Photo by Nick Lachance

Photo by Nick Lachance



Janine Prew
CCE CONTRIBUTOR
Baby, it’s cold outside.

The instinct is to curl up under a blanket with a hot chocolate and indulge in a Breaking Bad marathon. But try not to let the winter blah’s get you — get up, get outside, and get experiencing this winter season! Here are the top winter activities this area has to offer:

Skiing, Chicopee Ski Resort (396 Morrison Road, Kitchener, discoverchicopee.com)
Don’t battle questionable driving conditions this winter trying to get to Blue Mountain or Glen Eden — just head to south end Kitchener’s big snow hill! Downhill skiing, snowboarding, adult skill perfecting programs, private lessons, and even winter disc golf are among the activities you can choose. And of course, after you hit the slopes you have every excuse to curl up with a hot chocolate.

Snowshoeing, Laurel Creek Conservation Area (625 Westmount Road North, Waterloo, grandriver.ca)
Is there anything more iconic than trekking through the bush with what look like tennis rackets strapped to your feet? With over four kilometers of trail, Laurel Creek is your spot for cross-country skiing or snowshoeing this winter. Best of all, there’s no need to scratch your head wondering where one can purchase snowshoes these days — they rent all the equipment you need. Just keep in mind that the park is only open when conditions allow, so maybe give them a call before you head over.

Hockey games, The Kitchener Rangers
(The Aud, 400 East Avenue, Kitchener, kitchenerrangers.com)
Support the local sports scene by engaging in our nation’s favourite pastime — the good old hockey game! For about 20 bucks you’ll be treated to a quick paced game, an energizing atmosphere, as well as the obligatory “We Will Rock You” stomp-a-thon that never fails to get the crowd going.

Sleigh rides, St. Jacobs Horse Drawn Tours
(1222 Apple Grove Rd, Woolwich, stjacobshorsedrawntours.com)
This St. Jacobs company offers a variety of tours, but most notable are their horse drawn sleigh rides located on a farm just five minutes from the St. Jacobs Farmer’s Market. The highlight of the ride is a stop at a sugar shack for some hot apple cider. They only do private reservations, but if you can get together 10 of your closest friends it still works out to be less than $20 per person, for a truly traditional winter experience. If you can’t gather a group, hold out for their scheduled maple sugar bush sleigh ride tours in March.

Outdoor skating rinks, Kitchener City Hall and Uptown Waterloo Square (kitchener.ca & waterloo.ca)
Skiing, snowshoeing, hockey games, and sleigh rides are all classic winter activities, but nothing beats classic ice skating. There are a variety of free dates in local arenas, and both Kitchener and Waterloo maintain outdoor neighbourhood rinks, but perhaps the most locally unique spot is right in front of Kitchener City Hall. It’s free, accessible late into the evening, and you have access to indoor change rooms. It’s no Rockefeller Square, but it certainly has the right atmosphere! Check the City website for a listing of all your skating (indoor and outdoor, free and paid) options.