Steve McMullen, Karla Riach and Ron Riach give snowshoeing a try with their friend Holly Millin on Deka Lake. Photo submitted

Steve McMullen, Karla Riach and Ron Riach give snowshoeing a try with their friend Holly Millin on Deka Lake. Photo submitted

Snowshoeing offers socially distant outdoor activity

Have snowshoes, will travel! Cold weather activities see surge in users

For Holly Millin, snowshoeing is a reliable way to get around the Cariboo.

The Deka Lake woman, who started snowshoeing six years ago after a friend introduced her to the activity, says snowshoes allow her to explore the area, especially when there’s a lot of snow, ice or uneven terrain, because they offer her more stability to keep moving.

“I like being outside – it’s fresh air and I have two dogs, so we take the dogs with us and sometimes we’re on the lake and sometimes we’re on a trail,” Millin said.

Outdoor activities such as snowshoeing have seen an increase across B.C. this year as more people seek to get outside. 100 Mile Nordics president Kristi Iverson says it’s been a busy winter across the board at the Nordics site, with membership up by 50 per cent over past years.

From Left, Karla Riach, Garrison Hodgins, Elliot Hodgins, Danae Hodgins and Ron Riach snowshoe at Mountain Spruce Park. Photo submitted

From Left, Karla Riach, Garrison Hodgins, Elliot Hodgins, Danae Hodgins and Ron Riach snowshoe at Mountain Spruce Park. Photo submitted

Looking for fun things to do in the BC Interior? Cross-country skiing remains the most popular sport – with a huge surge in interest this year – but Iverson says there are more people trying out the snowshoe trails as well. The Nordics have two five-kilometre snowshoe loops around the lodge that link up to a larger 10-km loop, which passes by a cabin where snowshoers can rest and snack.

The Nordics lodge is open daily from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and rents both skis, snowshoes and other gear.

“It just seems to be people wanting to get out and enjoy the outdoors,” Iverson says. “It’s a great activity, low impact, good exercise and beautiful scenery. You feel better for having gotten out.”

Millin, whose family has owned a home on Deka Lake for 25 years, has only been living permanently at Deka for four years and says she has yet to try the Nordics trails. She has preferred to snowshoe around Deka Lake and at Sun Peaks Resort in Kamloops, though she’s begun to explore more snowmobile and quad trails in the area. She usually snowshoes from December to March, or as long as the snow lasts.

She’s hopeful that as interest grows, more dedicated snowshoeing trails will be developed and marked off. In the meantime, though, she notes snowshoes can take you anywhere and urges everyone to give it a try.

“Go with somebody you know and just check it out,” she said. “You don’t have to go anywhere fancy. You can go out and snowshoe on a snowy road, on a sidewalk … you don’t have to go onto the trails but as you get more comfortable you can.”

Nico Porta snowshoes with his dogs Mac and Neah. Photo submitted

Nico Porta snowshoes with his dogs Mac and Neah. Photo submitted

Please note that Provincial Health Protocols currently advise against travelling outside your region to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Plan your future adventures throughout the West Coast at westcoasttraveller.com and follow us on Facebook and Instagram @thewestcoasttraveller. And for the top West Coast Travel stories of the week delivered right to your inbox, sign up for our weekly Armchair Traveller newsletter!

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