No. 3 Snowshoe-friendly Nordic Center: Nipika Mountain Eco-Resort, British Columbia, Canada

Ideally located in majestic Canadian Rocky Mountains, surrounded by pristine wilderness and spanning two river valleys, the Nipika Mountain Resort is both awe-inspiring and enchanting, to say the least. Outfitted as a fully self-sustained, off the grid operation—complete with comfortable bathrooms, 24-hour electricity and a steaming hot tub—this family owned and operated eco-resort aims to honor the natural resources and heritage of the area while providing a fantastic year-round vacation experience.

Fresh tracks at Nipika Mountain Resort.

Fresh tracks at Nipika Mountain Resort.

Lyle and Dianne Wilson purchased the property in 1979 with the vision of building the wilderness retreat of their dreams. Lyle, a former Olympic cross-country ski coach and a passionate naturalist, and Dianna, a former school teacher, hoped to create a resort that would offer superb recreational opportunities with as little negative impact on the landscape as possible. By staying true to their lofty commitment of preserving the delicate environment that they so cherish as the cornerstone of their outdoor lifestyle, Nipika Mountain Resort has delivered everything they hoped for, and more.

Today, the resort boasts a grand day lodge, nine guest cabins, several warming huts, a horse stable and a wood-burning hot tub and sauna facility. All of these buildings were constructed exclusively from dead wood that was killed by Rocky Mountain pine beetles, collected via horse power (the actual four-legged kind) and cut at the on-site saw mill. One hundred percent of the electricity, heat and water functionality is fueled via solar power and wood-burning boilers. Although this may sound like a lot of work, the Wilson’s are proud to provide comfortable and modern facilities that are also environmentally clean and natural, resulting in a truly special back-country oasis.

Junior snowshoers trek along the Kootenay River.

Junior snowshoers trek along the Kootenay River.

Outside of the lodge and surrounding buildings, the property provides an outstanding 100 kilometer trail network spanning both the Kootenay and Cross River valleys, a region that once served as premier trapping grounds for early settlers. 50 kilometers of trails are dedicated to snowshoeing and “offer some of the gnarliest and most scenic single track anywhere.” The Wilsons also help manage the 1,500 acre Cross River Recreation Site which can easily be accessed on foot for more advanced, back-country trails and terrain. For the most gluttonous of adventurers, some of the world’s most renowned wilderness areas including Banff National Park, the Columbia Valley and Lake Louise can be reached with just a short drive from Nipika offering endless opportunities for outdoor exploration and recreation.

After a long day of working up a sweat and sucking in the frigid Alpine air, a relaxing soak in the wood-burning hot tub or a jaunt to the sauna will feel incredible. This is also a popular spot for meeting up with other guests to swap stories about the day and get to know one another. It is here, too, where it is likely to bump into Lyle telling stories of Olympic glory and sharing wisdom about the splendor of the Canadian Rockies.

A stunning moonrise over the Canadian Rockies.

A stunning moonrise over the Canadian Rockies.

Operating a recreational facility that works with the environment instead of against it, while also educating visitors about the importance of upholding a strict “leave no trace” policy in the course of daily life, is a dream come true for the Wilson family. Thanks to their commitment to a natural lifestyle, Nipika is more than just a remote wilderness retreat full of fun and excitement, but also an eye-opening vacation experience.

  • Pass Rates: $10 adults ages 13+, $5 kids ages 12 and under
  • Equipment Rental: $15 per day, includes snowshoes and poles
  • Pet Policy: Dogs and horses welcome
  • Lodging: Private cabins available by reservation only
  • Dining: None available. Overnight guests must bring their own food and beverages to be prepared in their private cabins.

Visit for more information. Return to the full list of Nordic Centers.

About the author

Katie Hearsum

Katie is a lifestyle and travel writer based in Denver, CO. Her career has led her from horseback riding on a dude ranch in the Rocky Mountains to mountain biking in Bolivia to kayaking in Laos and back again. She considers chocolate a food group and has never met a pair of yoga pants she didn’t like.

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