Onion Lake offers an unspoiled sanctuary

Onion Lake offers an unspoiled sanctuary


TERRACE, BC ? In Terrace, British Columbia, being a pioneer isn?t just something special, it?s the norm. It?s a place where around every corner you are not only impressed by the surroundings, but also fortunate to experience nature just the way it should be. 

Pure air, old growth forests, bald eagles flying overhead and rivers stoked with salmon. Terrace is located on the banks of the Skeena River, home to the Kermodei Bear ? one of the world?s most unique creatures. Missing the recessive gene for colour, these bears are completely white and to see one is something that is said to strengthen the soul.

Community effort

It?s also home to some epic powder-filled adventures, including snowshoeing through volcanoes, skiing or snowboarding in unbelievable conditions and euphoric Nordic adventures that make the most of these pristine surroundings. 

It was a true community effort to put in the trails of Onion Lake where the Snow Valley Nordic Ski Club grooms and maintains these exceptional offerings. Pioneers like Terry Brown and Brenda Horwood were out there 10 to 15 years back with saws in hand, making a progress of six metres (20 feet) a day per person.

When you think about there being over 40 kilometres (25 miles) of trails, the process was an arduous one, but now anyone can come and enjoy the fruits of their labour for a small price.

Stay overnight 

Trails for any ability cut through an impressive wilderness setting featuring a few ups and downs from sinkholes from receding glaciers. With The Skeena Mountain Range in full view, a perfect day out will take people 45 minutes to an hour and a half  to ski to Moose Hut ? a spot that welcomes guests for an overnight stay.  

When I was there recently, it was the Dahler family who were using the hut as a base camp for the family?s spring break adventure. They were spending their days up at the local downhill destination of Shames Mountain and then strapping on their Nordic skis and making a trek to the hut for the night. 

Starry, starry nights

?The star gazing potential is huge ? one of the best spots on the planet to check out the heavens,? said mom, Lise Dahler. 

To maximize those starry nights, in 2002, lights were added to some of the Onion Lake trails allowing enthusiasts to enjoy the Nordic surroundings post sunset. 

"You can do it two or three different ways so you get a unique experience every time. We have about 5 kms of trails lit, so you can make yourself some interesting loops," said club president, Bob Oliver.

For more details on this top Nordic opportunity be sure to visit www.snowvalleynordics.com.

Getting settled

Terrace offers a number of B&Bs, lodges, hotels and motels, and also offers an excellent selection of multi-cultural cuisine that ranges from East Indian to Mexican and plenty of Old World favourites. 

When the sun goes down and you are ready for some fun hit one of Terrace?s many pubs and clubs and enjoy some entertainment while sipping on locally brewed pint. 

For more on Terrace, visit www.kermodeitourism.ca.

Inside tip: Onion Lake is about 20 minutes outside of Terrace, BC. Those interested should also pack the bathing trunks and on their way back to Terrace, make a break at the Mount Layton Hot Springs to sooth the bones.

Have you ever tried ice fishing? Here's a video of another top attraction in Terrace, B.C.

If fishing isn't thrilling, you'll certainly be singing after heli-skiing. Watch this video for a preview!

With an average annual snowfall of 480 inches (1200 cm), Shames Mountain is a powder hounds happy place. Only 35 kilometers from Terrace B.C., it offers 28 runs and plenty of access to backcountry bliss. Planning a weekend get-away is easy with five flights arriving daily from Vancouver on Hawkair or other choices from Air Canada. Rent a car at the airport using the #SkiNorthBC discount campaign then toss the bags in a welcoming room at a local inn or lodge then hit the powder.

If you go

Visit the official Terrace website to learn more about the region http://www.visitterrace.com/stage.php/events/activities

Check out the conditions at Shames Mountain here http://mymountaincoop.ca

Fly into Terrace via Air Canada and Hawkair with daily non-stop daily service: http://www.yxt.ca

For all your Travel Northern BC details, the folks from Northern BC Tourism can help make the planning process smooth. http://www.travelnbc.com

#SkiNorthBC and explore more. SnowSeekers has partnered with National Car rental to secure you a SnowSeekers preferred rate. Make a reservation online, or with an agent and in the Contract field enter XVC4SNO for a savings that could cover your ski pass cost every day.