For some, winter means hibernation. But not in Manitoba. With no less than 30 winter festivals and events taking place this winter, it means every weekend offers another chance to play in the snow.
See how hot your competitive spirit runs through the snow at a loppet – a Scandinavian term for a cross country ski event. Follow the groomed trails in Pinawa for the 39th Annual Manitoba Loppet Classic (January 25) or get ahead of the pack at the Riding Mountain National Park Loppet (March 7).
How about joining racers from around the world to cycle or run 130 km over Manitoba’s frozen landscape? Actif Epica (February 14) returns for its third year on a course that runs from St. Malo to Winnipeg, with communities along the Crow Wing Trail providing encouragement to the racers and celebrating the joys of winter during Co-Actif events.
Aboriginal people helped the early Europeans who arrived here to survive the winter, offering tips like don’t eat raw polar bear meat (it can cause trichinosis). Today, winter is the perfect season to celebrate those relationships that formed the foundation of Manitoba’s fur trading history.
The Festival Voyageur (February 13-22) takes over St. Boniface, Winnipeg’s French Quarter, for an all-out party complete with the music, food, activities, and of course the dress – we’re talking about the tuques rouges and ceintures flêchées – of the French fur traders.
Since 1916, the Northern Manitoba Trappers’ Festival (February 18 -22), Manitoba’s oldest winter festival, has been celebrating the cultural heritage of the northern pioneer in The Pas. In addition to the World Championship Dog Sled Race, the King and Queen Trapper events test the skills that were mastered by those northern pioneers: canoe packing, wood splitting, trap setting, moose calling, bannock baking and more.
Métis and French culture are shared and celebrated with joie de vivre at the Festival des amis (February 13-15) in St. Malo Provincial Park. Take in the culinary experiences, regional cultural entertainment and a whole slate of winter family activities during the Louis Riel long weekend.
For some more cultural celebrations this winter, check out the Lieutenant Governor’s Winter Festival (January 29-31) in Brandon; All Nations Tribal Days (February 28-March 1) in Portage La Prairie; and Multicultural Winterfest (February 14) in Morden.
Communities all around Manitoba share their love for winter with whack of winter festivals. Carman’s Blizzard Fest (February 6-7) features cross country skiing, dog sled rides, jam pail curling and snow golf, while you can participate in the Whiteshell Olympics during the Beaver Days Winter Fest (February 6-7).
Winter Adventure Weekend (February 13-15) in Riding Mountain National Park offers guided snowshoeing, a winter survival workshop, plus a nature photography workshop. The Gimli Ice Festival (March 7-8) puts its party on ice with ice car racing, a frozen fish toss and kids’ ice fishing.
And for those who really want to express their love for winter, you can sign up for the Polar Bear Dare (February 21) and jump into the frigid Manitoba water at Lac du Bonnet while raising money for KidSport through donations and pledges.
Check out our full listing of winter events in Manitoba.