St. Alberta residents embrace winter with a plethora of outdoor activities
Here’s a closer look at three city hotspots for getting the blood flowing.
As Old Man Winter ushers in the freezing cold, many Saint Alberta residents have chosen to bundle up and get outside to make the most of what the city has to offer.
Many have found ways to enjoy the outdoors while embracing the cold and snow, whether it’s to stay in shape or just to have fun with the winter cards that were handed out to us.
Whether that means sledding down a hill at full speed or enjoying a relaxing ride on riverside trails, there are a variety of activities to keep residents and visitors busy.
Here’s a closer look at three hotspots of winter activity that residents of St. Alberta have taken full advantage of.
Cross-country skiing along the Esturgeon
Cross-country skiing is a staple in St. Albert, with a dedicated group run by an active Nordic Ski Club based in Kingswood Park.
The club added more trails that straddle the Sturgeon River. Some trails go all the way to the Sturgeon Valley Golf and Country Club, ensuring that anyone who hikes is sure to get both an effective workout and stunning views of the local wildlife.
Steven Boyko was out with his wife and two-year-old daughter on the slopes on December 22. He said cross-country skiing is the perfect way to have a good time with his family while staying as safe as possible in a COVID world.
“We said what better way to get [our daughter] outside and enjoying the outdoors, âBoyko said. “With COVID, there isn’t a lot of stuff on the inside that we can do, so we figured we could get it started.”
The new trails have also provided the Boyko family with many new adventures.
âThe trails are great. As soon as it snows, they are groomed, âBoyko said. âIt is simply beautiful wilderness along the Sturgeon River, with tall trees and lots of birds.â
James McDonald, 73, and Malcolm Connell, 70, were also on the slopes. McDonald was only out for the second time in 45 years when Connell is a regular skier.
âI’ve been skiing here since 1984,â said Connell. âI don’t really like playing indoor sports. I love to be outdoors, regardless of the weather.
“[The trails] are much better. We have not yet skied to the golf course. Now they can have good races here at Riverlot 56. It used to be too tight to have a race. It’s much better to have races, a more regular club, and people have a chance to get in shape because it’s a longer track.
McDonald may be a newcomer, but that hasn’t stopped him from enjoying the trails.
âI’m finding that parts of my lungs are reopening,â McDonald said with a laugh. âI started this sport a long time ago in Winnipeg and if you wanted to ski in Winnipeg, cross-country skiing was natural. ”
Their advice for getting into sport is simple: all you need to do is bring a pair of skis. McDonald and Connell both mentioned that low-income families should look for used skis if they want an inexpensive, quick way to get out.
Tobogganing in Seven Hills
If cross-country skiing doesn’t give you that adrenaline itch, you won’t have to look much further than Seven Hills on Vital Avenue. The hill is almost always bustling with people of all ages getting ready to hit new speeds on their tubes, slides or downhill sleds.
More than that, it also offers stunning views of the city as a picturesque winter wonderland.
Laura Berry, a resident of Morinville, took her two children to enjoy the hill on December 22. She said they were drawn to the hill because of the view and the fact that they had never tried it before.
âWe came to check it out because we’ve never been on this hill,â Berry said. âWe live in Morinville and have tried all of the local hills before so we thought we would get the kids to try something different!
âEveryone had a blast and it’s a really beautiful place.
For newcomers, especially children, the hill can be a bit intimidating. It seems like quite a trip to get to the bottom of it, but, after a bit of self-motivation, the payoff will definitely be worth the risk.
Kendra Drader was one of the kids who went through this exact thought process.
âThe hill is really steep! Drader said.
However, there were a few brave kids who were less concerned with the steep hill slope and more focused on the view.
“I can see the whole city from here!” Â»Cried Nadia Berry
Then there were others, who were quickly distracted by the other people enjoying the hill, like Nadia’s sister, Elena.
âI see a puppy! Elena said.
No matter what type of device you use to descend the hill, as long as you have one, it looks like a good time is almost guaranteed.
Ice skating at Rotary Park Freezeway
These first two options satisfy both adrenaline seekers and those looking for relaxing outings, but where does the golden mean? Look no further than Rotary Park Freezeway which is located just past Larry Olexiuk Field on Riel Drive.
Here you will see a patch of ice that evokes all the sensations of a winter wonderland. A pine tree sits in the middle of the icy surface, reminiscent of this classic Charlie Brown Christmas scene.
Gwen Grant grew up in the community, but comes from Calgary. She said the frozen tower seemed like a fun afternoon activity to do alongside her son.
âWe just wanted to go out and skate,â Grant said. âWe searched online and found this to be tried on during the day and maybe come back at night when the lights are on.
âIt’s fun to go out. ”
When the clock strikes at 4 p.m., colorful lights decorate the neighborhood until 10 p.m.
Brothers Memphis and Wells Ford were two of the many kids who enjoyed all the icy lane had to offer on December 22. They also had a few competing thoughts on what they liked to do the most.
“[My favourite thing about the skating is] go fast, âMemphis said.
âI like to go slow,â Wells said.
Hockey sticks and pucks are not permitted on the freezer lane as it is intended to be used for skating only.