It’s a classic Hay River experience, one you can’t have anywhere else: sliding smoothly along a river valley trail through groves of aspen and spruce on a crisp, clear afternoon. You’ll see animal tracks, maybe even a glimpse of boreal wildlife. And you’ll be travelling in the path of a champion.
From its first days as a hardy band of trail-building recreational skiers in a rustic spruce-log cabin, to its contemporary reputation as a first-rate biathlon facility frequented by the Canadian national biathlon team and home to Olympic athlete Brendan Green, the Hay River Ski Club and Nordic Centre has been a central part of the town’s outdoor lifestyle for four decades. It offers more than 20 kilometres of groomed trails for both snowshoeing and skiing enthusiasts, including 10 kilometres of lit trails — one of the longest lit trails in North America.
Just 12 kilometres south of the town, the ski club centers around a cosy clubhouse home to a full set of facilities, including a kitchenette, ski and snowshoe storage space and a recently added waxing room. There’s also a gorgeous log-cabin style clubhouse that operates during summer months as home to the Hay River Golf Club, a popular nine-hole grass course. For big ski events, such as the Ptub Race, both buildings are opened to handle the capacity crowds.
The ski club offers a variety of trails, each with their own distinctive flavour. There’s Ricardo’s Way, with lots of animal tracks, including grouse, chickadees and more; the scenic Solitude Trail, and of course the Brendan Green Olympic Trail. This mix of trails means plenty of opportunities for snowshoeing, classic or skate skiing. The ski facility and clubhouse are open for skiing 24 hours a day from November to April.
Hay River’s Olympian: Brendan Green, centre
The club’s most famous member, Olympian Brendan Green started skiing its trails at the age of three. After six years of cross-country, he decided to try his hand at biathlon, which adds the art of rifle-shooting to skiing. Green became the first NWT athlete in twenty-eight years to represent the North when he skied for Biathlon Team Canada at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympic Games. He was also a member of the Canadian biathlon team that produced numerous best ever results at Sochi 2014. Among them: Green’s ninth place finish in the 15km mass start, and his role as a member of the 4×7.5km relay team that posted a best-ever seventh place finish.
If you want to experience the best skiing North of 60, you’ll need to provide your own equipment, but trail fees are only $5. For more information, contact the Hay River Ski Club online.
At the Ptarmigan Inn, The Only Thing Missing is You!
For award-winning, outstanding customer service, stay at Hay River’s premium, full-service hotel: the Ptarmigan Inn. Located in the heart of Hay River’s downtown, the Ptarmigan Inn features modern, well-appointed rooms and a full set of amenities to fit every traveler’s needs.
Dining options include Keys Dining Lounge, the town’s foremost casual fine dining lounge and home to our famous Sunday Brunch, and the recently renovated Doghouse Pub, a lively uptown bar atmosphere with great weekly specials.
For business events, the Ptarmigan Inn offers meeting and banquet facilities that can handle everything from small breakfast meetings to gala dinner banquets.
As well, you’ll find a fully equipped fitness centre, 24-hour desk service and full laundry services.