Last week, I gathered some friends together for a lunchtime skate date. I extended the invite online through the hashtag #lunchskatedate and other Internet-friend lunch-hour adventurers joined us! It was perfectly timed, as the Red River Mutual Trail had just re-opened after being closed due to an unusually warm January week. As an extra bonus, we were able to explore some of the brand new warming huts!
It was one of those perfectly sunny winter days in Winnipeg: blue skies, crisp air and blazing sunshine. It filled my heart to see so many people stepping away from their desks for fresh air, pals and frosty beers! Pro tip: if you live or work on the west side of downtown, you can access the Red River Mutual Trail from the Osborne Bridge.
Skating is one of those activities that you can do in a group and still go at your own pace. It’s a great leisure winter activity for all. Slow and steady or fancy backward crosscuts, we’re all on the same ice together.
It felt so good to be out in the sun breathing in the fresh air. I often think of The Forks as our downtown active community hub. It’s not that difficult to zip out to trade in your cubicle’s fluorescent lights for some sunshine on the Red River Mutual Trail.
We skated through the new warming hut "Open Borders" created by Joyce de Grauw and Paul van den Berg from Rotterdam, Netherlands.
The warming huts are great public art installations. Designers from around the world compete to have their designs built. Brilliantly staggered along the river, they pop up along the ice trail, making for great rest stops to explore and relax your skate legs.
Skating is one of the best "visiting activities." It’s not too intense, and you can just glide along while carrying a conversation (and forget that it’s exercise!).
We capped off our skate with lunch at The Common. Nothing like an après skate with an ice-cold beer! The lunch possibilities are endless at The Forks: soup, burgers, sushi, curry, noodles; you name it—it’s there. And there’s always a new restaurant popping up.
It really is the best way to spend a winter lunch break. Everyone trotted back to their offices feeling lighter, energized and happier. “That was actually super fun and super easy,” reported one skater on his way back to work. “I feel SO good,” said another.
Why not beat those winter blahs and sluggish afternoons by gathering your co-workers, boss and downtown friends and zipping over to The Forks for a #lunchskatedate!
And, if standing on metal blades in the middle of a frozen river still scares you a bit, I have good news! The Forks is offering Suds + Buds skate lessons from 8 - 9 pm every Wednesday night in February hosted by moi! All levels are welcome. I’ll work with you to build your confidence out on the ice so you can enjoy one of our city’s greatest winter gifts! Life is too short NOT to try it. Come on, it’ll be fun!