Heard it from a Scout: Five outdoor winter adventures
The temperature has dropped and frost is nipping at everyone’s nose — but don’t let the chilly weather scare you from adventurous opportunities outdoors. Pictures of your outdoor discoveries are fun to share with your friends, but always keep safety in mind for your adventures: travel with a buddy, set a destination and return time, let people know where you will be going, learn your route and pack to help prevent and address emergencies if they occur.
Grab your mittens, boots and coat, because here are some outdoor Canadian winter activities that you won’t want to miss!
Get a closer look at Canada’s winter wilderness with a snowshoeing adventure. Rentals are inexpensive and snowshoeing requires no experience, which makes it a great activity for all.
Snowshoe up to a beautiful scenic spot, or explore the lower trails to view creeks and frozen lakes. If you’ve got a sharp eye, you may find little winter critters or their tracks, but be careful not to scare or feed them. Leaving no trace is paramount — respecting the natural environment means enjoying your adventure without impacting the area, and returning home with everything that you brought along on your journey.
2. Skiing and snowboarding
When the snow is right, local mountains and ski hills welcome skiers and snowboarders of every ability. On the slopes, varying levels of difficulty are reflected by colour: beginners can try the green runs, adventurous intermediates can enjoy blue routes and expert individuals fit for the challenge can follow the black or double black diamond runs. Another way to discover a true Canadian winter wonderland is to cross-country ski — either on fresh, untouched snow or on machine-groomed trails.
Whether cross-country skiing or shredding the slopes, equipment rentals make the sports accessible to anyone without proper gear. Lessons are available for those with little experience or who want to perfect their skills.
3. Ice skating
If you prefer to glide on ice rather than snow, try skating on an outdoor rink and enjoy both the ice and the views. Outdoor rinks make for a wonderfully scenic skate. Lean on a friend to help with unsteadiness, or borrow a rail to skate with. Be sure to check the conditions of the ice and use natural rinks at your own risk. And don’t forget to pack a hot drink and savour your time on the ice in the crisp winter air!
Spice up your skating experience and play ice hockey, one of Canada’s favourite sports! Many rinks have designated hockey times and offer hockey equipment and nets. Rentals for hockey sticks and padding are inexpensive, and lessons are available for those who’d like to improve their skills.
Hockey can be practised in a group or alone, so don’t worry if you can’t find a buddy to go with you — you can perfect your slapshots for the next game you play with your friends. Remember to wear a helmet and to wear protective padding if you are the goalie.
5. Winter camping
Why not experience a 24-hour winter day by embarking on an overnight trip? Winter camping may seem intimidating, but being prepared with the right equipment and planning your activities with safety in mind are the expert tips you’ll need to have fun.
As an active Scout, I’m a sucker for a good camping trip in the snow. Fun with my fellow Scout troop members and a mug of hot chocolate never fails to warm my heart. Even after a long day of digging your campsite and bearing the cold (if you forgot that extra sweater), nothing is more peaceful than watching a clear winter night above you. Escape from the busyness of your life by finding local parks with open winter campsites. Many of Canada’s national and provincial parks have campsites open in the winter. Check out this “Heard it from a Scout” blog for a beginner’s guide to winter camping.
Winter is just another seasonal opportunity to try new things and tackle more adventures. If you’re trying something for the first time, just remember that these experiences are crafted by you, and embracing nature is exciting on its own, whether you’re a newbie or seasoned adventurer.
"Heard it from a Scout" is written by members of Scouts Canada’s Youth Spokesperson program. This post was authored by Emma Savić Kallesøe.