Dis­cover a Win­ter Play­ground


Nes­tled in the heart of the Coast Moun­tains, Pem­ber­ton is a small, unas­sum­ing town. But de­spite its de­cep­tively sleepy am­biance, it is home to a vi­brant com­mu­nity of out­door en­thu­si­asts. Whether it’s ski­ing steep chutes on the sur­round­ing moun­tains, jump­ing off cliffs on snowmobiles or hik­ing from cabin to cabin through the back­coun­try, Pem­ber­ton’s peo­ple make a life­style out of en­joy­ing their nat­u­ral play­ground.

Upon en­ter­ing Pem­ber­ton, you’ll quickly take note of the sur­round­ings. The magnificent Mount Cur­rie looms over the south side of the town, its rocky face stand­ing 2,591 me­tres (8,500 feet) over the val­ley floor (And yes, peo­ple ski down it!). End­less ex­panses of snow-capped moun­tains sur­round the com­mu­nity, and while Pem­ber­ton’s win­ters are rel­a­tively mild in tem­per­a­ture, big snow­falls are cer­tainly not rare in the vil­lage.

Back­coun­try skiers, snow­board­ers and snow­mo­bil­ers flock to Pem­ber­ton to take ad­van­tage of sev­eral ex­cel­lent back­coun­try ac­cess points, which are of­ten splashed across the pages of ma­jor ski, snow­board and sled­ding mag­a­zines. To the south, ex­plor­ers can ac­cess the mas­sive Pem­ber­ton Ice Cap; and to the north and northeast, the Duf­fey Lake and Hur­ley roads of­fer ac­cess to world-renowned back­coun­try ter­rain. For the ul­ti­mate oneday back­coun­try ex­pe­ri­ence, heli-ski­ing and snow­mo­bile tours are both avail­able.

Many lo­cal at­trac­tions like Nairn Falls Pro­vin­cial Park are ac­ces­si­ble in the win­ter, and are a sight to see in all sea­sons. With the re­cent de­vel­op­ment of the Sea to Sky Trail, vis­i­tors can ac­cess the falls di­rectly from One Mile Lake on a wide, crushed-gravel path that’s pop­u­lar for win­ter hik­ing and snow­shoe­ing. For cross­coun­try skiers, trails are track-set around the Nairn Falls camp­ground each win­ter.

In Jan­uary, the Vil­lage of Pem­ber­ton hon­ours the sea­son with its an­nual Win­ter­fest cel­e­bra­tion. Most Win­ter­fest ac­tiv­i­ties oc­cur at One Mile Lake, where the frozen sur­face hosts a shinny hockey tour­na­ment, curl­ing tour­na­ment, and skat­ing rinks, as well as the ever-pop­u­lar Po­lar Bear Plunge. Other event fea­tures in­clude live mu­sic, out­door movies, and fire­works.

Ac­tiv­i­ties are weather de­pen­dent. For up-to-date in­for­ma­tion visit pem­ber­ton­win­ter­

One Mile Lake is also an ideal place for younger an­glers to try ice fish­ing; Win­ter­fest fea­tures a youth fish­ing derby hosted by lo­cal guides. For more ex­pe­ri­enced an­glers, lo­cal wa­ters like Mos­quito Lake, Black­wa­ter Lake and Gates Lake of­fer great ice fish­ing for rain­bow trout, bull trout and Dolly Var­den.

For those who wish to es­cape the cold of win­ter, soak­ing in one of the area’s nat­u­ral hot springs is an ab­so­lutely sublime ex­pe­ri­ence. Key­hole, Skookum­chuk and Slo­quet hot springs are all pop­u­lar day trips from Pem­ber­ton, each of­fer­ing their own unique set­ting and char­ac­ter.

Af­ter a day of adventure, why not set­tle in for a warm, hearty meal at one of Pem­ber­ton’s lo­cal restau­rants? The Pony, The Wood, Solfeg­gio and Mile One Eating House all ex­em­plify the trendy lo­ca­vore move­ment by mak­ing ex­ten­sive use of lo­cal pro­duce and meats through­out their menus. Each serves its own top­notch dishes, rang­ing from gourmet piz­zas and burg­ers to hearty pas­tas and wild game en­trées.

In the evening Pem­ber­ton has a few places to wet your whis­tle with a cold beer, a stiff shot or glass of wine. The Pony’s bar of­fers a ro­tat­ing se­lec­tion of B.C.’s finest craft beers, and af­ter ex­ten­sive ren­o­va­tions, Pem­ber­ton’s Prospect Pub opened re­cently in the Pem­ber­ton Ho­tel, re­plac­ing the rus­tic old wa­ter­ing hole pre­vi­ously known as the “Pem Ho.”

While only a 30-minute drive north from Whistler, Pem­ber­ton seems far re­moved from the hus­tle and bus­tle of Whistler Vil­lage. Its quaint, old-western down­town harkens back to sim­pler times, yet all the thrills and adventure you can imag­ine ex­ist a mere arm’s length away.

For more in­for­ma­tion, visit tourism­pem­ber­

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