Leigh McAdam, a Calgary-based travel and adventure blogger at HikeBikeTravel.com, talks about all the adventures and family-friendly fun that Western Canada has to offer — even during Canada’s famous winters.

Mediaplanet: How did you get started in adventure and travel tourism?

Leigh McAdam: We moved our family when the kids were in grade two and grade four, from Niagara-on-the-Lake to Boulder, Colorado, to try a different lifestyle in a different country. Boulder was a terrific choice, as it’s got a mountain backdrop which we used as our playground for ten years.

MP: Who do you think adventure tourism is for?

LM: I think families with kids that are two years and older can do it, providing the parents have the skill set and the desire. I don’t think you have to wait till your kids are preteens to be adventurous outdoors.

MP: Why would British Columbia make for a great winter holiday for families? 

LM: Ski resorts in BC are doing a great job of catering to both the skier and non-skier. If you don’t like skiing, many resorts, for example, Big White, now offer a huge range of activities such as skating, ice climbing on man-made towers, sleigh rides, dog sledding tours, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling. Dining options are impressive at many resorts as well, so the parents are kept very happy.  

BC is famous for its hot springs. Visit Radium and Fairmont Hot Springs in the Columbia Valley, Harrison Hot Springs near Hope, Liard Hot Springs near the BC-Yukon border, and Ainsworth Hot Springs in the Kootenays. There’s the worlds longest natural ice-skating surface, the Whiteway in Invermere, and Golden and the Revelstoke area are famous for snowmobiling.

MP: What kind of tips do you have for adventurous families?

LM: Know your family’s limits and what your kids are capable of doing. It’s that push and pull; how much do the parents want to do versus how much the kids want to do, and where’s the compromise?

MP: Why do you think families should explore these kinds of opportunities?

LM: It’s fun and exciting to be outside trying some new adventures. Kids can test themselves, like on an ice-climbing tower where you’re roped up and completely safe. Why not try activities that make you feel good, and give you a sense of accomplishment and perhaps even confidence.

MP: What are some things that you’d recommend for Canadians to do in the winter season?

LM: I think dog sledding is a family activity everyone will love. You can’t help but fall in love with the dogs. Tubing is increasing in popularity because it’s so much fun. Who doesn’t love speed? Snowmobiling can be family friendly if you stick to easier terrain. There’s no reason kids can’t be out cross-country skiing or snowshoeing, especially as it’s a great way to connect with nature.  Take advantage of winter festivals around the country – whether it be Winterlude in Ottawa, the Winter Carnival in Quebec or the Kids on Track Winter Carnival in Edmonton. I also recommend checking out the tourism website of a city you’ll be visiting as they post events. Don’t forget to check out FamilyFunCanada for loads of ideas across the country.