When thinking of winter activities, one thing that often comes to mind is the cold – but that was before we tried cross-country skiing.

Cross-country skiing makes you sweat! Away from the wind and under the trees it demands sustained physical exertion, making it the perfect activity for keeping warm this winter. It’s also a great, low-impact way to maintain physical fitness.

To get you into the mood, allow us to introduce you to some of the most beautiful places for cross-country skiing that Canada has to offer.

WEST

Callaghan Valley (British Columbia)

Whistler Olympic Park and Callaghan Country hosted the cross-country skiing events during Vancouver 2010 and for good reason.

Here you’ll find over 120 kilometres of trails, easy and difficult alike, made up mostly of loops surrounding the welcome pavilion. It’s also possible to reach Callaghan Country Lodge where you can enjoy a cozy family stay. Your furry friends are welcome to join you as many of their trails are adapted for pets, as long as you have your pet pass!

Peter Lougheed Provincial Park (Alberta)

A hit among Calgary residents, this provincial park offers approximately 90 kilometres of trails, most of which would be considered easy. The area is known for its abundant snowfall which offers a unique challenge to all skiers. In true Rocky Mountain fashion, you’ll find a number a breathtaking mountain views on your journey. Open from November through April, this site is sure to make any visitor happy.

Canmore Nordic Centre Provincial Park (Alberta)

Another Olympic legacy, this one was used for the Calgary 1988 Winter Games and is now a national training centre for cross-country skiing and biathlon. Situated just outside of downtown Canmore and not too far from Banff National Park, the site is best suited to advanced skiers and those looking for a good workout.

Well kept, these trails are great for both styles of cross-country skiing. One trail even offers night skiing, an attraction that we don’t see very often.

CENTRAL

Stokely Creek (Ontario)

Stokely Creek, near Sault Ste. Marie, offers a great mix of maintained paths and off-trail skiing. Because of the effect the nearby lake has on the environment, the snow is of excellent quality. Be warned, you’ll likely have to stop and catch your breath as these trails will surprise you with their steep hills

Take in the unmatched view of Lake Superior and keep an eye out for the fauna. You might come face to face with a furry friend!

Mont-Sainte-Anne (Québec)

Mont-Sainte-Anne is home to the vastest cross-country ski centre in Canada with more than 200 kilometres of trails. For better or for worse, the region receives 400cm of snow annually, making for quality trails that offer something for everyone. Skiers can expect to find themselves deep in the Laurentian Forest and all its peacefulness, far from the hustle and bustle of the city. To de-stress and unplug, Mont-Sainte-Anne is a can’t miss destination

Gatineau Park (Québec)

Too often left out of the top places to visit, Gatineau Park has so much to offer. Let’s start with the 185 kilometres of cross-country ski trails. For ski enthusiasts of all levels, these trails are always well maintained.

About 10 heated cabins adorn the site, making for a toasty break. The architecture of the cabins makes them a destination of their own and will definitely add to your experience. Take advantage of the Chelsea and Wakefield regions and end your day at one of their many spas.

 EAST

Fundy National Park (New Brunswick)

Cross-country skiing is a popular activity in New Brunswick and the province has a variety of ski trails. Fundy National Park boasts on its own 20 kilometres of paths, each clearly labelled according to the level of difficulty. Each path has the same starting point, and the skier can build their own trail by following the colour codes. Only one shelter can be found within the circuit, so ensure you’re well prepared before you hit the trails!

Ski Martock (Nova Scotia)

Ski Martock is the perfect place to learn the sport or for a family vacation. It’s one of the province’s rare sites where ski rental is offered. No need to buy to give cross-country skiing a try. Martock only offers 5 kilometres of trails, but each one stands out in the middle of a mixed forest.