Troll Skis Young at 50
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Troll Resort celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2021-22 and the ski area is only getting better with age. Meet the owners and the Troll skiing faithful and learn the story of this family ski hill with big mountain appeal and downhome hospitality.
Quesnel, BC - Nineteen-seventy-two was the year of Watergate, the Munich Olympics and the Space Race, but closer to home in northern BC, there was nothing but good news. Norwegian newlyweds Lars and Astrid Fossberg honeymooned in British Columbia and were inspired to grow their family here and to bring the joy of skiing to a little logging town that didn’t yet know what it was missing.
Troll Ski Resort, 40 minutes east of Quesnel, BC, in the Cariboo Mountains has a lot to celebrate this winter. This is the ski area's 50th season of getting people on skis for their first time, establishing the healthy habits of skiing at every chance and hooking people on powder.
The season of celebration will peak during the family day weekend in February, when skiers and snowboarders will reminisce, and toast the transformation of a wild mountain valley into the winter home for so many.
Speaking with Hildur Sinclair (current Troll owner and daughter of Lars and Astrid), her joy was infectious as she told stories of the early days, like the first two seasons before Troll Ski Resort had electricity: it was wood stoves for heating and a two-burner camp stove in the kitchen with kerosene lamps for lodge lighting.
Every morning, the Fossbergs drove from Quesnel to get to the lodge before the first skiers. When the snow was going to be great, the most enthusiastic skiers would pass their family’s jalopy on the snowy unpaved road, pull over and Lars would pass them the lodge keys. Whoever got to the lodge first in the morning had to open it up and start the fire in the wood stove.
Do those experiences happen anywhere these days?
Troll doesn’t exist as a nostalgic relic, however. New skiers are born every season and welcomed to the world of winter lovers at Troll Ski Resort.
Tyler Dinsdale was born in Quesnel and became a skier at Troll in the '80s. There are few seasons that he’s missed winter at Troll and now his whole family is committed to the ski life. Getting each of his three boys on skis as soon as possible and shredding every winter day that the boys aren’t in school is the winter of dreams, and they live it.
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From first clicks into bindings on the bunny hill to skinning up the slack-country of this little Cariboo gem, the boys have progressed in their skiing and their social lives during winters at Troll.
The three Dinsdale boys are the ultimate pint-sized ambassadors for their favourite place on Earth. Garnet Dinsdale insists that the best part about Troll is “There is a lot of powder” while his older brother Eli countered that “There is so much variety of terrain.”
It’s a great hill to progress, to get in your groove and to feel part of a community of other cool people.
All three boys have become avid slack-country skiers at Troll. Some parents may doubt that a six-year-old would choose to ski up the mountain when there is a lift spinning right there, but Eli told me that he was convinced to try skinning up “When my Dad said that you can get to the top of the mountain and then you can go anywhere you want and it is awesome.” #Truth
Troll Ski Resort doesn’t rest on its legacy as an under-the-radar, family-friendly ski hill, however. In the last five years, Troll’s skiable terrain has increased 30 per cent with lift access to the incredible Silver Bowl.
A community of tiny homes and trailers has sprung up across the road at Trailer Town, the T-Bar Lounge offers up creative winter drinks and local Barkerville Brewery beers for a cozy après experience, and night skiing is coming back this winter.
There’s always something more brewing and in the next two to three years, a fourth T-bar will provide easy access to the Eastern Slope of Pinegrove Mountain. Currently, this is a side-country destination for the steepest powder at Troll, with low-risk avalanche terrain. Soon, anyone can access the black diamond runs of those snow-drenched glades.
Few things these days are built to last 50 years and even when they are, they don’t always get better with age. Troll Ski Resort has stayed true to its roots, even while developing. As local skier Falko Kadenbach muses, “Troll is a great big family of people that all enjoy sliding on snow, eating cinnamon buns, drinking hot chocolate and enjoying the ski après after an awesome day.”
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When You Go
- Troll Ski Resort is a 40-minute drive east of Quesnel, BC on highway 26, or a 90-minute drive southeast of Prince George, BC.
- Rocky Peak Outfitters is Quesnel's local ski shop, where you can find many of the Troll faithful.
- Grab an apres beer, bite and toast the day with other local skiers at Barkerville Brewing.
For more ideas to round out your stay in Quesnel, visit Tourism Quesnel.