From humble beginnings as a small ski club in the 80s, the China Ridge Cross Country Ski Association has blossomed into a year round recreation destination for locals and visitors alike—namely China Ridge Trails.
For 20 years the small group cleared livestock trails and old logging roads, using their own volunteer power and some rustic grooming equipment.
Eventually the group developed plans to build a trailhead, upgrade aging infrastructure and address safety and environmental issues.
Through the hard work of volunteers, provincial grant funding, the aid of municipal and regional governments as well as local business all taking part—whether it be funding, supplies or donated skilled labour, new equipment and the Longhouse came to be.
Self propelled recreation trail system
In 2009 China Ridge Trails was given the opportunity to apply for funding through the National Trails Coalition (NTC) trail funding program and were awarded the NTC grant.
This allowed for the expansion into an all season recreational area. In the winter the trails feature cross-country skiing, skijoring, snowshoeing, and tobogganing. In the spring, summer, and fall mountain biking, hiking and horseback riding are the China Ridge activities.
Maintaining this year round activity centre is no easy task. The membership has grown over the years bringing with it a few more extremely dedicated volunteers.
60 kilometers of trails in the spring and summer are maintained by volunteers performing tasks such as; rock clearing, road rebuilds/culvert replacements, (washouts) fallen tree removal, bush trimming and tree pruning. In the winter, as soon as the snow arrives volunteers are out packing the trails to build the base. Trails are groomed and then tracks are set for the skiing and snowshoeing. More snowfall means more hours grooming trails for use. Certain snowmobiles equipped with specialized paddles are used in the maintenance of the winter trails, however sport snowmobiling is very much discouraged at China Ridge.
“The biggest concern is the physical damage that can happen to a person,” said Bob Coyne, president of China Ridge Trails.
If a skier happens to catch a rut created by a snowmobile—they can be flipped right out of the track. “Cross country skis stay with you, they do not come off,” he added.
Coyne encourages the community to visit China Ridge and enjoy the activities it has to offer. On Monday, Feb. 11 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., enjoy the first BC Family Day by attending the Winter Festival at China Ridge.
Snowmobile enthusiasts are not to be left out. There are numerous locations to be enjoyed around Princeton and area; Whipsaw, upper Tulameen, and Pike Mountain to name a few. Check out the local snowmobile clubs and trails as well. Timberline Cruisers 96 Snowmobile Club – For membership information, please contact Chris Hassell at (250) 295-0112 or Osprey Snowheelers Club – Acting President – Rob Miller – (250) 295-6420.