The snow hasn’t stuck in all parts of Prince George yet, but when it does, it’ll be here to stay along with below zero temperatures. This means it’s time to get ready for winter activities in Prince George! While our city offers amazing outdoor opportunities all year round, many of our most passionate outdoors enthusiasts will tell you their favourite season is snowy and cold.
This might be hard to understand, especially for people from warmer climates, but for us in Central BC, many activities and access points offer themselves up for access in the winter that don’t in warmer weather: when lakes freeze and underbrush is buried by snow, there’s a whole new world to explore.
For those willing to brave the elements, snowshoeing is a great beginners activity. The equipment is inexpensive to buy or rent and easy to use. Snowshoeing offers a great introduction to the accessibility offered by winter. There are dozens of trails around town: Forests for the World, Otway and Eskers Provincial Park are just a few of the places that offer varying degrees of difficulty and rewarding experiences.
Some prefer gliding to tromping, at least on a groomed track. The Caledonia Nordic Ski Club, which operates on the Otway trails, is a great organization to get involved in if you want to improve your own cross-country skiing skills, or if your children want to get into biathlon. The club has given many great athletes a start, including the now three-time Olympian Megan Tandy.
Another club vital to outdoor activities is the Alpine Club of Canada, which has a chapter in Prince George and offers dozens of events open to members and non-members. From simple meet and greets to advanced ice climbing as well as courses in survival, the ACC provides a forum for people to find fellow ice-climbing enthusiasts and to gain the skills they need to enjoy our great outdoors.
Motorized clubs offer maps, access to huts in the backcountry, and courses in avalanche preparedness and rescue. Given the speed that can be achieved by motorized winter ATV’s on lakes and trails where obstacles are abundant, it’s highly recommended that beginners seek instruction from more experienced riders. Once the skills are mastered, many combine all sports into multi-day activities, using snowmobiles to get to remote locations, tromping up a slope on snowshoes, and either ice climbing or backcountry skiing from there.
For those who prefer to stay inside
Of course, after the holidays, people try to live out New Year’s Resolutions. For those who prefer room temperature, we got you covered, with the Charles Jago Northern Sports Centre: an indoor track, weight lifting and cardio equipment areas, squash and racquetball courts, basketball courts and indoor soccer fields, as well as access to multipurpose rooms or physiotherapy. All this includes friendly staff, certified trainers, and public transit accessibility.
There’s no end to the adventures that can be had in Prince George and the surrounding area during the winter. With the right skills, equipment, and companions, it’s no wonder why so many residents look forward to winter activities even during our warmest seasons!