Nicola (Yellowhead Highway 5)
in the Kamloops Area
Harper Mountain is one of the hidden
secrets of the Thompson Okanagan region of British Columbia. This
family friendly ski hill in Kamloops offers great Okanagan Powder
for downhill skiers and snowboarders, as well as night skiing, cross
country trails and snowboarding - all at affordable prices. The mountain
has a local operation geared to teaching families to ski, and lifts
include one triple-chair and one T-bar, with 1,394 feet (425 m) of
vertical. Harper Mountain is located on Paul Lake Road north of Kamloops,
about 9 miles (14 km) east of Hwy 5.
Peaks Resort is an international four-season resort north of Kamloops
in the Thompson Plateau. Known for its sunny climate, Sun Peaks Resort
receives more than 2,000 hours of sunshine per year, and more than
five metres of snow. More than 80 trails and glades cascade from the
high alpine of Tod Mountain down to the award-winning pedestrian base
Winter activities include downhill skiing and snowboarding, cross-country
skiing, Telemark, dogsledding, ice skating, snowmobiling, snowshoeing,
and sleigh rides. Sun Peaks Resort is located east of Yellowhead Hwy
5 on Heffley Creek Road east of Heffley
Creek, 31.5 miles (50 km) north of Kamloops (45 minutes).
Former world ski champion and Olympic gold medallist Nancy Greene
Raine is the spokesperson and director of skiing for Sun Peaks Resort.
One of the best known names in Canadian skiing, her success at the
1968 Winter Olympics in Grenoble, France made a lasting impression
on Canadian skiers and non-skiers alike. Greene Raine, who first skied
at Sun Peaks in 1964 when the Canadian Alpine Championships were held
there, describes the resort as mellow. Many visitors, particularly
those from outside British Columbia, take a week at Whistler-Blackcomb
for the big hit; then they want to come to a resort that has a more
The opening of three new hotels and a new base lodge at Sun Peaks,
plus the installation of faster, covered lifts means that in the depths
of winter, skiers won't require an infusion of hot chocolate to warm
their blood after each run. After all, with 3,000 feet (1000 m) of
vertical, Sun Peaks has some of the longest runs in the province.
In the past, Tod Mountain was perceived as a place where a small group
of rugged, wild-and-woolly skiers went to enjoy some of the best powder
skiing in the province.
Sun Peaks has finally brought the mountain to the attention of a wider
group, something that's been promised here for decades. An extensive
network of cross-country trails runs from the village, around the
golf course, and through the surrounding forest, and is posted with
trail markers and groomed regularly. A skating rink and a public outdoor
hot tub also add to the winter ambience in the valley.
the North Thompson Area
In winter, the world-famous Helmcken Falls in Wells
Gray Provincial Park forms a magnificent ice cone, a view
of which is a reward for backcountry skiers willing to make a short
trek. Another marvel here is the frozen crescent of Dawson Falls.
Groomed and track-set trails lead cross-country skiers through the
park past the Majerus homestead, King Meadow, and the always welcome
sight of a warming hut. More challenging routes include the Corkscrew
and the Roller Coaster. Hut-to-hut backcountry skiing provides an
extended multiday winter adventure.
Cross-country skiers should also check out the untracked backcountry
routes in the region around Blue River on Eleanor Lake. Valemount
and Blue River are the hubs
for the Cariboo, Monashee, and Rocky Mountains, and provide the best
base you can have for your heli-skiing and snowmobiling
adventures in the area. In the centre of 3,000 square miles of the
world's best skiing, Blue River provides the magical experience of
heli-skiing, a thrill that has skiers returning year after year.