The short answer: Eat, play, sleep and enjoy. Here’s your insider’s guide. This is the second article in a series leading up to the Masters World Cup in Silver Star/ Sovereign Lake, British Columbia, March 3 to 11. Racers can choose up to three individual races, as well as relays over eight days, so there will be plenty of time to explore Silver Star and the area. Keep in mind that February 14 is the hard deadline for entering the MWC, and day of race registrations will not be available.
Silver Star Mountain Resort
So to start with the food. The Victorian-style village at Silver Star Mountain features a number of restaurants and eateries in all price ranges and levels of fanciness, from formal dining to casual and even deli-style grab and go. A favorite of the repeat visitors is the Bugaboo Bakery in the middle of the village.
“There is no better way to end a great day of skiing than coming back up the Meadow Trail, or zooming down Paradise, and seeing the warm and inviting lights of Bugaboo’s waiting for you in the village,” says Debbie Kolp of Seattle, who has spent many weekends and vacations skiing at Silver Star.
“Bugaboo’s is a traditional European bakery, with hot drinks, delicious treats, and Frank and Caroline welcoming you to their oasis!”
For a beer, Marina Knez of BC Nordic recommends Bulldog Grande Café in the village – from the famed Bulldog in Amsterdam.
“The Saloon is also a good place for a beer – the Village hangout – especially great after World Cup events where the international nordic ski teams crowds have celebrated and let loose,” says Knez.
Knez also enjoys the grub at Long John’s Pub in Silver Star Village.
“Definitely affordable good grub, great burgers last time I was there,” she says.
Other options include Allora Wine Tapa Bar and Bistro, Bean to Cup, Mountain Katz, The Den Bar and Bistro, HB Pizza, Isidore’s Cuisine on Main St, Silver Grill Steak and Chop House, Town Hall and Tube Town Cantina.
The Nordic Centre at Sovereign Lake also has a small café featuring hot and cold lunch, including soup and sandwiches, hot and cold drinks, energy bars and candy.
The grocery store in the Lord Aberdeen Apartment Hotel is located in the main village area. The store carries essentials such as milk, bread, fresh fruit, cold cuts, meat, frozen pizza, snacks, post cards and toiletries. Additionally, the store is licensed to sell beer, wine and liquor, and carries a selection of domestic and imported varieties.
National Altitude Training Centre
A fully equipped gym, climbing wall, wax rooms, auditorium and spa. The gym at the NATC is available for drop-in use at a daily rate of $5 during the Masters World Cup.
A full service ski shop: Valhalla Pur carries all the essentials such as wax, tools, clothing, skis, boots, poles, bindings, hats, gloves, and is always well stocked on after ski fashion.
“This guy carries some nice Nordic wear for the ladies. For a small shop, it never disappoints,” says Marina Knez of BC Nordic.
In preparation for the Masters World Cup, owner
Brian James has taken inventory of the shop’s language skills and proudly announces that he can accommodate German, Norwegian, Spanish, Russian, French and English between himself and his employees. James has also made sure his shop is better stocked than normal, just more of everything.
“We will be carrying more of everything this season,” James says, explaining that the shops’ buying season is over long before the snow flies. James has operated the shop since 1992, and knows that attempting to restock mid-season can be hard, especially with about 1,000 masters racers ascending on the village at the same time.
“I’ve been buying a little extra this year. I’m not taking the chance that the distributers will be able to find stuff if I run out,” James says, adding that if push comes to shove, he knows that some of the distributors can possibly pull merchandise from stores in other parts of the world and ship it to him.
Family doesn’t nordic ski. WHAT? Things for them to do while you do –
No problem! Again, eat, drink, play, be merry.
Ice skating, tubing, snowshoeing, snowmobile tours, mini sleds and sleigh rides. Sleigh rides with horses through the village is another popular activity for the whole family, as are the dinner tours that combine a trip through winter wonderland with fine foods at the end.
Want to get inside? Options include yoga (offered four days per week), shopping, or the National Altitude Training Centre (NATC), which offers a gym and a spa. Also, the NATC features wax rooms that are open to the public on a space available basis.
Specials on alpine lift passes and more at Silver Star Mountain are in effect for MWC participants and their families. More information here.
Kids at Silver Star
For little kids age 18 months to 5 years old, Silver Star offers day care, and/or ski school options that will keep them happy, entertained and tummies filled all day long – or as much of it as you’d like. The daycare is operated by Star Kids Centre and open from 8:30am to 4pm daily. There are also ski school options including both skiing and snowboarding for kids of all skill levels age 4 to 14 through the Snowsport School, as well as those 15 and older. Other Star Kids activities include tubing and dinner programs and movie and tubing.
For the slightly older and more independent tykes who’d prefer skiing on their own to hanging out with the ‘rents, the Silver Queen Chairlift offers hours of entertainment for aspiring snowboarders and young skiers alike, conveniently located next to the “Tube Town” tubing hill and the ice skating pond.
And there is nordic skiing too, with instruction starting for kids as young as 4.
Making a vacation out of the MWC
Silver Star and British Columbia has more than just race venues. Both Sovereign Lake and Silver Star Mountain have recreational trails for all abilities, ranging from very flat to hilly and twisty, all with spectacular views of the surrounding mountains and valleys, and secluded wooded trails that offer the magical atmosphere of a winter wonderland.
For those who want a change of pace and wish to see more of the area, British Columbia has options abound, says Marina Knez of BC Nordic Marketing Society. BC Nordic is the umbrella organization for all the Nordic areas and clubs in British Columbia, and serves as a resource center for Nordic skiing and winter activities in the province. Their web site, www.bcnordic.com, features information about where to ski, how to get started, events, photo galleries, videos and resource links for the whole region, as well as ideas for other snow activities.
To the south of Vernon, the Telemark trails near Kelowna also offer 40 kilometers of groomed nordic trails, only 35 minutes by car from Vernon. Other nordic areas in the vicinity of Vernon, include the Sun Peaks Resort about 90 minutes by car to the north of Vernon, near the city of Kamloops, feature 31 kilometers of groomed nordic trails and 14.3 kilometers of back country trails. The Stake Lake trail system just beyond Kamloops features 60 kilometers of groomed trails.
For those who would like to check out some of the Olympic venues from the 2010 winter Games, Whistler, the host of the Nordic events for the 2010 Olympics, is about seven hours by car from Vernon (560 kilometers/349 miles). Whistler Olympic Park at Callaghan Valley, about 20 minutes by car south of Whistler village, is open to the public, and both the Olympic courses and the Callaghan Country recreational trails are open every day and offer experiences for all ambitions and skill levels. Callaghan Country has 42 kilometers of groomed trails, while the WOP trail system features 30 kilometers of trails.
Cypress Mountain was also one of the venues for the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, and is located just outside Vancouver, about 5hrs30 minutes by car from Vernon (441 kilometers/274 miles). Cypress was the host of the snowboarding and freestyle competitions during the Olympics, but also features 19 kilometers of groomed nordic trails, Knez notes.
More information and further options, visit www.bcnordic.com.
Other information about day tours and things to do in the Vernon region is featured on the Sparkling Hill Masters World Cup event site http://www.mwc2011.com/index.php/region.
While Silver Star Mountain Resort can accommodate 3,500 guests between hotels, hostel, condos and rental houses, some racers might opt to stay in Vernon to have a more city-like environment and a larger selection of traditional hotel accommodations.
“Vernon is an older quaint town with a lot ambiance in some sections, a large selection of shops and restaurants, and it’s easy to park and walk about,” says Marina Knez of BC Nordic Marketing Society.
Vernon has a population of 36,785, and is a major tourist destination year round.
Silver Star Mountain Resort: http://www.skisilverstar.com/home_showSection_ID_623.html
MWC Accommodations web site: http://www.mwc2011.com/index.php/accommodation
Sparkling Hill Resort, 2011 Masters World Cup Title Sponsor
Located in Okanagan Valley, Sparkling Hill is the first resort in North America to incorporate Swarovski crystal elements into every aspect of its design. It is all part of Sparkling Hill Resort’s master design. Our team of dedicated professionals will offer personal service with the utmost attention to detail.
Uniquely designed and beautifully appointed, there are 149 lake and mountain-view guest suites plus three penthouses spanning 1200 sq. ft with their own private saunas.—all unforgettable places to connect with yourself, your company and nature.
More information: http://www.sparklinghill.com
The Kelowna International Airport is the closest airport, 35 kilometers from Vernon/ 55kilometers from the Sovereign Lake venue, and serviced by Air Canada, WestJet and Horizon Air, which partner with several other major airlines. Daily direct flights include Seattle, Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton. Shuttles take travelers from the airport to Silver Star in roughly an hour, and run frequently throughout the day. Check the airport web site for more details: http://www.kelownaairport.com.
Inge is FasterSkier's international reporter, born and bred in Norway. A cross-country ski racer and mountain runner, she also dabbles on two wheels in the offseason. If it's steep and long, she loves it. Follow her on Twitter: @IngeScheve.