Skip the skis


There’s plenty of winter fun to be found in Canada – if you know where to look!

There is no shortage of playful winter pastimes for Canadians to enjoy during the colder months of the year. From serene snowshoe and skating adventures to heart-pumping snow tubing and ice climbing, winter offers a whole host of possibilities. So we asked award-winning travel writer Claudia Laroye (@itsclaudiatravels and for some suggestions. These nine energetic outdoor activities will inspire your family to bundle up for wonderful winter fun in the great outdoors.



The Yukon territory is home to some of the best dogsledding opportunities in Canada. Master the classic northern mode of transportation on half-, full- or multiple-day trips, mushing your own team of eager huskies along frozen lakes and through snow-encrusted pine forests. If your visit coincides with the thrilling Yukon Quest sled dog races in February, enjoy cheering on your favorite team of mushers and dogs as they race their way across the frozen finish line.

Fat biking

The popularity of fat biking seems to increase with every new snowfall. Fatter tires make cutting through snow (or sand) a breeze. In Nova Scotia, the flat-packed Rum Runners Trail follows 119 km of former railway line between Halifax and Lunenburg, while the Meewasin Valley Trail and St. Barbe Winter Trails network in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, offer biking fun for all rider levels. Other notable fat bike trails are Northgate Trails near Dauphin, Manitoba, the Old Railway Bike Trail in Ontario’s Algonquin Provincial Park, and the family friendly trails of Mark Arendz Provincial Ski Park in Brookvale, Prince Edward Island.

Ice climbing

If there’s ice, climbers will attempt to scale it. Serious ice climbers often head to onen of the head-spinning 3,000 frozen waterfalls around Canmore, Alberta, and the Canadian Rocky Mountains. Less experienced climbers and families with kids may want to learn the basics at a climbing school. Or book a guided tour with a professional outfitter in Elora, Ontario, or Jasper National Park, Alberta.

Ice fishing

Have your winter fun and eat it too. The Saguenay Fjord in Québec is home to les Glaces du Fjord, two ice fishing villages with 1,200 colorful cabins ideal for staying cosy as you wait for redfish, turbot or Atlantic cod to nibble the line. On frozen Lake Winnipeg, scoot around in a rented SnoBear, a type of small motorhome for anglers, complete with tracks and skis that can be elevated to drive and lowered to fish for the lake’s prized greenback walleye. 

Ice skating

Lace up your skates for a scenic glide around the world’s longest skating trail. Located on Lake Windermere near Invermere in British Columbia’s Kootenay Rockies, the Whiteway is over 30 km in length, earning it a place in the Guinness Book of World Records. Other outstanding ice sheets include the Rideau Canal Skateway in Ottawa; the Red River Mutual Trail in Winnipeg; The Loop skating trail in St. John’s, Newfoundland; and the most iconic outdoor skating rink of them all, Lake Louise in Alberta.




From sea to sea to sea, snowshoeing through mountains, meadows and forests is a popular winter activity. In Banff National Park, the Johnson Lake trail is an easy, family-friendly trek with glittering alpine views. The 3 km Mount Royal trail in Montreal is perfect for urban families, and the undulating snowshoe trails in Mount Seymour Provincial Park north of Vancouver, offer unlimited views of Vancouver Island and Washington state.

Snow tubing

Snow tubing is fun for the whole family, and tube parks can be found at nearly every local ski resort. Experience old-fashioned family fun in Ontario’s or get ready to spin and speed in Whistler, British Columbia.

Winter festivals

Lighten the spirit and the season at a celebratory winter festival. The Quebec Winter Carnival takes place February 2—11, 2024. This renowned winter extravaganza includes entertainment, food, ice castles, sports like tobogganing and ice canoeing and, of course, Bonhomme. To the east, FROSTival is Atlantic Canada’s largest winter celebration, featuring over 100 events over three winter weekends in late January and early February in Fredericton, New Brunswick. Enjoy winter activities like sleigh rides and fat biking, culinary experiences that include a Tour de Beer, and Shivering Songs, a festival of songwriting and storytelling.

Zip lining

The thrill of zip lining isn’t limited to summertime – you just have to bundle up more for the winter version. You can enjoy this adrenalin-filled activity across Canada, including one of the longest zip line in the country at Superfly Ziplines in Whistler, British Columbia, or careening through the baker’s dozen of TimberTop Zip Tours’ high-flying zip line network near Sussex, New Brunswick.

Take OnStar with you this winter

If you’re heading out for a family trip – or just a solo adventure – know that OnStar has you covered. Whether it’s starting your car on a cold day*, directions to your destination including traffic updates*  or even help getting out of a snowbank *, OnStar has your back. 

Learn More

The ultimate connected vehicle

Turns your car into a connected marvel, with available Amazon Alexa, in-vehicle apps, real-time navigation and more.

How OnStar can help keep you on the road this winter

When winter rears its ugly head, OnStar can help you get where you need to be.

5 steps to take when you need Roadside Assistance

You never know when you might run into trouble on the road, but these five tips can help make sure everything goes as smoothly as possible when it happens.