Mary skis through the forest near Big White resort.

The Chelan Travelers are at it again!  This time we are skiing our way from British Columbia down through Montana and possibly farther.  No, we’re not doing it the hard way, skiing the entire distance.  On this trip we’re traveling by car between ski venues.

The germ of the idea began while we were bicycling the Great Divide this last autumn.  We saw a lot of ski country on that trip and I suggested to Mary “Wouldn’t it be great to come back here in winter and ski these places?”

We found the motel prices to be high during our bike ride so our original plan for this trip was to buy an inexpensive used camper and live out of that.  We were unable to find what we considered a good deal on a camper, however, so we checked out motel prices.  The real bargains are to be had in Canada where a nice room can be had for about $70US, largely due I suspect, to the bargain exchange rate of $1.40 Canadian for each U.S. Dollar.

Our first ski was at the Nickel Plate Nordic Center near Penticton, B.C.  It’s a community operated ski site, much like Echo Ridge near Chelan (our home.)  Nickel Plate has 56 kilometers of well groomed trails and a good-sized warming hut.  If I have one complaint it would be that few of those kilometers are on level ground.  Mary and I skied about half the trails and I could barely unlock the car door when we finished, I was so tired from climbing the hills.  

My ego was only slightly bruised when several young studs powered by me on a hill as I stopped and wheezed for air.  But my self image as a competent skier was totally deflated when an elderly couple at least several years older than us powered by too.  At least I can still out-ski Mary!


Tailgating at Nickel Plate parking lot

This morning we drove up to Big White Resort near Kelowna, B.C.  Big White is 99.99% downhill skiers so we had the cross-country trails to ourselves.  It was cold but sunny (as it had been at Nickel Plate.)  Again, we were somewhat out of our league because of the hilly terrain.  For now, I’m attributing some of our breathlessness to the wrong wax on our skis. Seriously, we hardly have any glide.  I’m hoping to get some cold-weather wax at a local sporting goods store tomorrow.

We’re playing it by ear as far as itinerary.  Our son Nicholas is flying into Calgary on business this weekend so we plan to ski with him at nearby Cranmore but other than that we’ll just go where our noses lead us – hopefully to flatter terrain!

Ice tower (for climbing)