There’s more to British Columbia than skiing and snowboarding in the mountains; BC is the choice winter recreation destination for Nordic activity enthusiasts! With over 1000 kilometres of groomed cross-country trails spanning varied terrain—from the picturesque Bulkley Valley in the north, to the majestic Kootenay Rockies in the west—BC is sure to appeal to both the first-time and well-seasoned skier alike.
Skiers at Paradise Meadow
We’ve combed the province and asked the locals that know to give the “best of the best” cross-country skiing and snowshoeing trail picks for your next day trip or weekend visit. Many trail networks are situated near communities, ski resorts, provincial parks and easily accessible by car. Tours, lessons and equipment rentals are available at most cross-country ski areas and resorts.
For detailed information about these trails and other Nordic trails and destinations in BC, visit www.bcnordic.com throughout the winter season.
Whistler Olympic Park/Callaghan Country Wilderness Adventures – Whistler, BC
There are too many great trails to choose from in the Callaghan Valley! Rob Bernhardt, chief of competition for the cross-country events for the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games likes to hit the Inside Passage, scoot over to Around the World and then climb up to the aptly named Top of the World. This 5-6 km jaunt is a relatively short and easy ski with rewarding views of the valley and surrounding peaks.
Silver Star Mountain Resort – Vernon, BC
The trails at Silver Star boast superb grooming and the famous dry Okanagan powder snow. From Sidewinder in the lower trails climb up TJ’s Corskscrew to catch the incredible view of the Monashee Mountains. A longer trek starting at the village takes you on a steady climb up to Alder Point Lookout. “It overlooks the alpine runs and you can also see the summit of Silver Star Mountain. Both routes are quite suitable for classic or skate, and don’t forget to bring your camera,” says Glenn Bond, Nordic Director at Silver Star.
Sun Peaks Resort – Kamloops, BC
The McGillivray Lake trail is idea for both classic and skate technique. Wind your way through a second growth forest, catch the stunning views of the three mountains at Sun Peaks and then climb up in stages before reaching the cozy log cabin at McGillivray Lake. Downhill thrills along dips and corners as you glide back to Sun Peaks village on the Great Grey Trail.
For those craving more challenge and scenery, ski up the Mainline trail, across Parkway and then up to the Callaghan Lodge on Wild Spirit. “It’s a great ski journey into the heart of the Coast range through old growth forests and offers spectacular mountain and glacier views along the trail,” says Rob. Reward yourself with a hot lunch in Callaghan Lodge before the easy return down to the base. You’ll gain about 600 m of elevation during this 25-30 km route.
Mount Washington Alpine Resort - Vancouver Island
The interconnected Paradise Meadow, Jack Rabbit, and Far East trail loops are a favourite among the locals at Mt. Washington. Barb Kelly, Strathcona Nordic Club member recommends the final loop of Far East for its great views of the Georgia Straight and Coast Mountains. Kick back at Raven Lodge for hot chocolate by the grand fireplace
Black Jack Cross-Country Ski Trails - Rossland, BC
Gibbards Trail is Black Jack's most popular trail according to Wannes Luppens, president of the Black Jack Ski Club. It’s a gentle winding green level trail that starts at the trailhead and takes you through cedar forests and open meadows, along a reservoir and past two cozy warming cabins. Great views of the Columbia Valley and the Rossland Range! Full amenities are available at Red Mountain Resort, just minutes away from the Black Jack trailhead.
Larch Hills Cross Country Ski Trails – Salmon Arm, BC
Blessed with a mixed species forest, skiing and snowshoeing on Larch Hills’ 125 km trail network is a special experience. Start at the chalet and ski up Larch Lake Loop and up to Cec’s Cabin. All snowshoe trails make their way up there too. Warm up inside or sit out on the deck and enjoy your packed snacks; the cabin is also available for overnight stays. From Cec’s Cabin ski out to Sky Trail through old growth forests and you may be lucky enough to see Larch’s resident moose milling about.
Dawn Mountain Nordic Trails – Golden, BC
Sanne van der Ros, events coordinator at Dawn Mountain counts the fun hills on Beaver Loop as one of her favourite trails. From there ski down a long gentle descent toward Hawk Owl, and then continue toward the open vistas of Upper and Lower Raven. The entire trail system, located at the base of Kicking Horse Mountain, is surrounded by amazing views of the Purcell, Selkirk and Rocky Mountain ranges.
Lost Lake Cross-Country Ski Trails – Whistler, BC
Chris Waller, co-owner of Cross Country Connection has covered all the trails at Lost Lake and cites Upper Fairway among his favourites. It’s challenging steep climbs, fast undulating descents and stunning valley and southern mountain views (especially at sunset) keep him coming back for more. He recommends Tin Pants snowshoe trail for ease of navigation and great views of Lost Lake.
Bulkley Valley Nordic Centre – Smithers, BC
“It’s hard to pick one trail at Bulkley Valley,” says Steve Howard, president of the Bulkley Valley Nordics, but Perimeter Trail gets his top nod. “This seven km trail is great for an afternoon outing. I love the boardwalk crossing Goldeneye Lake, and the peek-a-boo overlook of the Bulkley Valley. The reward of a hard uphill section by the lookout is a winding downhill through a quiet spruce forest.” Finish up your day with a hot beverage and lunch at the impressive Buchfink day lodge.
Cypress Mountain – West Vancouver, BC
Cypress Mountain is home to the largest selection of Nordic trails on Vancouver’s North Shore. Snowshoeing up to Hollyburn Peak (1326m) is well worth the effort! Start at Hollyburn Lodge and follow any of the trails up past the upper warming hut to their end, then trek up Hiker’s Access Trail to the top. At the summit, break out the snacks and enjoy a fantastic 360 degree panoramic view. For an easier trip, follow Far East Trail up to Old Man of the Mountain and check out one of the largest old-growth Cypress trees in the park.
Kimberley Nordic Ski Trails - Kimberley, BC
“We have several trails that offer spectacular views of the Rockies and surrounding vistas,” says Derm Kennedy, president of the Kimberley Nordics. That’s a guarantee, given the trail network’s location in the upper base of Kimberley Alpine Resort. The whole family will be able to ski the easy Spruce and Trap Line trails up to Mikwa Viewpoint and Sunshine Corner. Views in all directions including Fisher Peak, Teepee Mountain, the St. Mary River Valley and the Purcells to the southwest.