CanoeSki Winter Program History
The CanoeSki Winter Program has evolved over the years since 1989 when the company organized the first wilderness ski tours in northern Saskatchewan’s Churchill River country and conducted its first cross-country lessons in Saskatoon’s Kinsmen Park. Ski lessons in the downtown park are still a staple of the CanoeSki program, but the wilderness ski trips to Nistowiak Falls were curtailed after eight years of hard work maintaining a viable ski trail and dwindling skier interest in the rigors of skiing into remote areas with packs. During this time CanoeSki was also offering a hotel-based introduction to wilderness skiing in Prince Albert National Park.
After the wilderness ski trips went into abeyance, CanoeSki needed to find a replacement that would be more inclusive of skiers’ abilities and less rigorous. In 2000 a couple of new ideas were born and given the title: Back to the Future: New Millennium Traditional Pursuits. First, was an ecolodge-based ski trip with a specific New Year’s Eve theme. It was run in conjunction with Sawyer Lake Adventures and consisted of wilderness ski touring, dog sledding, horse drawn sleigh rides and demos of selective boreal forest logging with draft horses. The New Year’s Eve in the Porcupine Forest trip lasted for ten years until Sawyer Lake shut down their ecolodge operation in 2009. Trip tales from those party times are still on the site to give the flavour of times past.
The Canine Connection
The second idea in the Back to the Future series, which has survived to present day, is Boreal Forest Ski Mushing– a combination skiing and dog sledding tour in the Anglin Lake area near the southern end of Prince Albert National Park. We teamed up with Sundogs Sled Excursions to do some skijoring and get acquainted with sled dog “culture” along with skiing instruction and wilderness ski touring.
In a nutshell, this ski trip is the perfect weekend get-a-way to a winter paradise! After a drive from Saskatoon to Anglin Lake, a late morning technique tuning session is preparation for the afternoon challenges on the Anglin Lake ski trails. Saturday evening it’s relaxing and socializing with like-spirited folks in the comfort of a cozy lakeside hide-a-way. Spellbinding bedtime stories of dog sledding adventures on the northern frontier closes the day. Sunday ushers in a rendezvous with Sundogs Sled Excursions and a trip to their prospector-style camp deep in the boreal forest. We get acquainted with the wild and woolly world of dog sledding, learn how to skijor with a sled dog and enjoy a hot lunch at the scenic wilderness camp. Howling huskies, speeding sleds, swooshing skis – all are ingredients of a memorable winter adventure!
To get the scoop on this ski trip adventure take a look at Pat’s Ski Mushing Saga. This is a glowing first-person account with lots more detail on what happened on the first ski trip. On the Trail with Cliff is another ski mushing testimonial with some poignant thoughts on the impacts of industrial logging on traditional lifestyles.
Boreal Forest Ski Mushing
Date: Feb. 20-21, 2016
Location: Emma /Anglin Lakes area (southern fringe of Prince Albert National Park)
Cost: $525 per person
Package Includes: 1 night accommodation in a modern lakeside cottage with full amenities, meals at the cottage and on the ski trail, certified skiing instructor/guide, and an introduction to the world of dog sledding. Skiing equipment and transportation not included. Vehicle pooling will be arranged.
Booking Info: Deposit of $100 required to book your space. Fill out the CanoeSki Registration Form online and either e-transfer a payment or print & mail the form with your cheque.