About CanoeSki

The Company

CanoeSki Discovery Company, one of Saskatchewan’s foremost adventure travel companies, specializes in wilderness canoeing and cross-country skiing. The company is based in the City of Saskatoon and is licensed in the Province of Saskatchewan, Canada. Owner and guide Cliff Speer has been providing adventure training and tours to both domestic and international clientele since establishing the company in 1989. Over the intervening years, CanoeSki has gained a reputation for outstanding programs and personal attention to detail. Quality, innovation and a personal touch have become hallmarks of the company and the essence of a superior travel experience for CanoeSki guests.

Formerly a high school teacher, Cliff now shares his passion for the wilderness in the school of the great outdoors. After extensive volunteer leadership experience with local canoeing and skiing clubs, Cliff now spends most of his time instructing and guiding in a professional capacity with CanoeSki and for other organizations. The rest of the CanoeSki team of guides and resource experts are a dedicated and fun-loving group, delighted to share their skills and knowledge with guests.

Environmental Philosophy

Canoeing heightens the ecological senses. It inspires a desire to care for the wild places that only a canoe can access. At CanoeSki, we follow the environmental credo of respecting the earth in all our activities. This includes applying conservation principles to all aspects of the operation, practicing minimum impact camping, and contributing to local conservation efforts.

Eco-adventure Leadership

Since its formation, CanoeSki has led the way in eco-adventure programming, capitalizing on the abundant natural and human resources Saskatchewan has to offer the environmentally conscious adventure seeker. Beginning in 1990, the Government of Saskatchewan, Parks Branch, contracted CanoeSki to provide canoe tours for its Parkspirit Outdoor Adventure Program. In 1991, the University of Regina Extension contracted CanoeSki to develop and conduct a canoeing eco-adventure education program. In 1994, CanoeSki joined the consulting team hired by the tri-province consortium, Partners for the Saskatchewan River Basin, to produce an eco-canoe tour guidebook for the South Saskatchewan River. In 1995, CanoeSki partnered with the University of Saskatchewan Extension Division to provide canoeing eco-education programs in conjunction with the Waskesiu Learning Institute in Prince Albert National Park.

When the momentum to establish ecotourism in Saskatchewan began to develop in the mid-nineties, CanoeSki eventually became the first Saskatchewan outdoor adventure company to achieve eco-tour operator accreditation in 1997 with the Saskatchewan Watchable Wildlife Association, forerunner of the Ecotourism Society of Saskatchewan. In 2001, this accreditation was updated with inclusion in the Society’s new Horizons Ecotourism Accreditation Program (the Society has since dissolved due to lack of funding).

Tourism Industry Involvement & Recognition

In 2008, CanoeSki joined the 1885 Northwest Coalition to help promote and participate in the 125th anniversary events of the 1885 North West Resistance to occur in 2010. In 2009, Tourism Saskatchewan President Dr. Lynda Haverstock asked CanoeSki to sit on the President’s Task Team for a 3-year term to help develop a quality assurance program for the Saskatchewan tourism industry. In 2012, Tourism Saskatoon asked CanoeSki to join their Environmental Sustainability Initiative to help create a sustainability program suited to their membership.

In 2010, CanoeSki won the Spirit of Saskatchewan Award of Excellence from Tourism Saskatchewan for its outstanding contribution to provincial tourism with the fur trade-themed David Thompson Voyageur Trek. Adding to CanoeSki’s various leadership initiatives and recognition by tourism organizations, CanoeSki programs have been featured over the years in local, regional, national and international publications and radio/TV media.

Professional Training and Qualifications

  • Senior Canoeing Instructor Certification, Paddle Canada (formerly Canadian Recreational Canoeing Assoc.)
  • Cross-country Skiing Instructor Certification, Canadian Association of Nordic Ski Instructors
  • Wilderness Emergency Response Training, Canadian Institute of Safety, Search and Rescue, Alberta
  • First-Aid and CPR Certification, Canadian Red Cross
  • Canoe Guide Licence and Ski Guide Licence, Parks Canada Agency, Prince Albert National Park
  • Secondary School Teaching Certificate, Province of Manitoba
  • Comprehensive liability insurance coverage for company operations

Professional Memberships and Affiliations

  • Paddle Canada Instructor Member
  • Canoe/Kayak Saskatchewan Member
  • Saskatoon Canoe Club Member
  • Canadian Association of Nordic Ski Instructors Member
  • Cross-Country Saskatchewan Member
  • Saskatoon Nordic Ski Club Member
  • Saskatchewan Orienteering Association Member
  • Tourism Saskatchewan Member
  • Tourism Saskatoon Member
  • Partners for the Saskatchewan River Basin Member
  • Saskatchewan Archaeological Society Member
  • Saskatchewan Environmental Society Member
  • Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society Member
  • Nature Saskatoon Member
  • Nature Saskatchewan Member