While many people miss the warmth of summer during the colder months, don’t dismiss the beauty and opportunities offered by Grande Prairie’s winter environment.! With an average of 55 days of snowfall and a total of 154cm of powder each year, the region is a paradise for winter activity seekers – and there’s so much more to discover beyond the groomed pistes of the ski hills. Whether you’re visiting the region or a long-time resident, you’ll regret not getting out into the snow to take advantage of all the area has to offer. Read on for a round-up of our favourite winter activities and to find out how you can maximize your winter fun!
Pickup trucks hauling snowmobiles is a very common sight in Grande Prairie in the winter, and for good reason! We are home to some of the best and most abundant snow in Canada, perfect for creating a snowmobiler’s dream. The Peace Country delivers a guaranteed high level of snowfall every year and a winter sports season that stretches from October through April. Plus, the Kakwa area of our region is well-known across western Canada for its mountainous terrain and lush powder.
Where: Many snowmobiling locations – including Kakwa – are located only a couple of hours from Grande Prairie.
Ice fishing is another terrific winter activity to enjoy in the Grande Prairie region. Whether you’re looking for a bit of solitude, or want to make it a family outing, ice fishing enthusiasts will have a great experience in the area with a number of great spots. For the ultimate in ice fishing comfort, you can also rent or buy a heated portable hut. No more freezing in the middle of a wind-blown lake!
Where: Snipe Lake, 90 minutes from Grande Prairie
Types of Fish: Walleye, Northern Pike, Lake Whitefish, Burbot, Yellow Belly Perch
Where: Moonshine Lake, 1hr 20 minutes from Grande Prairie
Types of Fish: Rainbow Trout, Brown Trout, Tiger Trout
If you enjoy getting out in nature and seeing the beauty of winter without it rushing past while you careen down a hill, you might want to give cross-country skiing a try. We have beautiful forests and winter scenery to enjoy, and a slower pace is the best way to appreciate it! And if cross-country skiing isn’t your thing but you still want to enjoy the winter sights, how about strapping on a pair of snowshoes?
Where: Wapiti Nordic Ski Club
Cost: $8.50 – $13 for individuals; $33 for families
Where: Muskoseepi Park
Outdoor backyard rinks have become something of a tradition in our northern climate. During the winter months, people can be found skating around on beautifully-maintained ice surfaces or playing a game of pond hockey. There are a number of rinks available for public use both within the city of Grande Prairie and throughout the region, including in the towns of Sexsmith, Beaverlodge, Wembley, and more.
Where: Muskoseepi Pond
Note: Hockey and hockey equipment is not permitted
Where: Aquatera Community Skating Oval
When: Planning to open sometime in January
We all have fond memories of speeding down the hill in a sled as a kid. But did you know that the joy of tobogganing doesn’t have to end with adulthood? Recapture the carefree feelings of youth at any number of great sledding hills within Grande Prairie and the surrounding region. No lessons or skills needed!
Where: Hills within Grande Prairie
For an activity with less of an equipment requirement, how about simply going for a peaceful winter walk? There are many trails and well-maintained paths in the region perfect for a quiet stroll through our glittering winter wonderland. Keep an eye on conditions, however, as you may not find the path easily after a big dump of snow!
For some of us, a break from the cold is what we need. If you feel like spending a day indoors, why not enrich your mind at the same. The Grande Prairie region is home to a number of impressive museums showcasing our history and prehistory.! Learn about life during the pioneer days of our region, or explore the world before humans and discover facts about what the area was like when dinosaurs roamed the earth.
Where: Grande Prairie Museum & Heritage Village
Where: Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum
Cost: $7 – $14 for individuals, family rates are also available
The Grande Prairie region is home to a number of great art galleries for those who want to experience a bit of culture during the winter months. Check out world-class artists with the rotating shows at the Art Gallery of Grande Prairie, or enjoy the work of very talented local artists at The Centre for Creative Arts. You can even hone your own artistic skills by taking classes at the Centre!
Where: Art Gallery of Grande Prairie
Where: The Centre for Creative Arts
Cost: Free for gallery shows, costs for classes vary
Where: Grant Berg Gallery
Where: Beaverlodge Art & Cultural Centre Gallery
Finally, let’s get back out into the snow and enjoy Grande Prairie’s outdoor winter festivals! This year, the Grande North Winter Festival takes place January 14th – 16th, featuring outdoor activities such as skating, sleigh rides, making maple taffy, and more. Please note that the indoor concerts this year have regrettably been cancelled due to current COVID-19 restrictions, but all outdoor events are still available to be enjoyed!
Note: Please remember to check all venues for updates before visiting as timings and rules are subject to change due to health restrictions.
Also, remember to let us know if you decide to spend some quality winter time in our region by using the hashtag #GPTourism on Facebook and Instagram!