Winnipeg will soon have approximately 30 new ski and walking trails in neighbourhoods across the city.
The new trails are an initiative by the Winnipeg Trails Association that aim to provide equitable access to the outdoors for people who can’t always travel to recreational trails.
“Our goal is that there is something within walking distance and something special in every neighbourhood,” said Anders Swanson, the executive director of the Winnipeg Trails Association.
Work crews have already started breaking new skiing and walking trails — that will double as a bike path — in neighbourhoods like Dufferin, Tuxedo, Norwood, Garden City and St. Boniface.
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Approximately 55 locations have been approved by the city, but the organization is prioritizing 30 key sites before taking on all the approved locations.
Project follow summer trail boom
The ski initiative is part of the Winterpeg project, a website that aims to create, map out and promote winter activities like skiing, skating, biking, walking and snow sculptures.
Swanson says the Winterpeg project fills a gap for Winnipegers who experienced a summer where trails and outdoor recreation quickly became an essential part of daily life during the pandemic.
The organization’s commitment to making the outdoors more accessible during the winter includes projects like a snowsports library — a sliding-scale rental service for outdoor equipment.
“We’re also making an effort to bring this to people who are new to Canada, to people who have forgotten how to ski, or how fun that can be,” he said.
$5,000 for the new trails was provided by the city’s Winnipeg Wellness Grant.
The newly created grant is an initiative spearheaded by councillors like Sherri Rollins.
“Families are getting out and getting active together, which I really love to hear about.” said Rollins.
“It [the grant] is creating options for folks during the pandemic.”
Swanson says he wants communities to reimagine snow in their neighbourhood and make the most of winter.
“There’s more to come this winter. We’ve got all sorts of interesting plans, so keep an eye on that website, keep an eye on that map,” he said.
The Winnipeg Trails Association is looking for volunteers to help build snow benches, sculptures, keep up with grooming and provide feedback on the new trails.