There are two Ski Resorts in the Cariboo region:|
rolling landscape of British Columbia's Central Interior region was meant for
cross-country skiing. The many frozen lakes and the extensive logging road network
ensures plenty of variation. Despite the extremely cold weather of the Cariboo
in the harshest months of winter, there's still a very strong upside: no bugs,
no bogs, just blue skies forever! And in the distance, the peaks of the Cariboo
Mountains promise extended, untracked snow-trekking routes for experienced backcountry
explorers. This same terrain and the favourable conditions provide snowmobilers
with 6 months of outstanding snowmobile riding.
in the Cariboo
Photo: The Talisman Inn Motel
Mountain and the Quesnel/Barkerville Area
Mountain Resort offers some of the finest family skiing in British Columbia.
Generous snowfalls provide good conditions and the southwestern exposure provides
skiers with pleasant days and fine skiing conditions. The mountain offers a great
range of terrain that is ideal for the novice and intermediate level - a great
ski hill for the entire family.
Troll Mountain Resort is located 27 miles (44 km) east of Quesnel, midway between
Quesnel and the historic towns of Wells and Barkerville on Highway 26.
Guest ranches in the Cariboo-Chilcotin
are lively places in winter, when skiers come to explore the trails that many
ranchers groom around their spreads. Nowhere do the trails match those of 108
Mile Ranch, but farther north in Quesnel,
Forest Renewal BC seed money was recently used to upgrade the routes around Bouchie
Lake, just west of Hwy 97. One thing that Quesnel or a village like Wells,
an hour's drive east of Highway 97 in the Cariboo Mountains, has is an abundance
of character that can't be replicated at a lodge or ranch. Quesnel's riverfront
on the Fraser has the ambience of a city, while Wells has the ongoing gold-fever
vitality that once invigorated nearby Barkerville.
The pistes de resistance in Wells run through a beautiful, steep-sided
valley where moose graze year-round in the open meadows and the tracks of ptarmigan
and ravens, coyotes and rabbits, beaver and muskrat can all be seen as clearly
as ski tracks in the snow. Most skiers can easily cover the 5-mile (8-km) route
between Wells and Barkerville,
or other trails that loop around Wells. More advanced cross-country skiers head
from Barkerville Historic Park past the ghost town of Richfield and up
Mount Agnes, where 14 miles (23 km) of trails lead through the heavily
forested countryside around Groundhog Lake. For information on cross-country skiing
in Wells, call the Wells Trails Society, (250) 994-0001 or (250) 994-2352. The
annual Wells Winter Carnival takes place in January.
cross-country skiers will be challenged by the 8-km unmaintained Jubilee Creek
Ski Trail on the Bowron Lake Road, 6 km from Barkerville, which leads to the
foot of Mount Murray. The circuit used for the popular canoe route at the Bowron
Lake Chain east of Barkerville, provides a great 73-mile (116-km) cross-country
circuit during winter, accessed off the Bowron Lake Road north of Barkerville.
ski trails are also good at Ten Mile Lake Provincial Park,
north of Quesnel on either side of Highway 97. Farther north at Hush Lake are
the Hush Lake Cross-Country Trails (25 kms), accessed from the Hush Lake
Rest Area. Southeast of Quesnel at Hallis Lake on the Quesnel Hydraulic Road are
25 km of trackset and groomed trails at the Hallis Lake Cross-Country Trails.
Timothy Ski Area and 100 Mile House Area
Timothy Ski Area lies in a snowbelt area that enjoys sunny skies and warm
temperatures. Mt. Timothy Ski Area is located 14.5 miles (23 km) east of Lac La
Hache, 44 miles (70 km) southeast of Williams Lake in the South Cariboo.
Arguably the best track-set cross-country skiing in the Cariboo is found at 108
Mile Ranch, the home of 'Mr. Cross-Country,' Gunner Rasmussen. Not that Rasmussen
promotes himself as such. He'd much rather talk about going for an outing when
the moon is full, his favourite time to be out on the trails. In the rest of the
Nordic ski community, Gunner is acknowledged as the single best representative
of the spirit of skiing in the Cariboo. And the 120 miles (200 km) of community
trails that loop between his home in 108 Mile Ranch and 99 Mile House are unmatched
anywhere else this side of Washington's Methow Valley. Rasmussen came to the Cariboo
from Denmark in the 1980s and opened a ski and bike shop. A former cross-country
ski and bike racer, he joined 100 Mile House's Nordic Club, one of the most active,
well-organized ski clubs in British Columbia, with a roster of more than 150 hard-core
The trails are divided into two categories. Close to 108 Mile
Ranch the terrain is gentle: perfect for the gliding style that makes cross-country
skiing such a rhythmic experience. Beginner and intermediate skiers will find
these groomed routes just their speed. Closer to 99 Mile House at the 99 Mile
House Cross-Country Trails you'll discover 12 miles (20 km) of steep, high-performance
trails with tight corners and a variety of technical sections suited to marathoners.
Many of the trails in both 108 Mile Ranch and 99 Mile House are also lit for night
skiing, though nothing tops moonlight. Over 20,000 visitors a year come to enjoy
the cross-country skiing here. A user fee per day is charged, which includes the
use of a large log chalet built by the 100 Mile Nordic Club in the mid 1990s.
Ice skating is also possible here.
Mile House is the home of the Cariboo Cross-Country Ski Marathon, run
each February. To show that skiing is serious business here, the town's information
centre is adorned with the world's largest pair of skinny skis, accompanied by
a pair of 30-foot (9-m) poles, pointing skyward out in front of a modern peeled-log
cabin. Trail fees are collected at the 100 Mile House Visitor Info Centre, 108
Mile Ranch, or on the honour system at a drop box at the 99 Mile House trailhead
on Hwy 97.
Purists looking to cut their own cross-country tracks in the
Cariboo should head 58 miles (36 km) east of 100 Mile House to Canim Lake.
In summer, this is serious angling country. Once the big, 23-mile-long (37-km)
lake freezes over, the landscape turns into significant backcountry touring turf.
Several lodges at Canim Lake and nearby subalpine lakes remain open year-round.
For a substantial cross-country ski experience, don't miss Big Bar Road.
Located about 4 miles (6 km) west of Hwy 97 near Clinton,
this road accesses over 35 miles (60 km) of ungroomed trails. Approximately 12.5
miles (20 km) north of Williams Lake off Highway 97 are the well-developed Bull
Mountain Ski Trails (10 miles/16.5 km), maintained by the Williams Lake Cross-Country
West Lake Provincial Park, 18 miles (29 km) southwest
of Prince George off Hwy 16, is a favourite
spot for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and tobogganing. The 9 miles (14.5
km) of ungroomed trails are usually suitable for cross-country skiing from December
until April, and its large picnic/day-use area has the added advantage, during
those cold winter days, of an enclosed shelter for cooking.