Houston, we have a problem: snowmobiling season is too short in Houston, B.C.
Situated on the edge of B.C.’s coastal mountains, Houston receives 160 centimetres (over five feet) of snow per year. With an average winter temperature of -12.5 C (9.5 F), the area’s deep powder and high-altitude meadows are ripe for sledding. The season starts in November and runs until late spring, but once you experience Houston’s awe-inspiring trails and peaks, you’ll wish it was all year long.
Areas for adventure
The Telkwa Range is Houston’s showcase area, offering up everything from powder-laden meadows to steep climbs. The groomed, 11-kilometre (6.8-mile) trail takes riders to the Houston Snowmobiling Club cabin. Pushing off from there, experienced riders can find exclusive alpine terrain among the many mountain peaks. Beginner and intermediate riders can also explore around the main trail areas without fear of getting stuck. Grooming season for the area is between December and March.
The Dungate Meadows area offers low-angle riding with an extensive trail system that is groomed from the staging area to the Houston Snowmobile Club’s cabin. The area also offers two opportunities for ice fishing. Following the trail out of the meadows, one can find Hanna and Poison Lake (contrary to the latter lake’s name, the fish here are supposed to be surprisingly tasty). This is the perfect area to ride when the trails are under low-visibility or when avalanche hazards are high. It can make for a relaxing ride for more advanced snowmobilers or a perfect day out with the family.
Intermediate to expert riders should check out the snow haven of the Sibolas and Rhine Ridge area. About 100 kilometres from Houston, this area has all the ingredients for a great ride, including hills, peaks, valleys, deep snow and forest riding. Stunning views await riders who visit the area. One word of warning––be sure to look out for drop-offs and cliffs. The snowmobile club usually breaks trail in December.
Morice Mountain is an ungroomed mountain-riding experience that is available to all riders, even beginners. It has spectacular scenery, and it’s only 28 kilometres (17 miles) from downtown Houston. The terrain is predominantly alpine and covered with beautiful powder. Sleds can be unloaded at the small parking lot on Buck Flats road.
The one-hour drive from Houston to Tableland Mountain is well worth the effort for experienced riders who are up for adventure. This area is for expert riders who are aware of avalanche warning signs and prevention tactics. Visiting this area from mid-January to March will provide the best snow conditions and weather. It is a good idea to contact the local club to ask for further assistance before trekking out to this unforgiving territory.
The keepers of the keys
Formed in the ’70s, the Houston Snowmobile Club is an active group of about 55 members who groom and maintain the area’s extensive trail system of 200 kilometres (124 miles). The clubhouse cabin is usually stocked with firewood for rider’s disposal. They are continually looking for ways to improve the area’s trails, cabins and overall snowmobiling experience.
For more information on snowmobiling in Houston, visit the city’s Chamber of Commerce website. For more information about trail conditions and changes, call the Houston & District Chamber of Commerce at 250-845-7640.