Tackle a winter triad at Raven Lodge, Vancouver Island


Crunching beneath our snowshoes is the only sound we hear, as we step through snow-draped cedars at the trailhead to Tree Beard. That may sound like the name of a Lord of the Rings character, but it’s actually a trail in British Columbia’s oldest provincial park here on Vancouver Island. 

The park is just a stone’s throw away from Raven Lodge, where earlier my friends Vivian, Cory and I had picked up our snowshoes and met our guide. 

A 3-sport winter odyssey

Along with cross-country skiing and fat biking, snowshoeing is one of three enchanting winter sports you can weave into a day, or multi-day, winter adventure at Raven Lodge, the lesser known nordic gem connected to Mount Washington. Our plan for the day was to tackle all three.

#1. Cross-country skiing on Vancouver Island

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Photo: Stevie Gaultier
Raven Lodge offers rentals and lessons to help you get into nordic skiing.

While Vancouver Island is famed for its beaches and temperate rainforest, winter in the alpine brings the promise of a much different experience. Imagine gliding over a foundation of fresh snow, each push giving way to a dance between you and the endless white canvas. 

Our expert instructor Steve puts it best, "Whether it’s your first time, or if you're nearing the grace of an Olympian, it's all about savouring that glide." 

In no time, these trails become our playground, as we glide along through the high alpine vistas.

#2. Fat biking in the snow, on an island

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Photo: Stevie Gaultier
Fat biking: easier than it looks. And epic views.

Fat biking on Vancouver Island turns a familiar summer pastime into a winter wonder, as broad tires carve paths through the frosty forest. 

Away from the crowds, with only the sound of crunching snow under tread, experience the wilds of winter from a new perspective.

Before I tried it, I thought fat biking must feel a bit like biking through sand. 


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Oh, how wrong I was. You’re stable. The fat tires keep you above the snow so there really isn’t any drag. For anyone who feels uncoordinated in a new sport (like me), you'll be surprised by how easy it is. (Like riding a bike!) 

The fat bike routes at Raven Lodge extend in multiple directions, but they are weather dependent. Ask the staff when you're asking about rentals for the best spots of the day and they'll point you in the right direction.

#3. Snowshoeing in Strathcona Provincial Park

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Photo: Stevie Gaultier
An outing on Tree Beard's Trail, in Strathcona Provincial Park.

Out in Strathcona park on Tree Beard, we revel in a zen moment, treading lightly amidst the towering evergreens, punctuated by the lure of stunning mountain vistas. 

My friend Vivian Schau stops to reflect a moment among the fragrant hemlock and cedar, breathing deeply: "It’s really nice to be able to get outdoors here and to take in the incredible views.”

Winter, wonder, wellness 

The chance to transition from one sport to another in a single day is a luxury, but the true gift is found in the silent moments between breaths and the breathtaking beauty of a landscape untouched by time. Here, the ancient woods of Vancouver Island beckon. 

Whether you're cross-country skiing on groomed trails, pedaling snowy paths or snowshoeing in quiet solitude, Raven Lodge welcomes you into winter zen and adventure.

Seize the chance to immerse yourself in Vancouver Island's winter splendor and return enriched from the tranquility of Raven Lodge—truly, a Nordic gem awaiting your discovery.

When you go

Get a nordic pass for unlimited access to Raven Lodge's cross-country adventures so you can do it all.

Snowshoe tours  guided group tours and rentals are available to help you explore the 22km of trails in the area. 

Nordic skiing lessons  try a discover skate or classic lesson to get you gliding right! Private or group lessons are available, best to book ahead. 

Fat biking  fat bikes at Raven Lodge are first-come-first-serve, and the trails are weather dependent, so make sure to check in before you plan a day out. Not sure what trails to try? Book your rental and join a group ride.

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