NEWFOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR
Surrounded by mountains that plunge into the ocean, Blow Me Down Provincial Park, near Corner Brook, Newfoundland, is an apt name for the dramatic views you’ll encounter here. Cross-country ski trails for all levels are kept groomed and track set, and cross through some of Newfoundland’s most beautiful country.
There’s great groomed and backcountry skiing—depending on your level of experience and abilities—in Newfoundland’s various parks. At Gros Morne National Park, Terra Nova National Park, Notre Dame Provincial Park and Butter Pot Provincial Park, you’ll find groomed trails for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.
PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND
With 24.5 km (15.2 miles) of groomed recreational trails and 7.5 km (4.7 miles) of competitive and biathlon trails, Brookvale Provincial Ski Park caters to beginners and elite athletes alike. The park celebrated its 50th anniversary last winter.
In Mactaquac Provincial Park, you can go sledding, skating, snowshoeing or even opt for a horse-drawn sleigh ride. Check out the special events held during the weekends in January and February, including the Fredericton Frostival, which features a “winter kingdom.”
The 2.5 km (1.6 mile) Magog Skating Trail meanders along the edge of Lake Mephrémagog, a large freshwater glacial lake that borders the town of Magog, in the Eastern Townships of Quebec, and Newport, Vermont. The trail features warming huts at either end, as well as skate rentals.
Whiteshell Provincial Park delivers some of the best cross-country skiing in Manitoba. Seventy kilometers (44 miles) of groomed trails are offered throughout the park, including The Alfred Hole – Goose Sanctuary and Pine Point Rapids Trail, which are two of the most scenic. There’s a good chance you may be the only ones on the trail, so be sure to go fully prepared (see our “Winter Safety” sidebar, below, for tips). You’ll also find trails packed for snowshoeing.
Just 20 minutes from Regina, the White Butte Recreation Area offers 13 km (eight miles) of trails groomed for classic and skate skiing. It caught the attention of SkiTrax magazine, which awarded it a 2006 Trax Trail Award.
Located in Banff National Park (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) and surrounded by the Canadian Rockies, in Alberta’s snowbelt, the Lake Louise area offers skiers an abundance of trails, mountain scenery and wildlife viewing opportunities (deer, elk and sheep). Explore cross-country ski trails, snowshoe, ice skate on the lake or skate-ski on the Moraine Lake and Great Divide trails. You can even take dog sledding trips on Great Divide and the adjacent forest trails.
One of the most beautiful snowshoe trails in British Columbia has to be Garibaldi Provincial Park. Close to Whistler and Vancouver, it’s home to 90 km (56 miles) of hiking trails and stunning scenery. Fun fact: The park is home to a volcano.
Mount Seymour Provincial Park lies just 45 minutes outside of Vancouver and offers panoramic views of Mount Baker, downtown Vancouver and the Indian Arm fjord. From mid-December through late March, snowshoe and ski trails are marked by BC Parks—the Mount Seymour Trail being the top-rated cross-country ski trail in the area.
Across the Northwest Territories, you’ll find community cross-country ski trails that are groomed and under the lights during the winter months. Of particular note is the trail around Frame Lake in Yellowknife, and the trail around Boot Lake in Inuvik.
The Yellowknife Ski Club maintains an impressive network of cross-country skiing, race and biathlon trails along the Old Ingraham Trail. Check out the 2 km (one mile) of night-lit trails and watch for the northern lights.
Although the nights are long and the days cold, the winter months are the best time to experience the northern lights in Whitehorse. The Whitehorse Nordic Centre is home to 85 km (53 miles) of groomed trails and 20 km (12 miles) of backcountry trails. There are also lit trails—with two loops that can be combined for a 10 km (six mile) tour if they are skied in both directions.
Travel over frozen lakes and ponds is not recommended, as ice conditions vary greatly. Stay on the designated marked trails and be aware of avalanches—check conditions before you leave. Know the warning signs and always remain in visual contact with your travel partners.
Trans Canada Trail
Whether the goal is to see more of your province or make your way across the country, the TCT offers a fascinating way to explore more of our land.
Explore the trail here: thegreattrail.ca/explore-the-map.
Trail open status can be subject to weather conditions. Check park and trail websites and Twitter feeds for the latest updates and hours of operation.
An editor with 15-plus years in the publishing business, Catalina Margulis’ byline spans travel, food, decor, parenting, fashion, beauty, health and business. When she’s not chasing after her three young children, she can be found painting her home, taming her garden and baking muffins.