A lovable little ski resort tucked away in the woods, on the shores of beautiful Falcon Lake, Manitoba. Slap on the old sticks and grab a lift up the slopes, or hit the trails for nordic skiing. Either way, we recommend vintage Scandinavian sweaters, or anything your grandma approves is good enough for us. Inside the cozy chalet, watch your friends and family shoot down the slopes through the wall-to-wall windows and cozy up to the stone fireplace with a mug. Good food, good friends, ping pong, crokinole, live music, skiing and cabins.
Twelve alpine ski runs, including a no-messing-around terrain park. Lifts: one t-bar, two rope tows and a handle tow for beginners.
Tube run with lift.
30km of world class nordic ski trails (skate and classic) free for anyone to use.
TJ the trained avalanche rescue dog, in case of a Manitoba avalanche (and his certified ski patrol helpers).
Equipment rentals and set up.
Restaurant open for breakfast and lunch.
Curated live music every Sunday afternoon in the chalet.
Cabins available for rent right at the slopes.
Open weekends and holidays.
Hours: Lifts operate from 10:30-4:30
Follow us @falcon_ridge #falconridgeski
History: The Little Ski Resort That Could
This is a story about the good old days. It’s a story of how the good old days have made a comeback. At a ski resort. A ski resort in a most unlikely place for alpine skiing: Manitoba.
In the 1960s, so many people descended each weekend on the Falcon Lake ski slopes that the parking lot could not even fit all the wood panelled station wagons, though it tried its best. In the mornings after a good snowfall, Gord, a multi-decade regular at the slopes, a man with a remarkable mustache, would plow a section of the lake for extra parking. Friendly people from all around would hit the highway, hang a right and head down to the end of the winding road deep in the woods.
The lifts were powered by tractor motors. There was no emergency shut off in those days. One time someone got hauled up the hill by their scarf. It was quite concerning, but since no one was hurt, the ...Until Someone Loses An Eye rule didn’t come into effect. Keep in mind, this was back in the day, before safety was even invented. This was back when people hitchhiked. This was a time when everyone knew their neighbours, back when adults still had time for bowling leagues, back when kids were raised free range.
But we all know the story. Life got complicated. The pace of the workweek crept into the weekend. Folks didn’t have the time to be out at the slopes every other week. Then air travel became affordable and regular people began to fly far away from Manitoba, to the flashy skiing resorts in the mountains where no one knew their names.
The Falcon Lake ski slopes became a bit lonely down here at the end of the road. And eventually on a very sad day, the government, who owned the operation at the time, shut the whole thing down.
Craig Christie and Barb Hamilton, lovers of each other and lovers of skiing were sure going to miss the slopes. They recalled how Barb’s mom, Grandma Maud, used to work in the kitchen in the shack at the bottom of the hill in the old days, cooking hotdogs for everyone on the wood stove.
“Running water?” Grandma Maud used to say, “Yeah, we have running water: Me! Running up the hill with pails of water!”
Barb and Craig weren’t really business people at the time, but they did have an idea that might resurrect the abandoned ski facility. They were carpenters and so they figured maybe they could build some cabins on the lake and make a year round resort out of it. The bank thought maybe they could too and so the couple bought the ski slopes.
There they were with a young family and an inherently ironic business model of running a downhill ski area in the decidedly not downhill Province of Manitoba. But, with a little creativity in the kitchen, both literally and metaphorically, the hill came back to life.
Fun-loving people are re-discovering Falcon Ridge, the little ski resort that could. And the regulars are back too: Everyday Bob is there every day. Mark Hood, an actually pretty good skier finds ways to keep things interesting by spending his ski days gliding down backwards on trick skis. Snow clearing Gord shows the youngins how to keep their skis parallel. The local ski club, The Biathlon Bears, recently even produced an Olympic athlete, Megan Imrie. That’s a fact that makes everyone feel real proud of their underdog hill. We all think that's pretty good for a ski resort with no black diamonds. Although we do have a black dog named Islay!
Falcon Ridge is a labour of love that we’re so delighted to share. See you on the slopes!
The good old days are alive and well.