When the weather is warm, some like to take advantage of Weyburn's 8.5 kilometres of paved trails (map HERE), in addition to the 3 kilometres of mountain biking trails. However, there are fewer, but not none, out on those trails on the coldest days of winter.

Melanie Sorensen, who has been trying to get outside more and increase her physical activity, was out there on Sunday during the extreme cold snap we had for much of the past week.

“I had been walking outside on my lunch hours and I was really loving it, so then when the cold came in, I kind of stopped because I was freezing. Then when Sunday came and we got a little bit of a break on the wind, because that makes a huge difference, as you know, here in Saskatchewan, being in the wide open when the wind picks up, it really gets cold,” she shared. “So we got a bit of a break and I just decided to bundle up and go for it.” 

“Typically once I get out there and get going, I'm out for a good long walk.”

Sorensen said walking is a highlight of her day, “Beyond the fact that it's physically good for you mentally, it's just good to get out of your stuffy house, your stuffy work environment. Get some fresh air. Get that sunshine because just a few minutes out in the sunshine makes such a huge difference to a person's outlook.”

Being able to enjoy the fresh air in the extreme cold all comes down to dressing for the elements, she advised, and it's important to cover everything if you can. For her, it's the classic toque and scarf, the essential parka and the crucial layering of clothing under it.

“You don't need a thick, heavy pair of ski pants if you've got a pair of warm leggings, a pair of jeans, and a pair of wind pants. That's usually enough to to keep you covered,” she explained. “It doesn't take you long till you've realized you've overdressed. So some good layers that you can loosen as you go.”

Those who brave the cold to commute on foot or even to run their errands, not to mention the local running club who uses the trails year-round; they all know that exercise makes you warm.

“Yes, it's cold. But by the time I was barely four blocks into my walk and I was overdressed, so it's definitely possible to just get out and give it a try. I think you'll find once you get out there and get into it, your body warms up rather quickly. If you set a good pace and you'll be warm before you know it.”

She shared on her adventure on Sunday, when it was minus 35 plus wind chill at times making it feel like minus 50, and she walked 3.3 kilometres – passing Tera Jacobson on the trails who had done 6.6 kilometres.

“I live up on the hill and I am so close to those amazing bike paths that they have carved out all along the hill,” she shared. “It feeds me, I have to tell you. When I went out on Sunday I went up and down, zigzagged my way up and down. I came out the top of the hill, up near the old Signal Hill Arts Centre there, and I absolutely gave myself a 'Rocky' hands in the air , 'Yeah! I made it. Woo hoo!' It was very much a feeling of accomplishment.”

Another perk for Sorensen on the trails this past Sunday was seeing the dedicated service of another regular on the trails year round, Mike Manko-Bauche, who has been making a skating rink on the Souris River at River Park for a number of years, and he is also a key player in the formation of the mountain bike trails in that area, and of the Weyburn Mountain Bikers Club. She said she learned that he had gone there to use snowshoes to pack down the trails so they could be safer to use.

There's a few fat bikers that get out there and all kinds of weather and take advantage of those trails in the hills as well.”

“I really appreciated it. It was certainly easier than trying to get through some of the because of the wind, of course, there had been a few drifts that had built up in some spots and that made it a lot easier with the snowshoes.” 

She added that she had to remove her sunglasses, which she uses to protect her eyes from the extra-brightness the snow provides on a sunny day, as they'd become frosted and foggy from breath while bundled. So, she found herself a pair of ski goggles at Prairie Wind (as seen in the picture above) and she tested them out on Tuesday.