Our ski tech guy Jeff usually has weekends off, and he makes good use of them. Here are three of his favourite winter adventures.
Backcountry trek into Bear Trap Lake
Located in Prince Albert National Park, this little lake is a fun backcountry ski or snowshoe destination that doesn’t take you too far from the road. Make sure the ice is well frozen before venturing out here. Starting at Shady Lake, trek up Bear Trap Creek until you get to the lake. Make a fire, toast some bagels and drink a little spruce tea before you head back. Give yourself about 6 hours for a leisurely day.
There are a lot of other backcountry opportunities in the park – look at a map, find a creek and see where it goes!
Directions: Off Highway 263 south of Waskesiu, turn west on the road to the Narrows Campground. If it is open, take the road that heads to Shady Lake and drive south on it until you cross the creek and reach a small parking area. From here, head towards the lake through the camp. As you trek south down Shady Lake, you’ll see the Bear Trap Creek entrance at the SW end of Shady Lake. There aren't any rapids on this creek so the only thing you really need to watch out for are beaver dams.
Alternatively, you can start on Amiskowan Lake where it comes near the road. Just be careful on the creek between this lake and Shady as there are some fast water sections where ice will be thin.
Hut-to-hut skiing at Duck Mountain Provincial Park
The ski trails at Duck Mountain are well worth the drive out. Thanks to the Kamsack Ski Club the trails are beautifully groomed and the huts are well equipped. The area typically gets lots of snow so it’s a great destination when city skiing is poor.
There are 60km of trails and 6 huts, none of which are more than 10km apart. The shelters have wood burnings stoves, outdoor toilets, and bird feeders. Some of them have basic kitchen utensils and solar lighting so you can comfortably stay overnight if you wish. To see a map of the trails, click here.
Directions: About a 4 hour drive east of Saskatoon, the trailhead is behind the Madge Lake Golf Clubhouse, just off Highway #57 on the south side.
Skijoring at Gronlid Ski Trails
Have a pooch? The trails north of Gronlid are dog-friendly. The Melfort XC Ski Club maintains and grooms about 20km of classic and skate trail loops suitable for novice to intermediate skiers. There is even a 2km lighted trail for night skiing. Rolling through the Fort a La Corne Provincial Forest these trails have a few hills to keep it exciting, a warm-up shack, and washrooms.
Finish up your day with an apres-ski stop at the Bear’s Den Saloon in Gronlid for wings and a pint – this place is fully Jeff-endorsed :)
Directions: The trails are located 15 minutes north of Melfort past Gronlid, 2.5km west of Highway 6.
For maps and links to other trails in the province, visit our Maps and Resources page here.