Let’s assume you are keen to spend some quality time with your family on some snow trails in the vicinity. You have only a day on the tracks together, so you want to go on well groomed trails. Although you want to be together for at least part of the day, you each are also excited about spending at least a little time improving your skill level. Thus, part of the day’s criteria for each family member is to face opportunities at their own level. This means the area for outdoor adventuring in the snow must have a variety of trails, be well groomed, and feature different levels for different abilities.
Does anywhere in or around Grande Prairie meet these conditions? Glad you asked, since you will be blown away by our findings! The Nitehawk Recreation Area, is along the Wapiti River and is a mere ten minutes from Stanford Grande Prairie Hotel. It features 14 trails. It is a phenomenal place for anyone seeking the sun and outdoors and especially beginning skiers. Family skiers and advanced skiers may find it a tad less challenging, but everyone will enjoy the friendly atmosphere and should be ready for weather and conditions which will appeal to them.
As of the date this was written, all trails were rated Excellent. The Will-0-Way, Bob’s Bump, Easy Street, and Slow Poke are easy trails enjoyed by beginners, but also worth cruising on by experts and Intermediates. Temptation and the Shoot will intrigue Intermediate skiers. Two runs, Show Off and Home Run, are available for the experts. Intermediates who ski responsibly and experts can both enjoy schussing down Upper/Lower Roller Coaster, Connector, Highway 40, Aquatera Tube Zone, and Terrain Park. Everyone will find The Mogol Patch worthwhile.
We realize that conditions change with the weather, so invite all thrill-seekers who want up-to-date conditions reports and a list of operating days and hours to contact the Hill Hotline at 780-402-8977, or log in to gonitehawk.com/hill-report/trail-report. There, you’ll find whether to expect good or fair ratings for each trail, if it’s open or closed, and, best of all, whether fresh powder awaits you. The website also provides rates, information on a half-dozen or so clubs for all ages, and blogs which really tell it like is. Example, one February blog entices visitors with news of on-site barbecues to dare and tear themselves away from snow which had created epic snowboard and skiing conditions.
If you thought that Nitehawk was just a quaint little ski hill, think again. It is the Northern Alberta centre for training of ski and snowboard instructors. It operates a triple chair and platter lift. Ski lessons and rentals for over 300 sets of skis and boards are available.
Nitehawk may be smaller than ski hills located in National Parks, but its location means that you are safer since you don’t have to worry about driving in those dangerous mountain passes. 40,000 visits to the hill in one winter suggest its popularity. Nitehawk supports Grande Prairie interests big time. “Supports” is the right word because since its beginning in 1960 the area is run as a non-profit. And, its chalet in the wilderness can become the venue for a variety of events such as weddings, conventions and banquets.
Nitehawk is sure to answer your needs for exercise in the winter’s fresh air. Don’t be disappointed by the thought of winter ending, however. Once the melt is underway, look forward to the summer events which occur in a multitude of settings in the area: the Wilderness Campground, Gravity Mountain Bike Park, Luge Track and the Freestyle Water Ramp, where you can even practise ski jumping in the summer! No wonder Grande Prairie is so proud of the all-season Nitehawk development!