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SILVERSTAR, BC — SilverStar Resort, just outside of Vernon, British Columbia, has integration down to a science. There’s not many snow destinations around where both Nordic and Alpine fans can enjoy some incredible runs and still be able to have lunch together at the top of the mountain.
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Being a snowboarder for eight years or so, it was a little freaky when SilverStar’s Nordic manager, Glenn Bond toured me in the direction of the lift. “SilverStar is known internationally for its Nordic opportunities,” explained Bond. “People will find tracked and groomed trails specific for cross-country skiing right off this main lift (Comet Six-Pack Express).”
I felt like a fish out of water standing in line on my skinny skis with both skiers and snowboarders, but it didn’t stop me from having a few laughs with some kids in line.
“Wait a minute, am I supposed to be on this lift?” I asked them, and one of the small shredders looked down at my feet and his response was simple, “You should have an interesting ride down.”
The kid was right. It was interesting, but far from dangerous, because just as Bond promised, off the lift awaited some easygoing downhill cross-country trails.
“Norway’s national Nordic team did some training here, and selected our venue as one of their top three favourites in the world. Norway can choose anywhere on the planet to ski, and to put us at the top of the list, that says a lot,” said Bond proudly.
Over 120 kilometres of trails wind through the SilverStar resort and neighbouring Sovereign Lake Provincial Park areas, providing access to some pretty incredible conditions. For a small trail fee (includes lift access), the options are endless as trails go from the top of the mountain back into the village.
It’s important to note these are all available from your door as most of SilverStar’s accommodations are truly ski in/ski out.
“With this kind of access, you and your family could literally pick four different sports, head off for your day and either rally up for lunch or at the end,” said Bond.
Still on the mountain, but off the downhill lift access areas, Bond and I enjoyed a cross-country trail called Sidewinder, which is literally cut into the side of the mountain and rings you around it, offering up stellar views of the Monashee Mountain Range, the Okanagan Valley and a chance to work on the tan.
“Traditionally cross-country trails are cut in the woods, with limited sun exposure and views – these points really make our options unique,” said Bond. “There was a survey taken last year by Forbes Travel which asked the U.S. Nordic National team to rank its top 10 worldwide destination favourites and Silver Star came out on top.
“What’s really exciting for us is that these national teams are looking for the exact same features as the recreational skier, quality, variety of terrain, sun exposure, views and ski in, ski out access.”
We enjoyed lunch at Paradise Camp, at the top of the mountain, only to get another great ski in through the afternoon down to the colourful village. Back in the day, construction laws included the use of a minimum of five colours to each building; against a perfect white background, the structures leave a cartoonish impression and a smile on your face.
Pack wisely – as mentioned, SilverStar is a one-stop-shop for winter adventures.
In addition to cross-country, Silver Star’s traditional downhill options are top notch. Some areas that got rave reviews from some fellow visitors included Putam Creek which is off the Powder Gulch express, and for Trevor Suer of Edmonton, Alberta it was the Doognog.
"It is a really crazy skinny little stretch with a huge pitch. If you are at all hesitant, don’t go there. Another place that was recommended to me was Valhalla Ridge. It’s out past Putnam Creek – it’s a hell of a hike to get there, but your reward is the Alder Point run, a really long double-black that’s lots of fun. You end up on a nice easy gree run called Black Pine Street which takes you back to the Poser Gulch express."
Not only did I do some Nordic skiing and a little snowboarding, I also headed out for a powder-filled sunset snowshoe adventure with Outdoor Discoveries, of which said company is now sitting up there on my ‘highly recommended’ list, but that’s another story.
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