5 Things to do in Winnipeg in the Winter : Part Three

Living in the city can be very exhausting, both mentally and physically. It always feels like everyone is in a rush to get somewhere. I am very much a small town girl so my next suggestion for the winter is to leave the city and enjoy the great outdoors. I did this by learning how to ski and going on a ski trip.When you think Winnipeg and Manitoba, you picture the boring, flat prairies. And although Manitoba is flat for the most part, there is some valleys and hills that make for a change of scenery and a great start if you’re a beginner at skiing like me.

skis at springhill

Learning the Basics at Springhill:

I had been skiing twice before this year and the most recent time was 6 years ago. From my memory of skiing, it didn’t go too well. I remember having 1 instructor trying to teach 20 plus of us the basic. I lasted about 2 or 3 tries down the bunny hill both times and then ditched skiing to go hang out with my friends inside for the rest of the day. This time though, I was determined and motivated to learn. I booked a one on one lesson at Springhill which is in Oakbank, right outside the perimeter. It really isn’t much of a ski hill, with just one ski lift and 3 slopes but it was perfect for me to learn how to go down the hill and not die (which was my ultimate goal). I went on a Sunday and it wasn’t too busy. My instructor was very friendly and patient with me, even when it took me a couple of minutes to grab onto the tug rope because I argued that it was moving way too fast (it really wasn’t). For the whole day at Springhill I paid $59 which included the 1 hour ski lesson, lift pass and ski rentals. It was extremely cold on the day that we went, so we didn’t stay too much longer after my lesson. I made it through the lesson without falling down so I was feeling pretty confident and ready to take on Asessippi the next weekend. If only I had known how many times I was about to fall down on day 1 of Asessippi.

ski lift

Asessippi ; Day One :

We stayed in a hotel in Russell, which is about 15 minutes outside of Asessippi. We arrived on Sunday evening and just spent the evening relaxing, preparing ourselves for our first day at the slopes. On Monday we headed there around 9:30am which is when the lifts open. It took us about an hour of waiting in line ups until we finally had all our equipment on and ready to go. There is one line up to pay, another line up for rentals and then another line up to get fitted for boots and skis. We all started off together doing the 2 of the easy trails. One of the easy trails however, was not so easy at the bottom. It got much steeper and I fell down every time I tried to do it. I tried doing the “pizza” technique to slow myself down but even that didn’t work and I ended up on my behind once again. I was getting more frustrated than I’d like to admit and was close to giving up within my first hour there. I was wearing my prescription glasses under my goggles, and my glasses were fogging up. I made the decision to ski with just my goggles on because I couldn’t see anything with my glasses fogging up. As long as I aimed for the white and avoided any other blobs of colors, I was fine. After that, I started to feel a lot better about skiing and enjoyed myself. Me and Julianne stayed together on the easy trails and let Pascal and Cole some of the harder ones, including some black diamonds. We stayed on the slopes until sometime around 3pm when we decided to head back to hotel and get some rest for the next day.

Asessippi ; Day Two

On Tuesday we avoided the line ups by paying for our ski rentals and lift passes the day before and just taking all our equipment back to the hotel with us Monday night. Highly recommend this if you are going to be renting for more than one day as it’ll save you a ton of time. We hit the slopes around 10am and Julianne and I stayed on the easy trails again but this time feeling a lot more confident than the day before. I did a couple different trails including one called “the plunge”. “The plunge” starts off really steep but you only go fast for about 5-10 seconds before slowing down on the flat part of the trail. It was really fun to experience and get used to the feeling of going faster. I downloaded a ski trekking app for Tuesday just for fun to see how fast I could go and how far we skied. My max speed was 31 km/hr and we skied a total of 10 km (2 1/2 hours). The best skier in our group went 69km/hr so I still have a long ways to go.

I don’t think I’ll ever be a black diamond skier but I’m willing to keep going back and learning. Who knows, maybe next winter I’ll end up in Banff. One thing that they don’t supply with the ski rentals is goggles so I recommend purchasing some before going or burrowing some from a friend like I did. They not only help with snow glare but help keep your face warm as well. You can also purchase anti-fogging ones, like these, which I would highly recommend as I found out skiing with fogged up glasses is not a fun time! Let me know in the comment section your skiing stories, your favorite ski hill and if you prefer skiing or snowboarding!

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5 Things to do in Winnipeg in the Winter : Part Two

Last week I talked about something that you can do inside in the winter. Today’s post is going to be geared towards those of you who like to spend time outdoors and are also looking for ways to stay fit in the winter. My second recommendation ( & my favorite place in Winnipeg) is to visit “The Forks”.

 

 

ice castles

The Ice Castles:

The Forks is a great place to hang out anytime of the year and is personally my favorite place in all of Winnipeg. I’ve spent a lot of time at The Forks since I moved to Winnipeg in 2014, both in the Winter and Summer. The thing that made this Winter different than others was the addition of the ice castles. Me and Pascal were doing respite last month with two individuals (one who loves the movie “Frozen”) and we asked their caregiver if we could take them to the ice castles. We both really wanted to go and thought they would enjoy it as well. She thought it was a great idea so put on all our Winter gear (I recommend not going when its -30), and off we went. During the daytime on the weekends the have Elsa and Anna from “Frozen” there to greet you. The girl with us loved getting to meet them and even got to get her photo with them. I highly recommend going during the day on Saturday or Sunday between 1-4:30pm if you have kids (or you yourself) that love “Frozen”. Once inside, you are on your own, free to explore. There are lots of picture taking opportunities inside as well if you’re looking for the perfect Winter backdrop. Unfortunately I only took one picture that didn’t have the kids in it as this day was about them. Inside the ice castle there is 2 ice slides that you can ride. They provide you with a crazy carpet at the top to sit on. It’s a short slide but you can ride it as many times as you want. Once you’re in the castle you can stay as long as you want that day but once you leave you can’t re-enter. The ice castle is a really cool concept, especially when you think about all the work that went into building it. I would love to go back at night as they have fire performances Fridays and Saturdays, 7-10pm and the castle is lit up with multi-colored lights. I would also recommend buying your tickets online as you save $4.05 general admission and $3.05 for child 4-11 (0-3 is free). If you buy online, you don’t have to wait in line to buy there which is another added bonus! I would love to hear your experience if you went at night, leave a comment below!

trail conditions

The Red River Mutual Trail:

A few weeks later, me and Pascal decided to go back to The Forks and skate the river. We both are fairly good skaters but if you’re not and you want to learn, The Forks is a great place to do so. They have red chairs on the river that your can use to help you skate or you can rent something similar inside The Forks at Iceland (they also do skate rentals if you don’t own any or just aren’t ready to commit to buying any before learning). When you enter the trail from the dockside, you can either go left and skate on the Red River or go right and skate on the Assiniboine River. We decided to go left. Along the trail there are markers for when you hit each kilometer. I found this really motivating to see how far I skated in such a short amount of time. The complete trail is 3km each way meaning we skated 6km total. It was a great workout and alot more fun than being at the gym. It was extremely cold when we went so there wasn’t as many skaters on the trail as usual. Also, the trail wasn’t in the best condition but we managed to not fall down once (but it’s fine if you do, it’s all part of learning!)

 

The Warming Huts:

One of my favorite parts of skating at The Forks is getting to see the new warming huts each year. The warming huts started in 2009 and is a competition that welcomes designers around the world to summit their creations and than those selected come to Winnipeg and construct their art. Once completed they get put on display on the river for skaters and walkers to interact with or go inside to warm up. My favorite that was on display this year (I’m not sure if it was from this year’s competition or a previous year) was the bubble beach.

If you don’t like spending time outside in the winter, The Forks is still a great place to visit with lots to do inside. There is many unique local shops with a wide range of products (all of which are pretty cool). Also, with them now having “The Commons” you can stay inside, have a bite to eat and grab a drink. There are so many different types of restaurants inside, you’ll never get tired of eating there. So go ahead and try something new, whether it be learning how to skate or trying a new beer at The Commons. I would love to hear about your favorite things to do at The Forks and your favorite place to eat while there. Leave me a comment!

BONUS: Teeyah’s

I decided I’m going to throw in a bonus place to try in Winnipeg because we went there after visiting The Forks as it’s close by and I only recently discovered them. It’s a candy shop located on Graham Avenue. They’ve only been open about a year and only recently started selling ice cream as well. The make unique themed ice cream cones called “lengenDAIRY” cones. I ordered one and told her she could do whatever she wanted with it. For $10.50 I got 3 scoops of ice cream in a waffle cone, another cone on top of that, cotton candy, 3 lollipops, and lots of small candies on top. Definitely worth checking them out if you love ice cream as much as me. Who says ice cream should only be enjoyed in the Summer? Leave a comment and let me know what you think of them!

5 Things to do in Winnipeg in the Winter : Part One

I am constantly hearing people say that there is nothing to do in the winter. That is far from the truth, especially in Winnipeg! Although our winters may feel unbearable most days, there are lots of things to do inside during the colder days and adventures to be had outside during the slightly warmer days. I decided to do a 5 part series, with each post focusing on something I took the time to try. First up, try a local restaurant you’ve never tried before.

glass

The Restaurant :

Pascal decided to surprise me and just drive to a restaurant. Since I still do not know the layout of the city very good, I had no idea where we were. He picked “The Merchant Kitchen”. He had been there once before when they were still fairly new and remembered them having exceptional fried chicken. “The Merchant Kitchen” is located  downtown Winnipeg. Their food is inspired by cities and countries across the globe and is served family style, which was a great way to get to taste a couple different dishes.

The Food & Drinks:

When choosing a drink, I had some troubles because all the drinks were so new and different to me. I asked the server for a recommendation for something fruity and he suggested the “Kamakura”. The “Kamakura” consists of belvedere vodka, junmai sake, agave, mango, fresh lemon, and rose. It wasn’t as fruity as I was hoping for but delicious nonetheless. We then decided to start off with some yuca fries. If you’re like me and have no idea what yuca is, it is the edible starchy root of a woody shrub called “Manihot Esculenta”. The fries were kind of plain but they were served with a tasty spicy asian ketchup that had just the right amount of zing. Seeing that the fried chicken is the reason that brought us there, we decided to get a half order and also try the spicy thai fried rice. The order of fried chicken came with 5 chicken thighs and was served with a side of soy syrup and garlic chilli sauce for dipping. The chicken alone was phenomenal but paired with the sauces it just made it that much better. As for the rice, it tasted a little burnt but was still enjoyable. It wasn’t overly spicy and the shrimp and egg mixed into it made for a perfect pair.

The Service:

We were seated very quickly and got a seat by the window so I could people watch (yes I’m that person). The server was very quick with coming to greet us and take our orders and was very laid back in a friendly way. He made sure that we were satisfied and taken care of. When we asked for suggestion or questions regarding the food he was very knowledgeable. You can tell that their staff take pride in their service. The restaurant also had tvs over the bar playing sports so if people watching isn’t your thing you could catch up on the current game. Overall it was a great experience and we would definitely dine there again. I also just started following their instagram account (@themerchantkitchen) and saw that they are participating in Winnipeg’s fried chicken week until January 28. They are featuring their Korean fried chicken in a chicken bowl and it look AMAZING so if you’re interested in trying their food, now is a great time!

drinks
Kamakura

I would love to hear everyone’s local restaurant recommendations and what your favorite thing on the menu is. Also, if you happen to try “The Merchant Kitchen” fried chicken bowl for fried chicken week, please let me know if it’s as good as it looks!