BC’s Top Cross-country Ski Destinations

If you'd rather glide through valleys than barrel down mountaintops, try one of these cross-country ski spots

BC offers many top-rate cross-country ski experiences whether you’re a seasoned skier or if it’s your first time carving tracks

The ideal cross-country ski getaway has at least 20 kilometres of skiable terrain for beginners and seasoned skiers.

Fresh powder, well-groomed trails and set tracks are essential. A gorgeous lake view doesn’t hurt either, as long as it isn’t next to a slick downhill turn.

Dog-friendly zones plus a cozy lodge with a fireplace are welcome bonuses.

Mt. Washington Alpine Resort

Although it’s ranked second to Whistler, Mt. Washington Alpine Resort‘s a dead giveaway for a first rate ski experience given the number of Olympic athletes practicing there.

The Vancouver Island resort boasts unrivaled snowfall and top notch conditions December through Easter. Start from Raven Lodge, and go until there’s nothing left in your noodle body except the will to make it back for cocoa at the Ravel Lodge Cafe.

Mt. Washington Alpine Resort grooms 55 kilometres of trails, evenly split between super easy, medium and advanced, including scenic routes through famed Strathcona Provincial Park, the oldest park in B.C.

Callaghan Country Lodge

Only 20 minutes from Whistler, Callaghan Country predates its overdeveloped neighbour and offers one of the finest combos of pure hospitality and unspoiled Nordic skiing in the province.

With 42 km of trails, Callaghan is blessed with an abundance of cold, dry snow; the average annual snowpack is 680 cm. A strong winter sun often beats down on Callaghan Lake and the surrounding trails causing visitors to utter words like “sublime” and “Nordiculous.”

Whistler Olympic Park

Although Whistler Olympic Park, home to the cross-country and ski jumping events for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games, once partnered with Callaghan Country, the trail-sharing cooperation is technically kaput.

In order to taste Olympic glory, drive two minutes past Callaghan, pay at Whistler’s gate and ski that half of the valley. Spoiler: You can easily connect between the two areas when skiing the trails.

Manning Provincial Park

Drive three hours out of Vancouver toward Hope, B.C. and you’ll stumble upon a quiet winter wilderness where Canada’s big trees seem even bigger and snowflakes have the diameter of a saucer.

Ski 30 km of groomed trails without seeing another soul, except for a single masochistic snowshoer.

Manning Park also offers traditional ski waxing lessons, a rarity in a world of wax-free XC gear. Once you feel the glide difference, you’ll see why the prep time is worth it.

Cypress Mountain

Many cross-country ski buffs have a love/hate relationship with Cypress Mountain for weather-related reasons, but when conditions are clear, not wet, they glide by beaming. Only half an hour from downtown Vancouver, Cypress has 19 km of soft packed and track set trails for classic XC.

Cypress is a convenient spot to learn the basics, brush up, or even branch out to the sport’s less graceful half-sibling: skate skiing. No trip to Cypress is complete without a stop in rustic Hollyburn Lodge, built in 1926 in the heart of the XC trails, which serves one of the best poutines in greater Vancouver.