Winter camping comes with its challenges: sleeping in sub-zero temperatures, tents collapsing under the weight of heavy snow, tent floors essentially turning to ice. But the positives—including the crisp fresh air, the cardio workouts you get simply by trudging through powder and the sheer, snow-induced silence—far outweigh the negatives.
The oTENTik program (a play on the word “authentic”) in Quebec’s La Mauricie National Park is a family-friendly winter camping experience. Transport your gear via sled to a pre-constructed tent provided by Parks Canada. During the day, access 80 kilometres of snow-laden trail on snowshoes or cross-country skis, or try snow tagging—creating art in virgin snow on a frozen lake. At night, light a lantern, don a mummy-style sleeping bag, heat your freeze-dried goodies on a wood stove and watch the snow fall.
More adventurous: Strathcona Provincial Park, Vancouver Island
Comprising 250,000 hectares of rugged mountain wilderness on Vancouver Island, British Columbia’s Strathcona Provincial Park is endowed with peaks, lakes, plateaus and snow that often stays from November to June. Experienced, well-equipped winter campers are in their element here—you can sleep in the midst of glaciers, snowfields and high-alpine slopes, then spend your days wildlife-spotting and snowshoeing or skiing through thick forests of Western red cedar and Douglas fir.
Read more: Extremely Canadian Winter Sports
[This story appears in the December 2016 issue of WestJet Magazine]
Where to Go Fat Biking in Canada
A relatively new addition to the extreme sports roster, fat biking just keeps gaining momentum, and you can do it just about anywhere in Canada. Beginners can cruise through Acadian woodlands in New Brunswick's Kouchibouguac National Park, while more experienced bikers can loop through Mont-Sainte-Anne's backcountry trails.