Winter makes up the majority of our year here in Alberta. But we Albertans are a resilient bunch – a little cold air never scared us away from some outdoor fun. After all, just because it’s snowing, that doesn’t mean you can’t get outside.

Lucky for you, Brookfield Residential thought ahead about what folks living in our communities could do to get outside when it’s cold. No matter the level of physical activity you’re looking for, who you want to do these activities with, or when you want to get outside for fresh air and fun, there’s something in the Orchards for you.

Here are the top five active things you can do today (or any day for that matter) at the Orchards.

1. Ice Skating

It almost feels wrong to live in Canada and not ice skate. Our country’s most popular sports are hockey and curling (both involving ice), playing pickup shinny is like a rite of passage for countless Canadian kids, and with the right kind of maintenance, you can easily ice skate for far more months than you can ride a skateboard.

The Orchards’ Resident’s Association has two ice rinks: one for general ice skating fun, and an NHL-sized hockey rink for those pickup games of shinny. Keeping these rinks separate was important for the community, ensuring everyone can enjoy their favourite on-ice activities without getting in each others’ ways.

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2. Tobogganing

Got a hill? Got something smooth and flat to sit on? You can go tobogganing!

Tobogganing is one of the easiest winter outdoor activities to get into. After all, who doesn’t love sliding down a snow-covered hill? It’s important to choose a hill that isn’t nearby roads and storm drain ponds. But when you find that perfect hill, you can slide down and climb up for seemingly hours and never realize how much time you’re spending outside.

The park space at the Orchards’ Resident’s Association have hills that are safe to toboggan on. With no water features or heavy traffic roads nearby, this is one of the best areas in the community for hours of tobogganing fun.

3. Walking or running on community trails

Almost every Brookfield Residential community has a system of paved and open trails for walking, running, or any other outdoor activity you can think will be fun. Whether it’s lacing up your runners to get some cardio, packing down some powder for snowskating, or taking a leisurely stroll to enjoy the day, these are the trails design for casual and everyday use.

The Orchards has well-maintained trails all throughout the community. The community trails make for a great alternative to being outside in an open and well-maintained environment that’s as safe as it is enjoyable.

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4. Hiking through a ravine

A nice thing about living in Edmonton is that almost our entire city was laid out with some sort of access to the North Saskatchewan River in mind; you’re never that far from some part of the river valley. Whether it’s the Mill Creek Ravine, Heritage Valley, or one of the countless parks throughout the city, you’re almost always a short walk or drive from kind of natural space that makes you think you’re hours away from any urban centre.

The Orchards is a short drive from ravine and river valley exploring spaces. Up Ellerslie Drive and down 111 Street there’s the Blackurn Community with park space and trails that connect to the Blackmud Creek Ravine. Best of all, it’s only about a 10-minute drive from the Orchards! You can spend hours taking in nature, listening to the birds in the trees, and seeing what wildlife you can encounter all while improving both your physical and mental health.

5. Build a snow fort

You can enjoy this playground favourite in the green spaces and designated parks all across the Orchards. This is a constructive and enjoyable activity to do with the family, but you don’t necessarily have to have kids to enjoy building snow forts. Get some friends together to carve out a space for some chairs and enjoy a private get-together with coffee and hot coco. If you see another group of adults making a fort for themselves, challenge them to see who make a bigger and more sturdy hangout space! After all, why should the kids have all the snow fort fun?

What do you think of our list? Have any favourite outdoor winter activities in your neighbourhood? Or is there something on our list you’re excited to try? Follow Brookfield Residential on Facebook and Instagram and let us know about your outdoor winter activities!