Itinerary Ideas: Winter Getaways to Lessen the Blahs
Tired of winter yet? It’s not all bad you know. If you’re tired of wishing half your year away and looking to find the joy in winter, (even if it’s just staying inside cozied up to a fire) you need to be proactive. So, here’s a couple of great ideas to get you out and feeling less blah:
Itineary #1: Winter the Saskatchewan Way
Head out on your winter getaway and stop at any of three great restaurants located in the Town of Maple Creek, the gateway to the Saskatchewan side of the Cypress Hills. Enjoy a Caribbean flare at the Star Cafe, enjoy winter comfort food at the Rockin Horse Cookhouse, or belly up to Chef Noy’s incredible Asian Stir Fry buffet at the Commercial Hotel dining room, where you can pick the ingredients for Chef and his team to stir up. Perfect for those looking to cut back on indulgences after Christmas.
Continue on your journey up to the incredible Resort at Cypress Hills, where you’ll find two great winter packages awaiting you:
- The Snow-Day Getaway: 2 Nights stay in a Townhouse, Hot Chocolate – Treat basket, Cross Country Skis or Snowshoe rentals throughout the stay, 1 – Breakfast for 2 (all other meals you provide, or enjoy at Ivan’s Restaurant). All for only $260.00 (taxes included). Click Snow Day Getaway for more details.
- The Romance Package: 2 nights stay in the Hotel, Wine Basket, 1 – Dinner for 2, 1 – Breakfast for 2. All for only $264.00 (taxes included). Click Romance Package for more details.
While in the Park you can enjoy the incredible wildlife, and trails, and even a visit to the Visitor Centre
Winter is especially exhilarating in the Cypress Hills as the snow nestles in the lush lodgepole pine and white spruce forests. The higher elevation of the hills brings more precipitation and in winter this means fun cross-county skiing, snowshoeing, tobogganing and wildlife viewing experiences.
Ski trails are groomed regularly providing 17 km of hills, turns and gently rolling tracks for novice to intermediate skiers. Cross-country ski rentals and snowshoe rentals are available from The Resort. The Resort also offers a hockey rink and outdoor fire pits.
A designated snowmobile area is available in the Centre Block and opens when the snow depth reaches a minimum of 12 inches. Call ahead for snow conditions for this and all winter activities. (No snowmobiling permitted in the West Block). Park Office (year round) (306) 662-5411
Itinerary #2: Live to Love Winter in Elkwater
Nothing soothes a battered winter soul like good wholesome food, and a trip out to Elkwater provides the best at Camp Cookhouse, which serves fresh-made food that’s both unique and delicious.
For accommodations, especially for those who want to enjoy some great packages, you have a number of options:
- Elkwater Lake Lodge – Ski & Stay Package: Enjoy some great cost savings on all the rooms and townhouses available at the elegant Elkwater Lake Lodge, paired with lift tickets for the whole family for Hidden Valley Ski Resort. From a standard room to a jacuzzi suite or fireplace loft, winter will take on a whole new meaning. Click Ski and Stay for more details.
- Historic Reesor Ranch – Cowboy Comfort Winter Romance Package: Near to Elkwater and Hidden Valley Ski Resort, the Historic Reesor Ranch offers snowshoeing, toboganning, and a snowmobiling area for those who like to rev their engines. Paired with their cozy cabins this package can’t be beat. Click Cowboy Comfort Winter Romance for more details.
Looking for something a little more “rustic” and private? Elkwater can offer that too!
- Elkwater YMCA Retreat: Big enough for large groups, or priced right for just the two of you, the
YMCA Retreat offers the year-round Greer Cabin based on the number of people who stay (can sleep 10). Or book the main lodge and have a winter retreat for your family, friends, business or other group! Click YMCA Retreat for more details.
- Backcountry Huts: Plan your backcountry hut trip today! Spruce Coulee Hut is just one of three backcountry huts available for rent at Cypress Hills PP in Elkwater. Ski or snowshoe your way to these huts and then curl up by the wood stove and enjoy the solitude! Click Backcountry Huts for more details.
Overall Elkwater is a winter paradise and the perfect place to play. The Cross Country opportunities are diverse and the backcountry huts and winter camping provide a mountain-like feel with the convenience of being close to civilization. With over 40km of groomed track you won’t get bored.
As soon as the snow hits the ground and the temperatures drop you will find a Snow Luge (which is a giant banked slide made from snow), tobogganing hill, a 1.5km ice skating trail (through one of the campgrounds), a purpose built outdoor hockey rink, a ski resort, fat biking trails, snowshoeing trails and plenty of winter events to keep you occupied. There are classes on learning cross country skiing, winter survival and a full winter season of school programs. The Visitor Centre is open 5 days per week (more during holiday periods) and you can rent skis, skates, snowshoes and kick sleds from our wonderful staff.
Most activities are free and the Learning Centre provides a great place to warm-up if it is cold. But you won’t keep the kids inside for long! (Note that snowmobiles are not permitted in the park. Visit the Historic Reesor Ranch or the Saskatchewan side of Cypress Hills to enjoy your snowmobiling adventure).
People flock to the Cypress Hills in summer – but it’s just as much fun in the winter. Learn to love winter and banish the blahs!
Let us know your thoughts on winter in the Cypress Hills in the comments below! (And if you have any pictures we’d love to see those too!)