Embrace winter. Get up and get out.

I did something different this weekend. I made a concerted effort to stay and play outdoors in the cold. Plus I chose where I thought would be a beautiful winter playground, Waskesiu in Prince Albert National Park, Saskatchewan. I couldn’t have been more right. I had found Saskatchewan’s winter wonderland.

Heavy snow laden pine trees, windy white roads and animal sightings a plenty, Waskesiu  boasts a perfect winter landscape to get outside and reconnect with nature while trying out some fun winter activities.

IMG_5438So, I took along my 75 year old mother and two sons four and six and I introduced them to things old and new. The new included the four of us trying out dog sledding; and me trying out snowshoeing. What a blast!

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The old included an outdoor adventure trek in which I was accompanied by Brad from Sundog Excursions (also runs the dog sledding) where we went in search of wildlife. We saw the usual winter dwellers: fox, coyote, elk, deer and I also spotted a black backed woodpecker and grey jay (neither of which I got off a decent pic).

The most exciting part however was when we found fresh otter and wolf tracks and then we went excitedly on a search for them. Unfortunately, they didn’t appear for us, but is sure was a lot of fun tracking them!

IMG_5268IMG_5329IMG_5424IMG_2149 We stayed at the Hawood Inn in the town of Waskesiu. It was extremely quiet and peaceful. We were able to take in walks by the lake and be the first people in the morning to make footprints in the snow. For anyone who has been to Waskesiu during the summer months, absent is the hustle and bustle; winter time is the complete opposite. It was more of a ghost town with the only restaurant food choice being the one at our hotel.

IMG_5685If you don’t mind staying outside of the town, I would recommend a stay at Elkridge Resort. This is where we wrapped up our weekend with some tubing down a giant hill  (my mom even took part!) and indoors, at the pool and water slide. A huge plus is that they rent out cross country skis, snow shoes, and skates.

IMG_2281 IMG_2278The resort also offers creature comforts like first class dining and full spa services along with easy access to the beauty and fun found in the park. I found the staff to be extremely helpful and they went out of their way to help us during our visit to the resort.

Elkridge Resort and Sundogs Excursions obviously understand the draw of the area and how to promote awesome tourism opportunities. They have partnered to offer great ‘Mush & Stay’ package deals that make enjoying winter easy. Sundogs also offers a variety of great outdoor adventures, so if you are in the market fur winter fun, check them out.

After all was said and done I found out that I really didn’t mind being outdoors at all in winter, even though it was one of the coldest weekends we have had in a while (-20′s to -30). If you are bundled up as warmly as we were, you barely noticed. Well, except for the fact that you feel like the Michelen man! And my kids did so well, perhaps even fairing better than us adults.

My advice from this experience is to try to embrace winter instead of escaping it! You won’t regret it!

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