Editor Vince Hempsall fell in love with Summit Lake ski hill while visiting the Arrow Lakes region on assignment recently. This is why.

I’ve driven past Summit Lake Ski and Snowboard Area dozens of times and always thought, “I should hit that place.” Located 19 kilometers southeast of Nakusp in the Arrow Lakes/Slocan Valley region, the hill offers a scant 150 meters of vertical and seven runs but it’s the grassroots vibe of it all that’s truly enticing.

The Nakusp Ski Club, a volunteer association, has operated the non-profit hill since 1961. About 15 years ago rising insurance costs almost shut it down but thankfully residents agreed to a small tax to help keep its lone t-bar chugging along.

Earlier this month I finally had the chance to cleave its slopes as part of an assignment for ZenSeekers. Fernie photographer Kyle Hamilton, Whistler videographer Chris Wheeler and I tailed the Garlinge family from Rossland on various winter activities in the northern Arrow Lakes area. We went snowshoeing on the Jack Rabbit Trail in the Nakusp Community Forest and enjoyed epic views of the Monashee Mountains to the West. We skied Summit, located above its namesake lake. And we lounged in the pools at the Nakusp Hot Springs complex, which is also community owned.

For more on winter activities in Arrow Slocan, visit ZenSeekers.com.

My favourite part of the trip was night skiing at Summit: every Friday evening the hill opens and for $20 skiers and boarders can access the one lit run, but that doesn’t stop them from shredding the other slopes with the help of headlamps. It’s the first time I’ve ever seen flashlights used to ski at a commercial hill. It’s also the first time I’ve heard someone refer to the length of a t-bar as “one beer long.”

In an era when lift tickets can cost the average family over $400 a day, it’s great to know places like Summit still exist where you can get an entire season’s pass for that amount. As for aprés, the hill’s lodge is more of a warming hut than anything so after polling some of those in the know, below is a list of the best places to grab food and drinks in Nakusp after a day adventuring. (It can be challenging to Google anything related to food in the area as many of the village eateries don’t have websites.)

  • The Three Lions Pub has great fish and chips, burgers and sandwiches as well as beer on tap
  • Arrow Lake Tavern is another good aprés choice
  • The best pizza in town can be found at Arrow and Anchor Pizza

As for pre-ski options, Hoss & Jill’s Bistro does an excellent sit-down breakfast and Mountain Top Coffee has the best cuppa joe in town as well as some light snacks and baked goods.

For more about winter activities in Nakusp and the entire Arrow Lakes region, and to see photos and video from our assignment, check out the this ZenSeekers story.