Creston snowmobile playground

Creston, B.C. home to an enthusiastic snowmobiling community

by Trish Drinkle

Char cabin on a sunny day.
Char Creek Cabin trail is a fun family ride. Photo by Mike Arlt

The beautiful town of Creston along the southern border of B.C. is home to an enthusiastic snowmobiling community. The Kokanee Country Snowmobile Club works hard to grow its membership and its trail systems. With a fun, family vibe, this club has a portable groomer in its future, to accommodate the needs of riders of all ages.

The weather in the Kootenays is mild and snowfall levels are consistently high in the mountains surrounding the valley. The average daytime temperature in the winter months sits at just about the freezing level in the valley townsite, with temperatures just below freezing in the mountains. In January you can expect a cold snap for about a week, where temperatures dip between minus 15 to minus 22 degrees Celsius. Then it is game on again, back to the mild weather. 

If sunshine is what you’re after, February to April sees the most blue sky days. The heavy condensation in the air can contribute to lower elevation cloud and fog in early winter. 

Although not groomed, the Char Creek Cabin Trail is a favourite for many. This deactivated logging road turned snowmobile trail is located about 50 kilometres up the Salmo Creston Pass on the left hand side. With ample staging room, it’s easy to access the trailhead. The trail to the cabin is about five kilometres in length—great if you have youngsters out for the day. Maintained by the Kokanee Country Snowmobile Club, the cabin has a wood stove and seating for a crowd.  There are plenty of nearby play areas for either snowmobiling and tobogganing. Heather Lake is a quick jaunt from the cabin, which can be an easier ride late in the season. Early season finds the trail a bit sketchy, so if you are with novice riders, it’s best to wait till the snow sets up and the trail has been established.

The Char Creek Trail can get a bit whooped out, so take your time and use good trail etiquette.  Keep the braaap braaap of the throttle to a minimum on the trail to minimize whoops, and stagger your tracks, again to maintain integrity of the trail. 

Contributions to the Kokanee Country snowmobile club are encouraged and a kiosk is set up at the staging area. The club has a focus on developing its trail system and any contributions or membership purchases are greatly appreciated. Growing the numbers and growing the sport starts with you. Be sure to sign the guest book in the cabin.

Russell Creek

Directly above the historic mining town of Kitchener, B.C., about 15 minutes from Creston, is the Russell Creek logging road. Contact the snowmobile club to ensure there is no active logging in the area before staging. 

Russell Creek is a wonderful area for family fun and easy adventure. With plenty of opportunity to play in easy sloped cutblocks, you’ll find hours of enjoyment in the areas along the Russell Creek/Birch Creek trail system. The trails go on forever, so be sure to pay close attention to your gas and time. Powerline Hill, about 15 kilometres in, is a great place for family tobogganing and fun time. Dropping into the Little Moyie the cutblocks become a bit steeper, but still great for the intermediate and beginner rider. The views over the Kitchener Valley, Goatfell and Kingsgate are breathtaking. 

A word of caution: although the slopes are modest, everyone who rides in the mountains needs to be educated and equipped with the appropriate survival gear. Make sure sufficient snowfall has occurred before venturing into the cutblocks to play. The trees and your A-arms will thank you. 

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