2016 SNOWDANCE Festival of Music + Winter

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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.

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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.

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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

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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

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Prices:
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.

 

Winter is coming…

We’ve had a fabulous fall this year, but with plummeting temperatures and snow in this week’s forecast, it’s becoming clear that the honeymoon with mild temperatures may soon be over.

But in the Whiteshell, that just gives you one more thing to look forward to. Cross-country skiing, ice fishing, snowmobiling down the trails or through the deep snow on the lakes, winter festivals, or cozying up in the cabin by a warm fire and looking out over a frozen lake; there’s tons of ways to make the most out of winter in the Whiteshell.

Here’s a little video of some snowmobiling across the powdery lakes that may help you get your stoke-on for winter in the Whiteshell this year. Video courtesy of Scott Benson.

 

 

 

Whiteshell Winters: Brian Gould Photography

The Whiteshell Provincial Park is a picturesque landscape for 365 days a year. In winter, the crystal-white snow, hoar frost, frozen lakes, and crisp clear blue skies prove this for a fact. And Falcon Lake cottager and photographer, Brian Gould, knows how to capture that scenery with a camera. Have a look of this gorgeous series of winter photos captured by photographer Brian Gould in the Falcon Lake area: 623-M 24-M 27-M 31-M Continue reading

2015 Snowdance Festival of Music + Winter

68456_686433198076352_1639633397_nThe Falcon Ridge Ski Slopes are well-known for their music scene, with just about every employee at the hill being a singer, songwriter, or musician. If you’ve ever been in the ski chalet for live music on Sunday afternoons or during a concert, you’ll know this for a fact.  And if you want to check out their music scene and get a true taste of winter in the Whiteshell, then the Snowdance Festival of Music and Winter is what you’re looking for. Now in its fourth year, the annual festival is scheduled for this upcoming weekend, Saturday, January 17 and Sunday, January 18. Each year the event seems to keep getting bigger, and this year the folks at Falcon Ridge are geared up for yet another fun weekend of music and outdoor activities. Even the weather is supposed to cooperate! 1545124_686432894743049_1937661563_n 1528495_686434858076186_1639403337_nThe fun all starts on Saturday afternoon live music in the chalet and several outdoor activities. In true Canadian fashion, some of the outdoors activities happening throughout the weekend include igloo building, trapping demonstrations, canvas tent cabins, bannock-making, chilli-eating, hot chocolate-sipping, snowshoeing, nordic skiing, skating, turkey shoot, snow-ga, shinny hockey, sauna, a polar bear swim, and, of course, snowboarding, downhill skiing, and tubing. 1554532_686432978076374_1951544883_n1601561_686433121409693_1608695562_n1017398_686435194742819_624286109_nSome of the talented musical acts that will kickoff the festival on Saturday afternoon include The Heinrichs Maneuver, Holly Stratton, and Slow Spirit. The music will carry on into an evening dance party with Biped Radio, The Mad Trappers, Shotgun Jimmie, The Sheena Band, and DJ Co-op. The festival music starts back up on Sunday with Railroad Tye, Red Moon Road, The Reverend Rambler, and Kacy + Clayton. There will also be musical workshops offered on both days. 1505306_686433788076293_563554658_n1535639_686433694742969_123098480_n1618690_686433441409661_2127754596_nSnowdance is truly a great way to embrace Whiteshell winters and enjoy great local talents as well. For more information on Snowdance or for ticket prices, head here. To get a taste of what to expect throughout the weekend, check out this video of last year’s Snowdance Festival. See you this weekend in the Whiteshell!

— Written/compiled by Marney Blunt & Emily Christie. — Photos by Emily Christie.

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.

Continue reading

Weekends in the Whiteshell

The temperatures are finally rising and spring is in the air…..  And so is the last chance to get in some awesome winter activities. The river trail in Winnipeg may be closed and the ice fishing shacks are off the Red River, but there are still tons of fun winter activities going on in the Whiteshell in the next few weeks!

This Saturday, March 15, is the 11th annual Falcon Lake Winter Fish-Off. This year the all-species fishing derby has $40,000 in great prizes and cash! Some of the prizes include guided fishing trips, fishing gear & equipment, a Canada One travel trip for two, and a grand prize of $10,000. Back by popular demand is the hidden weight prize of $50,000. Be sure to head down to the ice tomorrow between 11:00 am and 2:00 pm to check out the derby if you haven’t already signed yourself up!

The pike that won the 2011 Falcon Lake Winter Fish-Off.

The pike that won the 2011 Falcon Lake Winter Fish-Off.

On the following weekend, Sunday, March 23, Falcon Ridge Ski Hill is having their final hurrah of the season with the Slush Cup 2014. Head on down to the ski hill to have a beverage, enjoy a chalet meal, and, most importantly, strap on your board or skis and hit the slush. Contact Falcon Ridge Ski Hill for more information. 393241_269924959727180_1795004112_n

Head on out to the Whiteshell for your  last chance of ice fishing, cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, and other fun winter activities!

Through the Ice Crappie Fishing

Written by Ian Young, Shield Outfitters owner/guide.

The Whiteshell is home to some of the best black crappie fishing in Manitoba. Crappie are good eating and fun to catch, but as an introduced species to our area not many people know much about them. Here are some tips to make your next outing a successful one.

First off, know your lake. Does it have crappie in it? Do a little research. Locals will usually give you a little information and guide you in the right direction, even if they don’t tell you their honey holes. Where to start? I like to fish the deepest hole in the lake during the winter, particularly during first ice. The deeper holes contain the warmest water and highest oxygen concentrations at certain times of the year. Both of these factors lead to more active fish.  Because crappie are a schooling fish, they can be concentrated in small area of a large lake basin, making them very tough to locate. Try and find a point of land that reaches out into a deep hole. A sunken tree or other midlake structure can also provide something for fish to relate to and is a good place to start.

The author and owner/guide of Shield Outfitters with a nice 16" crappie.

The author and owner/guide of Shield Outfitters with a nice 15.5″ crappie from the Whiteshell.

Locating crappie requires a flasher. Usually feeding crappie will be suspended halfway up the water column. I start by drilling several holes and move around from hole to hole with my flasher, moving my bait up and down through the water column to try and find a fish. If crappie are nearby they will often come over and investigate your bait and you will see them on your flasher. I would never stay at a hole that doesn’t have a fish under it for more than about five minutes without moving.

Locating fish is half the battle, and getting them to bite is the other half. Crappie can the easiest fish to catch if they are in the mood. Catching one will often trigger the competitor within them and start a feeding frenzy among the school. However more often then not, and especially in the winter, it can be very difficult to trigger that bite. Crappie can be very sluggish in the winter and may hang out and look at your bait for hours without biting. If you’re fishing on a lake that allows live bait, they will usually out-fish artificial bait. However in the Whiteshell our regulations require us to use artificial baits. So I like to use a very light, 1/16th or 1/32nd  ounce jig with a minnow shaped bait to match. To fish such light baits you need a light action rod and very light line, my preference is a 2 – 4lb fluorocarbon line. Light lines provide the best fishability with light baits, but you must be careful when setting the hook and bringing fish through the hole as it does break easily. My favorite colour to use by far is Glow. Glow baits have phosphorous in them and store the energy of light they’re exposed to and emit it slowly in the dark. This gives the bait a light green glow and makes it highly visible. Glow baits work well in the Whiteshell because many of the lakes have stained water, and there is very little light under snow-covered ice. (Try supercharging your glow baits to make them extra visible by shining a bright light on them for a few seconds before they go down the hole, I keep my headlamp in my pocket for this reason).
IMG_0470While fishing through the ice, always be open to trying something new. Sometimes even being in the right spot with the right bait doesn’t mean catching fish, especially in the winter. Cold water and short light cycles cause fish to be very finicky and not eating much, and as a result can be difficult to coax to bite. Trying new baits and techniques will never hurt… especially if you can see fish on the flasher.

In the winter presentation plays a big role in triggering the bite.  I find when the bite is real slow and I can see fish on my flasher that refuse to bite, an ultra slow presentation sometimes works. I find when I hold the rod in my hand I cannot keep it still enough for this technique. The only way is to place the rod on the ice or in a rod holder (I prefer on the ice) and watch the rod tip closely for any movement.  I watch my flasher to show me where the fish is and I’ll place my hook just in front of the fish and leave it dead still. When I see the rod tip vibrate or dip down, I’ll grab the rod and set the hook in one motion.  If it sits still for thirty seconds or so without a strike I will jig a few times to remind the fish that my bait is down there and try to trigger strike, and then let it sit still for a while again. If that doesn’t work after five minutes, I will change my lure or move to another hole and find a fish that is more receptive.IMG_0468 copyCrappie are fun to catch and delicious, but it is important to practice good conservation strategies. Always use barbless hooks and release anything you’re not going to eat. Sometimes when you get into a school of fish it can be easy to think that there are tons of fish in the lake. Remember that you have found a concentrated school of fish, and removing too many fish from that school will seriously damage the population. Also it’s important to know that the biggest fish in the school are the most successful spawners. If you do get into a group of fish and plan on taking some home, set yourself some limits. Choose to keep only fish between 10 and 12 inches. That way you can bring home a good feed while still protecting the fishery.

Crappie fishing can provide constant action. If you don’t have the equipment or knowledge to do it yourself, consider hiring a guide. It’s a great way to get the kids into fishing and the outdoors.

Good luck out there.

A Winter Woodland Expedition

During the brutal cold snap we had around New Years, there was one day that was a balmy -15C. A perfect day to go camping in the woods.

The quinzee on Caribou Lake.

The quinzee on Caribou Lake.

I have never gone winter camping before, in fact I have barely gone summer camping before. Having a grown up with a cottage on Star Lake, I never really thought to go camping. Holidays and vacation time were spent hanging out on the dock and the boathouse.

So this winter camping trip to Caribou Lake was a great new adventure for me. Caribou Lake is an isolated little lake, just northeast of Caddy Lake. It has no cottages on it and is not accessible by road, so we took the snowmobiles through the woods to get there.

Hollowing out the quinzee.

Hollowing out the quinzee.

Firewood had been previously chopped and snow had already been piled up for the quinzee. You want to do this in advance so you don’t work up a sweat before sleeping in the quinzee. We got there around two in the afternoon. About six of us had sledded in, but only two of us were going to spend the night.

We started off the day with ice fishing for walleyes. The walleye on this lake aren’t huge, but they are a perfect eater size. What is really interesting about the walleye on Caribou Lake is that they have blue fins! According to the fishing experts and zoologists I was with, this is most likely because of the water colour in the lake. Fish can vary in colour from lake-to-lake as the water colour varies. However I was told that apparently there is a certain type of blue walleye, but not found in these areas.

A very blue tail on a walleye from Caribou Lake.

A very blue tail on a walleye from Caribou Lake.

After landing about five or six fish, we hollowed our the quinzee. The previous cold snap and massive amounts of snow had made it quite firm.

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A large cliff with a little nook in it made the perfect natural spot for a fire as the rock cliff reflected heat back quite nicely. This was the perfect place to sit and keep warm throughout the evening, and it also was the perfect place to cook dinner. My boyfriend had brought a deer roast – An entire hind leg wrapped in tin foil. Low and behold, there was a little ledge in the side of the cliff right above the fire; a perfect place to cook the deer roast over the fire. It was a true caveman style dinner… Except we had injected our roast with garlic-infused olive oil. The deer roast cooked for over the fire for about five hours. To be honest, I wasn’t overly confident in the idea of cooking an entire roast on a rock by the fire, but it turned out to be the best deer meat I have ever had!

The deer roast cooking over the fire.

The deer roast cooking over the fire.

Sitting beside the fire.

Sitting beside the fire.

After dinner my boyfriend took the rest of the crew home on the snowmobile, giving me some time to myself in the woods. They took the remainders of the deer roast with them – And thank goodness. While I know wolves are highly, highly unlikely to approach a human, when you’re alone in the woods in the dark your mind can have a tendency to run away on you. The last thing I wanted was to be sitting there alone with a delicious garlic-infused deer roast! However I enjoyed the fire for awhile while the others were gone, and no wolves were seen.

The candlelit quinzee.

The candlelit quinzee.

When it was the end of the evening, we rolled the snow door over the quinzee for a long winter’s nap. Well, it wasn’t that long. The quinzee was candlelit and actually created a lovely atmosphere, but our only mistake was that we should have layed down a tarp inside the quinzee to provide a bit more of a barrier between us and the ice. However the temperature outside was around -20C and the inside of the quinzee stayed at about zero degrees so we had a decent temperature to sleep in.

This was a great experience and a true outdoor adventure. I would recommend anyone to give winter camping a try. If you come equipped properly it is an amazing experience and an awesome thing to check off the ol’ bucket list.

Written by Marney Blunt.

SNOWDANCE: Festival of Music and Winter

Falcon Ridge ski hill is gearing up to host the third annual SNOWDANCE Festival of Music and Winter again this year, and the date has been set for January 18 and 19 2014!
snowdance_1Music has long been a part of the Falcon Ridge Ski Hill experience, with a staff comprised of about three quarters touring musicians, and a year long concert series hosted at the resort, it only makes sense that the two worlds be combined in a ski hill winter music festival, and if we’re lucky all this music and dancing will appease the snow gods and we will be rewarded with a season of that white stuff we love so much!

Photo by Sabine Trégouët.

Photo by Sabine Trégouët.

January 18 & 19 will bring two days of concerts, festival style workshops featuring winnipeg favourites Nathan, Red Moon Road, the Sweet Alibi, Darwin Baker (of the Crooked Brothers), Beth Hamilton, as well as some local talent to include Brooke & Ben, the Heinrichs Maneuver, and a fiddle concert featuring students from the local school.

Photo by Cheyenne Rae Music Photography & Video.

Photo by Cheyenne Rae Music Photography & Video.

In addition to the music, folks visiting the festival will be able to enjoy downhill skiing and snowboarding, tubing, x-country skiing, ice skating, outdoor campfire and a bannock bake, snow sculptures, night tubing, great food from the on site kitchen, and an organized sauna and polar bear swim.

Photo by Sabine Trégouët.

Photo by Sabine Trégouët.

 Tickets for the weekend are $35 which include full access to the two days of music, a lift ticket, a night tubing pass, and all the outdoor fun you can dream up!  Individual day passes are also available.
For more info, go to the website at www.falconridgeski.com/snowdance.php, including a full lineup for the weekend, prices, and videos from last year’s SNOWDANCE!