By Jeremy Derksen / SnowSeekers.ca
Lac La Biche, AB – Snowmobiling through willow stands and old birch along Tom’s Trail (one of a handful of locally known cut trails), Heather Maekelburger wraps her arms around David Schultz and leans in, while he navigates the hairpin turns. Soon the trail opens out onto a bay of Lac La Biche and they both grin as Schultz opens it up, the engine growling to life as they skim across the bay.
As they go, they spot white-tail deer along the shoreline. Smoke wisps from the chimneys of ice fishing huts that dot the banks as ravens circle high above. For Schultz, who grew up here, these places and these sights are a reminder why he chose to return to his hometown after a sojourn abroad.
“You don’t realize how amazing here is until you see other places that don’t have the open spaces and the friendly community that we have here,” he says.
For Maekelburger, who recently moved here from the B.C. lower mainland after she and Schultz got engaged, some of the things that attracted her to the region were the bright, sunny days and open skies, winter or summer.
Trail expansion and newly refinished warmup cabin make Shaw Lake in Lac La Biche County a popular place to cross-country ski.
“I don’t miss the city,” says Maekelburger. “I thought I would but there’s just really good people here, and I love that the outdoors is so accessible.”
The region features an abundance of lakes and trails all ripe for exploration. One of the couple’s favourite winter places is Shaw Lake Provincial Park. Alberta Parks spent the 2020 offseason enhancing the cross-country skiing experience there, including trail widening and redoing the warmup cabin.
Later, over dinner at Fat Unicorn Brewery and Tap and Grill afterwards, the lingering glow of fresh air and exercise still suffuse their faces as the pair enjoy some hearty fare. Savory Siberian dumplings, rich black Imperial stout and heavy, filling portions betray the owners’ Russian heritage and hospitality, perfect after a day of activity.
Dinner at Fat Unicorn hits the spot after a day of winter adventure in Lac La Biche.
PLAN YOUR TRIP
Start planning your trip by visiting the #SkiNorthAB Experience Series for package deals and great rates on hotels, dining and activities.
For more winter inspiration, visit Snowseekers.ca.