10 Things to Do and Survey Results
March is a time when the winter blues are on everyone's mind, and waiting for that first day of Spring (which normally feels like it happens long after March 20 in Saskatchewan) gets to be almost too much to handle.
Last month, we asked our followers on Facebook and Twitter to tell us what they love most about Saskatchewan, and participate in a survey that asked how they feel about winter. To our surprise, 49% of participants answered with "What's not to love?" and almost 30% were right behind them with "It grows on you." A low percentage of respondents had negative feelings about the cold, with only 10% claiming "It's tolerable", and a mere 5% responding with a resounding "I hate winter".
These responses got the staff at Prairies North thinking that perhaps March should no longer be a time where we attempt to beat the winter blues, but instead embrace what little of winter we have left. Think of it as the opposite of the winter blues, perhaps the "winter delight" or "winter advantage" is more appropriate.
Maybe you haven't gotten the chance to try showshoeing like you wanted to this winter, or haven't had a chance to head out to any of our ski hills and try something you haven't done for years. Below is our list of things to experience in Saskatchewan before winter is gone for good...or at least the next few months.
Snowshoeing is a great way to enjoy the large amount of snow that the province has received this winter. Take advantage of the trails in cities around the province, or head out to one of our many parks, whether provincial or national, and find a trail you can make your own. There are places to rent snowshoes if you don't have any like Classic Outdoors in Saskatoon or Fresh Air Experience in Regina and Prince Albert.
2. Ice Fishing
Saskatchewan has some of the best places to fish, whether in winter or summer. One of the best places to ice fish this month is Tobin Lake, which is one of the premier fishing destinations in the world. The current All Tackle World Record walleye was caught here in 2005, weighing just over 18 pounds. More information on fishing in Saskatchewan can be found at http://www.fishing-in-saskatchewan.com/.
3. Downhill Skiing
Though Saskatchewan is known for being pretty flat, there are a number of great places where you can "hit the slopes". Why not try Mission Ridge, where you can head out for SaskTel's Jibfest on March 29. Or try your hand at skiing and snowboarding at one of the other great locations around the province.
4. Cross Country Skiing
This activity is where the great expanse of flat land in Saskatchewan works in our favour! Our province boasts hundred of kilometres of cross-country trails, many of which can be experienced without traveling very far from home. There are also numerous trails to be found in many of our provincial parks. Visit Cross Country Saskatchewan for more on competitive and recreational programs across the province.
5. Dog Sledding
Dog sledding: Need I say more? Dress warmly, and prepare for a whole new adventure before Springtime hits. There are a few companies in Saskatchewan that offer the opportunity to try dog sledding, including Sundogs Excursions and Paws 'n' Paddles Wilderness Tours.
After such a cold winter, there are a variety of different ways and places to try skating. If you're already tired of the rinks around home, why not venture out, find a (safe) frozen pond, and try skating while surrounded by nature? If you're feeling adventurous, you could even try that move you saw while watching the Sochi Olympics...or just play it safe and experiment with skating backwards.
Sure, this can happen year round, and maybe doesn't exactly fall into the winter activity category, but what better way to warm yourself up this month than by treating yourself? Winter is the best time to warm up at the Temple Gardens Mineral Spa or the Manitou Springs Mineral Spa, so plan a weekend of travel (or stay close to home, depending where you live), and enjoy relaxing after all the winter fun you've been having with some much-needed TLC.
A Saskatchewan pastime, there are almost too many snowmobile trails in the province to count! If you feel like doing more than heading out for the day, Elk Ridge Resort is now offering snowmobile rentals alongside weekend packages for their resort. A list of snowmobile trails can also be found here.
9. Bird Watching
Saskatchewan is a great place to birdwatch, whether in winter or summer, so why not experiment with a new hobby? You can try your hand at bird watching at Prince Albert National Park or even see what birds are hiding in your own backyard. An extensive list of birds found in Saskatchewan in the winter can be found here.
At this point, you're probably hungry from all the winter fun you've been having, and what says enjoying what's left of winter more than comfort food? Let Summer keep it's barbecues and cool beverages, we have one more month of delicious stews, chilis, soups, and warm baked goods to indulge in. Why not learn something new in the kitchen and take in some events? In Saskatoon, SaskMade Marketplace has events for everyone to enjoy, and if you're in Regina, check out the cooking classes at Schoolhaus Culinary Arts.
And, if all else fails, just curl up with a glass of wine and your past issues of Prairies North to get you through until the ground thaws!