In BC’s Peace region, winter has long been regarded as a time where work comes before play. Amidst the hustle and bustle, local residents have not forgotten to kick back from time to time, and saviour the season.

Here are a few ‘can’t miss’ events that have become engrained in British Columbia’s far northeast. 

High On Ice – Fort St John. 

In February, Energetic Fort St. John gathers in the heart of the city for the High on Ice Winter Festival. Event organizer, Marissa Jordan says “The idea of the event is to get people out of their homes and embracing Winter! Whether it is through appreciating the arts, or getting physically active – High On Ice has something for everyone of all ages.”

The event is perhaps best known for its ice sculpting works, which draws talent from across the globe. Not to be out done, certainly it has much more to offer. Sleigh Rides, toboggan races, dodgeball, curling, skiing, bonfires, warm food, live music, ice slides, ice skating, ice fishing, cultural performances and so much more. 

Approaching its fourteenth year, the diverse agenda has stood the test of time. With that, the community-minded festival is likely to continue down a path of success for many years to come. 

For more information visit www.fortstjohn.ca/ice.

Trapper’s Rendezvous – Fort Nelson

Fort Nelson is most certainly a progressive community. That spirit has been cast in stone by a good old fashioned grit and braun. It has rested on its laurels to provide guidance and resilience to succeed today. This becomes clear during Trappers Rendezvous. A celebration of its gritty past, Rendezvous has occurred annually for decades bringing the town together every March. 

This is not your typical winter festival. Many of the events are tailored to replicate the fur trapping lifestyle. From log sawing, axe throwing, tea boiling, antler tossing, snow-shoe racing, right down to squirrel skinning, it is a look back into a time gone by. Equally fun, practically everyone in town gets geared up in there best trapping attire – flannel, mukluks, and all.    

There is great enthusiasm when it comes to Trappers Rendezvous for those living in Fort Nelson. Everyone has their favourite Rendevous story, and in a place where traditions seldom fade, the event carries on with excitement every year. 

For more information visit www.fortnelsonmuseam.ca. 

Canadian Open Dog Sled Championship – Fort Nelson

For a truly iconic northern experience, Fort Nelson also hosts the Canadian Open Dog Sled Championship. The event attracts dog mushers from across North America, and is often the last stop of the season for many of the professionals who race dogs for a living. 

If you have never been to a dog sled race, you are quick to pick up on the amount of preparation and training that must go into guiding a team of dogs through miles of wilderness. A stroll around the event ignites a sense of heightened energy. Each K-9 is born and bred to do one thing – run.

When you see the connection each musher has to their dog team, it becomes apparent that there is much more to it then simply vying to win a race. The bond they share with their team and the outdoors is obvious. 

That in part is the world of sled dog racing, and in northern BC, there is no better place to take in the action than Fort Nelson. In late March, conditions are often favourable for viewing with the warmth and excitement of spring already in the air, the Canadian Open is a great way to close out winter. 

For more information, visit www.tourismnorthernrockies.ca.

Tourism Northern Rockies/Destination BC