3 Must Do Winter Experiences in Northeastern Alberta

Posted on: December 11, 2022

As tempting as it is to be a bear and hibernate (or fly South!) when the cold hits, getting out and trying something active or new can change up your winter from meh to marvellous!

Alberta’s Lakeland, east of Edmonton, has amazing must do winter experiences such as ice fishing, snowboarding, Nordic or downhill skiing.

Snowboarding and Downhill Skiing

Kinosoo Ridge is the place! Located near Cold Lake, Kinosoo Ridge has four green runs, eight blue runs and two black runs on 40 acres of skiable terrain. Black runs are difficult, blue are intermediate and green are easy. Starting at $45 an hour, private and or group ski or snowboard lessons are available for Kritters, under four years of age; Seniors, 65+; and everyone else.  Equipment is not included. 

Snowboarders will enjoy the runs as well as three terrain parks ranging from beginner to advanced. There is also a skating pond and tube park.  

With 400 pairs of skis and 60 snowboards available to rent, starting at $23 per day, you should be able to find skis or a board even if you have size 14 feet! 

Frankly, the food at Kinosoo Restaurant may keep you off the hill. Fuel up on Shreddin’ BBQ Pork poutine, Liftie Scramble Wrap, Bison n’ Bannock, or other tasty fare from Kinosoo restaurant.  Check resort conditions online before heading out. 

Cross Country Skiing

Skiing among the aspen, poplar, spruce and jack pine of Alberta’s boreal forest is a winter delight and, if anything, Alberta’s Lakeland has plenty of that! Locals go to nearby areas but options exist for visitors and locals alike to explore further and try some new trails. 

Refer to Learn How to Cross Country Ski for tips on skiing, skis and poles, what to wear and where to go.

Lac La Biche region is home to three Nordic ski area trails: Beaver Lake, Sir Winston Churchill Provincial Park and local favourite, Shaw Lake. Shaw Lake Staging Area is the trailhead for Mosquito Lake Trail in Lakeland Provincial Park, Alberta’s “Canmore North.” This day use area provides all-season primitive services, a chalet and access to 30 kms of cross country ski trails, tracking dependent on weather and volunteers.

Sir Winston Churchill is Alberta’s only provincial park set on an island within Lac La Biche, the lake, not the town. Trails are track-set for stunning skiing through the trees. Or head out on the 20.5-km (12.7-mi) long lake to snowshoe or ice fish.

Book a basic lakeside cabin and your winter getaway is complete.  

For trail conditions or to rent equipment, visit the Lac La Biche Ski Club on Facebook

St. Paul is home to the Lakeland Cross Country Ski Club, which maintains classic and skate ski trails at St. Paul Golf Course and Westcove Municipal Recreation Area on Lake Vincent. 

The Vermilion Nordic Ski club is based out of the renovated 1905 CN Station. Located in the Vermilion Provincial Park in North Eastern Alberta, the cross country ski trail system follows the river valley over terrain ranging from easy to lung busting hills. 

Near Bonnyville, miles of trails are groomed at Muriel Lake M.D. Park. Moose Lake Provincial Park has six km of intermittently groomed trails. 

Cold Lake Provincial Park is transformed in winter for cross country skiers and snowshoers. The Cold Lake Golf and Winter Club grooms a seven km loop. Keep an eye out for winter birds such as blue jays and snow buntings.  

Hamilton House B&B Inn, near Cold Lake, has 17 kms of tracked trails – stay overnight and ski right out the door on your own skis or rentals. 

Ice Fishing 

Video Credit: Lisa Roper Outdoors

Those who know know that looking down a freshly augured ice hole can’t be beat on a balmy winter day. Pulling in a pike? Even better! 

In a place called ‘The Lakeland’ you should expect nothing less than great ice fishing spots in Alberta. With hundreds of some of the best lakes in Canada to choose from and fish species ranging from yellow perch, northern pike and lake whitefish to lake trout, rainbow trout and walleye, you can find your perfect ice fishing adventure right here in The Lakeland.

Where should you go?  

Cold Lake and Lac La Biche are two bigger lakes with excellent fishing that you can visit all winter long if the ice is thick enough. In December, however, oxygen levels in the water are still relatively high, meaning the fish may be more active. 

Check out Ice Fishing for details about what fish you can find in which lakes across the Lakeland as well as where to buy fishing licenses and regulations for NB1, one of the four massive Northern Boreal Watershed Units in northern Alberta.  

Pelican Point M.D. Park on Moose Lake is one of the best fishing and recreational lakes in Alberta, with fabulous pike, walleye, and perch fishing. 

What Gear to Bring? 

What gear should you bring? If you can’t borrow or buy all the gear, contact Lakelandexpeditions.com to rent a fully equipped ice fishing cabin. Note: they are taking a break this winter season so, make note, and check back next year. 

Alberta Snowmobile Association

They don’t call it hard water fishing for nothing! 

Check with Alberta Outdoorsmen Forum or bait shops to find out when conditions are right. The rule about ice thickness is: two inches will support an adult human, six inches will support a snowmobile and ten inches can support a pickup truck. It’s best to err on the side of caution- wait until the ice is three or four inches thick before heading out on foot, particularly in late or early season, when ice is soft and likely to crack. Avoid rivers completely- flowing water doesn’t form strong ice, even when it’s thick. 

These 3 must do winter activities will get you revved up for winter. Better yet, they are just the start for winter fun in Alberta’s Lakeland.   

Check out other Fall & Winter Adventures such as dog sledding, snowmobiling, skating and snowshoeing. 

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