Scenically set at the confluence of the Kicking Horse and Columbia Rivers and flanked by the spires of the Rocky and Columbia mountain ranges, Golden, British Columbia, is an outdoor recreation hot spot. Especially in winter - when as much as 700 centimetres (or more) of the fluffy stuff falls on local slopes.
Alpine skiers love it. But so should anyone who craves fresh air, majestic vistas and active recreation. Because when winter comes, Golden offers so much more than its famous downhill skiing.
Strap on the big shoes
Snowshoeing is one of the fastest-growing winter sports for a good reason - it’s easy, accessible and affordable. With an average snowfall in-town of almost two metres, and more than three times that in the hills, Golden has ample trails to tromp on.
Dawn Mountain Nordic Centre has caught on to the craze with an ever-expanding trail network, now stretching to 15 kilometres of maintained paths.
Those in-the-know can also source out local cross-country mountain bike trails, which crisscross the hillsides and offer more than 130 kilometres of snowshoeing.
Or, head into gorgeous Yoho National Park, just a 20-minute drive east of Golden, for ample and wild paths, many of which are also dog-friendly.
Break out the skinny skis
Often dubbed the “perfect workout,” cross-country skiing is an ideal combo of muscle-training and cardio fitness. But more than that, it’s your pathway into serene winter environs (and an excuse to eat heartily at the area’s restaurants - more on that later).
Golden’s Dawn Mountain Nordic Centre is the place to play. Offering 33 kilometres of meticulously maintained skate and classic trails, plus warming and tune-up huts and a rental shop, it’s an easy locale for XC enthusiasts to spend a weekend or longer. Check-in with the Golden Nordic Club for special events and races too.
Going to the dogs
Jillian A. Brown
Owner and guide Matt Parr’s passion for dogs and dog-sledding elevates Golden Dog Sled Adventures to the next level. Operating near town, visitors can expect a variety of winter tours - from a simple run around a training track, to a 2.5-hour immersive and educational dog sled journey through the forest, to family-oriented tours, full moon adventures and custom excursions. Beyond that, Parr takes the time to introduce guests to each of his enthusiastic Siberian and Alaskan huskies, forging bonds and mutual respect before heading out on these unforgettable adventures.
Snowmobilers have a secret. You see, as powerful and gnarly as these machines can be - ultimately, it’s all about responsibly accessing remote mountain environs and enjoying camaraderie with fellow sledders.
Golden enjoys a far-reaching reputation as a mountain-sledder’s mecca, but through local guided tours - ranging from advanced to kid-friendly - just about anyone can learn to wrangle these machines and explore wilderness regions otherwise inaccessible. Thirteen distinct zones, four maintained areas and more than 240 kilometres of total trails await.
The Island Restaurant | Dave Best
All that outdoor rec requires a solid après scene. And Golden, though small, delivers big time.
Post-ski or snowshoe, you’ll likely want a quality beer. Whitetooth Brewing Company awaits, home to adventure-influenced brews like Blower Pow IPA and Speed Metal Stout.
With your appetite worked up, head to popular eateries such as Eleven22, Whitetooth Mountain Bistro, Cedar House Restaurant or the Wolf’s Den - then to Golden Taps Pub for a nightcap. And of course, downtown’s Bacchus Books & Café offers a cozy way to spend time indoors, and nearby Big Bend Café serves up hearty breakfasts to get you fueled up for the epic days to come.
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