Three snowmobile riders on top of a mountain with peaks behind them.
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Winter Activities

"The clean white of winter is good for the soul"

The West Chilcotin lends itself well to winter activities. In a land with few fences and where elevation changes constantly, there's a lot you can see and do on a pair of cross country skis, snowmobile or snowshoes.

The Chilcotin Plateau is in the rainshadow of the Coast Mountain Range so it's considered pretty arid country. However, the region usually gets adequate snow at the lower elevations for winter sports, and at higher elevations, 14 feet of snow is not unusual.

The Rainbow Mountains in Tweedsmuir Park are probably the best known snowmobiling area in the region with deep snow, marked trails, some of them groomed, and miles and miles of country to explore. There are even a couple of cabins for lunch or overnight stops and pretty good maps on the Tweedsmuir Park site showing snowmobile boundaries. Park officials expect you to stay within those boundary lines. The Rainbow Range Trailhead is on Highway 20 West of Anahim Lake just before you drop over the Bella Coola Hill. There is also a small ski hill there a short way in, and on the other side of the highway are excellent, groomed, circle cross country ski trails.

In a land of few fences, you can pretty much go where you please with a snowmobile keeping in mind a couple of things. If you are going to cross private property, ask permission first. Most importantly, stay out of areas where there are caribou herds. As long as we all respect that then we'll be able to continue snowmachining into areas that might otherwise be considered environmentally delicate. If not, then legislation will be passed to close huge areas to winter recreation and that will be a real loss to back country winter enthusiasts.

Some of the best backcountry skiing in the world is available in British Columbia's Chilcotin and Central Coast Mountians with ultimate back country skiing conditions available from March to June. A local charter service can fly ski mountaineering groups into the Waddington and Pantheon Ranges and into the Homathko for ski traverse trips. With over a million acres of prime powder, heli skiing and heli boarding are fast becoming BC's premier winter adventure.

Tatla Lake has several miles of groomed cross country ski trails and hosts an annual cross country ski race while resorts on Anahim Lake and Nimpo Lake sometimes keep some local trails groomed.

The Monarch Icefields in the Coast Range to the west and the Homathko Icefields to the south both offer terrific views and extreme touring for experienced and self reliant cross country skiers.

The Itcha Ilgatchuz and Tsylos Provincial Parks both offer excellent self guided cross country ski touring or snowshoe conditions but there are no set trails.

Keep in mind that the selection of operators and accommodations throughout the Chilcotin in winter is much smaller than in summer as many resorts and lodges are closed through the winter season.

On top of Trumpeter
A small plane on skis flies over snowmbiles.
Two skis in snow with Nimpo Lake and Coast Mountain Range as a backdrop.
A helicopter and pilot landed on rocks with an icy mountain backdrop.
Four small planes parked on Anahim Lake for lunch and a visit.
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