7 winter activities for adventurous Canadians

For cottagers who fear the onset of winter because there’s nothing to do outdoors, well, think again.  Embrace winter and there is an endless amount of activities for the adventurous; some activities you’ve probably tried, some you haven’t and some you’ve probably never even heard of.  Here are the where, what, when and how on a plethora of Canadian winter activities.

Dog sledding

Whether you’re heading out for a couple of hours, or a couple of days with a dogsled team, you’re bound to have a great time. Dog sledding has a ton of history within Canada, but don’t let the word history deter you; dog sledding is an exciting, exhilarating way to enjoy the natural wonders of Canada.

Some top spots in Canada include:

  • Charlevoix, Quebec
  • Algonquin Park, Ontario
  • Bow Valley, Alberta
  • Whistler, British Columbia 

Heli-skiing

It’s hard to beat the heli-skiing experience. Any die-hard skier or snowboarder dreams about hopping out of a helicopter and then skiing some untracked powder all the way to the bottom—only to be picked up to do it all over again. And while it’s a pricey experience, those in the know will tell you it’s worth every penny.

Some top spots in Canada include:

  • Revelstoke, British Columbia
  • Massif du Sud, Quebec
  • Banff National Park, Alberta 

Snowkiting

Kite surfing’s winter cousin, snowkiting is just like its lake-friendly summer counterpart—only you get to use your skis or snowboard. It’s also easier to learn than kiteboarding, and you don’t need as much wind. But you’ll definitely need to take a lesson or two before you really get into it. There are schools across the country.

Some top spots in Canada include:

  • Cornerbrook, Newfoundland
  • Keswick, Ontario
  • Regina, Saskatchewan
  • Canmore, Alberta 

Polar bear plunge

Who knows where the tradition of jumping into frigid cold waters came from? But for the brave souls who can set aside their shivers, it’s a good time and a good test of their will. Best done with a bunch of like-minded friends, this activity isn’t one for the weak-hearted, but it’s a common New Year’s Day tradition, and there are clubs across the country waiting to jump in.

Some top spots in Canada include:

  • Vancouver, British Columbia
  • Edmonton, Alberta
  • Oakville, Ontario
  • Halifax, Nova Scotia 

Ice diving

Definitely not for the faint-hearted, SCUBA diving under the ice takes a unique and fearless individual. But it’s beautiful beneath the frozen surface, and if you’ve got the training and the cajones, it’s well worth conquering your fears, if only to scratch it off your bucket list!

Some top spots in Canada include:

  • Banff National Park, Alberta
  • Thousand Islands, Ontario
  • Tobermory, Ontario
  • Wakefield, Quebec 

Ice climbing

Ice climbing is pretty self-explanatory; it’s the same principle as rock climbing, but with the added complication that you’re scaling an icy surface. Amazingly, there’s an entire community of winter climbers who use ice-axes and sharp, spiked crampons to climb waterfalls simply because it’s thrilling. Just don’t expect to try this sport casually—you’ll need special climbing lessons and plenty of experience to get into it.

Some top spots in Canada include:

  • Lake Louise, Alberta
  • Whistler, British Columbia  

Ice fishing

One of the great Canadian traditions, ice fishing is as much about the camaraderie as it is about the fishing. Sitting in a shed on the ice, complete with heaters, radios, and a cooler full of beverages, this is a sport the whole family can enjoy. And once in awhile you may actually catch a fish.

Some top spots in Canada include:

  • Pigeon Lake, Alberta
  • Lake of the Woods, Ontario
  • Tobin Lake, Saskatchewan
  • Lake Dauphin, Manitoba
  • Bay of Quinte, Ontario
  • Great Slave Lake, Northwest Territories