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My Saskatoon Blog

How to Enjoy Winter in Saskatoon

posted by Elle    |   January 13, 2014 16:10

My attitude toward winter in Saskatoon has, in recent years, been one of denial. I put off wearing a proper winter jacket for as long as possible, and avoid wearing mittens at all costs. I don’t know what it is, but every year I have this sadistic competition with myself to see how long I can go without them. I usually succumb to one of those mitten kiosks in the mall after having to pump gas with bare hands a few too many times in January.

Another puzzling habit of mine is that I prefer to wear what I deem to be “cute” and “stylish” fall clothes (light jackets, light scarves, jeans) and avoid being outdoors at all costs, rather than look like a walking marshmallow in attire properly suited for a cold winter day. As I go about my day, I run from whatever happens to be warm Building A, to my command-started, pre-warmed car, to warm Building B, teeth clenched, eyes partially shut. 

I think back to my childhood, where I denied nothing about winter. Like most children I’m sure, my approach toward it was quite the opposite. I spent countless hours outside, building forts and snow sculptures, tobogganing, cross-country skiing, the works. My memory conjures the “swish, swish” sound of each ski-pant laden leg brushing the other as I walked, and condensation collecting on the inside of the scarf wrapped tightly around my head as I sailed down the hill on my orange plastic saucer. And I loved every minute of it. 

What I looked like was the farthest thing from my mind, and my primary focus was on having fun outside in the snow. Priorities are obviously very different in childhood, but this winter I would like to try to re-cultivate the attitude toward winter I had in those days. I believe that it can be captured and transferred into adulthood with just a little bit of effort, and doing so will result in a much more enjoyable near-half of the year. 

There are a ton of classic winter activities that are easily accessible in Saskatoon once we have a nice blanket of snow to work with. It is my goal to try each one of the following options at least once this winter.

Snowshoeing

Try urban snowshoeing in one of the many Saskatoon parks, like Diefenbaker Park, or at the Wildwood or Holiday Park golf courses. Snowshoes can be rented from Eb's Source for Adventure and surprisingly, Bike Universe. You might get sweaty and you might fall down - find information about how to best dress for snowshoeing here.

Tobogganing

Strap on your flying saucer or crazy carpet and head to Diefenbaker Park or Pest Hill. We all know what this is all about - as far as attire goes, just make sure you’ll stay warm and dry and you should be good to go. 

Cross Country Skiing

Take advantage of the many groomed trails that run along the banks of the Saskatchewan River and through our many parks. Skis can be rented or purchased from, again, Eb's Source for Adventure, and Bruce's Cycle Works. Bonus: the clothing required for this activity allows you to look a little less marshmallow. Suggestions for how to best dress for skiing can be found here.  

Ice Skating

Check out the Cameco Meewasin Skating Rink in downtown Saskatoon. Skates and skating are free, with donations welcome! The rink and warm up shelter are open from December-March, 12:00-9:00pm daily and 11:00-9:00pm on Sundays. This is an activity that I, personally, would attempt to do while looking at least a little bit cute. My recommendation would be to save this for a day that is a little bit warmer, where thermal leggings and a lighter jacket are suitable. 

The most important thing is to dress appropriately for whatever activity you plan to do. If your face is hurting and your feet are frozen, you aren’t going to enjoy what you’re doing. And who really cares what you look like - it is highly unlikely that anyone will even recognize you in your bundled state. So embrace your inner child, get out there, and take advantage of all that Saskatoon has to offer this winter!

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