Impact magazine has featured the best cross-country skiing spots in the Kootenay region of British Columbia and have included the trails in Castlegar.  Called “Hit the Road and the Nordic Ski Trails on a Winter Visit to the Kootenays,” the article appeared on the publication’s website and describes how the Kootenay’s legendary Powder Highway isn’t just a snowy playground for downhill skiers and boarders.

Writer Leigh McAdam explains that the Powder Highway offers everything from backcountry opportunities to heli- and cat-skiing but “nordic skiers increasingly want a part of the winter action too. They love the genuine ski towns and the laidback vibe as much as any skiers. And while they’re a little more forgiving when it comes to snow conditions, they still relish a fresh dump of the powdery stuff and the thrill of an expertly groomed trail.” She goes on to describe the cross-country skiing in eight Kootenay towns, including Castlegar.

We’ve written on this website before about how Castlegar is legendary among nordic skiers, including our article, “This is why Castlegar offers the best cross-country skiing in the Kootenays.” The city is definitely a part of the powder highway given over 20 feet or six metres of the white stuff falls in the surrounding mountains each season and because many of the nearby trails are located at elevation, the ski season lasts longer. It’s not unheard of for residents and visitors alike to enjoy a session of skate skiing at the Paulson Pass trails and then descend into the valley and enjoy an aprés lunch in the sunshine on one of 16 eatery patios in the city.


In her Impact article, Leigh writes, “Nordic skiing in Castlegar pairs well with a road trip to Nelson and Rossland if you’re short for time and can’t fit all of the Powder Highway in on one trip. The prime spot with the longest season for Nordic skiing is the Paulson Recreation Area, 32 km west of Castlegar. Here you can enjoy superb skiing on 45 km of trails, mainly groomed for classic skiers. Enjoy landscapes that include old growth forest, frozen lakes and scenic ridgelines.”

She goes on to explain that for those who are fine with non-groomed trails, the Columbia and Western Trail offers amazing views of the surrounding mountains and Lower Arrow Lake and stretches a whopping 162 kilometres from Castlegar to Christina Lake. It’s easy to access the trails from the city: simply drive North out of the downtown core on Columbia Ave. and instead of heading towards the bridge, stay left and Columbia turns into Arrow Lakes Drive. The trailhead is at the end of this road.

For more about cross-country skiing in Castlegar, visit our Nordic Skiing page and the Kootenay Nordic website. To read the Impact Magazine article in its entirety, visit

Feature photo by Lee Orr.