Roll into Golden, B.C., with a sled in your truck and you’ll feel right at home. In fact, the town of 3,701 people welcomes all its winter visitors. Whether it’s skiing, snowboarding or sledding though, Golden’s claim to fame is its champagne powder.
Like me, you’ve probably thought this was more of a gimmick than anything, but champagne powder is actually a low-density snow that is so light and fluffy you can’t even make a snowball out of it. And believe it or not, Golden’s snow feels and looks different from the snow that falls in other towns in the Kootenay Rockies.
But who really cares about snow density as long as there’s lots of it, right? Well, Golden sees an average of six feet in town and up to 24 feet at nearby Kicking Horse Mountain Resort.
More about the sledding terrain. Nestled between two major mountain ranges, the Purcells and the Rockies, Golden offers a great variety of riding options—from beginner-friendly trails to adrenalin-inducing climbs.
Where to ride
Quartz Creek, Gorman Lake and Silent Pass are the most popular zones for mountain sledders and all have groomed trail access.
The West Bench Trail is groomed as well and it actually connects Gorman Lake and Quartz Creek. Ideal for families and beginners, this 40-kilometre route features low-elevation riding with a few logging roads to explore and places to play along the way.
Family sledding can also be found in the Blaeberry River area. A non-maintained zone, the Blaeberry offers valley trail riding with low avalanche hazards.
Other non-maintained areas around Golden include Hospital Creek, Mount 7, Hope Creek and Susan Lake.
If you’re not sure where to go, consider hiring a guide. There are at least four snowmobile tour operators in the Golden area. Yamaha and Ski-Doo have dealers in Golden, and in town you will find several great pubs and restaurants to visit after your ride.