I have a theory that everyone secretly loves winter, even the people who complain about it. These days, we’re overwhelmed with negative comments about winter in the media and on the streets. The popularity of the season seems to be equal to the popularity of the flu. There are some of us, however, who openly embrace the beautiful cold season of snow and ice. And even those who complain would have nothing to kvetch about if not for Old Man Winter’s annual visit to our island.
These days, winters seem to be shorter. For us – the ones who love winter – this is a problem because it means less time to do the activities that we love. There is no shortage of outdoor winter activities in Cape Breton. As much as our island is home to beautiful beaches in summer and colours in fall, it is also home to many venues for outdoor winter fun. This winter, I challenge everyone to check some of them out.
Take the Roof off Winter (TTROW) is a program designed to get Nova Scotians outside and active during winter. This year, schools and other organizations are signing up to do Winter Walk Days in February. The TTROW website (www.taketheroofoffwinter.ca/) has loads of suggestions for fun winter activities.
If skating is your chosen activity, there are numerous informal outdoor skating areas. CBRM also has public skating times at the various community arenas. The schedule can be found on their website at www.cbrm.ns.ca/skating-schedule.html.
Downhill skiers are familiar with Ben Eoin (www.skibeneoin.com/). The facility also has cross country ski and snowshoe trails. Of course, the highlands is the best place to go cross country skiing or snowshoeing. Cape Breton Highlands National Park (www.pc.gc.ca/eng/pn-np/ns/cbreton/activ/activ6.aspx) has numerous groomed trails. There is also a wonderful facility in St. Ann’s called Tuonela (skituonela.com) which has beautiful wilderness trails which can be explored during the winter months. Finally, Cape North (nhn.xcski.ca/index.htm) has the cross country trails which were built for the Canada Games back in the 1980s.
There is no shortage of opportunities for outdoor (and indoor) winter fun. You can also keep it simple and go for a walk or go out and play in the snow with your family. If you are one of those souls who like to complain about winter but secretly love it, perhaps this can be the year for you to take the roof off and enjoy our beautiful island in its most glorious season!