In Central Alberta, winter can arrive in early October sometimes as late as December. Around this part of the country, you can nearly predict, the week the weather is going to change as the temperatures drastically dip and the first Arctic blast crystallizes the beauty of Autumns’ leaves.
When I traveled overseas there was always this gradual change to the seasons, as one came to a close and the other began. It had an almost sensual quality to it. Not here in Central Alberta. The seasonal changes are abrupt, swift and to the point. Winter is the longest of the 4-seasons, it is usually 7-months in length beginning in October and ending in April. Since moving here a little over 3-years ago, I have been observing the relationship between Albertans and winter. I have been interested in learning about the activities of these people? What types of outdoor activities they long to partake in over the winter months? And how a new person can get involved in those activities?
One of the things I have noticed is the people in Central Alberta are resilient and not afraid to spend time in the vast glory of an Albertan winter. These people are not shut-in once the temperatures dip below zero for several months. They are an active bunch, going outside to face Old Man Winter and stare him dead-in the eye. This list is only some of the activities Albertans are passionate about over the course of winter;
- Ice skating
- Ice climbing
- Cross country skiing
- Figure skating
- Dog sledding
- Sledding aka Snowmobiling
- Ice fishing
- Ice road rally racing
Through my observations, I have been taking notes on the cost to do each activity, the how one must go about learning the activity? What social groups or clubs are available to a new person? And how to get started in doing a new winter activity?
The reality is, is winter in Central Alberta can be loads of fun as long as you are willing to acquire the right attitude, find the right equipment, obtain the correct instructions and be safe about the activity you choose to get yourself involved in. Whether that be driving a road rally car across a frozen tundra or ice, or climbing on board a 10-dog sled to cruise across the wide open farming landscape, or climb up a tall frozen waterfall one step at a time, or enjoy a day out with the family on the local pond skating until everyone’s feet hurt. The thing is at the end of all these winter activities there is the warmth of your home, the heat coming from the fireplace, a cup of hot chocolate and the many stories you will share with your friends and family about your adventures in winter being outside in Central Alberta.