How to Enjoy Winter in Prince George

Tierney Watkinson | News Director

(Prince George Free Press)

Wow. It is cold outside.

A few weeks ago, I thought that winter had forgotten about us. And then suddenly it hit—endless cycles of snow and freezing rain, the kind of wind that lovingly rips your face off, and temperatures that dropped faster than my interest in The Office.

Don’t give in, UNBC students. Bundle up and venture into the outdoors, because there are still things happening around town that are affordable AND worth mild hypothermia.

Public Skating: Skating rinks are still warmer than being outside right now, and the Elksentre Arena provides public skating every Friday from 7:30-9:30pm, and every Sunday from 2:00-3:30pm. The Rolling Mix Concrete (RMC) Arena is also open to the public on Saturdays from 12:30-2:00pm. The drop-in price for the average student is $5.25, if you are between 19 and 59 years old, and skates are available for rent at $3.50 a pair. The arenas even provide skate-sharpening services. Season passes are also available—check out http://www.thenorthedge.co/public-skating.html for more info.

Prince George also has many community outdoor ice rinks—a map of their locations can be found on the city website, www.princegeorge.ca, under the tab “Recreation”.

The Outdoor Ice Oval, located behind the CN Centre, is a city-maintained, 400m skating track. They also offer speed-skating lessons. A day pass is only $2 and you can rent skates for $5. Season passes are also offered. Although the Oval’s hours and season depend heavily on weather, and certain time slots are dedicated to speed-skaters only, it is usually open from 11am to 8:30pm daily. Go to http://www.pgoval.ca for updates.

Drop-In Hockey: For those of you who have the equipment and just can’t get enough of the sport, the Kin Centre 2 offers drop-in hockey for everyone aged 16 and older, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 12pm to 1:30pm. The season ends March 13 this year. If you are the goalie for the game, you play free; otherwise admission is $8.00 per day.

Snowshoeing: Who hasn’t wanted to try snow-shoeing? If you don’t have a backyard full of snow to tromp around in, or maybe want to explore more than ten square feet of snow-covered lawn, the Caledonia Nordic Ski Club offers daily and seasonal passes for access to their snowshoeing trails. Students pay only $3.75 for a day pass; the regular adult rate is $6.50. Plus, if you enjoy your day of snowshoe adventures, you can apply that day-pass fee to a club membership.  

The club also has an events tab on their website, www.caledonianordic.com; here, you can find dates for group snowshoeing, should you find yourself unable to convince your friends that this is, in fact, a fun activity and don’t want to try snowshoeing alone.

Shoe rentals are $8 for a part day and $12 for a full day.

Another club, The Caledonia Ramblers (who are also a hiking club), host family and group snowshoe excursions at varying levels of difficulty. Membership with the club only costs $30.00; the price of daily excursions varies from free to around $15 because it depends on the trail location and travel distance. The club website, caledoniaramblers.ca, contains a list of trails, how long each takes to traverse, and notes difficulty levels. Unfortunately, the website does not mention shoe rentals, but Stride & Glide Sports offers snowshoe rentals for $13 per day.

Cross Country Skiing: If snowshoeing isn’t your thing, you can try your hand at cross-country skiing. A day-pass to maintained ski trails, again offered by the Caledonia Nordic Ski Club, is $10 for students and $14.50 for other adults. Ski sets are available to rent for $15 to $20; prices are lower and vary if you only need to rent poles or boots.

Dancing: While dancing is not an activity specific to the winter months, it is nonetheless a reason to escape the confines of your house.

Dance North offers drop-in Ballroom and Social Dancing, Wednesdays and Fridays at 7:30pm. The fee is $5 per drop-in and the dancing is held at the Enchainement Dance Centre. According to their website, dancenorth.ca, they welcome everyone regardless of experience.

The Northern Twister Square Dance Club has their own sessions for new dancers Mondays at 7pm, through to April 30. The lessons are held at the Knox United Church. For more information, find their website at www.northerntwisters.ca or call 250-964-4851. Dancers of all (or no) experience levels are welcome.