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SNOWSHOEING: A FAMILY AFFAIR

Author: Travel Alberta

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Our family New Year’s resolution was to find an outdoor winter sport we could do together. So, on New Year’s Eve we gathered our two girls – ages six and nine – and brainstormed ideas. We wanted an activity that was easy for everyone to learn, lots of fun, relatively inexpensive and could be done locally in Calgary. Snowshoeing was the perfect solution.

Snowshoe Calgary’s Inner City Parks

Now when that soft powder falls, we head to one of Calgary’s inner city parks. If we’re bringing our golden lab we’ll drive to Nose Hill in north Calgary. It is a dog friendly park with designated off leash areas, plenty of parking and washrooms that are open year round. We’ve seen deer and lots of animal tracks while snowshoeing here. Confederation Park is another family favourite, particularly in January when the holiday Festival of Lights is on display. It is a relatively flat park, which makes it easier for younger children.

If we feel like a hot dog and marshmallow roast, we’ll visit Edworthy Park in the southwest. There are fire pits and picnic shelters here, so it’s great when the snow is falling. Last but not least, Fish Creek Park, in the deep southwest is terrific after a fresh dump of snow. The east side of the park is flatter but the west side typically gets more snow.

Take Time to Taste the Snowflakes

The key to snowshoeing with little ones is to make it fun. Pack a picnic. My girls love warm chilli and chewy cheese buns. We burn a lot of energy tromping through snow so don’t forget the importance of drinking water – hydration is essential when snowshoeing. We’ll sometimes transport provisions in our toboggan. When we find a sled-worthy hill, it’s game on. Making snowmen and tossing snowballs are fun lunch break activities. Watching for wildlife helps keep my daughters engaged on our treks. They now know how the snowshoe hare got its name.

Layer it On Thick

Dressing in layers is critical for outdoor snow activities. Avoid cotton – including underwear – as it will trap moisture and bring on a chill. Natural fabrics like silk and wool, as well as synthetic moisture- wicking materials are best. We start with a mid-weight base layer. Add a fleece insulation layer and finish with a waterproof outer layer and insulated boots to keep those tiny toes warm. Between accidental falls, snow angels and diving face first into powder, our girls seem to spend more time in the snow than on top of it. So even with the most expert layering, you’ll want to pack an extra pair of gloves and dry comfy clothes for the ride home.

At the end of the day, it’s safe to say that snowshoeing has moved to the top of the winter family fun list.

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