Chris Kovac participates in the Cariboo Fun Freestyle Race March 10 at Hallis Lake. The race is just one of many events the Cariboo Ski Touring Club hosts at Hallis Lake. (Observer file photo)

Chris Kovac participates in the Cariboo Fun Freestyle Race March 10 at Hallis Lake. The race is just one of many events the Cariboo Ski Touring Club hosts at Hallis Lake. (Observer file photo)

Cariboo Ski Touring Club opens for the season

Winter weather lovers rejoice as seasonal outdoor sports start to kick off in Quesnel

The dumping of snow the Cariboo region received over the weekend had some residents questioning their choice of geographical location they call home as they shoveled their driveways.

Others, however, greeted the fresh blanket of glistening white powder with cheers of elation, excited for all the recreational activities that come with the change of the season.

A popular winter sport mecca that the snow-loving population has been flocking to since Captain and Tennille reminded us that love could keep us together, the Cariboo Ski Touring Club (CSTC) has opened for the season.

The not-for-profit club located at Hallis Lake first opened in 1975 and has been growing in popularity and membership ever since. Currently, the club has approximately 400 members.

With 35 kilometres of trails for skiers to enjoy, which includes a four-kilometre lit trail for night skiing, dedicated snowshoe trails, canine companion-friendly trails and even four backcountry cabins for day or overnight use, the CSTC has something to offer all ages and skill levels of winter adventurer.

Enjoying the wintry weather and mountains of fluffy snow is the best way to beat the seasonal blues, says publicity director, ski instructor and long-time CSTC member Ron Watteyne.

“You know, in the Cariboo, we get four or five months of winter. So if you don’t get outside and enjoy it, the season just feels longer then it is,” said Watteyne.

New to the club this year will be a combination skiing and yoga day “skoga,” the first of which will be held on Dec. 21. The event, which is scheduled on the winter solstice, encourages potential participants to embrace the darkest day of winter with an evening of skiing or snowshoeing followed by a session of yoga led by As The Wind Wanders Yoga in the warmth of the lodge by a crackling fireplace.

The CSTC will also be hosting a Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival tour event on Jan. 24, which will showcase some of the world’s best mountain films.

The club will also be hosting an open house in early January, during which the public will have free access to ski passes and rentals. This yearly event is an effort by the CSTC not only to encourage new members and get people excited about winter sports, but also to offer access to those who may not otherwise be able to afford it. Affordability is at the heart of the club’s core, says Watteyne.

“It can be an expensive sport,” he said. “When you think about the fact that it costs $179 for a lift ticket at Whistler and $55 at Troll, we only charge $10 for everything we offer here. We keep the rates down because we want to get as many people as possible out skiing at the lowest price.”

The Cariboo Ski Touring Club is open to recreation seekers of all skill levels seven days a week now until the end of the season. More information with regards to membership rates, ski lessons, events and snow conditions can be found online at

READ MORE: Cariboo Ski Touring Club’s Hallis Lake trails are open

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Amanda Wolleends participates in the Cariboo Fun Freestyle Race March 10 at Hallis Lake. Facilitites at Hallis Lake are now open for the season. (Observer file photo)

Amanda Wolleends participates in the Cariboo Fun Freestyle Race March 10 at Hallis Lake. Facilitites at Hallis Lake are now open for the season. (Observer file photo)

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