A flatlander figures it out at the Overlander Ski Club in Kamloops


Kamloops, B.C. – At 7:00 am my alarm goes off, I hop out of bed, and peer out my hotel room window. It's grey and socked in. A thick layer of valley fog has settled down over Kamloops. No good can come from this, I think. Nevertheless, I ready myself for my Nordic ski adventure and hit the road to the Overlander Ski Club at the Stake Lake Nordic Ski Area, which is located approximately 25 kilometres south of Kamloops on Lac le Jeune Road.

Halfway there, like magic, I bust through the cloud layer—the classic inversion—and my spirits soar. Apparently, I'm wrong. Plenty of good, on many levels, is very close at hand. 

Kamloops Nordic
Photo: Andrew Penner
Stake Lake's combination of flats and rolling terrain offers something for everyone.

With beautiful baby-blue skies reigning over everything, I meet Dillon Stuart, the Director of Good Times (as he likes to call it) of the club. He sets me up with a pair of freshly-waxed, classic-style Nordic skis and gives me a pep talk.

“Oh, so you haven't cross-country skied in a dozen years? No problem. You'll figure it out.”

Watch SnowSeekers - Explore Kamloops in the winter on YouTube.

“With over 60 kilometres of expertly groomed skate and classic trails, Overlander is one of the top Nordic clubs in Canada,” says Stuart, near the end of our ski. (There are 15 kms of beautiful lakeside snowshoe trails as well.)

“The terrain at the Stake Lake ski trails really separates it from the other ski areas in the Interior. The ski trails are rolling, with many of the green loops being pretty much flat. The rolling terrain offers something for everyone, from the beginner skier who just wants to get out there to someone who is looking to really elevate their heart rate. Without a doubt, cross-country skiing is one of the best full body cardio workouts you can have.”

Not surprisingly, given the fact that it's a balmy Saturday morning in January, the parking lot at Stake Lake is fairly busy. Two or three dozen cars roll in throughout the morning.

Kamloops Nordic
Photo: Andrew Penner
The members of the Overlander Ski Club have been the custodians of the Stake Lake Nordic area since 1991.

“We've got approximately 800 members,” says Stuart. “It's a very active club. We host races, events, clinics and have a full rental program with both classic and performance skate ski packages available. And, of course, it's a very family-friendly environment. Families with kids of any age and ability love this place.”

Indeed, the welcoming, unpretentious nature of the Overlander Ski Club was, in my opinion, one of its greatest charms. Although we didn't ski more than 10 kms (blame it on the gorgeous skies and beautiful views, stopping for photos definitely got in the way!), it was a terrific experience all around. And breathing in all that pure, pine-scented air definitely did my body some good.   

The Noble Pig, Kamloops, BC
The Noble Pig is perfect for those looking for a creative menu, fresh ingredients and comfortable pub-style setting.

Later that evening, back down in Kamloops, our group enjoyed a pint, or two, and delicious après-ski fare at The Noble Pig and Brewhouse. An awesome brewpub that combines unique craft beer with scratch kitchen cuisine, The Noble Pig blew me away with its delicious ales and exceptional flavours. Breaded deep-fried pickles with Cajun dill dip, come on! That's just not playing fair! Kind of like when three seasoned skiers take a flailing flatlander to Stake Lake. 

When You Go

For more information about Kamloops and to start planning your trip, head to the official website.

Andrew Penner is a photojournalist based in Calgary, Alberta. You can follow him on Instagram @andrewpennerphotography

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