January 10, 2020
Winter is in full swing here in the Maritimes, which can only mean two things: lots of snow, and lots of fun to be had! If you’re thinking of whisking away for a winter weekend in Cape Breton, you’re in luck — there’s plenty to do for travellers of all ages. Whether you’re looking for an amazing outdoor adventure or would rather spend your days indoors, we have great suggestions for your Cape Breton winter weekend.
If you fancy yourself a brewmaster, you’ll want to make tracks for Big Spruce Brewing in Baddeck. Open year-round, Big Spruce is the only organic, on-farm craft brewery and hop yard in Nova Scotia. They’re also always brewing up a delicious assortment of craft beers for you to sample. Some of our favourites include their Kitchen Party Pale Ale, Cereal Killer Oatmeal Stout, and the brand new Conniption Fit. Best of all, if you find a brew you love during your visit, you can take some home with you!
Cape Breton is home to some of the best skiing and snowboarding in the Maritimes. Not far from Sydney, you’ll find Ski Ben Eion, where they’ve been carving and tucking for over 50 years. In fact, they celebrated 52 years on January 18, 2020. You can join them for snacks, entertainment, exclusive sales in the Snow Sport Depot, and, of course, plenty of turns as you make your way down Redtail, Groovy Goose, Whiskey Jack, and more.
Further north, near Ingonish and along the Cabot Trail is Ski Cape Smokey. The skiing is second only to the views here, with 11 runs across nearly 60 acres of skiable terrain. Ski Cape Smokey is in the midst of a beautiful (and extensive) revitalization, which will include the construction of a new gondola that will open up even more of the mountain in the future. You can get a sneak “peak” of what the future holds for Ski Cape Smokey when you hop aboard a snowmobile for a guided tour to the top of the mountain. Or, simply get in all the runs you can — they’re open every Friday through Monday.
Traditional skiing not quite your thing? Try cross-country telemark skiing at Ski Tuonela — the only serviced telemark ski area in the Maritimes. Located about a 4 km “ski-in” from the Cabot Trail, a weekend at Ski Tuonela is a real outdoor adventure experience — one that involves a gladed telemark hill, over 18 km of skiable trails, and nights spent in the rustic Ski Village. Be sure to pack your camera and your long-johns, but don’t worry too much about your cell phone, there’s no reception out here — and that’s part of the fun!
Maritimers love hockey. And if we’re not playing it, we’re usually watching it. Nothing beats taking to the stands to cheer as the players take the ice. In Sydney, you can make your way to Centre 200 to take in a Cape Breton Eagles game. Formerly known as the Screaming Eagles, the team rebranded this season, but the fun, fast-paced style of play remains exactly the same. Whether you’re a longtime fan or joining the fans in the stands for the first time, you’re in for a treat at the good ol’ hockey game (the best game we can name!).
There’s “snow” doubt about it, they definitely get a lot of the white stuff in the Cape Breton Highlands. In fact, Cape Breton Highlands National Park typically receives between 120 and 160 inches of snow every year. That’s more than anywhere else in Nova Scotia! With so much snow, it’s easy to understand why this neck of the woods is a snowshoer’s paradise. You’ll find dozens of trails here to explore — for beginners and seasoned snowshoers alike. And while there are no park services available during the winter months, you’ll find all the roads are plowed and maintained, allowing for easy access.
We’ve only begun scratching the surface on everything there is to do in Cape Breton all winter long. For even more ideas, be sure to visit Destination Cape Breton. They have everything you need to know on upcoming winter events, eats, and accommodations. Plus, they’ve put together an epic winter bucket list you’ll love checking out.
We hope you enjoy your wintery weekend getaway in Cape Breton. Maybe, it will get you thinking about exploring other parts of the Maritimes throughout the year aboard our ferries. The MV Fundy Rose, Northumberland Ferries and The CAT offer you the perfect way to see the Maritimes the way they were meant to be seen — from the water.