Cross-Country Skiing in British Columbia

Posted Monday, October 20, 2014

Cariboo Chilcotin Coast, Kootenay Rockies, Northern British Columbia, Thompson Okanagan, Vancouver Island, Vancouver, Coast & Mountains, Vancouver, Whistler, Ski & Snow Sport

With more than 50 cross-country ski areas and untold backcountry tracks, plus stunning scenery and world-class facilities, British Columbia is one of North America’s leading Nordic destinations. Here are some top spots to kick and glide:  

Vancouver, Coast & Mountains

Cypress Mountain

Cypress Mountain, just half an hour from Vancouver, is where generations of Vancouverites learned to cross-country ski.  Sweeping city and ocean views, 19 kilometres (12 miles) of track-set trails, and home cooking at the historic Hollyburn Lodge continue to make Cypress a favourite Nordic destination. Getting there? Hop the Cypress Mountain Express Bus from several Vancouver area stops.

Whistler Olympic Park

This 2010 Olympic Winter Games legacy, just 24 kilometres (15 miles) north of Whistler, boasts wide, impeccably groomed trails and Olympic-standard amenities. Alongside the Whistler Olympic Park Day Lodge (housing Brandywine Café), there’s a full-service rental shop, lessons, Wednesday night skiing, a kids’ ski play area and toboggan hill, and even dog-friendly trails. Whistler Olympic Park has a biathlon range and access to extensive backcountry skiing. Trails link the park to Callaghan Country and a ski-in wilderness lodge in the Callaghan Valley (a single pass will allow you to ski both areas).;;

Dakota Ridge Winter Recreation Area

Sweeping ocean views draw skiers to this snowy plateau on the Sunshine Coast, just north of Vancouver. The 19-kilometre (11 mile) track-set trail system (classic and skate) has a warming hut and volunteer trail hosts. Alpha Adventures in Sechelt offers rentals, lessons and tours.;

E.C. Manning Provincial Park and Manning Park Resort

Three hours east of Vancouver, E.C. Manning Provincial Park and Manning Park Resort offer winter sport enthusiasts many options,  including downhill, cross-country and backcountry skiing. There’s even winter camping in one of Canada’s few RV friendly ski-in/ski-out campsites. Nordic skiers enjoy groomed, mostly easy trails, plus a wealth of services, including rentals and a ski shuttle, at Manning Park Resort.;


Vancouver Island

Mount Washington Alpine Resort

The 55-kilometre (34-mile) trail system at Mount Washington Alpine Resort rolls past ocean-view alpine meadows and threads in and around the snowy wilderness of Strathcona Provincial Park.  Experts are in their element here, with lift-accessed trails (a rarity in Nordic circles) opening up a vast range of terrain. Families and beginners are welcome, too, with easy trails and even a pet-friendly trail. Food, rentals and lessons are available at the resort’s Raven Lodge.


The Thompson Okanagan

Silver Star Mountain Resort & the Sovereign Lake Nordic Centre

Silver Star Mountain Resort, near Vernon, is home to 55 kilometres (34 miles) of groomed Nordic track. This network connects to trails at the Sovereign Lake Nordic Area next door, forming more than 105 kilometres (65miles) of top-flight cross-country skiing (a combined pass offers access to both). The great facilities, reliable weather and long season are so attractive that several top teams, including the Canadian and US national teams, train here.; 

Larch Hills Cross-Country Ski Area

Wildlife sightings and lake views abound at this volunteer-run ski area just east of Salmon Arm in the province’s Thompson Okanagan region. Close to 100 kilometres (62 miles) of backcountry routes as well as 50 kilometres (31 miles) of classic and skate track-set trails wind through the mountainside larch and evergreen forests. The Larch Hills Ski Club operates a chalet, a remote overnight cabin near the trails, and two warming huts, while John’s Ski Shack, at the base of the hill in Salmon Arm, has rentals and details about such special events as full moon and lantern ski nights.;


The Kootenay Rockies

Black Jack Cross-Country Ski Trails

The Black Jack Ski Trails, near RED Mountain Resort and the historic mountain town of Rossland, offer 40 kilometres (25 miles) of groomed trails and wonderful mountain views.  Black Jack also has warming cabins, night skiing, a long November to April season and one of the most active Nordic clubs in the province.



The Cariboo Chilcotin Coast


The South Cariboo

The rolling ranchlands of BC’s Cariboo region, around the town of 100 Mile House, are home to two groomed cross-country ski networksand to the world’s largest pair of cross-country skis (they’re at the South Cariboo Visitor Centre in 100 Mile House).  Two networks, the challenging 99 Mile Trails and the gentler 108 Mile Trails, add up to about 90kilometres (56 miles) of groomed track.  Local ranches, including the Hills Health Ranch at 108 Mile House, offer accommodation, post-ski spa treatments, wellness programs and fitness activities.;


Northern British Columbia

The Otway Nordic Ski Centre

Just minutes from the city of Prince George, the Otway Nordic Ski Centre hosts everyone from Olympic hopefuls to parents with tots in tow (the on-site rental shop even has ski pulks, or baby sleds). The 55-kilometre (34-mile) trail system includes a 5 kilometre (3 miles) night-skiing loop and is linked to the city by the skiable Greenway Trail.

Bulkley Valley Nordic Centre

Bulkley Valley Nordic Centre, near the Alpine-look town of Smithers, enjoys long seasons and consistent snowfalls. The 45-kilometre (28-mile) trail network at the base of Hudson Bay Mountain offers challenging and easy runs, plus night skiing and pet-friendly trails. You can even shush to the club’s own backcountry lodge Harold Price Cabin, 30kilometres (19 miles) north of Smithers for wilderness adventure far from the beaten path.

Onion Lake Ski Trails

The Onion Lake Ski Trails located between Terrace and Kitimat, have over 35 kilometres (22 miles) of groomed trails, including five kilometres of lit trails for night skiing, open every night. The trail system has been built to suit a variety of skill levels and still provide easy access to many small lakes and spectacular views of the valley. The Moose Hut is also available to members for day and overnight use.

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