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A Guide to Silver Star’s Nordic Skiing Scene
The rhythmic swoosh, swoosh of cross-country skis gliding along a perfectly-groomed track is a peaceful meditation—a sort of Nordic skiing Nirvana that complements the heart-pumping exercise and fun of the sport. Get into the flow, rub shoulders with Olympians, and achieve your personal best in Silver Star, BC, where 105 km (64 miles) of classic and skate skiing trails beckon to be explored.
Located on the Shuswap Highland of the Monashee Mountain range, the Vernon area boasts two industry-leading Nordic skiing venues: SilverStar Mountain Resort, which also offers downhill skiing; and Sovereign Lake, home to Canada’s biggest cross-country ski and snowshoe club. Combined, they are the nation’s largest continuously groomed network of XC trails and a mecca for elite Nordic athletes as well as adventurous recreation skiers.
“There are many things that make Silver Star such an awesome stop on the North American racing circuit, including the early/late season snow, accommodation right on the ski trails and (in my opinion) the best grooming in North America,” says Anna Sellers, biathlon athlete and member of the Canadian Junior National Team. “However, my favourite part about racing in Silver Star has to be the community and having every different team stay in the village. … In Silver Star you get to visit friends and go for sunset skis, post-race hot tubs or get a yummy hot chocolate at Bugaboos, just by walking five minutes down the road.”
It is those sunsets, in fact, that have positioned Silver Star at the top of her “favourite place to ski ever” list.
Anna is among great company on the Silver Star Nordic trails, and it’s not uncommon to see Olympians and world champions training or coaching at either venue.
“Silver Star and Sovereign Lake have beautifully groomed trails and with predictably great conditions from early to late season. I love this area and highly recommend it,” offers Kikkan Randall, Olympic Gold Medallist and International Olympic Committee Member.
The aforementioned snowfall is a major factor in a lengthy Nordic skiing season that runs November through May. Winter kicks off at Sovereign Lake the first week of November, quickly followed by XC Supercamps, as Silver Star becomes an incredible classroom (and playground) for progression and personal accomplishment. Throughout the season, XC skiers of all ability levels can build their skills through the Sovereign Lake and mountain resort ski school programs.
Quinn Morgan, a local athlete who has an IBU Cup and Biathlon World Cup B Circuit under her belt, has been skiing since her parents had to bribe her with chocolate, but it wasn’t until recently that she began competing in biathlon as a “COVID side project, which rapidly got out of hand.”
“As a race venue or a place to head out for a weekend ski, at Silver Star, you are virtually guaranteed to have a long season of natural snow,” she explains. “Everyone in the community is excited about what we have here,” Quinn muses. “With the pure joy of the trails and the high-performance opportunities we’re building through the Sovereign Lake Nordic Development Academy, it really feels like the sky’s the limit. It’s fun to be a part of that energy.”
And speaking of the long season, April 6-7, 2024 marks the return of the second annual Sovereign2SilverStar Ski Marathon (S2S for short). This self-proclaimed “point to party” event brings skiers from Sovereign Lake to the Main Street of Silver Star Village, offering a day of classic and a day of skate skiing, with two distances each day: 40km or 21km / 25 miles or 13 miles. Elite athletes can join the competitive wave, while recreational athletes can join a fun wave, where simply finishing the race is winning. If you haven’t secured your spot in the race, registration is still open, but space is limited to 1,200 participants, so sign up today!
Fun fact: Anna also happens to be the Social Media Coordinator for the S2S, so be sure to give them a follow on Instagram (@s2s_Nordic) to get the inside scoop.
Whether classic or skate, old hat or newbie, you’ll discover adventure, fun, and challenge around every expertly-groomed bend of Silver Star and Sovereign Lake’s Nordic trails. Ski it for yourself!
Photo credits: Jackson Parker, Brian Goldstone, Anna Sellers