Thinking about planning a vacation to enjoy winter sports in Canada? Canada is the one the countries you can visit to experience it all. There’s a long ski season, with the chance to try snowboarding, dog sledding, snowshoeing and so much more. The land of the Great White North has something to offer everyone, making it the perfect place for winter sports destination for any traveller…
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Why is Canada the perfect winter sports destination?
Winter sports in Canada are unlike no other. The landscapes in Canada are absolutely amazing! From mountain peaks to flat prairies, Canada encompasses a wide variety of terrain. Nearly every province is home to endless trees, forests, lakes and rivers. Here you’ll find the natural wonders such as the Rocky Mountains, the Appalachian Mountains, the Great Lakes and volcanoes along the Pacific Ring of Fire.
But it’s the weather and climate that make Canada a perfect winter sport destination. The average temperature in winter ranges across Canada from -5°C to -35°C, varying across the country. Ski season typically runs from November through to April depending on location, with some resorts accommodating skiers until May. Pro tip: check the ski resort’s reports before heading up to understand the conditions. A great time of the year to visit ski resorts in Canada is between December to March to ensure the best conditions.
Top winter sports in Canada
So, what’s the best way to enjoy winter in Canada? Head outdoors and enjoy the cold temperatures. Here are some of the best winter sports in Canada you MUST try.
1. Ski down some amazing hills
Canada is home to some of the best ski resorts in the world! Throughout the country you’ll find a ski resort suitable for your skill level. So, get ready to hit the slopes and enjoy the snow. It’s a great way one of the best ways to take in the landscapes of Canada. Once you get a hang of it, skiing is easy to pick up. The most popular ski areas in Canada can be found in Alberta and Quebec with the largest ski resort, Whistler Blackcomb, in British Columbia. You can go skiing one day on one hill and then go ski jumping on another the next day. Other great ski resorts in Canada include Mount Tremblant, Lake Louise and Big White. Check out Contiki’s ski trips in Canada for some trip ideas.
2. Snowboard down the slopes
Take on a challenge and try snowboarding. It’s all about using the edges of your board. Use your balance, heels and toes to navigate through the snow. Test your skills and work your way up to more advanced hills or maybe even master some tricks on a half-pipe. Some of the best places to snowboard in Canada include Whistler Blackcomb, Fernie, Mount Tremblant and Lake Louise.
3. Go ice fishing
Don’t let the cold weather stop you! Ice fishing is practiced during the winter months in Canada over a frozen lake. Find an opening and drop a line to catch some fish. It’s a great day trip idea that’s perfect for enjoy the great outdoors. You’ll may need a local fishing license to fish, and lots of patience. Some resorts have houses that can be rented out during the day as heated shelters. The best places for ice fishing in Canada include Lake Dauphin in Manitoba, Lake Simcoe in Ontario and Cold Lake at the border of Alberta and Saskatchewan.
4. Snowshoe across Canada
Snowshoeing is a winter sport has been slowly growing in popularity in across Canada among locals. It’s the perfect way to explore the great outdoors on foot during the winter months. If you aren’t too athletic, this may be the perfect winter sport for you. Snowshoeing doesn’t require a lot of equipment other than snowshoes! Visit one of the Canadian national parks, such as Algonquin Park in Ontario or Gatineau Park in Quebec, for some great snowshoeing! Best part? There’s no limit to how far you will explore! No matter how deep the snow is, you can walk right over it with your snowshoes.
4. Enjoy a game of curling
This is one winter sport you have to try! Curling involves players sliding stones across a sheet of ice towards a target. It’s similar to playing shuffleboard or lawn bowling with an added complexity of being on ice! The game is surprising strategic with lots of teamwork as the main objective it to compete against each other to gain the highest score. You can find places to play curling throughout most of Canada as there are tons of local clubs.
5. Go on a dog sledding adventure
Explore the wilderness in the Great White North with dogs in their element. Dog sledding is a way of life in the north of Canada. Before cars and snowmobiles, dog sledding was one of the ways to get around Canada during the winter months. Join a local tour and be led by a team of dogs through forest trails. You can even camp or stay overnight in the outdoors for the full experience. Some of the best places to enjoy this winter sport in Canada include Alberta, Ontario, Quebec, Yukon, Nunavut and North West Territories.
6. Skate across frozen lakes and rivers
There are tons of places in Canada to find natural outdoor skating rinks and ones in the heart of major cities. Ice skating has become a great recreational activity to do with a group of friends. Grab your skates, or rent them when you arrive, for some fun on the ice. One of the most popular spots to skate in Canada is on the Rideau Canal Skateway in Ottawa, which is the world largest skating rink at over 7km long.
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7. Play ice hockey
One of the best winter sports in Canada is ice hockey. It’s a great team sport and has become part of Canada’s culture. You don’t have to skate on the ice to enjoy this winter sport in Canada. The National Hockey League (NHL) is largely supported across key cities in Canada with teams such as the Vancouver Canucks, Calgary Flames and the Toronto Maple Leafs.
8. Join a game of lacrosse
Sticking with team sports, lacrosse can be played in the summer and winter depending on the weather conditions. The sport originates from Indigenous people in North America and involves a lacrosse stick, with the main objective of getting the lacrosse ball in a net. It’s a great sport to play with a group of friends outdoors.
9. Try snowkiting
This winter sports helps take skiing and snowboarding to the next level. Jump on your board and use the kite to allow the wind to carry you across fast ice or fluffy powder puff snow. Snowkiting can be done over fields and hills, avoiding the crowded ski resorts and lift ticket costs. Two great places to you can try snowkiting in Canada are in Ontario on Lake Simcoe or Spray Lakes in Alberta.
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10. Go on a snowmobiling adventure
Ready for adventure? Snowmobiling is a winter sport in Canada that has become a serious hobby! Not only is it a fun recreational activity that helps get you across the snow, these motorized sleds can get quite competitive! Be careful, these snowmobiles can reach high speeds.
11. Head downhill snow tubing
Similar to tobogganing or sledding, snow tubing is a fun way to enjoy the slopes. Hop in an inner tube and let gravity take you down the hill. You can gain speed quickly so be careful! It’s a great activity that will have you enjoying winter outdoors with friends.
12. Seek adventure ice climbing
Looking for a winter sport in Canada that can get your adrenaline rushing? Try scaling frozen waterfalls and ice-covered rock walls. Ice climbing is highly technical and should be done with caution. Once you get the hang of it, there are tons of places from the Elora Gorge in Guelph, Ontario to the Rocky Mountains in Canmore, Alberta where you can find some great cliffs.
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Get into any of these winter sports in Canada. It’s a great way of having something to look forward to when the weather starts to get cold and a way to be a TRUE Canadian.