It Takes a Ski Village to Raise a Troll
The sign says "Best Place on Earth." This local's secret is the real deal, going on 50 years. #SkiNorthBC #TrollResort
Quesnel, BC - Roll up to Troll Mountain, grab your skis or snowboard and be ready for the embrace. On the advent of Troll Ski Resort’s 50th anniversary in 2022, owner Hildur Sinclair reflects, “Troll exists because of the community that surrounds us.”
And that’s not idle lip service. From hugs to homemade cinnamon buns, to powder hungry skiers who’ll point you to the best glades on the hill, to night skiing and community movie nights, this ski hill is a village that is raising generations of avid lifestyle skiers and snowboarders.
“This is the best place on earth,” says Glen Boudreau. “And we have a sign just down the road that says so.”
Once you see that sign, be ready for a ski experience like no other.
Fifty years on, one thing hasn’t changed at Troll: stoke on a powder day. Loading the tee behind Josh and Jax MacKenzie, I get welcomed on a local’s tour of some of the mountain’s best glades. One line after another of fresh, flowing turns, jumps and jams.
A morning whips by. We hunt down stashes, laughing with giddiness on runs like Hurdy Gurdy, Wolf Glades and Coyote. I’m astounded at how much terrain, and how many incredible lines, are obscured from view by the plump, snow-bearing clouds that recline over the upper part of the mountain like old friends on a favourite couch.
Brushing snow off as I walk into the lodge, I see Sinclair sitting with two older men. I catch the twinkle in Dougal Hines’ eyes. I can tell he has stories.
Hines joined the ski patrol at Troll Ski Resort over 20 years ago, and still spends a good chunk of his time here now that he’s retired. He’s sitting with Dave Walker, who for years earned his annual season pass to Troll by volunteering as a mechanic, tuning the hill’s snowcats.
Walker, who's now 60, started skiing here at around age 10, and he’s been here ever since - so pretty much from the very beginning.
“It’s just such a cool place. Working on the snowcats is a hobby, I like coming and doing it and they’re so grateful for what you do,” says Walker.
“It’s not just mechanics, I know electricians, meatcutters,” Hines says. “Lars [Fossberg, Hildur's father and founder of the resort] used to get a moose, and a guy who was a meatcutter at Safeway would come down and butcher the moose for him and that’s how he’d get his pass. And that’s not the only one, there’s lots of stories like that.”
When it comes to hill management, you can tell that Troll is well-maintained, and there is an efficiency, positivity and team ethic instilled in the staff. But those values aren’t driven by the boardroom, laughs Hines: “All the decisions get made on the t-bar.”
Hines speaks from experience, for many years he coordinated a telemark festival at the hill. “We’ve had some dances in here the floor was lifting… it’s too bad you couldn’t have been here for some of those ski parties.”
At that, the three of us laugh knowingly. Back outside, I come across three women sharing a laugh as they head for the lift. They seem to be right at home so I ask them how long they’ve been skiing here.
“I’ve been skiing at Troll for probably 21 years,” says Julie Dinsdale.”We come pretty much every weekend with our kids. It’s just a great family mountain and awesome atmosphere, and you see my ski family here,” (she gestures to her two friends), “so these are the people we see every weekend and you just make some good friendships here.”
It’s not just people who grew up here who find their home at Troll. “Coming from South Africa where we didn’t know snow, skiing or any of it, the kids just fell in love with it and we had to keep up,” says Rene Tudhope, one of Dinsdale’s companions.
South Africa! For a family to so fully embrace the cold and the snow like that, coming from a place with almost no comprehension of it, is just another testament to the vibe here. But until you’re here, it can be hard to fully grasp.
“You talk to people and they don’t quite get it until they get here,” Dinsdale explains. “The atmosphere is amazing and it’s like taking a step back in time. You don’t get it anywhere else.”
That statement resonates with me. Tucked into this snowy corner of northern BC, Troll Ski Resort is still a mostly local secret for the folks nearby in Quesnel and Wells, although a growing number of Williams Lake and Prince George skiers and snowboarders are discovering and being converted to Troll, at just two hours' drive away.
With an unassuming base lodge area, t-bar lifts and an under-promoted range of terrain, Troll doesn’t exude the grandeur of bigger destination resorts. But the skiing and the scene here is big, and has been lovingly cultivated for 50 years. Yet somehow it doesn’t feel like it’s aging.
With new generations of mountain loving folk joining in year over year, Troll Ski Resort feels like one of those large extended families that always has room for one more at the table. And the 50th anniversary year is a homecoming, for old and new Troll faithful alike. It truly does take a village to raise a ski scene. Come home to Troll this season, for the first time or the 50th, because as they say here, it’s the best place on earth.
WHEN YOU GO
Troll Ski Resort is a 45-minute drive from Quesnel, or approximately 2h from either Williams Lake or Prince George.
Ski area hours:
Fri - Mon, 9 am - 3:15 pm (to Mar 12)
Mar 12 - 28 - 7 days a week
Note: Troll encourages guests to bring cash, as the resort is on a dial-up Interac system.
For more information visit the Troll Ski Resort website.
Visit Tourism Quesnel for more information on where to stay, eat and play in the region.
In celebration of Troll's 50th anniversary
Read more about the history, the culture and the scene at Troll Ski Resort. Then check out our #SkiNorthBC deals and get going to Troll now!