Winter Fun or Winter Therapy?
You already know that Lethbridge and the Southern Alberta region offer a tremendous array of summer recreation activities (see previous Cycling Mecca post for example), but don’t overlook what you can do in the Winter months. For ultimate playtime in the snow you only have to take a short drive to the Waterton, Castle, or Crowsnest Pass regions. In particular the Castle Provincial Recreation Area is a treasure trove of activities.
Located about 120 km West of Lethbridge in Castle Provincial Park you’ll find the naturally beautiful Syncline Trail Network. There is a North and South parking/staging area, trail maps, restroom facilities, and a warming hut (bring your axe, kindling, and hot beverage) for your convenience. The snow is plentiful, pure, and is the ideal place for your cross country skiing or snowshoeing adventure. The Syncline can be a nice “less busy” alternative to other better known destinations like Waterton Park or Allison-Chinook areas.
There is something inspiring and rejuvenating about gliding or floating over the vast, white blanket of snow under a clear, Alberta blue sky. At times you may feel weightless striding through the top powder when your effort, fitness, and skill combine perfectly with the design of your skis or snowshoes. Moving through the towering pines, spruce, fir, and aspens while breathing in the crisp, clean mountain air is nothing short of a “forest bathing” experience. This form of ecotherapy is often underrated for its physiological and psychological benefits. Forest bathing doesn’t necessarily mean plunging into a glacial lake (although it could be) but is simply the practice of immersing yourself in a natural environment and consciously connecting with what’s around you.
If you crave more speed Castle Mountain Resort is just a few kilometers up the highway from Syncline. Here you’ll be able to add downhill skiing, cat skiing, snowboarding, and even fatbiking to your winter activity list. Being the 2nd largest resort in Alberta, Castle Mountain offers almost 900 vertical meters, over 3,500 acres, 6 lifts, approximately 900 cm of snowfall a year, and a pub! If Castle is a bit too big for you then head on over to the Pass Powder Keg Ski Area in Blairmore. There you’ll find a family friendly winter playground that’s easy on the budget and the bumps.
Whether you choose to buy a home in Lethbridge, or one of the smaller communities near the Castle Wilderness Park, winter fun and forest/snow bathing is really right out your back door. World class recreation is easily within reach, and with the Lethbridge area being one of the most reasonably priced housing markets in Canada it’s easily within budget too. Winter certainly does provide…adventures in real estate!