No matter how many Canadian winters you've lived through, it seems like you can never prepare yourself enough for the cold, snowy weather. Longer commutes, poor driving conditions, layers upon layers upon layers — it can get easy to be put off by the cold.
Sometimes, we get so caught up in the negative aspects of winter that we forget everything our country has to offer between November and March! Snow actually brings a wealth of super fun outdoor activities that every Canadian should take advantage of. So, instead of planning to hibernate with a Netflix subscription and a bulk supply of hot chocolate, take advantage of the season and go explore our beautiful, snow-covered country!
Here are 11 outdoor activities you need to check off your winter bucket list this year. You’ll be surprised at how much fun you can have bundled up in a parka, snow boots, and a toque! And if you're looking for new gear to keep you stylish, cozy, and warm to fully enjoy all that this season has to offer, look no further than Columbia's Winter Warm Collection at Sport Chek!
Check Out the Ice Castle in Edmonton
Price: TBD, but the admission fee is usually $18 per person
Address: 9330 Groat Rd NW, Edmonton, AB T6G 2B3
Why You Need To Go: Ice Castles is an award-winning frozen attraction located in six cities across North America, the only Canadian city being Edmonton, Alberta. The experience is built using hundreds of thousands of icicles hand-placed by professional ice artists. The castles include breathtaking LED-lit sculptures, ice-carved tunnels, slides, fountains, and much more.
Head to a Ski Resort
Price: Anywhere between $20-$80, depending on location
Why You Need To Go: Stand up to the weather and make the most of every opportunity to get on the slopes! Downhill, cross country, snowboarding — take your pick! Canada is full of ski resorts and ski-rental companies (our famous Whistler, B.C., hello?!), all you have to do is grab your warmest sportswear from Columbia's Winter Warm Collection at Sport Chek and choose which resort you want to hit up. Revelstoke Mountain Resort in B.C. boasts North America's largest vertical at an astonishing 1,713 metres plus an average snowfall of 10.5 metres! On the other hand, Ontario's Blue Mountain Ski Resort has 365 acres of world-class skiable terrain.
Check Out a Christmas Market
Price: Typically $10
Why You Need To Go: Taking a trip to your nearest Christmas market is the best way to start off the holiday season. With Christmas approaching, there are loads of festive markets complete with hot and delicious food, twinkling lights, hand-crafted gifts, and plenty of cheer.
Price: About $20 for one-day snowshoe rentals
Why You Need To Go: There's nothing like fresh snow on the mountains to motivate you to get outside. Snowshoeing is a super chill way to tackle snowdrifts and see terrain you wouldn't get the chance to see in snow boots. While good snowshoeing can be found all across Canada, some of the best is in Alberta, where a stunning backdrop of blue skies and endless mountains makes for extra magical views.
Price: Varying prices; cabins typically start at $150/night
Why You Need To Go: If you draw a line when it comes to participating in certain winter activities, consider winter glamping. It's the best way to achieve peak Canadian fun; you get the pleasure of staying in the wilderness without the usual pains of standard camping.
Toboggan with Friends
Why You Need To Go: No winter is complete without the great Canadian tradition of tobogganing. It's also the easiest winter activity to plan. All you have to do is grab a few friends, locate your nearest snow-covered hill, and find a toboggan (or make one yourself!).
Marvel at Frozen Waterfalls
Why You Need To Go: There's no doubt that seeing a roaring, cascading waterfall is a breathtaking experience, but looking at a frozen waterfall is truly magical. From Tiffany Falls in Hamilton, Ontario, to Crescent Falls on the Bighorn River in Clearwater Country, Alberta, to Takakkaw Falls in British Columbia's Yoho National Park, our big, beautiful country is full of incredible frozen waterfalls. Don't miss the opportunity to see them before they thaw out again!
See the Northern Lights
Price: Packages typically start around $170/night
Why You Need To Go: Canada is one of the best places in the world to view the Northern Lights. Stay warm and cozy in your best Columbia winter gear from Sport Chek while you watch the enchanting streams of light dance in the night sky from a dogsled in Yellowknife, a ski trail in Alberta, or an igloo in Churchill.
Unwind at a Scandinavian Spa
Price: Packages start at $82
Why You Need To Go: Escape to a world of relaxation and serenity while you rejuvenate at one of Canada's many Scandinavian spas. Start your day off with hydrotherapy, which cleanses the body, stimulates blood circulation, and releases endorphins. Then, take part in a 60-minute Swedish Relaxation massage before retreating back to your room for a hot tea in bed. Doesn't that sound nice?
Ice Skate on the Rideau Canal
Price: $22 to rent skates for 2 hours
Why You Need To Go: Each year, from roughly January to late February or early March, Ottawa's Rideau Canal freezes over and becomes the largest naturally frozen skating rink in the world. Welcoming nearly one million visitors each winter, the Skateway conveniently winds through downtown Ottawa and its surrounding vibrant neighbourhoods. This epic urban skating rink is a bucket-list must!
Visit the Ice Hotel in Québec
Price: $23.99 to visit; overnight stays start at $389/night
Address: 1860 Boulevard Valcartier, Saint-Gabriel-de-Valcartier, QC G0A 4S0
Why You Need To Go: The first and only true ice hotel in North America, Québec's Hôtel de Glace will transport you into a magical world made entirely of ice and snow. Worried about staying in the cold? With Nordic sleeping bags, you're guaranteed to stay warm all throughout your stay, but you may want to bring a cozy fleece and some stylish, insulated boots to keep extra warm.
Whether you're marveling at frozen waterfalls, relaxing in a Scandinavian spa, or glamping in a snow-covered forest, be sure to keep yourself cozy from head to toe with warm outerwear and footwear.
Columbia's Winter Warm Collection keeps you outside and active longer with versatile and casual jackets, boots, fleece, vests, and sportswear. Whether you're looking for contemporary pieces that are easy to layer, like the Benton Springs Half Snap Fleece Pullover, or a cozy parka, Colombia has everything you need to keep you warm while you’re outside this winter.
With the new collection, you don't have to choose between practical and trendy. All of their products are designed for Monday-Friday wear and weekend adventures: camping, hiking, and hanging around the city. So if you want to stay cozy and look good all season long, head to Sport Chek, the destination for Columbia's Warm Collection.