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 pembertonwinterfest.com.
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 tourismpembertonbc.com.