, as well as Sunday day-trips to venues outside the city. Whether your legs are a little wobbly or ready for Olympic tryouts, join the club’s Annual End-to-End River Valley Ski over the holiday season and keep your eyes peeled for “moonlight ski” events (think buddies, headlamps and a potluck). The club also facilitates an online ski swap in case your gear needs an upgrade or you haven’t any at all. Or you can rent skis from Mountain Equipment Co-op. (Edmontonnordic.ca)

Swing Away the Winter Blues
From January to February, Swing ‘n’ Skate Sundays turns winter blues to winter grooves at City Hall. Live jazzy musicians in the City Room provide the soundtrack while Sugar Swing Dance Club members provide free instruction on the dance floor inside. They’ll guide you through tuck-turns and walkthroughs before sending you off to do it on skates—the band is also broadcast over the outdoor rink out front. Don’t have skates? On-site rentals are free. (Sundays 1–4 pm; exploreedmonton.com)

Coast the Slopes
Some municipalities are cracking down on urban tobogganing, but not this one. Edmonton boasts prime sledding hills maintained by the City and made easy with run-outs and marked sledding areas. Whether you cruise on old-fashioned toboggans, “snow saucers” or Krazy Karpets (consult your childhood diary for definitions), bring along your sleds, helmets and besties to Emily Murphy or Gallagher Park hills. If you’re brave, hit the notorious hill at Government House Park. (For slope conditions and lists visit tinyurl.com/yegtoboggan)

Huddle Inside
Built in 1972, the Oliver Arena is a neighbourhood institution. On those few blisteringly cold days, take refuge on its 1,500-square-metres of pristine ice surface. Drop-in public skating for all ages is free for an hour every Sunday at 4:15pm, and skate rentals and sharpening are available inside. (10335 119th street)

This entry was posted in 2015 Winter, The List.