Cross-country skiing at Stake Lake in Kamloops is a top winter activity. Last month, I borrowed cross-country skis from a friend, recruited another friend who skis regularly to show me the ropes, and headed out skiing at Stake Lake to test it out for myself. It was my first time cross-country skiing in over ten years and I had so much fun.
Stake Lake is about 25 minutes southwest of Kamloops. The Overlander Ski Club takes care of the ski trails and there are over 60 groomed cross-country ski trails to explore. They also have an additional 5 km (3.1 mi) of dog-friendly trails, if you want to take your dog with you while you ski! It costs $15 for a one-day skiing pass, and for me, it was money very well spent.
Since I hadn’t been cross-country skiing in many years, I wasn’t really sure what to expect. Here are a few of my tips if it’s your first time out as well:
Caitlin checking out the trail we were about to embark on!
1. Recruit a friend
I didn’t want to go alone and I knew my friend Caitlin is an avid cross-country skier. I’m so glad I asked her to join me. She was able to give me lots of advice on what to wear, ski form, and tips, and she even helped me get my borrowed skis on when I wasn’t sure how.
2. Wear Layers
Caitlin recommended dressing in layers, and again, I’m glad I did. I wore two pairs of tights, two pairs of socks and four layers up top. You will work up a sweat doing this activity, so I recommend wearing wicking layers that are comfortable to sweat in. I was also very thankful for my tall wool socks.
Skiing down a small hill, right before falling! Photo: Caitlin Johnson
3. Have fun and be playful
There are some seriously good cross-country skiers and skate skiers on the trails at Stake Lake, but there are also lots of beginners. Since it was my first time out in so many years I tried to just have fun with it and not take myself too seriously, and yes that means falling.
Overall, have fun! Being outdoors in the fresh air during the winter months is so so restorative for my overall mental and physical health. I absolutely loved cross-country skiing at Stake Lake and plan to go a few more times before winter is over.
After 4:00 pm, they also have night skiing (some trails are lit, but they still recommend a headlamp). It’s only $10, and if you’re lucky, you may get the chance to witness some pretty incredible winter sunsets.
Stake Lake sunset. Photo: Caitlin Johnson
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How to get there: From Kamloops, take Exit 366 and follow Lac Le Jeune Road south for 22 km (13.7 mi).