Play in alpine bowls and deep powder

Forester Creek presents stunning views and some of the best snowmobiling around

by Karen Kornelsen

The main draw

The area surrounding Radium Hot Springs, B.C., presents a plethora of trails that excite even the most experienced snowmobilers. One of the most popular rides here is the Forester Creek Trail.

Barry Lightfoot, president of the Windermere Valley Snowmobile Club, said sledders who embark on the Forester Creek Trail can look forward to 22 kilometres of groomed trails, four nice meadows for everyone to ride around in, and—for those who are more experienced—alpine bowls and lakes. At 8,500 feet, there are no trees, just one huge headwall located at the end of the valley.

Lightfoot said you can climb up there and see some of the most beautiful views anywhere in the East Kootenay from the top of the summit.

To get there, Lightfoot suggests heading out from Invermere, which is about 15 minutes south of Radium Hot Springs. Sledders can take Westside Road via Wilmer, where the roads are always government plowed and sanded. Lightfoot said you can get to Forester from Radium Hot Springs itself, but if you choose this approach, you're pretty much on your own, and some folks find the steep hill coming out of Radium Hot Springs to be too steep for their trailers.

Once you get to the staging area, there is a huge parking lot with an outhouse. The Windermere Valley Snowmobile Club, a non-profit society, takes great pride in what they offer sledders who come to the area. For just $10 per sled, snowmobilers can enjoy the trails plus a cabin up Forester that has free firewood, a barbecue, propane and a large deck. Alternatively, sledders can spend $15/per person/per night to rent the Dave White Memorial Hut, run by the  Columbia Valley Hut Society. This hut can accommodate four or five people and includes wood, a wood-burning stove, propane stoves, a white gas lantern, an axe, pots and pans, and utensils.

Sledders' hangouts

Before heading out for a day of riding, Lightfoot said, lots of sledders choose to gather at the Prestige Inn in Radium Hot Springs. Local riders also like to gather at the Best Western Invermere Inn in Invermere.

Extended stay

"There are lots of places to go around Radium," said Lightfoot. "It just depends on the kind of riding you want to do."

Snowmobilers can check out Brewer Creek, Rocky Point and Silent Pass, areas that offer different kinds of riding but are unmanaged and a little more challenging than Forester.

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