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How to get introduced to the Rossland Range Rec Site, with a Snow Host

Sunspot Cabin, viewed from the north side. Photo by Sara Golling

For those who don’t already know about it … the Rossland Range Recreation Site is a large area used (for free!) by skiers, boarders, snowshoers and some fat bikers in the wintertime, and by hikers and cyclists  in the snow-free season.  The several day-use shelters there are usually occupied by people resting, warming up and drying off, toasting (or just eating) their sandwiches, and chatting with each other.

Leery about going out there alone?  Snow Hosts can help with that.

Not everyone is familiar with the area or with winter activities, and some are understandably – and wisely -- hesitant to venture out there for the first time without some more knowledgeable person to introduce them to it, and give them basic information about suitable clothing and what they should carry in their day-packs, and show them how not to get lost. That’s where the snow hosts come in – they can do that. And there's no charge -- it's free.

Snow hosts are volunteers who are happy to help others by showing them some of the trails and winter routes for a day, and providing some basic advice about going out there.  For instance, a snow host will probably advise people to carry a map and a compass, even if they have their phones or GPS devices; cell service out there is spotty, and GPS doesn‘t tell you much about the terrain or the bush. Snow hosts may advise people to carry water to drink, and extra clothing, and to choose wool or synthetic fabrics over cotton, especially in the winter.  They might explain that it’s always wise to carry matches and other fire-starting materials in the cooler seasons.  They may show their guests the maps posted at various intersections, and how to read them.

Snow hosts will not take their guests into hazardous terrain – don’t expect to go skiing on steep, avalanche-prone open slopes on an introductory day with a snow host.

Who does this for us?

The snow host program is run by the Friends of the Rossland Range Society, which manages the Rec Site under a partnership agreement and management plan with the Ministry of Forests.  Volunteer Rob Richardson is currently the contact person for the Snow Host Program; anyone interested in going out for a day of introductory touring in the Rec Site on skis or snowshoes can contact him by e-mail at rob@rosslandrange.org or by phone at 250-362-5881. Rob can put people in touch with one or more of the nine (so far) volunteer snow hosts to find a mutually convenient time and date.

After one trip with a snow host, most people will feel comfortable exploring the Rec Site further on their own.

For printable maps and other good things to know about the  Rec Site, visit http://rosslandrange.org/RRRS/know.html