If there’s anything Winnipeg does best, it’s winter. If there’s anything Winnipeggers do best, it’s making the most of wind chill, frostbite, and constant runny noses.
To capitalize on our five-month winter, you’re going to want to take part in some invigorating winter workouts. The spiked hot chocolate will taste that much better afterwards.
Modern-day snowshoes look quite different from those you remember the voyageurs wearing from history class. The ones made of aluminum are very lightweight – perfect for hopping around knee-deep snow.
Snowshoeing is as simple as finding a trail and trekking. If you don’t want to make the investment of purchasing your own pair, Olympia Cycle and Ski offers snowshoe rentals for $15 per day.
FortWhyte Alive rents snowshoes for free to its members and three dollars to non-members. There, you can explore over seven kilometres of trails, interact with wildlife, and maybe even do some birding.
Other great trails include Beaudry Provincial Park, Birds Hill Provincial Park, and La Barriere Park. To access provincial parks you’ll need a park pass – $40 for the year or five dollars for a single day.
Of course, you can always head into a wide-open field, grab a friend, and play a little tag. #Nofacewashes.
Cross-country skiing is a great way to make use of Manitoba’s vast prairie landscape. It might take some practice to find your rhythm, but the activity is fairly easy to pick up with a little help from a seasoned skier.
Cross-country skis are thinner than downhill skis, and equipment (skis, poles, and boots) purchased new can range anywhere from $100-$400. If you’re just looking to test the waters, Olympia Cycle and Ski offers rentals for $15 per day.
Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC) also offers ski rentals for $15 per day, with a little discount if you rent for a week. To rent or purchase equipment from MEC you’ll need to be a member (a one-time fee of five dollars).
To ski on trails in the city, check out Assiniboine Park, St. Vital Park, Windsor Park, and FortWhyte Alive. Provincial parks such as Beaudry and Birds Hill are a little further from the city, but their beauty is worth the trek. Most of these trails can be skied either for free (Assiniboine Park and St. Vital Park) or for a small fee.
Here’s one you can do just outside your front door, and you get double the benefit: a great workout and a clean driveway. If you’re careful to warm up ahead of time (a brisk walk and some arm circles, perhaps), shovelling snow can be an excellent cardiovascular and strength workout.
If one driveway isn’t enough, offer to help out your neighbour to get a little extra calorie-burn. Or just shovel their driveway while they’re sleeping, and they’ll have a nice surprise upon waking in the morning.
This exhilarating activity is not just for kids. The adrenaline rush from zooming down a hill at top speed is coupled with some intense cardio from the run back up.
Sleds are pretty inexpensive at Walmart and Canadian Tire – some costing only five dollars. A large sheet of heavy-duty cardboard works in a pinch.
Dress warmly, and wear water-resistant pants if possible. Snow pants are your best bet, but if you don’t have those, track pants overtop of leggings or long underwear is fine. Don’t forget to bring a flask to warm up when your nose starts to go numb.
Kings Park, as well as numerous local parks around the city, has hills perfect for tobogganing.
If you’re an avid summer cycler but dread dangerous cycling conditions in the winter, never fear – fatbikes are here! They can be ridden year round, but their wide tires are especially made for slippery, snowy conditions. The bikes give you more traction, stability, and control on soft trails.
Fatbikes are available for rental from Woodcock Cycle Works for $50 a day.
Embrace Winnipeg’s snowscapes!