Snowmobiling Salmo-Creston Pass

North American Polaris Ambassador Trish Drinkle snowmobiling the Salmo-Creston Pass. (Photo credit Trish Drinkle)

With consistent snowfall, mild winter temperatures, and staging areas located at elevation, snowmobiling on the Salmo-Creston Pass is a favorite riding area for many. Terrain can be as challenging as you would like to make it. While there are very limited options for alpine riding in the area, Creston’s terrain has incredible tree riding which will challenge even the most skilled of riders.

 

Terry Watt Cabin, Boundary Lake
The staging area is located 35.0 kms west of Creston on Hwy 3 on the Maryland Creek Forest Service Road. The trail is groomed, and at 7 km the trail heads south towards the Terry Watt Cabin. It is recommended to choose the groomed route rather than heading straight through “Avalanche Alley” A canyon that is known for producing large avalanches when conditions are tricky. If you continue past the cabin on the trail, it will take you to a T intersection which loops into the main Maryland Forest Service road, then to Boundary Lake

 

Char Creek Cabin
The designated staging area for snowmobilers is located 37.7kms west of Creston on Hwy 3 on the Char Creek Forest Service Road. The Char Creek Cabin is approximately 5kms along a groomed trail system. There are ample adventures in the Char Creek area, including access to Heather Lake. It can be challenging to access the lake during deep powder days, so novice riders may opt for more spring-like conditions before tackling the Heather lake ride.

 

Be prepared for the backcountry

Check the conditions at www.avalanche.ca before heading out. There are a variety of microclimates that affect the snowpack differently for each zone, pay attention to the snow conditions while out riding and make choices accordingly.

Bring the necessities such as an avalanche transceiver, shovel, probe, and a backpack to keep your safety gear on your person at all time. Survival essentials such as fire starting materials, hydration, food rations, first aid kit, saw, compass, extra gloves, socks and space blankets are also recommended should you have to spend the night on the mountain.

The Salmo-Creston Pass does not have cell phone coverage, so outside communication in the form of satellite radio, In-Reach or a SPOT are strongly encouraged. Snow conditions can change quickly from zone to zone a minimum AST 1 is recommended. The more you know, the safer you will go.