Spring (Apr-June) is the peak time for outdoor sports in Nunavut. The bay is still frozen and snow still covers the ground, but the days are warmish (about 14°F/-10°C) and the sun doesn't set until late. You know it's spring when the high-pitched sounds of ski-doos touring the streets ramp up and every third person has raccoon eyes from their snow goggles.
The traditional mode of transport has been largely replaced by snowmobiles, ATVs, and cars. But some die-hards are keeping the sport alive, and in Iqaluit, there are still a handful of dog teams. The wide-open spaces of the tundra and the flat, pristine ice surface on the Bay make for ideal sledding conditions -- there are no trees to get in the way. Polar adventurer Matty McNair, owner of Northwinds (tel. 867/979-0551; www.northwinds-arctic.com), operates guided Tea on the Sea day trips on Frobisher Bay for C$175 per person (minimum two people). For a more intense, dedicated experience, Northwinds offers The Baffin Challenge, a 16-day trek through traditional Inuit routes near Iqaluit (C$7,500) or the Northern Lights package (a six-day version) for C$4,000. Your guide and equipment -- supplies, tents, and, of course, dogs -- are included, but the work (harnessing dogs, hiking up hills, and leading the pack) is a shared duty.
In the past few years, this adventurous sport, which has people being towed along the ice and snow strapped to a kite, has really taken hold, and in the spring, you can often see heaps of enthusiasts playing on the Bay. Guided trips and lessons, however, are harder to come by. Northwinds runs 12-day training courses and mini-expeditions (C$3,500).
During summer months, popular sports are boating, hiking, and fishing. Guided hiking and fishing trips are hard to find and not entirely required. Grab a picnic and head to the rolling hills near Apex or to Silvia Grinnell Park. Boating is a different story. Inuksuk Adventures (tel. 867/979-2113; www.inuksukadventures.ca) does various boat trips throughout Frobisher Bay, but not every day. Call to book.
Hiking Auyuittuq National Park
The Arctic Circle is about 14km (8 3/4 miles) from the entrance to the park, so a hike there and back makes a nice day trip. But beyond this point is where the landscape gets really interesting. You can even hike through the entire 97km (60-mile) Ashuyuk Pass, clear to the neighboring village of Qikiqtarjuaq, which will take you just under 2 weeks. Parks Canada recommends hikers completing the entire pass begin in Qikiqtarjuaq and hike south towards Pang. No matter which hike you choose, guides are advised. You need a boat or snow machine in spring to take you to the park entrance -- about a 40-minute ride from Pang and almost 3 hours from Qikiqtarjuaq -- and the park terrain can be challenging, at times (from the Pang side, even at the start of the hike, waist-deep river water flowing from the glaciers above is a likely possibility).
The most experienced guide in Pang, Joavee Alivaktuk of Alivaktuk Outfitting (tel. 867/473-8721) provides transport to and from the park (C$110 per person each way; C$220, including tax, round trip). Black Feather ([tel) 888/849-7668; www.blackfeather.com) outfits and guides small groups for multiday hikes through the park (14 day hikes are C$3,395, plus tax and C$150 park fee).
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.