Get into the Nordic Flow in Vermilion

Jolene Kisilevich #SkiNorthAB, 2021 Roadtrip Adventures, Cross Country Skiing, Drink, Eat & Shop, East of Edmonton, Highway 16, Outdoor Adventures, Vermilion, Vermilion River County, Winter Adventures

By Jeremy Derksen
Credit: Paul Lavoie / SnowSeekers

Vermilion, AB – Outside of Canmore, few places are as connected to Alberta’s nordic scene as Vermilion. When she first moved to Vermilion 30 years ago Caroline McAuley was looking for something to do in winter, so she picked up nordic skiing. She took her first lessons with Walter Scott (father of Beckie Scott).

“I needed an unstructured sport in the winter you could just go do,” she recalls. “I live right along the park so it was just a natural thing. I took a ‘learn to ski’ from Walter, my kids took jackrabbits.”

The development of the Vermilion Provincial Park trail network here in the 1970s set in motion a path which eventually led to Olympic success for Beckie Scott. Beckie’s parents, Walter and Jan, were part of the group that established the nordic program.

Read more on to find your flow skiing in Vermilion.

Today, Beckie Scott’s name graces the club’s lodge, an old CN train station that was physically moved from its original location to the park. It perches on the plateau above the river basin, at the trailhead of 15 kilometres of groomed nordic trails.

Caroline McAuley and Katie Zorn out for a ski at Vermilion Provincial Park. Credit: Paul Lavoie / SnowSeekers

As a community, Vermilion has developed a certain flow, a pattern of success, which is at least partly connected to the nature and nordic opportunities out their backyards. Creative new enterprises and fresh local shops integrate into downtown’s historic main street in an organic blend of old prairie and new school.

Discover more of Vermilion’s vibe in this story.

There are the mainstays, like Craig’s Cornerstone, with its fashion-based collective of retailers; the ever-popular Red Brick Cafe, with its rotating deli menu and third-wave coffee; Aria Restaurant, with Korean flavours and spices to warm you to the core.

An apres-ski dinner at Aria Restaurant, in Days Inn Vermilion, hits the spot.  Credit: Paul Lavoie / SnowSeekers

And then newer upstarts, like the aforementioned Copper Cork Distillery, and Night Owl Sweets & Treats, a new candy store with a vintage flair, and Burnt Rock Adventure Co., all opened between 2019 – 2021. And it all feeds back into the nordic vibe of the town.

“Having the park is part of that enhanced community,” says McAuley. “The park is part of who we are.”

  • For more winter inspiration, visit and take the #SkiNorthAB pledge!
  • Consider making a nordic circuit with a loop including Bonnyville, to the north, and then west to Lac La Biche.
  • Start planning your trip by visiting the #SkiNorthAB Experience Series for package deals and great rates on hotels, dining and activities.