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9 Canadian winter wonderland spots for active exploration

Don't hide indoors. These are some of the best spots in the country for active exploration

Many Canadians dread the winter months where the snow falls and windchill temperatures drive us indoors. While the elements can be intimidating, it does have to be said that this country has so many gorgeous outdoor spots where active people can get a chance to enjoy the season for what it is. Staying inside by the fire with a book might be tempting but getting outside will be so much more rewarding. There’s absolutely a time and a place for the treadmill but to avoid getting stuck in a rut, plan a workout in one of these awesome spots this season. Now is also the time to take advantage of that running fitness and translate it to a season-appropriate cross-training activity like skating or cross-country skiing. Here are some of the best spots to check out during the snowy months. 

RELATED: Four pieces of safety advice for dark winter mornings

Crabbe Mountain, New Brunswick

There are plenty of reasons why Crabbe Mountain is likely to attract the outdoorsy folk who aren’t scared of sub-zero temperatures. This spot is the highest vertical ski area of the Maritimes, it has 20 trails and 30K of cross-country skiing and one draw that can’t be missed: it has night skiing as well.

Arrowhead Skating Trail, Huntsville, Ontario

Named one of Canada’s must-visit winter spots, Arrowhead Skating Trail really is a winter wonderland scene that should not be missed. Slick ice trails weave through a Muskoka forest along a 1.3-kilometre loop. Since it’s sheltered from the wind, halting the pace for a snowball fight is just par for the course. 

Mont Tremblant, Quebec

Get those quads and glutes burning. Downhill skiing is one of the best ways to sneak in a strength session because those the mountains are certainly leg-aching, they’re picturesque with their snow-capped trees and Mont Tremblant gets a ton of powdery fresh snow and there’s no shortage of spots to grab a quick pint at the end of a tiring day.

Prince Albert National Park, Saskatchewan

Saskatchewan has a reputation for being rather frigid but the good thing is that this province is home to quite the adventurous bunch. The Prince Albert National Park is open year-round and for outdoorsy runners who want to switch things up a little, there’s perhaps no better spot to work up a sweat snowshoeing or explore the park’s 3,875 square kilometres of nature. For those who really want to make a weekend of it, outdoor camping with enclosed shelters is also available. Nothing like a campfire in the snow. And yes, this is your chance to view the northern lights.

Kananaskis, Alberta

Kananaskis is one of those spots that proves that Canada is one of the most beautiful countries in the world. Whether your group is feeling downhill or cross-country skiing, this is one of the most worthwhile spots in the country to spend a day at it.

Rideau Canal, Ontario

Canada’s most famous ice rink attracts hoards of tourists for good reason. Hey, if there was ever an ideal spot to strap on the skates and move at a brisk pace, it’s here: with nearly eight kilometres of a trail, it’s the largest skating rink in the world. Hey and if you and your buds work up an appetite, there’s no harm in stopping for a Beaver Trail halfway through. 

Riding Mountain National Park, Manitoba

If Manitoba’s tourism board boasts snowshoeing in the moonlight here, we’d skip a running day to test that out. One fun fact about this national park: it features over 400 kilometres of trails. 

Revelstoke, B.C.

Planning a trip to the country’s west coast? Checking out Revelstoke should absolutely be on top on the list. There’s a reason why Forbes ranked it the second best ski resort in the country. Go here and active travellers can definitely expect heaps and heaps of snow to contend with. 

Whitehorse Nordic Centre, Yukon

This place is a cross-country skiers dream. Cross-country skiing is a smart way to keep fit in winter while refusing to hide from the outdoors. For folks who like groomed trails, there’s 85 kilometres of pathways to explore. Into a more rugged route? There’s also 20 kilometres of untouched terrain to navigate. And yes, your dog friend can come too. Furry pals are allowed on one third of the ski trails.