2016 SNOWDANCE Festival of Music + Winter

It’s that time of year again when this cool little party happens out in the woods: An event known as Snowdance Festival of Music + Winter at the Falcon Ridge Ski Slopes on Saturday, January 16 and Sunday, January 17.


Whether you want to hit the slopes, hang out in the chalet and take in the bands, or both – This is one woodland festival you do not want to miss out on.

This year there will once again be a variety of outdoor workshops the entire family can take part including igloo building, skijoring with dogs and horses, winter camping demonstrations, a frozen turkey shoot, ice bucket curling, shinny, a polar bear swim & sauna and much more.


A variety of local talent is set to hit the stage, ranging from bluegrass to pop to soul as well as some rock and roll. The Saturday night party will shuffle down from the Falcon Ridge Ski Slopes to the Falcon Lake Resort. The lineup for the weekend:

Saturday, January 16 (In the chalet)
2 pm: Workshop
3 pm: The Hairy Prairies.
4 pm: The Falcon Creek boys
4:45 pm: Biped Radio
5:15 pm: The Heinrichs Maneuver
6 pm: Midnight Choir
6 pm: Feast
7 pm: Rayannah
— Party moves to the Falcon Bar —
9:30 Shotgun Jimmie + Human Music
10:45: Masheena
12: Peggars Banquet


Sunday, January 17 (In the chalet)
11 am: Sheena’s gospel workshop
12 pm: Taylor Ashton
1 pm: Workshop
2 pm: Well Sister
3 pm: Red Moon Road


Weekend pass (does not include accommodation) $45
Saturday All-Day Pass (includes evening) $35

Saturday evening only (9pm at Falcon Lake bar.) $20 (night tubing included with Saturday tickets.)

Sunday All-Day Pass $20

Tickets include all music and workshops. Admission is free for children ages 12 and under.
Ticket holders get 50 per cent off lift tickets at Falcon Ridge Ski Slopes.

The Falcon Lake Resort is offering room with two double beds for $50 for all festival-goers. Call 1(204)-349-8400 to book.

For more information on Snowdance, head over the falconridgeski.com

Photos by Emily Christie.


High Lake Hockey

Although the snow is taking its time getting here, delaying certain winter sports like snowmobiling and cross-country skiing, there are still plenty of opportunities to have a blast in the Whiteshell. And that’s just what the folks down at Falcon Trails Resort got up to this past week.

A calm freeze on High Lake made for perfectly smooth skating conditions. Here’s a little video by Daniel Peloquin-Hopfner and some photos taken by Emily Christie:

Remember: Ice is good in most shallow lakes, but remember to test the ice before venturing out! Safety first! 🙂

Also, snow is on the way!


Trail Fest 2015

The South Whiteshell Trail Association (SWTA) is excited to announce their annual music festival will be bigger and better than ever!

SWTAThe 2015 Trail Fest will be on Sunday, September 6th! Come on down to the Falcon Ridge Ski Slopes for an afternoon hike or bike followed by live music, live art, kid’s activities, BBQ, and beer gardens. There will be a modest cover charge of $10/adult, $5/child, or pay as you can. The festivities will begin at 3:00 p.m. with a group bike or hike on trails of various lengths, all starting at the ski chalet parking lot and returning to the ski chalet. At 4:00 the outdoor beer gardens will open, kid’s activities will kick off, and Chrissy Sie-Merritt of South Moon Studios will begin a live art demonstration inside the chalet. Watch an artist in action, create wonder on canvas. (www.southmoonarts.com for a preview) At 5:00 p.m. multiple BBQ’s will heat up and there will be hot dogs, hamburgers, veggie options available for purchase. There will also be homemade salads and desserts prepared by local residents. At 6:00 p.m. local musicians will take the stage. Some of the acts that have offered to entertain us so far are Dave Barchyn, Doug Edmond, Bill Hamilton, and more. If it is a little drier weather than last year, we hope to have an outdoor bonfire in the evening. Forget about closing up the cabin for the summer on the September long weekend and come celebrate with SWTA instead! Arrive at your convenient time. All proceeds from this event will go towards trail development and maintenance.

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2015 Whiteshell Winter Wonderland Bucket List

IMG_0535 copyWinter is officially here… And we Manitobans can make it through this. Although the past few weeks have been surprisingly mild, you may be waiting for the times where you’ll be scraping your car windows, getting stuck in the deep, heavy snow, or freezing at the bus stop. However, as stated once before on this blog, winter rules in the Whiteshell, and we’re not just saying that. Some even say winter is their favourite season at the lake. Winter is what you make it, and the Whiteshell has endless opportunities for fun winter activities in the most beautiful and scenic place in Manitoba. So instead of staying cooped up inside counting down the days until the snow melts, bundle up and venture out to the winter wilderness wonderland of the Whiteshell, where winter truly rules. To kick off a season of winter fun, here is our 2015 Whiteshell Winter Wonderland Bucket List: Continue reading

Whiteshell Freezes Over

Winter is more than welcome in the Whiteshell, and Experience the Whiteshell will be posting a Whiteshell Winter Bucket List in the next few weeks, so you can plan out your adventures in the Whiteshell this winter. In the meantime, here’s some beautiful photos of the lakes freezing over in the Whiteshell that were taken a few weeks ago. Just another reason why winter rules in the Whiteshell.

Photo by Caleigh Christie.

Photo by Caleigh Christie.

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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.

You can huff and puff… But you won’t blow this straw bale house down.

Story by Caleigh Christie.

One year ago, my friends, family, and I set down the first of 200 straw bales that would soon become the walls of my new straw bale cabin. Today, the cabin (which is now known as ‘Whiskey Jack’) sits on the beautiful shore of High Lake ready to be rented as the latest addition to the Falcon Trails Resort Eco Cabin rental fleet.

558490_380758438661308_666270687_nWhen my parents (journey-WOman carpenter Barb Hamilton and Craig Christie) first approached me asking if I wanted to lead this construction project, I jumped at the opportunity. Under one condition… that we would step outside the box and try our hand at building with straw bales, an unconventional but extremely smart and environmentally friendly form of construction. Straw bale buildings are best known for their efficient insulation. Compared to a conventional home, which typically has around an R20 insulation rating, straw bale homes can have anywhere from an R35-50 rating. Often, people will be concerned with pest and fire problems when they first learn about these buildings. Studies conducted at the University of Manitoba have shown that straw bale buildings are less prone to these types of issues as mice tend to prefer the less dense fiberglass insulation of conventional homes and fires have a hard time catching on bales that are so tightly packed. The cement/lime stucco, which is applied to either side of the bale, both protects the bales from rain and water damage and acts as a type of desiccant, wicking up unwanted interior wall moisture and allowing it to flow to the outside of the building.

3700_380758381994647_2057800286_n3730_389412861129199_1054137917_n527255_380758865327932_686394917_nPresented with these facts, my parents became excited to take on the project with me. The building kicked off on the September long weekend of 2012 where we hosted a straw bale building workshop lead by Paul Reimer, my former high school english teacher. Twenty course participants, a lot of whom were friends, showed up to try their hand at straw bale building.

The crew was quite eclectic; carpenters, blacksmiths, musicians, beekeepers, forest fire fighters, documentary film-makers, farmers, and even a falconer! We had a diverse skill set to say the least. Once the course was completed the “Straw bale Crew” (Brooke Christie, Kristine Askholm, Kurtis Ulrich, Benita Cleaver, Jesse Matas and I) camped out at the High Lake boat house and continued to work on the walls through the months of September and October to finish them up. The memories of working on Whiskey Jack for those two fall months last year are some that I will never forget. It doesn’t get much better than sharing meals, music, learning, and fun in such a beautiful setting with some of your closest friends.

578435_10152116928960567_1858546653_nMany months later, with the immense help from my parents and countless other friends, we now have a beautiful low-impact straw bale cabin for rent. I can’t wait to show the guests of Falcon Trails Resort how this unconventional building technique can offer efficiency, beauty, and comfort within the cabin setting.



Fall Colours: Part I

Fall. It’s one of the most beautiful times of year in the Whiteshell. With warm temperatures and gorgeous changing colours, you couldn’t ask for a nicer fall than the one we’ve been having. Experience the Whiteshell is sharing the stunning fall time scenery in our Fall Colours photo series.

Photos by Emily Christie & Michael Jordan.


Swamp Slogging.

More than 360 people were in Falcon Lake last weekend to take on a rugged trek that involved paddling, biking, hiking, and a whole lot of navigating through the wilderness. This trek is also known as Swamp Donkey, North America’s largest adventure race. Last Saturday 121 teams of three spent a full day canoeing, cycling, and bush-whacking through the back woods of Falcon Lake and High Lake. Swamp Donkey participant Warren Blunt shares his story about slogging his way to the finish line:

IMG_7133 copyThe morning dawned clear and cold as racers began to show up to the Falcon Lake Community Centre at the wonderful hour of 6:00 a.m. Having not registered the night before, there was plenty of running around to do. I could see frost on the ground as the racers convened on the behind the Falcon Beach School for the roll-call, which always promises to feature funny (and sometimes even cheeky) team names.

This was the first time that the race started with the bike portion which got underway by 9:00 a.m. I couldn’t help but miss the ceremonial bagpipes to signify the start of the 2012 race, but I digress. Having never started off with the bike portion before, it presented some its own set of challenges. Solid traffic from over 360 cyclists made it difficult to get separation, especially when fear of crossing the dividing line of the road meant disqualification (admittedly, I pushed that rule as far as it would bend). Getting ahead on the narrow (but gorgeous) trail following the southern shore of Falcon lake was even more difficult.

IMG_7143 copyEventually we made it to the High Lake cabins, where we happened upon mass confusion in trying to find the first check-point, which was supposed to be located at one of the cabins. It turns out, the ‘cabin’ was a mere shack just off the main path, and was not one of the fancy eco-cabins. Several racers that I had talked to after the race had made that mistake, apparently to the ire of the tenants. All the more reason to be on our merry way down the Red-Green trail and to the Falcon Trails Resort, where our canoe was waiting for us.

Upon piling into our canoe, the lack of practice this year (new team compared to last year) almost proved our downfall, and we had to adjust on the fly to avoid going for a swim. Although despite the cold start, that idea was most appealing at this point. We reached the portage to High Lake, only to get into my first ever portage traffic jam. After what seemed ages, we finally launched our canoe into High Lake probably 25 minutes later. Our next destination was the north shore, where we struck out on foot looking for out next checkpoints. After some confusion, we made it back to the canoe in time to qualify for the next portion of the race , which took us to the  eastern end of High Lake, now well into Ontario. This was, without question in my mind, the most difficult part of the race. These check points were located in unbelievably thick brush that made for very slow and tiresome work. We were able to find check points five  and six before getting concerned about being able to get out of there on time. Rumour has it, however, that you had to go for a swim to get to the seventh check point, darn!

We returned to our canoe at 4:00 p.m., and set off to reach the portage on the opposite end of the lake. Struggling hard to keep up with the light, fiberglass racing canoes in our aluminum tub, we made the other end of the lake in just under an hour. After the portage we were heading back across Falcon Lake to the ski hill to get on our bikes and boot it back to the Community Centre before the 6:00 p.m. deadline. For the sake of time, we decided not to bother with the final two check points but we were able to (painfully) make it back to the townsite with about 10 minutes to spare, 55-kilometres later. The banner at the end of the race was a very welcome site to behold.

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