Winter in Fort McMurray Wood Buffalo is definitely a most wonderful time of the year.
Welcome to Fort McMurray Wood Buffalo!
Winter is the season where our region shines brightest, with endless snowy trails and plenty of sunny days with big blue skies, there are so many activities to keep you busy all season long. From the urban delights of Fort McMurray to the wild backcountry splendours of Wood Buffalo National Park and all of the places in between, there’s something for everyone here. With so many outdoor activities to experience, it’s the kind of place you’ll be telling your friends about. Fort McMurray Wood Buffalo offers exceptional natural beauty with small-town hospitality.
Must-do winter activities when you visit Fort McMurray Wood Buffalo
A front-row seat to Earth’s natural light show
Sit back and look at the night sky. On clear nights, the Northern Lights put on a dazzling show of light that dances in the night sky. It’s on many people’s bucket list to see this natural wonder, and if you visit between October and March, there’s a good chance you’ll be left mesmerized by this spectacle. While Wood Buffalo National Park is home to the world’s largest dark sky preserve, making it the perfect place to view the Northern Lights, you can still get a front-row seat closer to Fort McMurray. View on your own or hook up with a local operator to show you the best viewing spots. You can find a list of operators on our website at fmwb.ca/visit-explore/epic-experiences/northern-lights-dark-sky-viewing.
Become a dog musher for the day
Anyone who has seen images of a dogsled cutting across the frozen landscape through pine and birch forests wished they could get behind a sled themselves one day. Now’s your chance. Dogsledding, a traditional form of transportation in the Canadian North is one of those once-in-a-lifetime activities that you just have to experience for yourself. Ride comfortably in a handcrafted sled, glide along a remote forest trail, and forget the city you’ve left behind. It’s an experience like no other. To find an operator and get out there, visit: fmwb.ca/visit-explore/epic-experiences/dog-sledding.
A sled of a different kind
If you’re looking for a motorized sled experience, then you’ll want to consider snowmobiling. The region is a snowmobiler’s paradise. While you can’t ride your sled down Franklin Avenue or inside the city limits, there are hundreds of kilometres of trails and waterways nearby to explore. Many of the trails are groomed and maintained by the McMurray Sno-Drifters snowmobile club, with warm-up locations, firepits, and washroom facilities out on the trails. Grab some moxie, hop on a snowmobile, and explore winter like you’ve never done before. Don’t have your own gear and need to rent a snowmobile? Rental companies and trail maps can be found on our website: fmwb.ca/visit-explore/activities/snowmobiling.
Want to experience the incredible quiet that comes with a beautiful winter’s day? Imagine the landscape all around you, a blanket of white, and the only thing you hear are your skis or snowshoes gliding across the snow. With long and short distances on offer, a vast network of cross-country ski and snowshoe trails will please all experience levels. New to the skinny skis? The Birchwood Trails system offers 35 kilometres of groomed tracks, and the Ptarmigan Nordic Ski Club has you covered with gear rentals, tune-ups, and lessons. ptarmigannordic.org
Lace ‘em up
While winters here might be long and cold, they create the perfect conditions for outdoor ice, making Fort McMurray Wood Buffalo a great place to pretend that you’re Connor McDavid or Marie-Philip Poulin on one of seven lit, boarded outdoor rinks or two beautiful skating trails. These outdoor skating areas offer the opportunity to play a game of shinny hockey with your friends, learn to skate, or glide through beautifully lit trees at Lions Park or at MacDonald Island Park.
Warm up with something local
Even the hardiest of Fort McMurray Wood Buffalo residents & visitors need to get inside and warm up after a day of outdoor adventure. Luckily for you, we have flavours of the region on offer like bison burgers, five-star restaurants featuring immaculately prepared creations from around the world, craft beer and cocktails, locally-roasted coffee, and cozy local diners with down-home favourites – Fort McMurray Wood Buffalo serves up culinary experiences for every taste.
Some of our favourites include Wood Buffalo Coffee Company for locally-roasted coffee, The Banquet for a huge drink menu, bowling alley, and arcade games all in one location, Surekha’s on The Snye for celebrating special occasions, and The Smokin’ Butcher for local craft beer.
For more information on Fort McMurray Wood Buffalo visit fmwb.ca