A Cross Country Skiing Destination
Silver Star resort contains a village (at 1680m) with accommodation, delicatessen, clothing and equipment shops, restaurants, nordic trails and an alpine lift system, all within a provincial park. Sovereign Lake XC centre about 4km away has its own (larger) trail system. There are trails connecting the two systems, one at low altitude as well as another from the top of the alpine chair lift (Aberdeen Mountain at 1890m). A shuttle bus runs a few times a day between the resort and the centre.
Location: Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada
Getting There: Kelowna airport has regular connections from Vancouver (one hour flight) and a shuttle can be arranged to travel the remaining 20km to the resort.
Accommodation: There is a wide variety of apartments and houses to rent, many set up for self catering as well as hotels and a budget hostel. There is also a wide range of options for buying all meals out. Limited groceries are available and, although nearby Vernon has supermarkets, getting there and back is not easy.
Trails: About 110km in total with a good range of difficulty, all set for classic and skating and accessible from either the resort or the XC center. World cup races have been held here. Grooming is top class although sometimes cannot keep up with the snow falls. Most run through pine forests and are sheltered from any wind. As well as separate trail passes for each system, a combined one can be bought; a season pass saves money for stays longer than two weeks.
Other Features: The Sovereign Lake center has a nice flat beginners area, equipment hire, snacks and coaching for all levels. Coaching is also done at the resort. Early season camps are held in November, again for all level of skiers. There is a 16 target short range biathlon range off the resort trails. Resort guests have free access to the National Altitude training centre wax room, gym and pool. Silverstar has equipment hire and retail ski and accessories stores as well as internet facilities and ATM
Opinion: The resort has reliable powder snow (17m annually!), few storms, good trails (well groomed), a friendly atmosphere and fairly easy to get to and from Australia. Popularity with skiers from all over supports the claim that it is one of the best XC destinations in North America. The resorts excellent downhill and boarding facilities caters for those who must, but cross-country is not treated as an add-on but rather an integral part of the resort.
Reviewed By: Stan McDonald
Contacts: www.skisilverstar.com (General information)
www.sovereignlake.com (XC center)