Fun in the snow
Fun in the snow
Vista Ridge Express
From November through March, Wood Buffalo transforms into a winter community where residents enjoy a wide range of snow themed activities. Whether joining a team with friends, spending time with family, or getting out on your own, the winter months in Wood Buffalo are a great time to experience Canada’s outdoor heritage.
Skating, Sledding and Curling
Indoor ice surfaces for hockey, figure skating, ringette and other winter sports are available at three great facilities in Wood Buffalo. The Frank Lacroix Minor Hockey Arena offers year-round ice, the Casman Centre, home of the Fort McMurray Oil Barons, features a 1,533-seat arena and MacDonald Island Park’s 400-seat rink, eight sheets of curling ice and indoor skating pond offer a range of options for winter sports enthusiasts.
Outdoor skating rinks and sledding hills dot the municipality throughout the winter season. Events like Shootout on the Snye, Wood Buffalo’s annual three-day pond-hockey tournament, feature dozens of teams and more than 100 individual players while major special events like the 2010 Northern Classic demonstrate Wood Buffalo's commitment to winter athletics and making sports history.
Skiing, Snowboarding and Tubing
Vista Ridge is Wood Buffalo’s premier ski, snowboard and tubing facility, drawing thousands of visitors from across the community. The cozy and newly expanded lodge boasts panoramic views of the Clearwater River Valley while the nearby downhill trails feature a variety of runs for skiers and snowboarders of all levels. For those needing a bit more balance, the popular tube park offers winter fun for the whole family. And as part of its 2011 expansion project, which includes new and improved ski trails, Vista Ridge recently opened the Syncrude Bison quad chair lift.
Fort those with a competitive edge, the Fort McMurray Ski Team offers training for participants at a provincial and national competition level, while for the cross-country enthusiasts, the Ptarmigan Nordic Ski Club offers ski lessons in the Birchwood Trails for both youth and adults.
“Sled-heads” love Wood Buffalo’s extensive snowmobile trail network, maintained by the Fort McMurray Sno-Drifters Association. With the help of local sponsors, the association maintains well-groomed trails, warm-up facilities and offers education on snowmobile safety. The newly completed connector between the Anzac Trail System and the Stoney Mountain Trail System has created one of the longest groomed systems in Alberta, with over 200 km of unique trails to explore.
Northern Lights Tours
The breathtaking Northern Lights is one of Wood Buffalo’s most striking features. This dazzling natural phenomenon is at its best in the winter months, when the dancing blue, green and red lights paint the night sky and astound visitors and residents alike with their surreal beauty. Northern Lights viewing tours are available throughout the winter months by contacting the Fort McMurray Tourist Association.
- To learn more about winter fun in Wood Buffalo, visit the municipal website.