Yellowknife paddlers snow-kayak down Bristol Pit

Lauren Hogan snow kayaking at Bristol Pit
Lauren Hogan snow kayaking at Bristol Pit. Megan Miskiman/Cabin Radio

Instead of paddling the Yellowknife River or practising in a pool, Somba K’e Paddling Club members spent their weekend at Bristol Pit snow kayaking.

Club president Lauren Hogan said the recently ended municipal strike meant members couldn’t use the pool for their regular courses. Itching to get in the boats, snow kayaking was their next best bet.

Bristol Pit, a former gravel pit and home to the city’s snowboarding club, offers some of Yellowknife’s finest slopes.

“We did it last year for the first time, and it was a lot icier because we did it later in the season,” she said.



“Today, the snow is a bit stickier, so it’s not as fast, but it’s still a lot of fun and really good sliding.”

More: Watch snow kayaking on Cabin Radio’s Instagram

Kevin Cull, a club director, learned about snow kayaking through videos on social media. He was inspired to start the hobby in Yellowknife, saying it’s a great way to try something new and be active with the boats outdoors in the winter.

Kevin Cull carrying his kayak at Bristol Pit. Megan Miskiman/Cabin Radio

Hogan, usually a rower, described snow kayaking as “pretty scary, but so much fun.”



“It’s really fun going down. You’re basically in an adult-sized sled and it’s easier to stay in because they’re meant to stick to your body,” she said.

“You’ve got little dowels that act as your de-facto paddles, so instead of ruining our actual paddles, we use these dowels to give us a little bit of direction.”

Cull, a longtime kayaker, took riskier routes on the hill, excited to try new runs that were unusable last year.

“Since it was so icy last year, we had to be more cautious,” he said.

“This year, we got to try some sections of the hill that weren’t really safe last year and it was really fun to try.”

If the weather holds, the club may stage another snow kayaking day in April. Updates can be found on the club’s Facebook page. If you want to participate, you must be a registered member.