Family Fun at Mission Ridge
The cold air stung my face as I headed up the lift. The park would close soon, and a storm was brewing out on the horizon. I had one more chance to get down the hill before the park closed.
I would love to say I skied down the hill, but that would be a lie. Instead, I took the lift up, saw how high up I was, and immediately took the lift right back down. I did make my way down “Mission Possible”, though, even if it is just a training hill. Having never touched skis before in my life, the gradual slope was just fast enough that I bear-hugged my instructor most of the way down. My trip up the lift was strictly for sightseeing purposes, but one day I’ll master those runs too.
At 320 vertical feet and with 25 acres of skiing and snowboarding area, Mission Ridge Winter Park welcomes people of all ages and skill levels. You can rent equipment if you need it, and practice your skiing or snowboarding skills either as a group, in a class or by yourself.
While outdoor winter activities often have a stigma of being adult orientated, a large part of Mission Ridge’s program is dedicated to teaching school children. Annually, the winter park gets between 15,000 to 20,000 school kids from mid-December to late March. For ages six and under, Mission Ridge has the “Lil’ Tots Beginner Package”. This package includes an hour long one-on-one private lesson, equipment rentals and a Beginner Area Lift Pass for only $60. For those seven and older, Mission Ridge has the “Learn to Ski/Snowboard Package” which is a 75 minute group lesson that runs four times a day. This is the package I took, and I highly recommend it for anybody new at the sport. As an inexperienced skier, the package taught me the basics of downhill skiing and made me much more comfortable if I ever wanted to hit the slopes again.
For a more immersive lesson, the staff at Mission Ridge also puts on “Kids Kampus”. This is a three day, twice a day program dedicated to teaching kids between the ages of 6 – 12 lifelong skiing and snowboarding lessons. These lessons are provided four weeks during the winter. If you want to know about the schedule, you can visit their website, but keep in mind that the dates might change due to weather conditions.
Another service the park has is their brand new “Downhill Divas” program. New to the 2016/2017 season, this program offers a late-night opportunity for women over the ages of 19 to enjoy the slopes all to themselves. Running every Thursday night from January 12th to March 16th, this program is the perfect excuse to spend some time with the girls.
If you need a rest, a snack or a chance to warm up, Mission Ridge is also home to Bubba’s. This restaurant is a cosy, two-level eatery based on the foot of the ridge. Bubba’s offers a variety of different foods, such as pizzas, paninis, calzones, popcorn and hamburgers. Unlike the registration and equipment rental, however, Bubba’s only accepts cash, so be sure to bring some paper money with you. I didn’t know this going in, so I never got to sample their food, but I was told by several sources that Bubba’s has the best food in the valley.
Friday night is also party night at Bubba’s, with dishes like a pound of wings, a bacon cheddar stuffed burger and a deluxe nacho platter. They also have their famous Mission Ridge Poutine, which is a classic poutine topped with barbecue pulled pork and a mix of cheddar and mozzarella cheese. As if that wasn’t enough of a reason to visit this Friday, they also have half-price tickets, $10 lift tickets and drink specials.
At just under an hour away from Regina, Mission Ridge Winter Park offers an outdoor experience unlike any other. Run by over 150 staff, the park is the perfect place to take your kids, your family, and your friends. With courses and lessons available for people of any age or skill level, a trip to Mission Ridge is one of the best places to visit in Saskatchewan this winter season… Or, if you’re like me, to see the Qu’Appelle Valley from above. Either way, remember to bring a toque because it’s a long way down!