New era for Nordic skiers at Panorama
Nordic skiing opportunities in the Columbia Valley are almost limitless given the right winter and snow conditions.
From Canadian Nordic ski legend Lyle Wilson’s Nipika Mountain Resort, in the Rockies east of Radium Hot Springs to the 30 plus kms of the Whiteway on Lake Windermere, cross-country skiers have options.
And now they have another option – in the Purcell Mountains west of Invermere.
Guy Paulsen, Director of Resort Services at Panorama Mountain Resort, is leading the development of a trail system that will soon place Panorama Nordic Centre at Greywolf among the best in Western Canada.
Paulsen spent many years at the head of the SilverStar Mountain Resort Nordic program and immediately saw potential when arriving at Panorama in 2018.
“I was struck by the sheer majesty of the area, right beside a ski-in / ski-out village that’s unparalleled in the Rockies region. The moment I glided along the banks of frozen Toby Creek, looking at the huge peaks all around, I knew we had to give many more people the opportunity to experience this place,” he said.
Already on a steep upswing before COVID-19 hit, interest in Nordic skiing took off through 2020 with people looking for accessible outdoor places to get away from it all.
The local Toby Creek Nordic Ski Club has a record number of members this year, with Panorama’s trails used alongside the Lake Windermere Whiteway and those at nearby Nipika to hone the skills of Columbia Valley youth.
Collaborating with Greywolf Golf Course, Panorama has built the foundation of a network with progression in mind. The gently undulating trails near the Nordic Centre are perfect for skiers just finding their feet, while longer loops take more experienced sliders to rustic wilderness warming huts.
Trail grooming in the 2020-21 season is better than ever with the addition of a state-of-the art Prinoth Husky machine. Classic tracks and a smooth skating surface are prepared on main trails every night.
Panorama Mountain Resort President and CEO, Steve Paccagnan, said the Nordic focus is just another step in unlocking the true potential of the resort. “The investments at Greywolf Golf Course lifted it to the status of top-ranked public course in British Columbia. New terrain, glading and a snowmaking expansion led to Panorama being named Best in North America at the World Snow Awards. Our vision for the Nordic Centre is that it will also be a leader.”
Lead image: left to right, Guy Paulsen, Director of Resort Services and Steve Paccagnan, President & CEO. Panorama Mountain Resort photo