From scaling frozen waterfalls to ascending ice-covered rock walls, ice climbing is highly technical, yet accessible winter fun. Crampons, ice axes, belays and complicated rope systems are part of the action, but, with the help of a guide, total newbies can quickly get the hang of this extreme winter sport.
Easy: Elora Gorge, Ontario
The beauty of “blue ice” is only part of the show at the Elora Gorge in the pretty Grand River valley, not far from Guelph, Ont. Adventure Seeker Tours offers day-long beginner ice-climbing clinics from January to March, so you can learn to scale the chunky blue ice that falls over the gorge’s soaring cliffs. All equipment is provided, including helmets, harnesses, crampons and ice climbing boots.
More adventurous: Canmore, Alberta
Alberta’s Rockies boast some of the best ice climbing routes in the world—many not far from Canmore, home base of Yamnuska Mountain Adventures. The “Yam Ice Team” leads three- to five-day Hot Ice adventures that pair experienced ice climbers with seasoned guides. You’ll explore iconic, multi-pitched routes throughout the Rockies—icefalls with names like The Weeping Wall and The Sorcerer.
Read more: Extremely Canadian Winter Sports
Canada’s Best Urban Beaches
Going to the beach is a classic summertime activity, but you don’t have to leave the city to find one. Watch fireworks at English Bay Beach in Vancouver, catch an outdoor movie at Sugar Beach in Toronto or sunbathe at Montreal's Clock Tower Beach located right in the city's historic Old Port.