With the recent snowfall cross-country skiers can finally kick off the season in Pemberton with a variety of free options.
Pemberton is an ideal place for the Nordic-inspired activity because it’s away from the masses and less busy than Whistler, said Carlee Cindric of Tourism Pemberton.
“It’s a quieter location,” she said. “If people are coming up to Pemberton for a day trip this might be something they could easily do.”
Cross-country skiing is also easier to learn than its more gravity-driven ski counterpart, and offers great cardio in a natural environment.
“It’s (an) easy (activity),” Cindric said. “You just pop on your skis and you go. It allows people to connect more with nature than downhill skiing because you’re literally immersed in it. The trails take you through forested areas that you might not be able to access at this time of year because of the snow.”
Among the various options is a new one for 2018: Big Sky Golf Club has groomed the cart paths for classic cross-country skiing and is offering access, for free, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day while conditions last.
“We’ve always wanted to (put cross-country ski tracks in), but it’s just been a matter of the fact that we don’t have the most reliable winters here in Pemberton,” said Big Sky Golf Club’s sales and events manager Holly Nunn. “There has to be a certain amount of snow for us to be able to hold it. It wasn’t until we got that big snow between Christmas and New Years that we could say we could pull the trigger on it.”
The golf club has groomed both the front and back nines for approximately seven kilometres of skiing fun for humans and dogs of all sizes to enjoy.
“It is dog friendly as well, but the dogs have to be on leash because when there is compression of snow and ice on grass it can cause irreversible damage to it. We can’t have people going all over the golf course on it so we ask that people stay on the tracks and that dogs be on leash, kind of like skijoring,” said Nunn.
Not only will you get a great workout going around the course, but you will also be able to refuel at the club’s restaurant. This year Fescues is in operation for the winter season and is open from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m., offering a large menu.
“It’s a great spot for après skiing and watching sports. We’ve got fondue and board games, lots of fun stuff,” said Nunn.
The trails aren’t just for adults and their dogs. Big Sky Golf Club has groomed two sets of tracks, allowing for side-by-side skiing.
The Spud Valley Nordics will also be managing the free cross-country trails at Nairn Falls Provincial Park, with their annual Spud Valley Loppet on Feb. 12 at a location to be disclosed.