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Cabin Radio’s NWT winter staycations guide

Many NWT residents spent the summer of 2020 exploring their own territory. Now that winter’s here, there’s a whole new world of opportunities to discover.

In collaboration with NWT Tourism and the territory’s tour operators, we’ve put together this overview of great escapes and quick getaways available in the Northwest Territories over the next few months.

This page is just a start. You can find more ideas and deals on the Northern Staycation website.

We’ve split our guide into eight sections based on a list of northern winter operators supplied by NWT Tourism. You can find more operators on NWT Tourism’s website.

If you’re an operator and would like to add information to this page, use our form to get in touch.

Hotels

This winter, Yellowknife’s Explorer Hotel is offering packages to celebrate birthdays or anniversaries – or simply book a change of scenery for the weekend.

Packages include a two-night stay in a deluxe room (Friday and Saturday only), breakfast for two each morning, a three-course dining experience, and a $60 credit at the Trader’s Grill restaurant.

The weekend getaway costs $485 plus tax. Visit the Explorer Hotel’s website to book. You can also consider stays at the Chateau Nova Hotel or Days Inn Yellowknife.

Shopping

In Yellowknife, stroll down to Old Town’s Gallery of the Midnight Sun and Old Town Glassworks for your festive shopping needs. You can pick up some upcycled glassware from the glassworks or a gift certificate for use in the future.

Aurora Heat’s authentic Canadian fur warmers are available in Fort Smith and you can buy online. There’s much more available, too, from beaver-fur earrings to wrist warmers.

At the NWT Diamond Centre in Yellowknife, you can check out a wide range of diamond jewellery and loose diamonds.

Culinary

Aurora Village has turned its attention to NWT guests this winter. Experience one of the NWT’s leading aurora destinations in your own private teepee with free transportation to and from Yellowknife.

The dining hall at Aurora Village is usually open Thursday to Sunday – check the website for details. There are special Christmas openings from December 21-23.

Aurora Village. Adam Pisani/NWT Tourism
Aurora Village. Adam Pisani/NWT Tourism

The NWT Brewing Company’s Woodyard brewpub offers online ordering for takeout and NWT-brewed beer. On January 1, check out the brewpub’s special “hangover brunch event” from 10am till 4pm.

Yellowknife’s Copperhouse Eatery and Lounge is hosting a New Year’s Eve dinner and wine tasting. Tickets cost $200 including tax and gratuities, for which you receive a five-course dinner with selected wine pairings. Tables of two, four, and six are available.

With no tourists this winter, residents have been cramming into Bullocks Bistro for a taste of the legendary fish and chips. Saturday and Sunday brunch is now available, or you can stop in from 3pm on Saturday or 4pm on Sunday for dinner alongside regular weekday hours. (Don’t forget to pick up some fish sauce as a gift.)

Outdoor activities

Sundog Adventures in Yellowknife offers a kicksled tour to the ice caves and is developing tours related to guided skijoring, bikejoring, and a dog-mushing day camp.

Yellowknife Sportfishing Adventures says ice fishing can be comfortable! Head out with the family in a climate-controlled side-by-side, roll across the lake to a heated wall tent, and settle in with an expert guide and underwater camera.

Yellowknife Outdoor Adventures opens for the season on December 20 and runs until April 5, offering cabin and camp rentals, snowmobile rental, and guided snowmobile tours on Great Slave Lake.

Cultural experiences

Relax in B.Dene Adventures’ warm cabin on Akaitcho Bay enjoying cultural stories, traditional knowledge, and hands-on demonstrations from members of the Yellowknives Dene. Two new cabins are on the way for winter staycations!

At North Star Adventures, take the four-hour aurora-hunting tour from now until April for $119 plus tax per person. Tours depart between 9:30pm and 10pm.

Lodges

Yes, there are opportunities for winter staycations at NWT lodges! Yellow Dog Lodge, north of Yellowknife, will open from February 15 until April 15 starting at $360 per night. Snowmobile or ski halfway to the lodge and enjoy your own private cabin with activities like ice fishing, sledding, skiing, and aurora viewing.

An ice fishing tour with Great Slave Lake Tours. Adam Pisani/NWT Tourism

Are you a Yellowknife resident with your own snowmobile, GPS device and all the gear? Head out to Blachford Lake Lodge for the weekend or even stop in for lunch. It’s not just snowmobilers either – skiers and fat-bikers are welcome. “You name it, we’d love to have you,” the lodge says. Contact them for details.

Namushka Lodge plans to open on March 1 with a 10-percent staycation discount – plus an additional five-percent discount if you book before January 1, 2021.

Cabin rental

Castaways Cottages & Campgrounds offers private cabin rentals on the shores of Great Slave Lake. Private three-bedroom cabins offer aurora viewing close enough to Hay River that you can enjoy everything a Haycation has to offer.

The Bucket List Tour offers a cabin-experience aurora package with hot local fish chowder and bannock fresh from the oven. Book an aurora treat for $69 per person without transportation or $89 each with transportation included. You can also rent a cabin for a small group from $350 for six hours, or use the facilities for workshops and meetings with catering available on request.

River’s East Arm Tours has cabin rental and traditional fishing demonstrations available with a shore lunch included.

Explore the NWT

It’s not just Yellowknife. Head out with Noksana Mushing Tours in Inuvik and Tuktoyaktuk this winter: mushing and snowmobiling plus hot meals, tea and bannock, and storytelling by Bruce. Are you staying in Tuk or Inuvik for the holidays? Pick up a Christmas tour!

Great Slave Lake Tours offers an ice fishing experience in Hay River. Ride in comfort in Shawn Buckley’s classic Bombardier, set nets, and experience the vast expanses of the south side of the lake.

The Town of Fort Smith prides itself on being a small town offering big adventure. Contact Diane Seals at the town for package details. You can also explore attractions and packages from the Town of Hay River.

Already looking ahead to summer? Jackpine Paddle has an early-bird discount for 2021 paddling courses, youth adventure camps, and guided expeditions. There’s a risk-free Covid-19 refund policy, too.

Lastly, if this all feels a little too earthbound, take to the skies with NWT aviators. Pick up a private charter to any lodge or destination of your choice with Buffalo Airways or Air Tindi.


This guide is sponsored by NWT Tourism. Go check out your spectacular home territory!