I embrace the outdoor life in my hometown of Edmonton in the winter. There are a number of wonderful YEG winter activities I love to do with friends and family whenever I get the chance.
For many winter is the time to cocoon inside, avoid the outdoors, and focus on work until the seasons change. Too much of a work focus can lead to increased stress, especially when the economy is hurting. Cocooning inside with reduced activity and social connection can also add to that stress or, at least, prevent you from burning it off.
When you feel the stress mounting from work and are getting sluggish from being inside too much, consider this list of YEG winter activities. It can help you get active, have fun, laugh and smile and connect with others as you enjoy our winter wonderland, burn off some stress, and have a great time doing so.
Push away from your desk, unplug for a few hours, and take in some of the best winter activities Edmonton has to offer. This is by no means an all inclusive list. Just some things I love and others I‘m excited to try out.
Trust me, you’ll come back refreshed, re-energized, and more productive than you were before.
YEG Winter Activities
Wander Through The Edmonton Ice Castles
“See the award-winning frozen fortress as Ice Castles return to Hawrelak Park from January until the snow melts (so probably March). Venture through the stunning display, take selfies in the throne room and in front of the waterfall, and find your way through the ice maze.”
Go Tubing At Sunridge Ski Area
My family and I did this a few weeks back and had an absolute blast. Flying down the hill took me back to great times as a kid. They even have a tow rope to pull you back up the hill… nice and easy.
“Remember the tube rides you loved at the water park? Sunridge Ski Area has you covered in the winter. With up to 4 tube chutes operating each day, you’ll be able to spend hours at this hill overlooking the river valley, with plenty of opportunity to stop in the pro-shop for a warm-up and snack. Heads up: This is a popular spot, and frequently sells out. Book online ahead of time for best results.”
Ski or Snowboard at Snow Valley, Rabbit Hill, or Sunridge Ski Areas
Sure the mountains are where it’s at for skiing in western Canada but right here in our own river valley we’ve got some great ski areas for an afternoon or evening of skiing fun. Convenient and reasonably priced, especially if you only go for the last couple of hours of the day.
“Ski or snowboard, Edmonton has a hill for you, even if you don’t have your own gear. Rentals, lessons, and beginner hills can be found at Rabbit Hill, Snow Valley, and Sunridge Ski Area.”
Dine In An Igloo
“The Courtyard Marriott’s Riverside Bistro in Edmonton is a hidden gem. We’ve enjoyed their patio, and the views that come with it, often during the summer months with our kids.
That hidden patio of a gem is even more exciting, with the launch of the igloos, or snow globes, on the patio, that create a new way to dine – outdoors, in the snow, with views of the River Valley, but from the warmth of your own personal igloo. Yes, the Igloos are heated, but it’s still winter – dress warm! Layer up, and there are blankets available.”
Go Ice Skating Outdoors
As a family we love skating around under the night lights.
“If one of your favourite sounds isn’t of a skate gliding across the ice, then you’re living your whole life wrong. Breathe in the crisp air as you drift across a glassy-smooth sheet and watch the snow spray as you skid to a stop.”
These are some of my favourites…
- Hawrelak Park
- The Victoria Park Oval
- Rundle Park
- Jackie Parker Park
Run The Hypothermic Half Marathon
How about getting your running season started early with a half marathon?
Snowshoe and Stargaze At Elk Island Park
“Take a guided snowshoe hike around Astotin Lake, then relax by the fire under a starry night sky at Beaver Hills Dark Sky Preserve, at another Snowshoe and Stargaze at Elk Island park on January 4, 11, 18 and 25.
Haven’t done this one yet but it sounds amazing and with my daughter’s interest in the night sky, it seems a natural for us. How about you?
Wander Through The Ice On Whyte Festival
“The Boardwalk Ice on Whyte Festival is a wicked winter festival that never runs out of ice (assuming 96,000 pounds is enough). Check out the ice carving competition and all the food and festivities.”
The talent of the people making these sculptures is incredible. Great way to spend an afternoon in the heart of the city.
Check Out The Winterruption YEG Festival
This seems interesting, especially if you’re looking for something not outdoors this winter season and you love the music scene.
“The first annual Winterruption YEG festival is a multi-venue music and arts festival running January 23 to 26, across multiple downtown venues. Bring your dancing boots to move along with great musical acts and laugh along with comedians Brian Posehn and Edmonton’s own Kathleen McGee during the four-day affair.”
Check Out The Silver Skate Festival
“Celebrating its 30th year, this festival is an extravaganza of art, culture, recreation and sport! Edmonton’s oldest winter festival returns and it is free for the whole family.”
Of course this is only a taste of all the YEG winter activities there are. If you’ve got one you’d love to tell us about feel free to comment.
If the outdoors is not your thing then why not cosy up in front of a warm fire place with a good book and a warm beverage and feel the stress melt away.
Our wide variety of YEG winter activities help us to really embrace our winters and keeps us in that outdoor mindset for the amazing summer season that is just around the corner!