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  Purple Martin at Ellis Bird Farm

Frosty Fun - Central Alberta Winter Story Ideas

It’s only natural to want to stay indoors when the temperature plunges and the fluffy stuff starts falling, but waiting out winter is a sure-fire route to cabin fever and the winter blues. The only way to enjoy this season is to get out and embrace its special delights—snow and all. In Central Alberta, visitors can reclaim the joy of winter with winter festivals and myriad outdoor activities – making this the perfect destination to learn to make friends with Old Man Winter.

Cold Can Be Cool

Cool fact: In the 1960s, the Canadian National Ski Team used Canyon Ski Area for its early season training. Just 9 km east of Red Deer, Canyon is Alberta’s largest non-mountain Alpine Ski Resort. Today, Canyon is particularly good for families - with a great variety of runs and lifts, low cost lift tickets, equipment rentals and an onsite ski and snowboard school.

Festival Fun
Winterfest celebrations are abundant in Central Alberta and run all season long. Visitors can start celebrating on November 22 in Red Deer at Festival Lights the Night or take in three winter festivals on one weekend on Nov 27-29 by visiting Red Deer’s Festival of Trees, Lacombe’s Light up the Night and Sylvan Lake’s Yuletide Festival.  This year there will be fireworks, Christmas Lights, Santa Claus Parades, Sleigh Rides, Outdoor skating parties, hockey shootouts, kids craft activities, bbqs and community dances as part of the festivities. In February, visitors can enjoy Winterfest in Blackfalds and myriad other area celebrations revolving around Family Day.    

Christmas Party Trains
Alberta Prairie Railway Excursions welcomes visitors on their Christmas Party Trains for an old fashioned steam train excursion that features caroling, a hayride, a turkey dinner and a dance in November and December. Fine Dining Excursions featuring gourmet five course meals run on special weekends throughout the winter months. 

The Perfect Place to Propose

Heritage Ranch in Red Deer offers romantic sleigh rides from November through March that take guests through a winter wonderland of 20,000 lights on a cozy horse-drawn sleigh. Hot chocolate and blankets are provided or visitors can make it a romantic evening date by including a chef-prepared dinner along with fine wine, chocolates and a long stemmed rose.

Making Tracks
There was a time when trappers and traders used snowshoes as they traversed the snow covered terrain of the Red Deer Valley. Today, snowshoeing is a popular form of winter recreation that allows visitors to get out and enjoy the wonders of winter. Kerry Wood Nature Centre offers guided snowshoeing through Waskasoo Park and snowshoe rentals so people can explore on their own. 

Happy Trails
Red Deer is famous for its trails and our active population as well as our visitors use them all year round for running, walking and even cross-country skiing. Track set trails for cross country skiing can be found in four different locations right inside the city and in other areas of Central Alberta including JJ Collett Natural Area near Lacombe and Jarvis Bay Provincial Park near Sylvan Lake.

Fish Tales
Just west of Lacombe on Gull Lake, Adventure Ice Fishing makes catching the big one easy with heated huts, equipment rentals, pre-drilled holes and underwater cameras. They are also the only outfitter in Alberta that has overnight huts equipped with bunk beds, kitchens, propane furnaces and stoves- making it possible to sleep out on the ice.  

Off to the Race
In February, visitors can observe or participate in the Sylvan Lake Ice Marathon outdoor speed skating event or watch thrilling and dangerous motorcycle ice racing on Sylvan Lake.

Craft Sales
It’s important to get outside to enjoy winter, but when it is time to come indoors, Central Alberta has some awesome winter craft sales to enjoy. Near the end of October, Our Best to You craft sale in Red Deer features more than 200 of Canada’s best artists, artisans and designers. Crafts and baking are also abundant at many area farmers markets that run special indoor Christmas markets starting in November.   

Bring This Story Alive: Enjoy a sleigh ride and a gourmet dinner, make tracks on a guided snowshoe trek through Waskasoo Park, or take in one of our wonderful winter festivals.

For more info contact: Tourism Red Deer's Media & Communications Team is here to help with all your editorial needs. For more information on this story, please contact:
  Debbie Olsen
Media Relations Specialist
Ph: 403.391.2934 Fax: 403.346.5081

Liz Taylor
Executive Director Tourism Red Deer

Ph: 403.346.0180 Fax: 403.346.5081

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