Header photo by Dennis Bergen

With mild temperatures ahead, now is the best time to get out and explore what Manitoba's rural communities have to offer in the wintertime! From octopus skating rinks and ice garages to poutine and ski trails, here are 10 things you should do this winter in Manitoba that are NOT in Winnipeg.

Onanole: Octopus skating rink

The octopus-shaped skating rink is back for another year! When driving south on #10 from Wasagaming take a left on Denoon Avenue in Onanole. Follow the street until you come to a dead end and you will see the Octopus Lake Pond Skating Rink and Trail System to your right!

Gimli: Mercedes-Benz Driving Academy and ice garage

If you find yourself in Gimli, Manitoba this winter, you just might see a strange sight out on the lake shoreline. This amazing ice garage was created for the Mercedes Benz AMG Winter Sporting program, where savvy car enthusiasts from all over the world gather to experience the ultimate winter driving lesson. Lake Winnipeg is one of only two sites in the world where you can take the highly exclusive program. Once the AMG Winter Sporting program has wrapped, the ice garage will stay up as a central piece in Gimli's annual Ice Festival

Minnedosa: Rock the Lake

You may have already heard of Minnedosa's Skate the Lake, but did you know that the town also puts on a curling tournament each year? Established in 2018, Rock the Lake takes place on Minnedosa Lake with a couple of modifications: 2 person teams, stick curling, no sweeping, 8 ends of play. Both tournaments will be held on February 15 to 16, 2020.

Beausejour: Canadian Power Toboggan Championships

The fastest racers in the world? A world-class racing track made of pure ice? Insane speeds of over 160 km/hr? The Canadian Power Toboggan Championships are back in Beauséjour, Manitoba, March 7-8, and it's an adrenaline lover's dream. Get your tickets online or at the door, and witness the best in the world duke it out for the CPTC crown.

Southern Manitoba: Snowmobile the Poutine Trail

Here's an idea for a fun DIY adventure this winter. Head out into southern Manitoba and snowmobile to several locations on the Poutine Trail - your stomach will thank you! The Poutine Trail includes stops in the Francophone communities of Saint-Pierre-Jolys, Lorette, Marchand and more.

MacGregor: Tubing

Slide to your heart's content at the Valley View Tubing Hill in MacGregor, open now until mid March. The Valley View Tubing Hill is a perfect day trip for families with little ones (or let's be real, the adults too) who don't feel comfortable on skis or snowboards just yet.

Pinawa: Snowshoeing tour

Explore Pinawa by night on a starlight adventure with Pinawa Unplugged Eco Tours. Strap on a pair of snowshoes and don a headlamp to make your way across the gorgeous winter landscape beneath a spectacular starry sky. The tour includes snowshoes, poles and a hot beverage in a cozy outfitters tent.

Hecla: Outdoor swimming pool

Not only is the Lakeview Hecla Resort an excellent home base for winter exploration, it also boasts a swim-through, indoor/outdoor heated pool. Soaking in the steamy waters is the best way to release any tension from a full day of snowshoeing and cross-country skiing.

Arborg: Icelandic River Trail

While Winnipeg's river trail was unable to be developed this year, the Icelandic River trail in Arborg is in full swing. The picturesque trail starts at the Main Street bridge and continues west for several miles. Access this amazing trail from the parking lot at Main Street, on the south side of the Co-op store. And don't leave Arborg without a visit to their incredible bakery!

St. Adolphe: Snow maze

We couldn't make a list of unique things to do in the winter without including the snow maze! The world's largest snow maze is bigger and better than ever, with a brand new snow bar that serves specialty drinks (think boozy hot chocolate and hot toddies)! Other activities at the snow maze include warming areas with bonfires, a giant snow mountain and sleigh rides!