Victoria has one of the mildest winter climates in all of Canada and many people think they have to drive to Mt Washington in order to go cross country skiing. While Mt Washington has the only groomed trails on the island there are plenty of places where sufficient snow can be found for those willing to break their own trails. Although snow is never guaranteed in these areas it can often be found at them during the winter, especially after Victoria has had a dusting or when snow can be seen on the Sooke Hills from Victoria.
Many of these areas are logging roads that are only open to the public on weekends. For those areas where weekday access is uncertain use extreme caution if accessing during the week, make sure you drive with your headlights on and park well off the road. When accessing any of these areas be sure to take maps, shovels and warm clothes to change into after your ski. Tell someone where you are going and call them either when you get back or, if you are late in returning, as soon as you reach a phone.
We've also collected some other reference material for those interested in cross-country skiing.
The following links provide information on some cross-country ski areas in the vicinity of Victoria. Club members who wish to add to this list can submit additional areas using the Trail Information Submission form.
|Copper Canyon||This is the valley north of the Cowichan Valley. Access is only available during weekends. There is a gate at the entrance to the area and a $2/vehicle fee is charged. This road also provides access to Mt Brenton, Silver Lake Road (up towards Mt Hall) and Rheinhart Lake and many other great potential skiing venues.||Snow is likely in the higher elevations from early December through late March.|
|Cowichan Valley||Many logging roads on the north side of the Cowichan Valley and Lake Cowichan go high enough to find snow. I am uncertain if these roads are accessible during the week. Do not go up an active logging road on a weekday.||Variable depending on elevation and date.|
|Deerholme/Glenora||The skiing here is on Timber West logging roads (access only available on weekends). There is a gate at the entrance to the area and a $2/vehicle fee is charged.||This area is closed at this time, it will hopefully reopen in 2001.|
|Kludahk Trail||Active logging area, access via the Jordan River trailhead only available on weekends and I am uncertain as to the status of the Butler Main logging road during the week. San Juan Ridge collects considerable snow during the winter. The best approach is via the Jordan River trailhead. Another route in this area is Jordan Ridge (also accessed from the Jordan River trailhead).||Late November to late March|
|Shawnigan Lake||There are several possible areas to ski here.
||When conditions around Victoria indicate snow is likely at higher elevations.|
|Sooke area: Logging roads off Butler Main||I am uncertain as to the status of the Butler Main logging road during the week. You may have to drive a long way to find snow, it all depends on the conditions. For access instructions see the Walker Lake Trailhead in the Kludahk Trail description (hopefully you won't have to drive all the way to Walker Lake).||Late November through early April|
Information on cross-country ski trails in other areas can be found at the Trail source website. The WeatherOffice.com has some useful pages for skiers including a satelite image of the current snow depth for Western Canada and a snow report giving the amount of snow that has fallen in the past 24 hours. For those interested in visiting some of BC's ski resorts there is also a ski report on their page.