Not only is the West Kootenay region world famous for it’s downhill skiing and snowboarding, it also offers up some of the best nordic skiing around.
The reason is the quality of the snow but also the mild temperatures — you don’t have to bundle up for a -20°C session on trails or tracks. In fact, the average daytime temperature during the winter months in Castlegar hovers between -1 and -6°C, making it the perfect destination for nordic skiers.
Another good reason to visit the city for cross-country skiing is the plethora of terrain. Whether your preference is groomed trails, skate skiing, or exploring pristine areas, Castlegar has something for everyone. And the views are breathtaking.
The free C&W Rail Trail is an excellent example because it winds its way alongside the Arrow Lakes and through the mountains all the way to Christina Lake and beyond. There’s even opportunities to ski in the heart of the city on the trails of Millennium Park.
Other destinations within an easy drive of Castlegar charge a small fee so you can enjoy groomed classic and skate ski tracks. Take the Paulson Cross Country Ski Trails for example, which are managed and maintained by the Castlegar Nordic Ski Club and include 53 kilometres of trails of every level, 45 kms of which are packed and tracked. Located in coniferous forests at an elevation level of between 1250 and 1600 metres (4,100 to 5,250 feet) the trails offer stunning views of the surrounding mountains.
How to Get Here: Castlegar is located in the Columbia Valley and is an excellent hub for all things nordic skiing in the region. There are free trails to enjoy throughout and around the city and the Paulson Cross Country Ski Trails are only a 20-minute drive away. Visitors can also enjoy skate and nordic skiing at the two closest ski resorts, which are less than an hour away by car and include Red Mountain in Rossland and Whitewater Ski Resort near Nelson.
Weather: The skiing season usually starts in early December and extends all the way to mid April in the higher elevations. The excellent snow conditions and mild winter temperatures (daytime averages are between -1°C and -6°C) make Castlegar an excellent destination for cross-country skiers.
Types of Skiing: Castlegar offers everything from classic cross-country and skate skiing on groomed tracks as well as on ungroomed trails.
Clubs: The city’s main club is the Castelgar Nordic Ski Club, which manages the 53-kilometres of tracks at the Paulson Cross Country Ski Trails.
More Info: To learn more about skiing near Castlegar, we recommend visiting the Castlegar Nordic Ski Club website.