Ski the Whiteshell

unnamed copyCross-country skiing is an excellent form of exercise in the winter. And if you go cross-country skiing in the Whiteshell, you get to take in all the beautiful scenery and nature while doing so. Whether you want to build stamina with hill climbs or just go for a smooth ski across the lake, the Whiteshell has got a variety of beautiful terrain for every skier to explore.

The South Whiteshell Ski Trail.

The South Whiteshell Ski Trail.

The South Whiteshell Ski Trail.

The South Whiteshell Ski Trail.

One of the best ski trails in the Whiteshell is the South Whiteshell Trail, also a great trail for walking, running, and biking during the summer. The South Whiteshell trail can take you from the the Nite Hawk Cafe in West Hawk, through spruce and pine trees and down a scenic trail to Faloma Beach Marina and then onto the Falcon Lake Community Club. The trail also includes a loop to the isolated McHugh Lake, which then loops you back to the West Hawk townsite. The South Whiteshell Trail, which is part of the Trans Canada Trail, also has a warmup shelter perched at the top of a hill approximately halfway between West Hawk and Faloma.

Falcon Ridge Ski Trails.

Falcon Ridge Ski Trails.

The Falcon Ridge Ski Hill also provides a great network of groomed ski trails that start at the ski hill, including one loop that even takes you into High Lake. The Falcon Ridge trails have a variety of terrain including anything from a 1 km loop on Falcon Lake to a 7.5 km ski to High Lake and back. There is also a new trail connecting High Lake to the Falcon townsite along the south shore of the lake. Falcon Ridge is even home to one of the two biathlon courses in Manitoba and hosts several biathlon races throughout the winter. Check out the map of the Falcon Ridge trails below:

Map of ski trails at Falcon Ridge Ski Area.

Map of ski trails at Falcon Ridge Ski Area.

A cross-country ski trip in the Whiteshell is the perfect winter getaway. It’s great for just a day trip, or for a weekend trip if you would like book out a cozy cabin at one of the local resorts.

Whiteshell Business: Faloma Beach Marina

Faloma is located about half way along the north shore of Falcon Lake on Highway 301. Besides a lovely sand beach, picnic areas, and a beach volleyball pitch, it is also the location of Penguin Resort and Faloma Beach Marina. The Faloma Beach Marina offers a variety of rental boats, dock spaces, a store, and boat service. Faloma Beach is a popular summer spot with the day trippers as well as the cottagers and campers at Penguin Resort.
Beach at Faloma According to Olive Zimmerman’s recently republished book, History and Folklore of the South Whiteshell, it was in the 1940s that Margorie and Eric Law spotted the perfect site to build what is now Faloma Beach Marina and Penguin Resort, and for many years the two businesses were one.

Maude and Gordon Hamilton were next to purchase Faloma after the Laws. And in 1990, then owners Bob and Judy Partridge and partners separated off the marina and store, and Faloma Beach Marina came into existence as a separate business.

faloma marina view

A memorable event happened during Christine and Ralph Savoy’s ownership that may have been due to someone blowing up a beaver dam upstream. An entire series of beaver dams on Partridge’s Creek and the ponds above collapsed one after the other, sending a roaring tsunami of debris and water downstream that washed out the road to the Faloma subdivisions and sent the boats and docks at Faloma out into the middle of Falcon Lake. Until Parks was able to construct a temporary bridge, residents and cottage owners east of Partridge’s creek were stranded. It was very lucky that no one was hurt when those dams blew! The debris extended up over 10 feet on each side of the creek where it crosses the pipeline, a popular hiking area. It also temporarily flooded the Artesian well that has served Penguin Camp and Faloma with pristine water for over 70 years.

Those beaver dams have long been rebuilt, and it is a charming walk up to one of them along Partridge’s Creek, starting from the pipeline.

hamilton creekYou can also walk into one of the beaver ponds from the South Whiteshell Trail, starting by the bench dedicated to Israel Asper by his family, just past the red pine plantation east of Faloma.

The red pines were planted by forestry in 1959 for the purpose of harvesting their cones. Since the South Whiteshell Trail was built (in about 1990 or so), it is one of the favourite parts of the trails. It is fascinating to see those big pine trees planted in rows like corn.

red pine rows There are actually two creeks that enter Falcon Lake at Faloma. The larger one, Hamilton Creek, drains Edgar Lake and Barren Lake and enter Falcon under PR 301. It is a spawning ground for walleye and northern pike. In fact, for many years the Whiteshell Fish Hatchery set up operations at the outflow of that creek at Faloma to catch and milk walleye for their eggs. Not surprisingly, the mouth of Hamilton Creek in front of Faloma is a favourite fishing spot on opening day. Pictured below is Cody Southam, one of the mechanics at Faloma with a master angler walleye.

Cody master angler

Again according to Olive Zimmerman’s book the name Faloma may come from the Cree word ‘potoma’, meaning ‘there you are’. Considering the good fishing here, Faloma must have often been a campsite for First Nations Peoples.

Faloma is also a nesting site for loons, although the foxes often get the babies. The photo below was taken at Faloma.

loonIf you walk up Hamilton creek in early spring, it is a wonder to behold the hundreds of thrashing spawning fish trying to get upstream. Sometimes they are working their way between and under ice that has not yet melted in the shade.

Across from Faloma is the Falcon Lake Yacht Club, in operation since 1963. This year was the 50th anniversary of the club. The Yacht Club offers a learn-to-sail program and this year also offered a learn-to-canoe program. It is a lovely sight to see colourful sails dotting Falcon Lake on a race day, and there is a grand lookout to view it at the clubhouse.


Story and photos by Theresa Young, owner.

For more information on Faloma Beach Marina or to inquire on hours and services, call 1(204)-349-8922.