Ski club breaks ground on new lodge

January 12, 2023

Design rendering of the new ski lodge.
All photos: WLCCSC

In August, Williams Lake Cross Country Ski Club (WLCCSC) broke ground on their highly-anticipated new ski lodge at the Bull Mountain Ski Area north of Williams Lake. First identified as a top priority in the WLCCSC’s 2016-2020 five-year plan, the 2,400-square foot lodge will be an attractive, modern and welcoming complement to a quality trail network.

“Finally breaking ground on our new ski lodge was a surreal moment,” said Robin Dawes, chair, Williams Lake Cross Country Ski Club. “This project has brought together many enthusiastic volunteers, supporting community members and businesses. Bringing the new facility to fruition will be a truly inspiring community effort. Once complete, the lodge will be a cozy space, ideal for hosting events and for skiers to warm up after time on the trails or for parents to spend time together while children participate in lessons.”

As the ski area gained popularity in recent years, thanks in part to a robust introduction to skiing program with Williams Lake schools, the need for a better-equipped indoor space became even more apparent.

“As often happens with a successful initiative, the popularity began to strain the volunteers and facilities,” wrote a Williams Lake resident in a letter of support for the project. “As a result, the club finds itself requiring significant infrastructure upgrades to accommodate significantly increased skier numbers.”

The new community space will dramatically enhance the skiing and snowshoeing experience for those seeking affordable outdoor activity during the winter months. This will benefit residents and support labour attraction and retention in the Cariboo. For those visiting the area, they will have a comfortable place to warm up after time on the trails, develop social connections with other recreationalists and develop their skills.

“We anticipate that this project will increase club membership and encourage more Cariboo residents to take-up this low cost winter sport,” said Dawes. “With its completion we will join our skiing neighbours from 100 Mile and Quesnel in being able to offer wonderful facilities as well as wonderful trails and it will create an outstanding destination skiing corridor attractive to visitors near and far. I can’t express how excited we are.”

Skiers gather outside the former lodge, a 1980 Atco trailer.

The universally accessible, two-storey building replaces a wood-heated 1980 Atco trailer which did not provide adequate space for programing and equipment rentals. The addition of plumbing allows for an accessible bathroom to be included on both floors of the lodge, alongside a kitchen which will create new revenue generating opportunities. The walkout basement will provide a spacious ski rental space.

The lodge on January 11, 2023.

The lodge’s construction is progressing quickly, with much internal work being done and a recent inspection gave the go-ahead for drywall to be installed. Outside, the porch footings are about to be poured.

Northern Development supported this project by approving a $279,399 Recreation Infrastructure grant in February 2022.