Discover a Winter playground
By Steve Fisher / Images By Joern Rohde
Nestled in the heart of the Coast Mountains, Pemberton is a small, unassuming town. Despite its sleepy ambiance, it is home to a vibrant community of outdoors enthusiasts. Whether it’s skiing steep chutes on the surrounding mountains, jumping off cliffs on snowmobiles or hiking from cabin to cabin through the backcountry, Pemberton’s residents make a lifestyle out of enjoying their natural playground.
Upon entering Pemberton, you’ll quickly take note of the surroundings. Endless expanses of snow-capped mountains surround the community, and the magnificent Mount Currie looms over the south side of the town — its rocky face standing 2,591 metres (8,500 feet) above sea level (and yes, people ski down it!). Even though Pemberton’s winters are relatively mild, big snowfalls are certainly not rare in the Pemberton Valley.
Backcountry skiers, snowboarders and snowmobilers flock to Pemberton to take advantage of several excellent backcountry areas. To the west is the massive Pemberton Ice Cap, with access from several points south of town; and to the north and northeast, the Hurley and Duffey Lake roads offer access to world-renowned backcountry terrain. For the ultimate one-day backcountry experience, heli-skiing and snowmobile tours are available.
Many local attractions, such as Nairn Falls Provincial Park, are accessible in the winter. Following the Sea to Sky Trail, visitors can access Nairn Falls directly from One Mile Lake on a wide, crushed gravel path that’s popular for winter hiking and snowshoeing. For cross-country skiers, trails are track-set around the Nairn Falls campground in winter. All-season anglers can drop a line in Mosquito Lake, Blackwater Lake and Gates Lake, which offer excellent ice fishing for rainbow trout, bull trout, cutthroat trout, kokanee and pike minnows.
After a day of adventure, why not settle in for a warm, hearty meal at one of Pemberton’s restaurants? The Pony, Mile One Eating House, Town Square, to name a few, offer a wide variety of entrées and often feature local produce and meats. Each restaurant serves its signature dishes, ranging from gourmet pizzas and burgers to hearty pasta and wild game entrées.
In the evening, Pemberton has a few places to enjoy a cold beer, a stiff shot or a glass of wine. The Pony’s bar offers a rotating selection of B.C.’s finest craft beers, and The Beer Farmers and Pemberton Brewing Co. craft breweries feature cozy taphouses where guests can sample their brews.
While only a 30-minute drive north from Whistler, Pemberton seems far removed from the hustle and bustle of Whistler Village. Its quaint, old-western downtown harkens back to simpler times, yet all the thrills and adventure you can imagine are at a mere arm’s length away.
For more information on Pemberton, visit tourismpembertonbc.com.