Couple Mark Savard and Jacinta D’Andrea, along with their dog, Oso, ski the trails at Chimney Lake. Savard has been working to groom and maintain the trails for years, since discovering their natural layout around 1996. (Greg Sabatino photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

Couple Mark Savard and Jacinta D’Andrea, along with their dog, Oso, ski the trails at Chimney Lake. Savard has been working to groom and maintain the trails for years, since discovering their natural layout around 1996. (Greg Sabatino photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

Winter, cross-country ski playground awaits at Chimney Lake

“It’s a kind of limitless area because of the exploring part of it.” - Mark Savard

Nestled just off Chimney Lake Road lies a hidden jewel for Cariboo residents and families looking to enjoy a slice of winter wonderland.

Chimney Lake resident and president of the Chimney and Felker Lake Landowners Association Mark Savard has been exploring the area since 1996, when he noticed a modest, cross-country ski trail network would naturally flow through the already-logged forest.

The length of the trail network has since grown to about 30 kilometres when groomed by snowmobile, Savard said.

“The logging roads and skid trails were already here,” he said. “It’s a kind of limitless area because of the exploring part of it.”

The trails are located just after Aspen Place along Chimney Lake Road, offering intermediate, recreational exploring.

“Take the day, see some wildlife,” Savard said, inviting residents to come visit the trails.

“We don’t want to compete with Bull Mountain. I think it’s just a nice area and different style of skiing that can complement those trails nicely, and it’s beautiful to be out in the woods moving.”

While already used frequently throughout the winter by Chimney Valley residents, Savard said he welcomes more people to come give the trails a shot.

READ MORE: Freedom to ride – Desous Mountain offers world class trail network

“There’s green, blue and black diamond loops, with signage up at the beginning,” Savard said.

“There are five main trails people can ski, and people can fat bike or snowshoe, too. As long as people are out in nature I’m happy.”

The cross-country ski trails are also available to peruse through the free, Trailforks mobile app.

Savard pointed out Alkali Resource Management oversees the forest in the area, however, said they are incredible working to ensure none of the cross-country trails are damaged due to their work in the area.

He said he and his family make it a mission to get out for a ski each morning as the trails are literally right outside their doorstep.

READ MORE: Williams Lake Cross Country Ski Club gearing up for busy season ahead

“The zero commute recreation is invaluable, really,” he said. “I’ll groom [in the afternoon], then go out for a ski the next morning before work when I can. Think about how many people in the world get to experience this? To me, it’s a lifestyle more than a sport.”

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