Hitting the slopes isn’t the only way to embrace winter at a British Columbia ski resort. There are plenty of other ways to take advantage of the crisp weather and snowy wonderlands. Whether you want to throw yourself into thrilling adventure or just take it easy and take in the scenery, BC’s got it covered.

Backcountry skiing

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Backcountry skiers say they “earn their turns” hiking up slopes in the remote backcountry and carving turns in fresh powder. The demands are big, and the rewards, even bigger. Think untouched runs, glades, glaciers, and remote vistas that few other skiers will ever see. Plus, you’ll have the knowledge that you’ve earned every bit of vertical all on your own.

British Columbia, with its vast alpine wilderness and heavy snowfalls, is prime territory for backcountry skiing. To try it, join an experienced mountain guide on a day’s exploration, or sign up for a multi-day hut-to-hut backcountry adventure.

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Cross-country skiing

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No lifts, no lines – just gliding along a forest trail. Besides being a fabulous aerobic workout, cross-country skiing is one of the best ways to enjoy BC’s snow-draped winter landscape.

More than 50 Nordic skiing areas around the province offer everything from easy loops around ski resorts to world-class tracks at Whistler Olympic Park.

Cross-country skiers can kick up their heels at any of the BC mountain resorts – virtually all have groomed, track-set Nordic facilities. Some routes start in the village, so you can ski right from your condo door. Others feature lit trails for night skiing, which can make for a thrilling date night.
At trail’s end, rustic warming huts tempt with hot chocolate and woodstoves.

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Snowshoeing

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Wander among snow-laden trees, spot wildlife tracks, and go where skiers can’t. Snowshoeing is a serene way to experience the winter landscape and is remarkably easy once you get the hang of it. So beginners, kids and non-athletes can be trekking through the snow in no time.

Snowshoeing is on the menu at most BC ski resorts, where an evening stroll might lead to a fondue party at a backcountry lodge or a marshmallow roast in the woods.  

Serious snowshoers can sign up for a multi-day, hut-to-hut, guided trek in one of BC’s wilderness parks.

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Ice-Climbing

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Rock climbers, don’t hang up your ropes just yet. In British Columbia, you can try the winter version of the sport.

Many of those lofty cascades tumbling down BC mountain slopes freeze solid in the winter, creating a whole series of challenging climbing routes.

The Kootenay Rockies region and the deep canyons near Lillooet in the Coast Mountains have an abundance of climbable waterfalls, thanks to the consistently cold winters that keep the ice solid. And water freezes differently every year forming a unique climbing surface each season.

Dogsledding

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Mush! Channel your inner polar explorer on a husky-powered run across the backcountry. Speeding through a frozen landscape, powered by a team of racing huskies, is one of the most exhilarating ways to enjoy winter. Several BC ski resorts offer a variety of trip options. The teams of Alaskan huskies are friendly and love to run. Apparently they have just as much fun as the passengers.

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Snowmobiling

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Snowmobiling, the fastest way to get out and enjoy the backcountry, is a hugely popular activity in BC. Around 70 clubs around the province maintain trails and welcome newcomers to the sport.

Several ski resorts offer guided trips for beginners. At Whistler, a ride might lead to a fondue dinner at a cabin in the woods. At Wells, near Barkerville, snowmobilers can ride from their door to explore the vast trail network around town. Logan Lake, near Kamloops, has 500 km (311 m) of marked trails to explore, and plenty of space for fast, open-throttle runs.

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