Favourite Winnipeg winter activity

1. Ice skating on the river / at The Forks 

2. Drinking 

3. Hockey 

 

In a true testament to Winnipeggers’ tenacity, readers have chosen skating down a frozen windy river pathway as their favourite winter activity. 

But until the river freezes, it’s difficult to predict what kind of path they’re going to end up with as this year’s Red River Mutual Trail. 

“Every year the trails are unique, both on land and on the Mutual Trail. And it always is determined on what the weather offers us and how things freeze,” Kristin Pauls, marketing and communications coordinator at The Forks, says. 

Once the river’s open, expect a steady flow of selfies from the warming huts speckled along the trail. An art installation called Recycled Words, which scattered red chairs with ski legs and a single word in bold white text across the back, will also return to the ice this year. 

In 2008, the Red River Mutual Trail was recognized by the Guinness World Records as the world’s longest naturally frozen skating trail, a position it held until Lake Windermere Whiteway usurped the title in 2014. 

However, in recent years, “skating down the Assiniboine hasn’t been easily accessible just because of the fast moving water, and it leaves holes in the ice so we can’t actually go down it,” Pauls says. “But the water levels this year have dropped so we’re really hoping we’ll be able to get back onto the Assiniboine this year.” 

Despite limited ice time on the Assiniboine, the Red River Mutual Trail reached the St. Vital bridge for the first time last winter. 

And while waiting for the river to freeze, up to 1.6 kilometres of trails are built on the land as part of the Arctic Glacier Winter Park, winding from the Scotiabank Stage back to the canopy tent at The Forks. 

Information about skate rentals, as well as daily updates on trail conditions and closures, can be found at theforks.com.

Published in Volume 70, Number 13 of The Uniter (December 3, 2015)

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