Cross Country Skiing at British Columbia’s Panorama Mountain

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Cross country skiing at British Columbia’s Panorama Mountain was much better than I anticipated.

We had a chance to ski it over Alberta’s Family Day Weekend. John and I had headed to Invermere in southwest British Columbia for a few nights.

It was new country for both of us and we were pleasantly surprised with the scenery.

On the Sunday of the long weekend, we made our way to the Panorama Resort, located 21 kilometers up a narrow road from Invermere. It’s not a road I would want to drive under adverse conditions.

I have always thought of Panorama Mountain as a downhill ski resort – which it is – but tacked along with it, are 22 kilometers of track set trails over a golf course and up the valley running alongside Toby Creek to Hale Hut and beyond.

"The view from Hale Hut"

The view from Hale Hut

We started at the Greywolf Nordic Center. You can rent equipment here and purchase a trail pass for $10 plus tax – if you can find it. It’s just past the turnoff for heli skiing on the left – though it took us three passes to locate it.

Then armed with their map – that needs some major improvements – we headed out. Initially we were confused because it felt like we were on one way trails near the Nordic Centre – but it’s just poor signage – something Mackenzie, the Nordic Trails Supervisor said would be addressed in the near future.

"The starting point at the Greywolf Nordic Centre"

The starting point at the Greywolf Nordic Centre

After skiing the golf course, which though easy and pleasant wasn’t what we had in mind, we found our way to the trails heading up Toby Creek and that’s when it got interesting. There were plenty of loops, and enough hills to give you a a few thrills. We made our way up to the Hale Hut – which offers warmth, outdoor fires and chairs with a view. Inside the hut is a guest book, with this note.

"Cheese fondue and hazelnut brownies sound good to me"

Cheese fondue and hazelnut brownies sound good to me

Leaving the hut we zipped past a turnoff to the eight kilometer out and back Barbour Creek Trail. I wish we’d had time to ski that.  But instead we made our way back to the Nordic centre, adding mileage by doing all the available loops.

"Sun poking through the trees"

Sun poking through the trees as we ski by

If you’re not into downhill skiing then I highly recommend hitting the Nordic trails (snowshoeing is also possible) at Panorama Mountain. It’s a little far to go for a day’s outing from Calgary but it’s a great activity if you’re in the vicinity for the weekend.

And then finish the day with a soak in Radium Hot Springs.

Getting to Invermere

Invermere is about a three hour drive from Calgary; add another 20 minutes to reach Panorama Resort. Drive to Banff and then head southwest on Highway 93 through Kootenay National Park. Pass by Radium Hot Springs and turn left onto Highway 95 towards Invermere at the junction with Highways 93 and 95. Follow the signs for Panorama.

Have you ever cross country skied at Panorama Mountain?

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Leigh McAdam

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