The weather outside may be frightful, but that doesn't mean you can't enjoy yourself.
Vancouver has a multitude of fun activities lined up this winter. So bundle up, head out there and embrace the season!
Don't count on skating on a frozen pond. Instead, satisfy yourself with any number of great skating locales around the city. The Robson Square Ice Rink is among the more popular options, ushering thousands of people to a glass dome-covered venue every year. There are also plenty of choices at Vancouver community centres including Britannia Rink, Sunset Rink and Hillcrest Rink. The latter is a gorgeous venue that served as the 2010 Olympic curling facility.
Check out some winter activities available around Vancouver this season. The story continues below the slideshow:
What more do you need to have fun than a plastic carpet? Oh yes, a place to go. Mount Seymour plays host to a series of great toboggan runs. If you're willing to wait around for a snow day in the city (and that's always a big "if"), Queen Elizabeth Park and Kensington Park have some steep hills that make great sledding runs.
Mount Seymour has 5.2 kilometres of snowshoeing terrain for beginners, athletes and nature-lovers. At Cypress Mountain, 10 kilometres of track will take you to the historic Hollyburn Lodge and past many other sights. Shoeshoers have the option of going on their own or on guided tours. Grouse Mountain offers four different groomed trails. You can also try the Snowshoe Grind, the wintry version of the famous Grouse Grind. The trail is 4.3 kilometres long with 215 metres of elevation and can take around one hour to complete. It's ideal for people who are physically fit and looking for a challenge. If you're looking for a more remote experience, Whistler offers snowshoeing at its Olympic Park, which was the site for several events at the 2010 Winter Games. The park has over 20 kilometres of groomed snowshoeing terrain, with trails, scenic lookouts and picnic shelters.
Take either of two North Shore mountains for snow tubing. Cypress's Snow Tube Park has six chutes that are about 100 metres in length, while Mount Seymour's tube chutes are also 100 metres long, but the venue also boasts the Enquist Lodge, where you can warm up by a fire or enjoy mountain views. It's a fine place to relax after throwing yourself down a hill at full blast. If you're willing to head a little further out of town, Whistler Blackcomb has a larger tube park accessible via the Excalibur Gondola in the Village.
Downhill skiing doesn't do it for you? Cross-country may be the answer. The sport may not have the adrenaline rush of darting down a mountain but the physical exertion can be far more strenuous. Cypress Mountain's Nordic area has 16 kilometres of cross-country terrain with night skiing available on some of its runs. The Whistler Olympic Park offers cross-country skiing at varying levels of difficulty. The 3.8-kilometre Neverland Trail is perfect for beginners, while Norwegian Woods and the Madeley Creek Loop have 15 kilometres of rolling climbs that are great for athletes looking for a challenge.
If sledding and tobogganing are too slow for you, check out the Whistler Sliding Centre, where you can rush down an icy track that's 1,450 metres in length with a vertical drop of 152 metres. The centre offers public bobsleigh rides that go as fast as 125 kilometres per hour, while individual skeleton rides launch you head-first at up to 100 clicks per hour.
Can't hack the mountain on your own two feet? This is the perfect activity for you. Grouse Mountain has snow-limo tours in which personal chauffers sit you down on sled-like contraptions and take you on a tour of ski areas for anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour. The Grouse Mountain Tour (15 minutes) takes you down The Cut, the popular ski run that you can see from the Lower Mainland, while the hour-long Silver Tour takes you down the very same run and numerous others.
Zip-lining is not just a summer activity; at Grouse Mountain, they do it year round. The five-line tour takes you flying on a tether through the canyons of Grouse and Dam Mountains at up to 80 kilometres per hour. It's enough to experience it with a summer breeze; now just imagine the ride with frigid winter winds slamming against your face!
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