In life sometimes we get stuck in a rut, doing the same thing day in and day out. We can be especially prone to this in winter and even those of us who have a winter sport can get into a routine. This winter, add some magic and memory with something that few of us choose to do in the winter – picnic!
Very few people think about having a winter picnic – carrot sticks or cold pizza on the chair lift is not a picnic, it’s awesome, just not a picnic – but it's the perfect winter interlude. If pretty out, a short walk is a nice escape, the snow makes everywhere a comfortable seat and the drinks stay cold.
The Elk Valley offers a multitude of stunning vistas for a picnic, and your mode of transport options are many; snow biking, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, back-country touring, or driving offer different experiences and views. You can even have a backyard picnic with the kids just for fun.
What makes a perfect winter picnic?
A wool blanket, while not the lightest, holds up to the snow and offers a firm place to sit. Add in a Thermos full of warmth, whether it’s full of soup or hot chocolate, plus a flask from the Green Petal with a little addition for the adults. Mix in some salami, cheese, pepperoni sticks and crackers for classic picnic fare. If you stick with cold foods some super fatty foods, like Brie or pate, will keep you warmed from the inside! On the other hand, if Brie is not your thing, Les Stroud, the Survivor Man, advocates whale blubber. Finish off with baking, cookies, or a chocolate bar from Beanpod.
Add a truly Canadian flare by creating maple syrup snow cones. We may not have any cabane à sucre, in Fernie but we certainly have the snow. If you bring a stove you can boil the syrup to reduce it then pour it over the snow to make tire d'érable or maple toffee. The sugar should power the kids through the snow.
Tips for Winter Picnics
- Carefully place your gloves and toques to keep them dry.
- Bring an extra layer or two for your stationary time when you may cool off too much.
- Bring a large Ziplock bag to hold any garbage so it doesn’t float around in your gear. Leave no trace. It’s a ghost move…
- Sunset is early this time of year, so have headlamps or plans to return before dark.
- Stay hydrated. During the winter, there is both less moisture in the air and it’s easier to forget that we’ve been exerting ourselves.
If you want to venture further than the backyard, Google the Fernie Nordic Society to find trail maps indicating which trails are multiuse and which are pet friendly. Maps are also available at the bike and ski shops in Fernie. For beginners or families, the Montane Warming Hut is a good choice, a 4km trip from the parking lot with minimal elevation gains and it’s accessible via cross-country or multiuse trails. For an intermediate snowshoe, make a loop of Stove and Dem Bones up to the power line for a beautiful view back over town.
A picnic is a great way to enjoy the valley and create some memories outdoors. Plus, picnics are always a classic engagement move. Grab some champagne, bundle up and remember nature is your ice bucket. No ring required.