Local hills offer winter adventure

Hope Mountain Centre is offering four free snowshoe trips during February and March

Hope Mountain Centre is offering four free winter snowshoe trips this year.

Hope Mountain Centre is offering four snowshoe trips for all ages in the mountains around Hope during February and March.

The programs are free this year, thanks to a donation Hope Mountain Centre received from the University of the Fraser Valley kinesiology department, as well as individual donors. Participants can bring their own snowshoes or borrow them from Hope Mountain Centre.

As a non-profit society, the Hope Mountain Centre’s core mandate is to get people outside. While many Canadians see winter as something difficult that must be endured, program director Kelly Pearce hopes to inspire people to embrace winter in all its extremes.

“Living in Hope, we’ve got these spectacular mountain passes just 40 minutes from home,” he said. “Highways 3 and 5 take us into awe-inspiring terrain and deep snowpacks that feel like another world. I get a thrill every time I’m up there, and I hope that more people in our town take advantage of these great places”.

Snowshoeing has exploded in recent years, with new snowshoe designs that make it easier than ever to travel over the snow.

“No one misses the old wood and leather snowshoes,” said Pearce. “The new shoes are lighter, more maneuverable, and have better traction underfoot. Anyone can enjoy winter travel now.”

Another key goal of the Hope Mountain Centre is education. Pearce pointed out that trips model safe backcountry travel, “so you’ll learn some useful tips about winter clothing, gear and how to avoid dangers such as avalanches.” He also said there’s a social and emotional benefit to getting outside too.

“Anyone who comes on one of our trips will tell you, it’s fun!” Pearce added. “You meet a bunch of new people and share an experience that is rejuvenating and memorable.”

To register for one of Hope Mountain Centre’s winter trips, visit www.hopemountain.org or call 604-869-1274.