Winter Wonderland Valentine’s Escapades
Looking for an excuse to cuddle up with your sweetie against the chills of a February night? Wanting to avoid crowded, over-priced restaurants and congested parking lots? There are countless ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day with the one you love.
For those yearning for a quiet, intimate occasion, the best escape may be into the snowy woods. What better way to enjoy a romantic dinner with your significant other than lost in the magical snow globe world at Putnam Creek on the backside of Silver Star Mountain, gliding through the pristine wilderness on a horse drawn sleigh ride for dinner at Wild Horseman’s Cabin or snowshoeing to a candlelit cabin on the mystical moonlit trails of Sovereign Lake Nordic Club.
PARADISE CAMP VALENTINE'S DAY SNOW CAT DINNER TOUR
Tall evergreens tower like sentinels along Silver Star Mountain’s fairy-tale gaslight era Main Street, purple, gold and silver icicles shimmering in their branches. My husband takes my mittened hand in his. This night is just for us. Through the whirl and flurry of snowflakes we hear the throaty rumble of the red Piston Bully snow cat just before it arrives in front of the ski school office. We clamber aboard with five other couples, tuck toasty blankets around our legs and huddle together in pairs in contented silence.
During the ride we stare out at the white expanse intermittently illuminated by the snow cat’s headlights, familiar ski runs difficult to recognize in the dark from this unusual vantage point. Lights from other snow cats twinkle in the distance: expert groomers creating runs like velvet carpets for tomorrow’s skiers and boarders.
Up ahead the glow of Paradise Camp. When the Paradise Express stops near the door we step down into the powder. We are amazed at the altered reality before us. The usually frenetic coffee and lunch spot we love to frequent between ski runs for their legendary cinnamon buns has been totally transformed into a charming lantern-lit dining room. After settling at our table we order from the impressive wine list, then wander, glass in hand, checking out historic photos and ski memorabilia illustrating the fascinating history of Silver Star since its humble beginnings in 1958.
Back at our table for two, from the four choices for each course, I decide on the Woodland Mushroom Tart for a starter and Buffalo Short Ribs for the main course. My husband, always more health conscious than I, gravitates toward the Paradise Camp Salad and Rainbow Trout. Our mouths water in anticipation of today’s Chef’s selection of homemade desserts.
Enchanted by the relaxing atmosphere we decline the offer of the first snow cat ride back to the village. We plan on the second so I can linger over a glass of La Frenz Tawny dessert wine while corpulent snowflakes twirl past the window. The second snow cat ride is even cozier than the first.
WILD HORSEMAN'S CABIN
Each time I listen to the opening lines of Gordon Lightfoot’s Song for a Winter’s Night, sleigh bells jingling in time with the melodic tones of his acoustic guitar, I am transported to Silver Star Village and the sleigh ride along Bridal Path trail to Wild Horseman’s cabin.
Cocooned by a blanket and snuggling with your sweetheart you can breathe in the clean mountain air revelling in this timeless Canadian tradition. When you step down from the sleigh, don’t forget to look up before entering the rustic candle-lit cabin. Away from city lights and well into the woods from Silver Star Village showy stars boast off their true glory in the dark night sky.
The lamp is burning low upon my tabletop
The snow is softly fallin’.
BLACK PRINCE CABIN SNOWSHOE TOUR AND DINNER
For those who prefer a bit of adventure and exercise with their Valentine celebration Sovereign Lake Nordic Club has the perfect ticket. Nothing works up an appetite like a 45-minute moonlit snowshoe
over an easy rolling trail from the Sovereign Lake Nordic Club lodge along the silent trails of Silver Star Provincial Park to Black Prince Cabin. Built by British Columbia Parks in 1988 this cozy cabin is a favorite lunch stop for cross country skiers and snowshoeing enthusiasts.
By day, half the fun is feeding the Canada or Gray Jays, also known as Whiskey Jacks, when they swoop in to eat right out of your hand. By night, in honour of Valentine’s dinner the cabin is lovingly converted into an enchanting cottage warmed by woodstove and glowing candles.
This well-priced excursion includes snowshoe rental, a guide, trail fee and a three-course dinner catered by Silver Star’s 1609 Restaurant but has space for 22 guests only. A popular evening with club members and guests, it promises to be a sell out. Book early.
IF YOU GO...
Paradise Camp – Snow Cat Dinner Tour
Cost: $79 per person (includes snow cat ride)
Wild Horseman’s Cabin – Sleighride Dinner Tour
Cost: $75. (includes sleigh ride)
Check website for updates on a liquor license
Sovereign Lake – Black Prince Cabin- Snowshoe and Dinner Tour
Cost: $45 per person (includes snowshoe rental, guide and trail fee) Remember to take a headlamp.