In Saskatchewan, winter brings months of snow, cold, and dreary skies. You can pack your bags and deplete your savings account for a trip to Mexico, sit around the house waiting for the weather to warm up, or make the most of it with these winter road trips from Saskatoon!
I’m giving you a couple of options to help you plan a few memorable winter road trips from Saskatoon: Moose Jaw and Waskesiu. They aren’t too far from home, but just far enough that you’ll feel like you actually got away from it all.
Did you know that Do Sask began back in January 2017 with the sole purpose to improve my outlook on living in Saskatchewan? Now that it’s December, I can honestly say that choosing to spend more time thinking positively about my home province has led to some great adventures here. Read about two of my favourite ones in this post about winter road trips from Saskatoon.
But first, what’s the number one thing to do before you take winter road trips from Saskatoon?
Check the weather. It’s going to be your biggest consideration before taking off on a spontaneous winter getaway.
Icy roads can be dangerous to maneuver if you don’t have a whip with 4 by 4 – especially when you drive a coupe like me. So before planning a trip make sure you check the highway road conditions and the weather in your destination. It’s probably worth getting a tune-up and topping up the air in your tires, too.
Winter Road Trip 1: Moose Jaw is for lovers of everything Great Gatsby
Head south for the magnificent 1920s murals, underground tunnels of time, and luxurious mineral waters. Moose Jaw is a nice choice for a weekend road trip. And it’s totally walk-able!
My mom and I surprised my grandma for her 80th birthday with a one-night stay at Temple Gardens Hotel & Spa this September. According to their website, it’s “one of the world’s top 10 spas for mineral springs”. We packed our overnight bags and checked out the city for a day.
Either we planned the trip on the perfect weekend, or Moose Jaw’s tourism industry is on point because it was an action-packed 24 hours. We left at around 9:00 AM from Saskatoon and arrived in Moose Jaw just before our lunch reservation.
Lunch at Yvette Moore Gallery
We had the most delicious meal of our trip at their Gallery Café. Grandma and I both ordered the chicken salad sandwich with no regrets.
The old-school façade of this gallery compliments the artwork with its copper fittings. You could spend hours looking at all the pretty things on display. The local arts and crafts selection is one of a kind. I found a cute teal and gold glass pumpkin and some Barefoot Venus hand cream.
Afternoon at Sukanen Ship Pioneer Village & Museum
(This spot isn’t open in the winter, but it’s worth checking out. You can swap it for a trip to the Tunnels of Moose Jaw which a wrote about here.)
Sukanen Ship’s Threshing Bee weekend was the perfect time to go. The vintage farm equipment was running, there were old-fashioned lemonade stands, and many souped-up hot rods on display. My mom, grandma, and I couldn’t believe what we had found! It was like we were right back in the 1920s. Grandma said the thresher looked like the same one from her childhood on the farm in Quebec.
Dinner at Hopkins Dining Parlour
For grandma’s birthday dinner, we met up with one of my mom’s old friends at Hopkins. The restaurant that used to be a very large house is rumoured to be haunted, but I felt comfortable and ghost-free. I ordered the ribs and chicken. Grandma even got a complimentary slice of cheesecake for her birthday, so everyone was happy.
Relax in the Pool
During the wintertime, Temple Gardens mineral springs is as close to beach resort relaxation as you’ll get in Saskatchewan. It has an indoor/outdoor heated pool all year round that draws water from an ancient underground seabed. Soak in the healing waters outdoors during a snowfall if you want!
Grandma and I woke up early Sunday to try the pool yoga. It was fun to try a new activity before driving back home to Saskatoon.
Next up, my partner’s surprise birthday winter road trip to Waskesiu.
Winter Road Trip 2: Disconnect from the noise of everyday life at Elk Ridge Resort
The rooms at this golfing resort are comparable in price to an average hotel room because winter is their off season. Plus, with fewer guests the quiet was an added bonus.
My partner Chris is usually pretty easy to please when it comes to gifts. He isn’t big on crowds and commotion. And spending a lot of money on material things doesn’t really do it for him either. So when time was running out to get him a birthday gift this year, Elk Ridge Resort helped me knock it out of the park.
We left Saskatoon at around 9:00 AM Saturday morning and arrived in time for lunch at the hotel. I chose the chicken salad sandwich (again) and Chris had the Elk Burger with fries. Afterwards, we put on our snow pants and tried some of the free winter activities on the resort.
Get outside to make snow fun again!
No one likes to be stuck inside for 6 months a year just because there’s a little white stuff on the ground. You won’t be bored with options like cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, skating, curling, tobogganing, and snowmobiling. Elk Ridge also has an indoor pool with a water slide and hot tub, but we kept fairly busy exploring the outdoors.
Chris and I walked for over 5 kilometers in snowshoes, so we were ready for something to eat (and my hips were sore!). I remembered my friend Elle had mentioned how amazing the nachos at Walleye’s Pub were when she went this summer, so I had to get an order for Chris and I to share.
Eat nachos and drink beer at Walleye’s Pub
The server let us know that the nachos with added chicken would be enough for a meal. As you can see in the picture, they are layered with cheese and meat.
Walleye’s definitely didn’t go chintzy like most pubs these days. (They even added free guac!) You can get a pitcher of Coors Banquet and a mound of the good stuff for under $40.
Brunch like a boss
Chicken and waffles, anyone? How Elk Ridge knew to put my favourite meal ever on the menu, I’ll never know.
This version has bacon jam in-between a stack of two waffles. It’s the best brunch I’ve had in ions. Chris wanted to swap me his omelette. I declined, but let him have one of the two waffles instead.
Give the tobogganing hill your top priority
We rounded out our stay with a trip to the tobogganing hill and regretted not spending more of our time there. I had so much fun that I forgot to take a picture!
At the top of the hill, they had inner tubes ready to go and a warm-up shack complete with a nice wood stove. Flying down the hill and trying to avoid the snow ramp was both terrifying and hilarious at the same time.
I can’t express in words how much I want to do it again tomorrow, but I’ll have to wait until we can go back again…
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