From snow shovel racing to fatbiking, here are 5 wacky winter sports and activities to discover on your next family vacation!
Kids could spend all day tubing if you let them, and so most ski resorts now offer a tubing hill for kids. At Vail ski resort in Colorado USA, tubing lanes are located in a giant snow park where families can also find ski-biking, kid-sized snowmobiling and the new Forest Flyer™ Mountain Coaster . Closer to home in Alberta, families at Banff-Lake Louise will enjoy sliding down the slopes at Sunny Tube Park.
2. Telemark Skiing
Telemark is actually not that wacky; it’s just that not everyone has heard of it yet. Telemark is a combination of nordic, alpine- and even “uphill” skiing. For something really unique, try going off-grid at Ski Tuonela in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, where cozy cabins, a wood-fired sauna and a bowl of homemade soup offer warmth after a day of family fun on the trails.
3. Dogsledding… or Heli-Dogsledding!
Experience husky dog sledding at The Activity Centre at Mont Tremblant, about 1.5 hours from Montreal, with mushers who will guide you through the beautiful valleys, mountains and wooded trails of Quebec. After your ride, you will be invited to a wooden Yurt with hot chocolate, coffee, and cookies.
On the edge of Algonquin Park in Ontario, Winterdance Dogsled Tours is a family-run business which welcomes kids as young as 2 years old on their shorter tours. For an intense winter thrill, Winterdance has a Heli-Dogsledding Tour with helicopter flights direct from downtown Toronto – a Canadian Signature Experience.
4. Snow Shovel Racing
Shovel racing is not for the fainthearted, with snow shovel speeds reaching up to 73 miles per hour. The competitive sport, which was born at the Angel Fire Resort in New Mexico USA has had a checkered history since it began in the 1970’s, but is now considered a fun activity for all ages. The World Championship Shovel Races are held at Angel Fire each year, with competitors as young as 6 years old competing in the “Little Scoops” division.
In Canada, snow shovel racing is alive and well at the community-run Cape Smokey in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia – and judging by their Facebook pics, it’s a whole lot of fun!
Snow Shovel Racing at Angel Fire Resort/Photo credit: Angel Fire
5. Fat Biking
A Fat Bike is a bike with extra wide rims, simplified gears and great big chubby tires- perfect for tackling snow-covered trails and a suitable activity for older kids and teens. “Fat Bikes seem seem un-phased by mud, rock, snow of any depth, or ice,” says Neil Jackson, Senior Vice President of Products & Maintenance at Resorts of the Canadian Rockies, in an interview with Destination Canada. “Last year, it was impossible to keep up with demand, with most suppliers selling out very early in the season. This year, fat bikes are in stores already and selling equally fast.”
Your family can try Fat Biking at many Canadian resorts such as Silver Star Resort, near Vernon British Columbia, which has 15k of Fat Biking trails. At Fernie, British Columbia, you can take a Discover Fat Biking program: a two-hour guided introduction to the activity. In Barrie, Ontario, local cycling group Ride Guides offers an Introduction to Fat Biking with a tour through the newly upgraded Horseshoe Nordic Adventure Park.