Winter activities, six great day trip ideas to stay active – WHEELS.ca
About This Series: With COVID-19 restrictions eased in recent months, Wheels wants to inspire you to prepare to explore, but only when it’s safe. This series of day trips and longer trips highlights some great experiences you can have in the province and across Canada, and shows you why this country is âours to discoverâ.
Looking for something to do during the holidays and the weeks to come? Winter keeps many of us indoors. This year, instead of hiding inside the elements, rethink the way you do winter. There are trails, lakes, hills and fields covered in snow and ice that are perfect places to try a multitude of activities that will make you love coming out of hibernation. Grab your car keys and set your GPS on one of these winter wonderland adventures.
Santa has his reindeer, but you can turn your dog into your own little motor while cross-country skiing. This sport is known as ski joÃ«ring. Don’t have your own dog? No problem, Yours Outdoors can hook one up for you during a beginner’s course with skijor expert Karen Kohler.
âI love the agility of the sport, and the connection you have with your dog moving together and building that confidence is pretty impressive,â she said.
Where to try it: Book a two-hour lesson (this includes a harness for your dog) for $ 90 per person at Yours Outdoors in Haliburton. If you need cross-country skis, you can rent one from Algonquin Outfitters in nearby Huntsville (they also ship smaller items).
How to get there: Take Highway 404 North, followed by Highway 48 and Highway 35 North. Then drive along Route 118 East to Haliburton.
The fat bike will take you through snowy conditions on two wheels about five inches wide, perfect for riding on rougher surfaces. Not only do you get an adrenaline rush on a fat bike, but if you wipe yourself off, it’s a little less painful thanks to the cushioning in the snow.
Where to try it: Rent a fat bike for one, two, or four hours (or for a full day) from Liv Outside in Bracebridge and ride the trails nearby.
How to get there: Take Hwy 400 North and merge onto Hwy 11. Take Exit 182 and follow Hwy 118 West to Bracebridge. The company is located on Ecclestone Drive.
Lighter than ever with aluminum frames, today’s snowshoes can help you virtually float on fluffy snow.
âA lot of people just hike the hiking trails, but you don’t need snowshoes when the snow is packed. Where you want to go are the swampy and wooded areas that are inaccessible nine months of the year, âsaid Angelo Morgante, owner of Adventure Attic Travel and Outdoor Lifestyle at Dundas.
Morgante said it is in these areas that you will be able to see incredible wildlife, including muskrats, deer and foxes.
Where to try it: Rent snowshoes for $ 10 per day (with a $ 100 deposit) at Adventure Attic Travel and Outdoor Lifestyle, and head to the nearby Dundas Conservation Area.
How to get there: Head west via Queen Elizabeth Way to Highway 403 and head west. Take Exit 74 and follow York Road to Hwy 6 North and turn right onto Hwy 8.
Find out what lies beneath the ice sheet covering Picton Bay on an ice fishing adventure in Prince Edward County. New this year at Merland Park Cottages are cameras that have been installed in the water so you can see pike, trout and bass swimming under you. You’ll stay warm and cozy in your ice fishing hut, while the kids have fun watching the cameras to see if any fish are approaching. The idea, said Kevin Lavers, owner of Merland Park, is that even if you’re unlucky enough not to catch any fish, you’ll still know they’re there.
Where to try it: Reserve an ice fishing cabin (this includes heat, transportation, bait and fishing rods) for $ 75 per person at Merland Park Cottages in Picton.
How to get there: Travel east along Hwy 401 and take Exit 522 to County Road 40. Then take County Road 33 and County Road 1 to Prince Edward.
The joy of rolling down a hill on an inflatable tube will make you fall in love with winter again. Best of all, the whole family can participate.
âIf you can sit down, you can snow tube,â said Ryan Leblanc, tube park manager at Snow Valley Ski Resort.
It has earned a reputation as one of the best tubing spots in Ontario thanks to its 14 10-story falls. Tubers are known to reach speeds of up to 50 miles per hour in Snow Valley, so you may want to bring ski goggles to protect your eyes. There are also three ski lifts to take you to the top, so you won’t get tired of climbing back up to the start of the slides.
Where to try it: Book two hours of tubing starting at $ 20 per adult at Snow Valley Ski Resort, just outside of Barrie in Minesing.
How to get there: Take Hwy 400 North, then exit 96B to Dunlop Street West in Barrie. From there, follow Ferndale Drive north, then Wilson Drive and Snow Valley Road to Vespra Valley Road in Minesing.
Gear up with axes, crampons, boots, harnesses, and a helmet. Then go up the side of a gorge via a 60 foot wall of ice. While ice climbing may seem similar to rock climbing, it’s even more exciting because you get to choose your route on the ice, said Christa Niravong of One Ax Pursuits.
âIt’s very empowering to make your way to the top,â she said.
She said that nothing beats facing your fears and watching yourself take it one step at a time.
Where to try it: Book a six-hour lesson (this includes safety equipment) for $ 350 per person with One Ax Pursuits in Elora.
How to get there: Drive along Highway 401 West and take Exit 312 towards Guelph Line in Milton. Continue towards Wellington County Highways 29 and 7 to Henderson Street in Elora.
COVID-19 must know
Note that the government-required proof of vaccination rule is in effect. Check provincial and local guidelines before traveling (ontario.ca).
Get into the spirit of sportsmanship by listening to a few episodes of ESPN’s award-winning ’30 for 30′ podcasts as you travel. The episodes show how sport and adventure affect all aspects of our lives and include everything from polar exploration to Olympian stories. You can download episodes from 30for30podcasts.com.