Sledding – Braaap Braap!
Experience exhilarating sledding and skiing in Kaslo, BC. Discover pristine snow-covered slopes and thrilling winter adventures in a stunning mountain setting.
Numerous clubs and organizations, like the Nelson Sno-goers and The Betties on Facebook (Women’s Power Sports Network) keep the great family sport of backcountry snowmobiling alive. Snow-choked backcountry roads and trails lead to lodges in the upper reaches – some are for casual use by local groups, like the cabins at Empire and Woodbury, and others have amazing amenities, must be accessed by helicopter, and are booked years in advance.
There are many logging and mining roads in the high country for snowmobilers and hundreds of miles of trails. Empire, in the Kokanee Range of the Selkirk Mountains, can be reached via the Blue Ridge Forest Service Road. Drive 11 km west of Kaslo to where it begins on Hwy 31A. There is parking for the big rigs at the bottom, just off the highway. After about 7 km up this ungroomed road to the Buchanan Fire Lookout, take the fork to the left. At the end of the road you are at the Empire Cabin which is maintained by the Empire Wilderness Society.
This place is not for people born to watch (though they’re welcome!) It’s sledding that will make you want to tear a strip off the clear blue sky in a whiplash of champagne powder.
Another popular destination near Kaslo is the backcountry around Meadow Mountain. Here, the annual snowfall can exceed 50 feet. As with all mountain riding, make sure you prepare properly and come well-equipped with current avalanche danger info, knowledge and safety gear. Check with Main Jet Motorsports in Nelson, talk to the locals or get more information at www.bcsf.org (BC Snowmobile Association).
Coming in fast and strong is the enthusiasm for sledding among women. The Betties Power Sports Network is like a life coach for the shredding woman. Connect with the Betties for the next opportunity to feel on top of the world: The Betties on Facebook
At higher elevations in the mountains surrounding Kaslo, the slopes and bowls of the Selkirk Mountain Range will see around 10 metres of the white stuff annually (some years and areas – even more.) That kind of snowpack is as close to powder heaven as you can get if you’re a skier who loves the back country. On this lesser known leg of the route known to skiers and snowboarders as the Powder Highway. Read the review of our Powder Highway in the New York Times here. A white, pristine eden is waiting. The Powder Highway is a circuit linking eight mountain resorts in BC and many times more Nordic, heli- and cat-ski operations across 677 kilometres. The handful of connecting highways loops from Idaho in the south to Revelstoke and Golden in the north.
Snow-Cat skiing was invented right here above Kootenay Lake. Selkirk Snowcat Skiing , just north of Kaslo, first pioneered bringing skiers to the backcountry via sno-cat in 1975 and is still providing amazing winter getaway holidays 40 years later. Also, north of Kaslo in Meadow Creek is White Grizzly Cat Skiing – offering exhilarating snowcat adventures. Just west of Kaslo is Retallack, also a cat-skiing operation, located in the Valley of the Ghosts. The steep Kaslo River valley near the (virtually) abandoned mining town of Retallack is famous for the deep snows that last longer than at other resorts of a similar elevation. “Stake yer claim to Carlyle’s Powder Motherloads” with Mt Carlyle Backcountry Lodge. Treat yourself to Mt Carlyle’s endless private powder stashes, set among breath-taking scenery.
To really let slip the bonds of earth, let Stellar Heli-skiing get you and your boards to where no footfall has dented the high light glacial snows. Their office is on Front Street in the Kaslo Hotel.
Kaslo Recreation Complex
517 Arena Ave, Kaslo, BC V0G 1M0
In winter, the Kaslo and District Arena is a jewel that shines bright in our small community. This asset was built by community effort in 1975. Money, materials and labour were donated in order to build it. When the sawmills were operating and financial times were better, the arena society had bi-annual fundraising activities which allowed for necessary upgrades. In the last several years grant writing has succeeded in financing upgrades to the ice plants and other infrastructure. The village and regional governments both support the complex, which includes a skating rink and two sheets of curling ice. Both parts of the facility are operated by volunteer community groups or societies. Apart from the school gym, the curling rink and the ice rink are the main indoor winter recreation opportunities for Kaslo village and area.
The arena complex supports public skating, club hockey and organized youth minor hockey. In urban centres, members of the public, no matter what their age, have to accept ice times that are either very early in the morning or late at night – not so here. Adult club hockey occurs shortly after work, the up-the-lake hippy hockey group plays every Sunday at 4:15 pm, immediately after public skating. The society that manages the arena encourages new activities and beginner skaters and hockey players.
There is always room for more participants in the various activities that happen at the rink. It is a prized amenity for our area, providing recreation, community and social activities and pride.
Did you know that it was Scots miners who brought the game of curling to the interior of BC toward the end of the nineteenth century? It is believed that the first curling game in Kaslo was in 1893. That first club applied for affiliation with the Royal Caledonian Curling Club in 1895 and between then and 1906, Golden, Sandon, Nelson, Rossland, Greenwood, Trout Lake and Cranbrook joined the Kootenay Curling Association. Curling has been a favourite pastime in Kaslo ever since!
The Kaslo Curling Club (located at the Kaslo Arena) has a men’s, women’s and mixed league, as well as junior programs and a drop-in night. There is an active social club, and visitors and newcomers to the sport are welcome.
Fish and Bear lakes, northwest of Kaslo on Highway 31A, usually freeze over in winter, making ice fishing possible and a day on the little lakes a popular excursion for many Kaslo families. If you get lucky, you’ll be cooking your catch over a bonfire on the shore.
Winter usually brings at least one safe opportunity for outdoor skating on Mirror Lake, 2 km south of Kaslo. There is nothing like a heated game of shinny between all ages, or the indescribable serenity of just skating at dusk on a lake in one of the most beautiful places in the world.
Cross Country Skiing
…. is right in Kaslo’s backyard! The True Blue recreation area has many kilometres of marked but ungroomed woodland trails. The Kaslo Golf Course provides a gentle cross country ski venue, and is great for snowshoeing and tobogganing too.
The Kaslo Outdoor Recreation Society (KORS) grooms skiing trails in the Mount Buchanan Wilderness Area (known locally as Bucky), accessed off Hwy 31A, approximately 6.5 km west of Kaslo. The brand new recreation area also boasts two cozy cabins with woodstoves. You can get there by skiing straight from Kaslo. Park at the top of Zwicky Road and ski along the Wagon Road. You can take this route all the way to Retallack; it is groomed for skate and classic skiing when you pass through Bucky. This is the perfect place to find tremendous sledding and skiing.
In January and February, KORS organizes a very popular Jackrabbit Ski program for local kids. Keep up to date on what’s happening by visiting their website http://www.korsbc.blogspot.ca