Escape into nature and take a deep breath of fresh air as you glide through the crisp snow on a cross-country ski trail at Stake Lake Trails, operated by the Overlander Ski Club. Just 25km south of downtown Kamloops, the area is home to 60km of groomed cross-country trails and is a great place for beginners to try the winter sport.

Just like the name suggests, cross-country skiing is a sport that involves using your own momentum to get moving, rather than using ski lifts to take part in downhill skiing. Trails can be flat or involve hills and a downhill run. Get layered up and explore our local winter wonderland with these top tips for cross-country skiing.

What to Wear

First, you’ll need boots, skis, and poles. There are lots of different types of cross-country skis, but waxless fish scales are the best ones to start out with, as they are simple and low maintenance (they take their name from the fish-scale pattern on the bottom that provides better grip). There's no need to buy your own equipment when you’re starting out. Overlander Ski Club rents out packages at a cost of $15 for adult boots, fish scale skis, and poles ($8 for kids).

Cross-country skiing is a full body workout, even when you’re taking it slow, so be sure to layer up. Windproof pants (not snow pants) are best as they are thinner and unless it’s a very cold day, thin gloves will suffice to keep your hands warm as you ski.

Where to Ski

Stake Lake is home to several beginner-friendly trails that are scenic, but relatively flat, so you won’t have any big hills to climb up. Try the Cartwheel trail (around the lake), take a jaunt on Little Joe, or explore newbie-friendly Hoss.

Tips for Beginners

“Don't overdress. Bring a snack and some water, it's a great workout!” says Chelsea Francis, Trail Manager at Overlander Ski Club. “Always ski with a cellphone, as there is reception throughout our 60km trail network, and don't ski alone. Brush up on your ski etiquette, as using the trails incorrectly can lead to unneeded accidents.” Chelsea suggests that beginners visit Overlander Ski Club's website to learn more about ski etiquette or pick up a printed map at the lake for more guidance.

Watch Overlander’s YouTube video for tips on how to go, stop, and manage hills on skinny skis before you come up. Trails are usually open until mid-March based on weather, safe trail conditions, and usership, so check before you go.