Nourish your body, mind & creative self with South Moon Studio

This summer promises to overflow with unique experiences, creating lasting memories for you and your family. Chrissy Sie-Merritt, founder of South Moon Studio will be offering a variety of classes in visual and healing arts, from West Hawk to East Braintree.

Yoga on the beach, in the studio or at the Trails.

With eleven years of experience teaching yoga to all ages in the Whiteshell, Chrissy’s classes have become a trade mark for many as part of their unique summer experience. The traditional Beach Yoga at Meteor Fest is back again on Saturday July 11th, 8-9am. Throughout the summer you can start your day right with three different morning classes to choose from: southmoon3 Continue reading

First time to life time: Diving the depths of West Hawk Lake

11011090_426327150825973_8239746001487983746_nBy Patrick Doyle, diver, Blue Oasis Dive Centre
Photography by Jason Herlick, owner, Blue Oasis Dive Centre

My first experience diving at West Hawk Lake, Manitoba, came a few years ago when I was looking for somewhere local to keep up my skills as a scuba diver. Not being able to afford travelling south every year I asked around some of the dive shops in Winnipeg and it was suggested I try out West Hawk. It is only an hour and half away which is a lot cheaper and more convenient than a five hour flight. So I arranged to meet Jason Herlick, Michelle Wetton, and some other divers, rented the gear for the colder water, and made the drive. I’ve been a bit hooked ever since.

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Bait your hook, drop your line, and jig em’ up…

It’s the most wonderful time of the year.

A time of the year so many Manitoban anglers anticipate… The opening day of the 2015/2016 fishing season. This Saturday, May 9 marks the first day of open water fishing in the Whiteshell. Whether it’s walleye, black crappie, smallmouth bass, northern pike, or lake trout that you fancy, be sure head out to the Whiteshell Provincial Park this weekend to catch those first fish of the season in one of the beautiful lakes in the park.

IMG_3029IMG_3154For the more competitive anglers, be sure to come out and fine tune your jigging skills for the 2015 Walleye Masters Cup on Falcon Lake, scheduled for Saturday, June 6 this year. The tournament is in support of the Central Walleye Trail, Fish Futures, and the Never Alone Foundation. Continue reading

Whiteshell Business: West Hawk Lake Resort

011It’s a cozy cabin to come back to after a long snowmobile ride; it’s a place to get together with friends and family; it’s a beautiful deck to sit on and enjoy the summer day; it’s all at West Hawk Lake Resort.

002Located in the recently upgraded West Hawk town site, West Hawk Lake Resort offers a variety of cozy cabins that are in close proximity to West Hawk’s beach, hiking trails, snowmobile trail, and all of the West Hawk businesses.

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Fathers, Family, Fishing, & Falcon…

Have you got plans for Dad this Father’s Day weekend? Well, it just-so-happens that this weekend is Father’s Day and Manitoba’s Family Fishing Weekend! The perfect scenario!20ColesBigWalleye copyOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFamily Fishing Weekend, June 14 and 15, allows everyone to head out to the water and try out fishing – No fishing licence required! This is an excellent way for the entire family to spend the Father’s Day weekend fishing with Dad. It’s also a great weekend for anyone who wants to try out the sport of fishing for the first time – Free of charge!

 

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Whiteshell Business: Tallpine Lodges

treesTJ and Sacha Harder came to the Whiteshell two summers ago and stayed at Tallpine Lodges, a beautiful couples-only resort located by the beach in West Hawk Lake. The two loved their time out there, and joked about how cool it would be to run the resort. They also quickly fell in love with the beauty of the area as well as the peace and serenity. The couple talked to the then-owners, only to find out that the lodge was going to be listed that upcoming winter. One and half years later, just before the July long weekend of 2013, they found themselves as the new owners of Tallpine Lodges.

unnamedTallpine Lodges has been a couples-only resort for over 30 years that offers a peaceful getaway even when the town is incredibly busy during the peak seasons. It is a popular honeymoon, anniversary, or Valentine’s Day destination. It is also a great place for couples to go just to get away from their hectic lives.

The neighbourhood deer are quite friendly.

The neighbourhood deer are quite friendly.

In the summer, Tallpines has a heated pool and is also just a two-minute walk from the beach. Tallpines offers bike, canoe, and jet ski rentals so guests can get out-and-about and enjoy nature. In the winter Tallpines has cross-country skis and snowshoes available for guests and is now offering snowmobile rentals so guests can head out and discover the beautiful groomed-snowmobile trails of the Whiteshell.

The interior of one of the beautiful cabins at Tallpines Lodges.

The interior of one of the beautiful cabins at Tallpines Lodges.

Tallpines has four different styles of cabins:
• The small studio cabin – Has a heart-shaped jacuzzi hot tub. Approximately 275 square feet.
• Deluxe Cabins – The deluxe cabins offer an open-concept and include a larger jacuzzi tub and a sauna. Approximately 450 square feet.
• The Luxury Cabin – This cabin includes a bedroom as well as a jacuzzi tub and a sauna. Approximately 500 square feet.
• The Luxury Plus – This is the biggest cabin at Tallpines. Includes king-sized bed (others cabins have queen-sized) as well as the jacuzzi and sauna.
• All cabins have a fully furnished kitchen, barbecue, electric fireplace, and satellite TV.

Book your Valentine’s Day getaway at Tallpine Lodges! For more information on the resort or for booking inquiries visit tallpinelodges.com or call 1(866)-349-2209.

Whiteshell Business: Nite Hawk Cafe

The Nite Hawk Cafe is a family run business that has been a popular place in West Hawk Lake since 1970. Ellie Zimmerman and her husband, Harvey, purchased the restaurant over 40 years ago. The Nite Hawk Cafe serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner and includes a licensed dining room, covered patio, and a take-out and ice cream window. Sharon Morrison started to work at the Nite Hawk at a young age and now carries on running the family business along with her husband, Bruce Morrison.
NH1This past year was a big year for the Nite Hawk Cafe as the business continued to evolve. The cottage-country restaurant got its official claim to fame when it was listed in MacLean’s Magazine as one of the 10 Great Canadian Pit Stops as voted by readers. In the spring of 2013 the patio was renovated to include a custom covered screen room. This renovation has enhanced the patio’s aesthetics and provides a relaxing, bug-free outdoor dining space that can be enjoyed in rain or shine.

The newly renovated patio at the Nite Hawk Cafe.

The newly renovated patio at the Nite Hawk Cafe.

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This year is also the first year that the Nite Hawk is open all winter-long to serve the locals, winter cottagers, cross-country skiers, snowmobilers, and winter day trippers each week from Thursday to Sunday. Hours for winter 2014 are Thursday & Friday 10am-7pm, Saturday 9am-7pm and Sunday 9am-4pm. The Nite Hawk is also connected to the South Whiteshell Trail, and makes for a great cross-country ski start/end point. Parking for trail-users is provided courtesy of the Nite Hawk Cafe, and the restaurant is the perfect place for après-ski food and drink.
The Nite Hawk is a great starting point for cross-country skiing. Parking is provided to trail users courtesy of the Nite Hawk Cafe.

The Nite Hawk is a great starting point for cross-country skiing. Parking is provided to trail users courtesy of the Nite Hawk Cafe.

While the restaurant has evolved throughout the years, the Nite Hawk still serves the same delicious homemade gourmet burgers and fries. The menu now ranges from burgers and fries to healthy wraps, gourmet burgers, sandwiches, salads, appetizers, and much more. The restaurant and patio are now licensed and there are many signature drinks including ‘Sharon’s Signature Caesar’ and the ‘Mucho Mojito’.

Just a few examples of the delicious food and beverages that the Nite Hawk Cafe serves.

Just a few examples of the delicious food and beverages that the Nite Hawk Cafe serves.

 Every Thursday in the spring, summer, and fall the Nite Hawk has ‘Steak Nite’ that features delicious Certified 10oz Angus New York steak barbecued on the patio. The steak dinner includes a baked potato with all the fixings, a deluxe salad bar with three to four different salad options. Sautéed mushrooms, shrimp and scallop skewers and blue cheese are available! Be sure to drop by when local musician Doug Edmonds performs on the patio in the summer.
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Want to find out more about the Nite Hawk Cafe? Like them on Facebook or follow them on Instagram. Stay tuned for a new website launching soon!
Come meet the Nite Hawk’s amazing team of servers and kitchen staff next time you’re in the Whiteshell! For more information, group booking inquiries, or for details dates and hours of operation call the Nite Hawk Cafe at (204)-349-2580.
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Whiteshell Business: Falcon Trails Resort

Written by Emily Christie & Caleigh Christie.

960047_559212490834233_1781299275_nFalcon Trails is a family-run resort located at the southeast end of Falcon Lake which welcomes guests year round to enjoy private lake-front cabins with hot tubs, magnificent views, friendly people, and the beauty of the Boreal Forest and Precambrian Shield. It is a perfect mix of wilderness and rustic luxury. Owners and operators Barb Hamilton and Craig Christie first started building the resort in 1996 after teaming up with two other couples; Mike & Yuki Valasman and Rich & Lois Pettit, who worked together to dream up a business proposal of a year round resort which would provide a crutch to the struggling local ski hill. The resort accommodation would allow for visiting skiers to have a place to stay and thus make the ski hill operation a more viable business. Today, the ski hill and the resort operate in tandem and are run solely by Barb, Craig, their three daughters Emily, Caleigh, Brooke, and an amazing host of staff who contribute what has become a vibrant micro-community workplace.

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The resort embraces a progressive environmental ethic by striving to reduce their ecological footprint wherever possible. Some of the sustainable initiatives include:

  • All Natural Cleaning Products: we use non-toxic, biodegradable cleaning products to maintain all our Falcon Trails and High Lake cabins.
  • Well-insulated cabin design to save heating energy.
  • Passive solar lighting utilizing large windows on the southern wall.
  • Cold-water washing with phosphate-free detergent for all laundry.
  • Composting and recycling program to minimize household waste.
  • Naturally focused landscaping embracing the local habitat.
  • Native plant garden.
  • Inspiring a love for the environment by getting people outdoors and in the woods!
High Lake Eco-Cabin.

High Lake Eco-Cabin.

One initiative that the resort is particularly proud of is the High Lake off-the-grid Eco Cabins which were the winners of the Tourism Manitoba Eco Tourism award in 2003. These four cabins which are located on High Lake, 2.5km from the rest of the resort boast incredible luxury in a very remote and private setting.

373911_176271789128307_1968856398_nThe cabin’s shared features include:

  • Built using largely reclaimed or local materials.
  • ‘Remote Access’ to avoid habitat destruction and to promote sustainable transport alternatives (walking, running, biking, cross country skiing).
  • Solar-powered electricity.
  • Gravity-fed water supply.
  • State-of-the art indoor composting toilets.
Whiskey Jack, the straw bale eco-cabin on High Lake.

Whiskey Jack, the straw bale eco-cabin on High Lake.

The latest two additions to the Eco Cabin rental fleet include a log and straw bale cabin. The log cabin which was built with the help of local swiss log builder Walter Keller is a beautiful, rustic cabin made for couples with a fantastic lookout over the lake, right from the master bed. The straw bale cabin, with an interior timber frame design, is a beautiful example of how an unconventional yet extremely smart and environmentally friendly building technique can also be luxurious and comfortable. Falcon Trails pursues these efforts to respect and sustain the environment for ourselves and future generations to live, work, and play.

395515_499700016749672_496207185_nIn recent years, the resort has become akin to Manitoba’s vibrant music scene.  As an intimate live music venue, playing host to many concerts from artists such as Jim Bryson and the Weakerthans, The Crooked Brothers, Red Moon Road, Fish and Bird, Ridley Bent, Scott Nolan, Oh My Darling, the F-Holes, and many more. In addition to this, the resort and its cozy little cabins have acted as recording studios for a handful of albums. To offset the lack of weekend music festivals in the winter Falcon Ridge Ski Hill has recently started hosting the “Snow Dance Music Festival” where people can come out, go skiing for the day and enjoy music workshops all the day through in the comfort of the warm chalet, with a cup of hot chocolate of course!

1470207_559211180834364_1889254026_nClearly Falcon Trails is about more than just cabin rentals.  It’s participation in music, outdoor recreation, community, environmental ethic, and hospitality makes for an excellent opportunity for folks to get out and explore, participate and really experience what the Whiteshell has to offer.

Photos by Emily Christie.

The Silent Slalom Star of the Whiteshell

It’s a fantastic sight to see a slalom water skier cutting up a glassy calm lake, usually in the rising sun or the quiet of the evening, kicking up a wall of water with each turn and quickly zipping back across the wake. In the Whiteshell, this might be a less common sight in comparison to other water sports such as wakeboarding, wakesurfing, tubing etc. So it may come as a surprise to some to know that a professional water skier started her career in the Whiteshell and is now one of the top 10 female slalom skiers in the world. Experience the Whiteshell talks to Geena about starting out in the Whiteshell, travelling the world, and why she will always keep coming back to her roots.

1291423_10151713533411130_174525454_nThe name Geena Krueger is well-known in the water skiing world. She has travelled all over the world for tournaments, has several titles in the sport, is one of the top ten female slalom water skiers in the world, and is currently ranked third in Europe. It all started at her family cabin on Star Lake, in the Whiteshell Provincial Park.

Geena’s first experience skiing was at the family cottage on an island at Star Lake. She learned to ski at a very young age when her dad propped her up on his own skis.

“My very first memory I remember going on his skis and then I started going off the Star Lake beach on my own,” said Geena, who was only five years old when she got up on two skis. Then the next summer, at age six, she kicked off one ski and started slaloming around Star Lake.

Geena slalom skiing on Star Lake at age six.

Geena slalom skiing on Star Lake at age six.

In 1998, Geena’s family bought a cabin on Lake of the Woods (the Star Lake cabin belonged to Geena’s grandparents). On Lake of the Woods they were close neighbours to the people who owned Sportsman Marine & Ski in Winnipeg, who were the first to introduce the Kruegers to a slalom ski course and even gave them their slalom course because they didn’t use it anymore.  The Kruegers set up the course in a quiet bay on Lake of the Woods, close to their cabin.

Geena says she was about 12 or 13 years old when she started going through the slalom ski course, and she did her first tournament at Betula Lake in the Whiteshell.

“That was my first tournament, I was so nervous,” she said. “And then I did a Manitoba record, I didn’t even know what I was doing.”

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First tournament, breaks a record….. No big deal. But it was the start of what would soon become a professional career for Geena. From there she started doing a few more tournaments and then went to Rollins College in Winterpark, Florida. That’s where Geena became really serious about skiing. Geena chose to go to Rollins College because she knew that’s where she could continue to progress her water skiing career.

“Orlando is like central-water skiing, it’s like golfing,” she said. “If you’re a pro golfer, you’re going to go to Florida, if you’re a pro water skier, you’re going to Florida. Once you’re there it has all the best coaches in the world, best lakes, and best facilities.”

“Once you get into that envirnoment where there’s people around you that are taking it seriously, you get more competitive and it pushes you. And at that point, I knew I definitely wanted to do this professionally.”

1370283_10151713533661130_1606517052_nAlong with slalom Geena also does trick and jump skiing. Slalom, which is her strength and her personal favourite, involves skiing through a course that consists of six buoys, with an entry gate and an exit gate. For slalom, the maximum speed for women is 34 miles/hr or 55 km/hr. Once you complete the course at maximum speed, you keep shortening the rope length, making it more challenging to turn sharp and cut across the wake in time to get around next buoy. Trick skiing is based off a point system that involves two 20 seconds passes to do as many tricks as you can. Jump skiing is based off the distance of the jump.
1388102_10151713533696130_196526222_nWater skiing has given Geena the opportunity to do what everyone dreams of: Travelling the world to do what you love most. In March she skied at a pro tournament in Melbourne, Australia, and at another one in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in June. She recently received a bronze medal and the Europe and Africa Championships in Greece, and is heading to her first Open World tournament in Chile at the end of November.

Geena (far right) on the podium at the Europe and Africa Championships in Greece.

Geena (far right) on the podium at the Europe and Africa Championships in Greece.

Geena skiing on Star Lake - Summer 2013.

Geena skiing on Star Lake – Summer 2013.

All this world travelling doesn’t stop Geena from coming back to visit and ski at the place where it all started: in the Whiteshell Provincial Park. She says she will continue to return to the Whiteshell and Lake of the Woods every summer.

“I have so many memories here,” said Geena. “I don’t think anyone understands being out at the lake until you’ve actually been here. I’ve been to so many places in the world and I always come here and it’s just so peaceful; I love it here.”

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