Things To Do
BC’s Coolest Ski Towns
The case for skiing north of the border, written by an American
Imagine the freedom as you climb to a vantage point most people will never reach. Or the exhilaration of flying through powder snow. Snowmobiling in BC can be anything from an adrenalin rush to a meander along a groomed trail. Whatever style you choose, lasting memories are guaranteed.
This is what BC is known for. With 10 mountain ranges and countless meadows, this vast province—more than twice the size of California—is large enough that you can ride for days without ever crossing another track. Just wide open terrain, and continuous face shots of powder. Some of the best powder sledding can be found near Revelstoke, Golden, Valemount, Fernie, and Whistler.
Most snowmobiling clubs in BC maintain a groomed trail system that takes sledders from valley bottom to the alpine, often with a staging area where you can warm up by a fire as you take in the view. The Kelowna Snowmobile Club, for example, grooms several hundred kilometres of trails, including connecting loops around the Graystokes Protected Area east of town. Other popular areas for trail riding include Fort St. John, Vernon/Silverstar, and Cranbrook.
Want to connect with your family in nature? Try a family snowmobile adventure. Spend the day together enjoying BC’s scenic mountain trails, warming up by a fire, and roasting marshmallows. Some resorts, including Whistler Blackcomb, offer Mini-Z tracks for kids, where they can drive their own sleds. Other family-friendly areas include Kamloops and Salmon Arm.
The Gold Rush Snowmobile Trail is an epic journey that begins in 70 Mile House, north of Clinton, and travels along groomed trails and over mountains to the community of Horsefly, east of Williams Lake. As the name suggests, it follows a historic route travelled by prospectors in search of gold, starting in the 1850s. There are many entry points along the way, and the ultimate goal is to have the trail extend 463 kilometres (288 miles) from Clinton to Wells–Barkerville.
Want to gaze out at the Pacific Ocean from your snowmobile? Head to Mount Washington Alpine Resort on Vancouver Island. Or hire a guide to take you to the Pemberton Ice Cap, where you can sled on a glacier and explore an ice cave. Hot springs your thing? Ride around Radium Hot Springs and ease sore muscles in the natural mineral pools at the end of the day. Other locations allow you to ride above the clouds, where you can see for many kilometres in every direction.
Taking a guided tour into the backcountry is highly recommended for anyone unfamiliar with the area where you will be riding. Maps can be obtained from local snowmobiling clubs, and you should have avalanche skills training if you intend to go without a guide.
Featured image: Sledding in Invermere. Photo: @noelhendrickson via Instagram
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