Mountain sledding at its finest

Spend your first day in Valemount exploring Clemina Creek, then check out Chappell Creek

by Kirsten Armleder

Photo of a guy riding a snowmobile fast across the snow on a ridge overlooking a large valley with mountains on either side.
At Clemina Creek, sledders can follow a groomed trail to the top of Goat Ridge and enjoy fantastic views of the Goat Ridge Bowl as well as Kinbasket Lake in the valley below. Tourism Valemount photo

Easy access to wide open terrain, big snow-laden bowls and steep climbs—Valemount is where it’s at when it comes to mountain sledding.

The main draw

Clemina Creek is highly recommended by Curtis Pawliuk—the general manager of the Valemount and Area Recreation Development Association (VARDA)—for those who are new to the Valemount area. With a spacious groomed trail that leads right into a large alpine bowl system, Clemina Creek provides unparalleled sledding opportunities for beginners as well as experienced riders.

The parking lot for Clemina Creek is located 30 kilometres south of the village of Valemount, on the east side of Highway 5. Trail passes and other information can be found at the trailhead. A 17-kilometre access trail takes riders to the Clemina Cabin; sledders can play around at the cabin or ride for another four kilometres along the groomed trail to get into the Goat Ridge Bowl. Riders can hone their mountain sledding skills in the bowl or stay on the ridge and observe the antics of others while enjoying a splendid view of Kinbasket Lake in the valley below.

There is an alternate route to the Goat Ridge Bowl through the Morning Glory alpine play area, but Pawliuk said this route is for advanced mountain riders only.

Depending on where they go, sledders can also see Dixon Glacier from Clemina Creek. Dixon Glacier is accessible from Clemina Creek, but it is a heli-skiing area, so it is closed to snowmobile activity until April 30. Riders are reminded to watch for the closure signs.

Clemina Creek is not only for snowmobiling.

“It’s an amazing area for sled-skiing,” said Pawliuk.

For an extended stay

Chappell Creek is another excellent snowmobiling area that typically sees a very heavy snowfall and fewer crowds. The trailhead for Chappell Creek is 58 kilometres south of Valemount on the west side of Highway 5. It is a 26-kilometre ride into the alpine of Chappell Creek, but Pawliuk said that if it’s a good snow day, sledders will find their fair share of fresh powder to shred at lower elevations.

Sledders' hangouts

The village of Valemount provides a warm welcome to its snowmobiling guests. In the morning, sledders in Valemount are eager to hit the hills. If out-of-towners don’t bump into them at the gas stations in town, local riders like Pawliuk may be found at the staging areas.

Valemount is fortunate to have its own Snowhost Team. Recognized by their bright jackets, these local riders usually hang out at the cabins to greet newcomers and offer directions.

After a hard day of sledding, locals and visitors alike will often head to the Moose Pub or the Caribou Grill Restaurant in Valemount to unwind and plan their next ride.

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