Sleds, skates, skis and snowshoes

Free outdoor activities during winter in Winnipeg

If you’re feeling stuck from the early onset of darkness or broke from the holidays, free outdoor activities can offer some reprieve. 

Cross-country skiing

Was being more spontaneous and trying new things one of your New Year’s resolutions? Perhaps some cross-country skiing can help accomplish this. Public trails are maintained weekly at Crescent Drive Park (Fort Garry), Harbour View Recreation Complex (North Transcona), Kildonan Park, St. Vital Park, La Barriere Park (south of Winnipeg) and the Living Prairie Museum (St. James).

“Cross country ski lessons and ski rentals are available at Harbour View and Windsor Golf Course at the Windsor Park Nordic Centre. Dress in layers, stretch before you ski and dress for conditions including scarf and toque,” city spokesperson Lisa Fraser says. 

Snowshoeing

The Living Prairie Museum is also offering free snowshoeing on the first and last Sunday of each month through January, February and March. Guests will receive free snowshoe rentals and instruction and an opportunity to explore the prairie preserve, learn about our native flora and fauna and warm up by the fire in the indoor interpretive centre.

“Snowshoe Sundays has evolved from a successful one-day event hosted a few years ago… there appears to be an increase in interest is snowshoeing from the general public over the past few years at the Living Prairie Museum,” Fraser says. 

Tobogganing

Have you noticed your toboggan gathering dust? Make up for it by taking it to Civic Park (East Kildonan), Victoria Jason Park (Transcona) or King’s Park (Fort Garry) where some of Winnipeg’s best natural hill tobogganing destinations are found. The City of Winnipeg also maintains several winter slides throughout the city, including Crescent Drive Park, Kildonan Park, Fraser’s Grove Park, Bunn’s Creek Park and St. Vital Park. You’ll find night lighting, washrooms and warm-up areas at these slides, which are open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Warning: nostalgia may come into effect while engaging in this activity for some. 

Skating

If Team Canada’s results at the World Juniors left you a little upset or spurred your latent pro hockey dreams, there are 63 community centres in town for you to lace up and practice at (please keep in mind that our World Junior team did their best). 

For more leisurely skating, or for those wanting to learn to skate, you can visit Harbour View, Kildonan Park Peguis Pavilion pond or the St. Vital Park duck pond. 

If skating over longer stretches is what you’re after, the multi-kilometre Red River Mutual Trail that begins at The Forks is not yet in operation due to milder-than-usual temperatures this winter; though that is subject to change. You can still bust a dance move or two under the canopy at The Forks.

If you’d rather stay indoors…

But if you’re a fan of winter but prefer to enjoy the season inside, the 2016 Leisure Guide activities are starting soon and you still have time to register. Everyone is encouraged to register and there are options for all age groups. More information can be found by visiting winnipeg.ca/leisureonline or you can call 311.

For more information on any of these winter activities or other events, winnipeg.ca provides the latest news and updates, hours of operation, weather warnings and outdoor safety tips.

Published in Volume 70, Number 15 of The Uniter (January 14, 2016)

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