Photo Credit: Vincent Lock

Looking for a memorable winter adventure? Consider the warmth, inspiration, and energy of the Yukon. Only a few hours away from Vancouver and Calgary, it all starts with the comforts of a city setting. Quality hotels, exceptional cuisine, and superb shopping are standard fare within walking distance in downtown Whitehorse. Uniquely northern art galleries, museums, boutique shops, and many coffee shops are sure to surpass your urban expectations. Some come to Yukon to embrace and relive the rugged history of the early explorers, trappers, or gold rush stampeders. Others are looking for their winter experience to be cushioned with the refined comforts of fine dining, luxury accommodations, and a personal, northern concierge. However you want to explore, the choice is yours.

Pride yourself on your hairy legs, beard, or mustache? You’ll fit right in with a February visit around the Yukon Sourdough Rendezvous. If that isn’t colorful enough, rent a car and visit the Klondike’s Dawson City, where the additional latitude comes with some distinct Northern attitude. Visit Dawson City during the Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race, try your luck with the sour toe cocktail, or drop in to the town-run, gold rush–themed casino, Diamond Tooth Gerties.

While the urban experience is a welcome surprise, the magnitude and splendor of Yukon’s wilderness can only be understood through hands-on experience. Tour operators offer packages that take you into the backcountry by dogsled, snowmobile, cross-country skis, or snowshoes for a few hours or a few days. Either way you choose to travel, the meandering trails skirted with white-capped spruce will reveal the many tracks of wildlife active this time of year. Towering peaks, wide river valleys, and endless frozen lakes are accessible through an immense network of well-groomed trails. Maintained by dedicated snowmobiling enthusiasts, the Whitehorse Copper Trail, Dawson Overland Trail, and the Trans Canada Trail are ideal starting points. When you need to refuel, stop for a snack of caribou carpaccio, moose sausages, cranberry scones, and other locally harvested specialties.

After touring the hills for a few hours, park your snowmobile or skis on a lake and try your hand at a little ice fishing. From this vantage point it’s often possible to see caribou, wolves, or moose foraging along the mountainsides. Best of all, the end of a winter day is capped with the chance to view the magical northern lights.