Silver Skate Festival

Winter Challenges!

You know that unique quality of silence that hovers over a fresh blanket of snow in the diffuse winter light? It’s one of those serene Edmonton moments that we have all cherished from time to timeThat fresh blanket of snow is also begging to be crunched in a flurry of joy and activity! 

Silver Skate has been creating Winter Experiences in Hawrelak Park for over 30 years.

This year, we’re going to help you create your own Winter ExperienceWe have curated a big list of fun-times winter activities for people of all ages and skill levels. All you need are some warm layers and a lot of rose-cheeked enthusiasm (and a toque, definitely a toque).

How is your Winter Experience going to play out? Here are a few to get you started. Can you get through them all? That is our challenge to you – now get out there! 

The Loop-de-Loop

When I was a kid, I used to skate fast – real fast. I know for a fact that I am faster now, but it doesn't seem as fast as back then ... Am I the only one who has ever felt that? 

Did you know that Hawrelak park is home to the largest skating pond in the city and our 1km loop? Here’s the challenge: give us your quickest lap. Then see how many you can do in an hour. This isn’t about world records, it’s all about personal bests. It doesn’t matter if you have top-of-the line speed skates or CCM Tacks from 1982. Get out there and show us what you got.

1, 2, 3...GO! 

Visit The Folk Trail

Once upon a time, Silver Skate's nomadic performers delighted audiences by acting out a story on several nights during the festival. 

2021 will be a retrospective of all the past Folk Trail stories we have adored over the years! Our stories will be presented through artistic installations as part of Silver Skate's Create Your Winter Experience initiative. What’s your favourite tale from the Folk Trail? I love all the ones that end happily ever after.


Visit the Flying Canoë Volant

Celebrate your inner voyageur with light, music, legends, and dance! Inspired by the legend of The Flying Canoe and French Canadian, First Nations, and Métis traditions, this event celebrates beautiful Mill Creek Ravine and the French Quarter. Check out our interactive map for activities you can do along the river valley and Mill Creek trail systems on your journey to The Canoe! 


Take on The Wall

A wall made of ice eh? I think I watched a tv show that had one of those in it... Here’s your chance to channel your inner Jon Snow and scale the wall. Courtesy of the Edmonton Ski Club, Edmonton’s first and only ice climbing facility, situated in the beautiful river valley with downtown in sight, is now open. Ice climbing gear (boots, crampons, ice tools, harness and helmet) available for rent on site. What are you waiting for?


Go on a Snowshoeing Adventure 

If you can only do one of our challenges this winter, please make it this one.

Snowshoes make going through the deepest snow a breeze, and a whole bunch of fun. Explore the river valley and get a great workout! 

Get the most out of your snowshoeing adventure by booking a tour with a  knowledgeable guide. They know the best routes, can give you fun and insightful information about the area, and will go at your pace. 60 minute snowshoe tours through the River Valley are only only $19.00/person (min. of 4 people).



Grab a Frisbee!

Ice skates + ice = endless possibilities, especially if you have a frisbee!

“Frisbee Rob” McLeod is a motivational speaker and frisbee ambassador living in Calgary, Alberta. His favourite ice surface in Edmonton is Hawrelak Park, where he has broken 6 Guinness World Records, and 12 WFDF World Records multiple times since the 2013 Silver Skate Festival.

Check out Rob's tutorial on his favourite three things to do with a frisbee on skates. Give them a go, and see if you can come up with a few of your own!

Visit Frisbee Rob's Tutorial 


Plan an Epic Date

Surprise your person with a romantic winter excursion. First off, dig out that old thermos. You'll want some hot coffee or cocoa for this challenge (it's essential). Here's what we suggest:

  • Begin with a skate on the Hawrelak Ice Pond. This is one of the most beautiful spots in the city, but we find it especially beautiful around dusk. The light at that time of day is otherworldly. 
  • Next, grab that thermos and enjoy a little bite. Silver Skate has partnered with a few local restaurants to offer you our unique Winter Box meal experiences. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner options available. Learn more here.
  • Lastly, have a nightcap on a winter patio. The heated patio at Rocky Mountain Ice House is the perfect cozy spot to unwind your magical evening with a little libation. They also have heated blanket to keep you cozy while you sip and star gaze.

Fatbike Challenge

Did you know that Edmonton has more than 160 kilometers of maintained multi-use trails? That’s a lot of ground to cover. Best get some wheels!   

Fat bikes have become increasingly popular with outdoor enthusiasts who do not allow anything (i.e. snow) to confine them to indoor activity. Fat tire bikes provide improved grip and traction on the most troublesome terrain (i.e. snow). 

Pro Winter Cycling Tips from redbike proprietor Cliff Vallentgoed: 

  1. Regardless of which type of winter rider you are, the starting point is to acknowledge that it is totally possible, with good preparation and respect for the power of a prairie winter, to have a good ride during an Edmonton winter.
  2. The temperature range is bizarre. It can be -20 in the morning and +2 in the afternoon, so the conventional outdoorsy wisdom of dressing in layers makes good sense. Appropriate fabrics are super helpful, good old fashioned wool or modern temperature and moisture control materials derived from polyester fibres
  3. I’m sure you’ve noticed that it’s dark for about 23 1/2 hours a day as well so lights are a must. Blinky lights are great because they attract more attention in a sea of static lights and there’s tremendously powerful stuff out there to light the path ahead. 

This winter – buy, beg, or borrow a fat bike! There are also many options available to winterize your skinny tire bikes. Visit your local bike shop for more details.

Try Urban Poling in  Hawrelak Park

Top four reasons why you need to try urban poling today:

  1. The arm movement associated with walking poles adds intensity to your aerobic workout, which helps you burn more calories.
  2. Walking poles improve balance and stability.
  3. Walking poles help you maintain proper posture, especially in the upper back, and may help to strengthen upper back muscles.
  4. Walking poles reduce the load on your lower back, hips and knees, which may be helpful if you have arthritis or back problems.

Challenge accepted. Follow the link below for details on how to get started.


Visit Ice on Whyte

Boardwalk Ice on Whyte has to change things up a bit this year, but you can still expect amazing ice carvings and a whole lot of fun! Gather your bubble mates and go on a self-guided tour of ice sculptures placed throughout Old Strathcona and downtown January 27th through February 6th.  


Visit Deep Freeze

Deep Freeze: A Byzantine Winter Fête emerges from hibernation February 5th-February 14th to celebrate the olde new year! Witness a winter wonderland and enjoy artistic panache, cultural stories and virtual workshops at Borden Park and seven Alberta Avenue district community leagues. 


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The mission of the Silver Skate Festival Society is to provide a free family-oriented winter celebration blending sport, recreation, arts and culture, showcasing various skating disciplines and promoting outdoor activities in Alberta.

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