Kitimat-Terrace/Thornhill and area, BC, Canada

Table of Contents- button top right

Snow Valley Nordic Ski Club (SVNSC)
aka: Onion Lake Cross Country Ski Trails

Please Note-
This is not an “Official” Web Site
for the SVNS Club.
See External links below
for the Official Club Web Pages.
My pages are the Past History of the Club.

Here are some Questions I have seen over and over again on facebook, and they require lots of volunteer time to answer them. Hope this answers some of the questions you may have without putting more strain on the Executive or other volunteers.
Note- see links at the bottom for answers to some of these questions as well.

Can I buy a day pass?
Answer- Yes you can buy a day pass, or for better value, a season membership
Remember you need Cash or Cheque to buy a day pass out at the lodge.
Trails are good for beginners to experienced skiers
See club link below for more info

If you don't have a season membership, you need a day pass, from the first day of the season until they close the gates. When you leave the parking lot, heading toward the lodge and red gate, the rental shop is the red building on the left, and the Lodge and Day Pass Registration area is on the right. Further Past the lodge are the outhouses.
Just past the red gate on the right is the Day Pass Booth. Very first section of the lodge, before the kitchen area.

  1. Find a pass/envelope combo in the bin
  2. Put your cash or cheque in the envelope, (sorry- no internet/credit card access out there)
  3. Stamp your pass with the ticket machine, with the proper day date and time, which should be visible on the screen. If nothing is visible on the machine or no printing is seen or heard, let an executive member know. If you are unable to stamp the pass due to equipment failure, let the checker on the trail know the reason why. Power failures can cause the machine to fail and needs to be manually reset.
  4. Put the pass on outside of your jacket, from a zipper, etc, where it is visible to trail ticket checkers if asked.
  5. Most important- Deposit your payment envelope in the red metal tube very near the front of the area.
  6. remember Snow Shoe trail use is only $5.00 per day. Other trails require full pass rate.

They do have children, student, senior and Family rates- see official pages, link below
Cash or Cheque only!
Thanks for your support.

Why do you have to wait for the trails to be groomed after a snow storm?
Answer- Parking lot can only be plowed by the contractor when he is done plowing in town after a snow storm. Highway Contractor graders and plows leave a wind-row at the Entrance Road, and there is no parking off the highway for the groomers. Then the groomers have to track pack the snow first with smaller machines and let it set, before the large grooming machine or ginzu can go out and do their job of making the classic track sets.
The large machine needs at least 2ft of snow before it will come out of the shed.
BE Patient- They are all volunteers, with day jobs, and they are all doing their best
They want to see it groomed as fast as you do.

Please be aware of the groomer approaching on the trails, behind you or in front. If you see or hear the machine,
Please leash your Dog Immediately, (if on the Dog Trail), and move yourself and your children, and dog if applicable, to the side of the trails as quickly and safely as possible.
By making the groomer stop it messes up the grooming process and slows the process.

Why doesn't the club plow the lot with the big machine?
Answer- They don't have a large loader or backhoe to do that with. Members asked for a larger parking lot, and they got it, but this just made it harder to plow it with smaller machines. And then you need a volunteer to go out and run it if you ?had your own machine. The big groomer machine has a front blade but the grousers on the tracks can get chewed up and broken on gravel and rocks. It isn't made to do driveways without costing a lot of money on track parts and wear and tear on the machine. Parts are expensive for it.

Why not pay a groomer to be out there 24/7?
Answer- Money! Your ticket costs would have to double to afford hiring paid staff. Then you have to train and house the staff out there, and pay all the employee costs associated with that. Then you are expecting a “Volunteer” Treasurer to issue cheques, and maintain employee records. Kind of unfair in my eyes.
When the paid groomer gets sick, who does the work? Harder to find a qualified volunteer after a while.
The club has tried to keep membership dues down to be more inclusive, not just a sport for the rich. This is not Polo!
It costs money for fuel, maintenance of the vehicles, maintenance of the buildings, hiring contractors from electricians, welders, to heavy equipment, to do building, trail, and parking lot upkeep, etc. It is not cheap to do that.
If you are worried where your memberships fees are going, run on the Executive, and find out.
It is a Not for Profit Society, and this restricts how much capital they can have at any time.
Plus everything has to be approved by government agencies.
But the main reason is money- when you hire one, then the volunteer at the rental shop will want to be paid, then the cafe staff, then the ????. Where does it stop?
If this was near a large city, and they had 3,000 members plus, then problem would be solved. But this is Onion Lake! One day it might happen.

Why is the Rental Shop only open for a few hours on weekend days?
Answer- Simple- Because you and other club members haven't volunteered to help run it! If everyone in the club volunteered a couple days it could be open 7 days a week. Why not pay someone to run it? see answer above for paid groomer etc..

Can you rent skis, boots and poles out there?
Answer- Yes they rent complete outfits at the Rental Shop
Children- By the ski season
Adults- Whatever time period the rental shop is open, on weekends, and some holidays
Skis/boot/poles must be returned at or before their closing time
Sometimes a couple volunteers offer to open it on other days, and facebook will have that info.
See club link below for more info

What size skis, poles, boots etc required ?.
Answer- Rental staff can help with all of that when you get out there, or google for info as well.

Ski- Some skis are by your height, with arm stretched up from your wrist to ground.
Some prefer by your weight.
Lengths and styles change for classic, skate sking or touring.
You should learn classic style first
Google “Cross Country Ski size” for proper sizing chart
Beginners should use shorter skis until they learn to use proper size skis.
They should also look at “waxless” skis
Poles- Poles are by your height, and change for classic, skate sking or touring.
Google “Cross Country Pole Length” for proper chart
Beginners might want to try shorter poles to start with
Boots / Bindings- Boots are sold in European sizing.
Google “Cross Country Boot Sizing” for the proper size comparison chart.
Look on local buy and sell facebook pages for used equipment

Note- The “NNN” (New Nordic Norm) style of bindings/shoes is the new cross country standard. “SNS” (Salomon Nordic System) bindings/shoes are being phased out, and will be harder and harder to find replacements.
Of course the 2 systems are NOT compatible!
Or buy new equipment at most sporting goods stores or online.
I and others suggest you rent until you find what you like, then buy that size

Why can't I snowshoe on all the trails?
Answer- You wreck the special tracks the groomers have spent hours making.
You also leave ruts in the trail for skate skiers to hit. not good! This can cause serious injuries.
They have created a special trail just for snowshoes and fat bikes, when trail is hard enough, and no skiers are allowed on it.

Why can't I take my dog on all the trails?
Answer- Because they wreck the special tracks as above, plus they do their business on the tracks and not everone picks up after their dogs. Hitting these droppings with skis is not nice.
Use the Special Dog Trail, and pick up after your dog there as well. Lime green shovels are available on the trail to throw the droppings in the bush on the side of the trail
Or better yet take poop bags out and pick the stuff up and get rid of it in town.
Note- All dogs must be on a leash when they leave your car in the parking lot.
They must remain on leash until you enter the head of the Dog Trail off the Wedenne Mainline.
Then you must be in control of your dog(s) on the dog trail at all times.
Do NOT enter the lodge/stadium area with your dog at any time during the ski season.

Why can't I walk in the middle of the trail, between the 2 groomed classic tracks?
Answer- You leave grooves where the skate skiers go, and any groove could throw them off balance and cause injury.
Always walk on the edge of the trails if you need to walk there at all, due to a broken ski, injury, or whatever.
Remember these trails are for classic skiers and skate skiers, not walkers.

Are any of the Trails flat for beginners?
Answer- NO- We live in Northwest BC, there is no such thing as all flat ground here, unless you are at the airport!
There are easy trails, and harder trails. Easy Trails can still be hard for beginners.
The Stadium/Lodge area is near flat now, and suggest you learn there first.
There is even a few small hills in the stadium area to practice on.
Lessons are also available, check the official web site for that- Link below
With Covid most if not all of the lessons are cancelled sad to say.

If you only want to Snowshoe, do you have to pay to use that Trail?
Answer- Yes, but because the big machine isn't used to groom the trail, the rate is only $5.00 per day, payable where the day pass envelopes are deposited by the Lodge.
If you pay the full day pass rate you can ski on other trails and snowshoe on this trail. Season membership you can do it all as well.
The $5.00 fee is used for parking lot clearing, Insurance, and the cost of track packing with the smaller snow machines.
For the work that went into building this trail, and maintaining it, the price is a steal.
Special snowshoe passes are available at the Day Pass area behind the ticket machine.
NO Dogs are allowed on this trail

yes they do have a few pairs at the Rental Shop for rent, first come, first served.

Is it raining out there? is it snowing out there? What does the Highway look like?
Drive BC has a camera and temperature testing point right at the turnoff from the highway
Go to their web site, and to the right of the camera view you will see a Weather button, click that
and under the picture will appear the latest snow, rain and temp readings.
Even Road Temperature is shown. 0 deg watch for icy roads.
Can't get more exact than that.
Even a button a little further down for the weather forecast.
here is the link

There is free parking off of Highway 37, at the Wedeene Access Road turnoff.
Overfull parking, or if main parking lot is not plowed, you can park in first lot off the highway,
in front of the club's sheds.
This is a very limited space, and many groups use this lot, not just skiers.
Otherwise proceed down the Wedene Road, and first driveway to the right after the Big Club Shop
This is the entrance to the Main Parking Lot.
DO NOT Exit parking lot from this entrance!
Exit is the next turnoff, just before the Dog Trail access road.
On the one end of the Main Parking lot is the large red gate that leads to the lodge, and rental shop area.
NO dogs allowed past this red gate.
All dogs must be on leash in the parking lot.

Is Cross Country sking good exercise?
Answer- Cross Country Sking is a full-body workout that builds core strength – and it is one of the best cardiovascular and erobic exercises known! If you want to burn calories, this is known as the best sport in the world for that.

What should I wear?
Answer- Wear many thin layers, that can be removed if you get overheated while sking, and put them back on if stopped.

Be always aware of Hypothermia, (hi-poe-THUR-me-uh) which is a medical emergency that occurs when your body loses heat faster than it can produce heat, causing a dangerously low body temperature. Normal body temperature is around 98.6 F (37 C). Hypothermia occurs as your body temperature falls below 95 F (35 C)
Some Signs and Symptoms of Hypothermia include:

  • Shivering
  • Slurred speech or mumbling
  • Slow, shallow breathing
  • Weak pulse
  • Clumsiness- lack of coordination
  • Drowsiness- very low energy
  • Confusion- Memory Loss
  • Loss of Consciousness

Google it and learn about it, as it can happen quickly in our wet and cold climate.

Is Safety a concern of the Club?
Answer- Yes, one of the biggest.
Always Ski with a buddy, or at least tell someone where you are going, and when you will return.
There is cell phone service on most of the trails, but not all the low areas.
There is no cell phone service in the lodge or rental shed, but just outside these buildings in the stadium there is. The metal roofs and siding stop the signal.
Be aware where the large Blue Plastic First Aid Barrels, and other First Aid boxes are located. (see club maps, locations are marked with a red cross, see official ext links below)
Note- Mid Dec 2020 some idiot(s) stole the wood frame that holds the first aid barrel on the Dog Trail. We are looking for some pallets to rebuild it as heavy as I can make it for the return of the thieves. For a couple old 6ft 2×4's they steal a safety device required by all club members. It amazes me what some jerks steal. Old story if it isn't tied down they steal it.
Now they steal the chain you tie it down with!
When I am done this time you will need a crane to get it out of there.
Take food and water with you, but please take your garbage back home.
Be prepared for the worst, if not needed no problem.
Take a small back pack with all necessary personal safety equipment
Take a head lamp with extra batteries if planning on being out later in the day.

Be safe and courteous!

You can go out as a family group and not come into contact with anyone else, or stay at least 6ft from them at any time, no problem. No ski lifts or closed buildings to worry about. No hotels or air fare required. Just the family car out to the parking lot. Fresh Air galore!
Of course the Rental Shop, and Main Lodge are Public places with their own strict covid rules.
All lessons, and Children programs have to be compliant with the Covid 19 rules
Please follow all the rules laid out by the Executive, and Public Health Unit.
Please read the New Covid 19 Protocols on Main Club Page, link below
Wear a mask in the public areas, and stay 6ft apart. It isn't rocket science!

If you don't see the answer to your question here, look at my other pages, or look at the official club pages, the last resort should be to add your question to facebook.
Every day I see the question on facebook that is easily answered here, or on their site.
Try and look up the answer for yourself first. The same questions over and over again, are very tiring for the Executive, and other facebook users.
Use the table of contents button top right to quickly find your answer

Remember- Everyone working at the Trails is a Volunteer. Treat them all kindly!
Join the Club and Volunteer yourself.

Please Note-
This is NOT an “Official” Web Site
for the SVNS Club.
See links below
for the Official Club Web Pages.
My pages are the Past History of the Club.

My Main Club Page

Note- NOT my web sites

Main Official Club Web Site (Latest Updates can be found here)
Snow Valley Nordic Ski Club Official Site

Club News

Facebook Page (Latest Pictures will usually be found here, and sometimes latest news)

Yearly Membership Pass + Donation Point, plus a list of Donors and Sponsors at the end.

Day Pass Tickets, Season Memberships, Ski Rental Rates

Club Events

Google Maps


  • Last modified: 2021/01/11 20:28
  • by dlgent