PEMBERTON Dis­cover a Win­ter Play­ground

Whistler Traveller Magazine - - TASTE & FITNESS - STORY BY STEVE FISHER IM­AGES BY JOERN ROHDE

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) above sea level (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 ar­eas, which are of­ten splashed across the pages of ma­jor ski, snow­board and sled­ding mag­a­zines. To the west is the mas­sive Pemberton Ice Cap, with ac­cess from sev­eral points south of town; 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. With re­cent de­vel­op­ment of the Sea to Sky Trail, vis­i­tors can ac­cess the Nairn Falls di­rectly from One Mile Lake on a wide, crushed-gravel path that’s pop­u­lar for win­ter hik­ing and snow­shoe­ing. For cross-coun­try skiers, trails are track-set around the Nairn Falls camp­ground each win­ter. In Jan­uary, the Vil­lage of Pemberton marks the sea­son with its an­nual Win­ter­fest cel­e­bra­tion. Most Win­ter­fest ac­tiv­i­ties oc­cur at One Mile Lake, where the frozen sur­face is the venue for 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, stew­ing 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 Whiskey Jack BBQ Joint and Mile One Eat­ing House all of­fer a wide va­ri­ety of

en­trées and of­ten fea­ture lo­cal pro­duce and meats. Each serves its own sig­na­ture 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 Pemberton’s Prospect Pub is the place to go for nightlife, live mu­sic and com­edy, as well as hol­i­day events. While only a 30-minute drive north from Whistler, Pemberton seems far re­moved from the hus­tle and bus­tle of Whistler Vil­lage. Its quaint, old­west­ern down­town harkens back to sim­pler times, yet all the thrills and ad­ven­ture you can imag­ine ex­ist a mere arm’s length away.

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