Nipika Mountain Resort

On our way to Radium Hot Springs, British Columbia for the weekend, Zosia Zgolak and I stopped at Nipika Mountain Resort on 10 March 2017 to explore their network of cross-country ski trails.  Located near the confluence of Cross River and Kootenay River just outside Kootenay National Park, this family-owned resort has been around for many years, but until fairly recently, I had never heard of it or even knew that it existed.  The resort is described in the newest edition of Chic Scott's Ski Trails in the Canadian Rockies, and its history and development are definitely worth a read.  Arriving at the day lodge, Zosia and I were greeted by a very friendly employee named Ted who collected our trail fees ($12 per person) and had lots of information and stories to share.  Ted even waxed my skis for me before we headed out onto the trails.  Following Ted's advice, we spent all of our time skiing the trails on the north side of the resort and visited such points of interest as the Natural Bridge and Canyon Falls.  Most of the trails at the resort are rated easy to intermediate which should appeal to novice skiers.  The resort also caters to snowshoers and mountain bikers, but we did not see any on this day.  Being a Friday, Zosia and I initially had the trails mostly to ourselves, but we encountered a few more skiers later in the afternoon, many of whom were also arriving from Calgary like us.  After having our fill of skiing, we left the resort and drove into Radium Hot Springs where we checked into a motel for the rest of the weekend.
Feels like home! Zosia is eager to start skiing after hanging out at the day lodge for awhile.
Ted insisted on waxing my skis and did so free of charge! Ted uses a propane torch to apply wax to Sonny's ski.
Not bad grip but great glide...perfect for skiing Nipika! Outside the day lodge which formerly was a barn, Sonny tests the wax on his skis.

Photo courtesy of Zosia Zgolak

It's cozy but entirely superfluous as the day lodge is less than 2 km from here! Zosia arrives at Meadow Warming Hut.
It's almost impossible to get a good photograph of the Natural Bridge. Zosia crosses a man-made bridge which is built beside the Natural Bridge (not visible).
Luckily the snow was supportive enough to walk on. After ditching her skis, Zosia hikes down a snowshoe trail to a viewpoint for the Natural Bridge.! From the viewpoint across Cross River, the Natural Bridge is hard to discern.
Guess who we will be following!

A grooming snow cat passes behind Zosia.

You're supposed to use the markers provided inside to leave an inscription on the walls and ceiling of the hut. Zosia arrives at Canyon Falls Warming Hut on the west side of Cross River.
Watch your step here... Canyon Falls is worth the short detour from the main ski trails.
Good place for advertisements, no? The high east bank of Cross River almost looks man-made.
The water is unbelievably clear.

Zosia skis over Cross River on Canyon Bridge.

Sorry, Zosia. That's not where we're headed... Zosia wants to take "Early Retirement".
Still scenic even with cloud cover! Zosia pauses at a bluff overlooking Kootenay River.
Similar to climbing up to Hydroline from Fox Creek at Peter Lougheed Provincial Park. Zosia climbs probably the steepest hill in the whole trail network.
Not too shabby!

After taking a short break at the day lodge, Sonny visits one of the nine guest cabins which were hand-built by the resort's owners.

Photo courtesy of Zosia Zgolak

C'est le but! With the resort's ice rink covered in snow, Sonny invents the new sport of ski-hockey!

Photo courtesy of Zosia Zgolak

They even have frisbee golf! Total Distance:  14.7 kilometres
Round-Trip Time:  4 hours 22 minutes
Total Elevation Gain:  315 metres

GPX Data