The Clearwater ski hill lodge is currently undergoing some renovations, including new paint and lighting, along with other additions such as sanitizing stations.

Clearwater’s natural beauty a draw for destination weddings

Clearwater’s dreams of becoming a year-round event and wedding destination are gaining steam, thanks in part to a $250,000 grant from the B.C. government.

The funds, provided to the Clearwater Ski Club and lodge, comes from a $90 million community economic recovery infrastructure program to support economic resilience, tourism, heritage, and economic development in communities across B.C. The grant will be used to upgrade and add capacity to the lodge, a focal point of the community, as well as maintain the ski hill and provide lights for night skiing.

The aim is to draw people to the area year-round, particularly for weddings, and inject much-needed money into the Clearwater economy, which has been affected by mill closures, wildfires and more recently, the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We have dealt such a blow with COVID. We rely heavily on international visitors and to have that economic stream cut off so dramatically that it’s been difficult to recover,” said Stephanie Molina, marketing manager for Tourism Wells Gray. “Investments like this in the community will certainly help.”

The funding is the largest ever grant for the Clearwater Ski Club and lodge, a non-profit run entirely by volunteers. The group relies heavily on fundraising and grants to pay its bills, especially when there isn’t enough snow to bolster reserves during the ski season. The lodge is an important part of the community, used for burgers and beer events, Christmas dinners and parties, as well as a Christmas market.

Promoting the lodge as a wedding destination will not only bring in income but will help to inject more money into the local economy – in terms of spin-off businesses such as catering, florists, photographers, accommodation services, shopping and restaurants – and support the town during the shoulder season.

The more people who come to town, the more money they spend on accommodations, shopping and food, said Daniela Wiunig, president of the Clearwater Ski Club.

“It’s really good for the town,” she said. “People, when they book, love it. It’s quiet and nice.”

Plans to turn the Clearwater area into a wedding destination began in 2018. The following year, every weekend was booked – and not just by locals but people in Germany and the United States, Molina said. A lot of bookings had to be cancelled in 2020 as well as this year due to COVID-19 but she hopes they will see a rebound in interest in 2022.

Molina said it might seem odd to be promoting Clearwater as a “destination” wedding venue, but noted people have long been drawn to the area to hike, kayak or paraglide and they could develop an industry around them. She sees its 41 named waterfalls as a powerful draw for romantic couples, similar to Niagara Falls. Pre-COVID, the lodge could host 120 people, she said, and they are now looking at ways to promote smaller packages.

“We encourage them to see Clearwater as a destination wedding location which is something odd,” she said. “The areas in Clearwater and Wells Gray are otherworldly. In some ways, it provides a diverse and exotic backdrop to some of these events. There’s a pent-up demand for people who would like to get married.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A syringe is loaded with COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Interior Health announces 89 cases of COVID-19 in the region

Currently, there are 900 active cases in the region

B.C. Cattlemen’s Association general manager Kevin Boon. (B.C. Cattlemen’s Association photo)
COVID, BSE, water access and private land rights: B.C. Cattlemen’s general manager weighs in

Kevin Boon said positive aspect of pandemic is more people interested in where their food comes from

B.C's COVID-19 dashboard shows the peaks and valleys of cases prior to the record daily report of 132 on April 9, 2021. (Dashboard image)
Interior Health has record day of COVID-19 cases

132 cases reported Friday, April 9, more deaths in Vernon hospital outbreak

The BC Wildfire Service will be partnering with Simpcw First Nation this month in the implementation of a prescribed burn next to their community of Chu Chua. The controlled burn will be highly visible to Highway 5 and all communities in the immediate area. Pictured is a prescribed burn that took place on the Kanaka Bar Reserve last month in partnership with the Kanaka Bar Band and BC Wildfire Service. (BC Wildfire Service Facebook photo)
Simpcw and BC Wildfire Service to hold controlled burn near Barriere

Burn will be highly visible to Chu Chua, Barriere, Darfield, Chinook Cove, Little Fort and Highway 5

District of Clearwater meetings are open to the public. The meeting agendas and past meetings minutes can be viewed on the DOC's website. Every meeting has time allocated at the end for comments from the public.
Clearwater to benefit from funding through Ministry of Tourism initiative

The District’s Trails Task Force was sucessful in securing a grant for $684,000.

Burnaby MLA Raj Chouhan presides as Speaker of the B.C. legislature, which opened it spring session April 12 with a speech from the throne. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C. NDP promises more health care spending, business support in 2021 budget

John Horgan government to ‘carefully return to balanced budgets’

Dr. Bonnie Henry gives her daily media briefing regarding Covid-19 for the province of British Columbia in Victoria, B.C, Monday, December 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. urges people to stay in their neighbourhoods, discourages out-of-household meet-ups

Dr. Bonnie Henry says there should be no travel, even to the next city over

Dr. E. Kwok administers a COVID-19 vaccine to a recipient at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Most Canadians plan to get COVID-19 vaccine, but safety fears drive hesitancy: poll

This comes as confidence in governments is plummeting in provinces being hit hardest by the pandemic

Marathon of Hope runner Terry Fox is shown in a 1981. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/CP)
Terry Fox’s legacy of resilience resonates during COVID-19 crisis, says brother

Fred Fox said his brother’s legacy of resilience has taken on renewed resonance as COVID-19 rages on

A youth was arrested following a car crash on Wallace Street on Saturday, April 10. (Karl Yu/News Bulletin)
Onlookers laugh and jeer as B.C. teen beaten, then forced to strip and walk home

Police arrest older teen, call video shared on social media ‘disturbing’

A lady wears a sticker given out after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count slows after last week’s peak

3,219 new cases since Friday, 18 additional deaths

North Cowichan councillor Tek Manhas did not violate the municipality’s code of conduct by posting a sexist meme on Facebook, council concludes. (File photo)
B.C. municipality to take no action against councillor who posted sexist meme

Tek Manhas’s meme doesn’t violate North Cowichan council’s code of conduct, municipality concludes

—Image: contributed
Indoor wine tastings still allowed in B.C., not considered a ‘social gathering’

“Tasting is really just part of the retail experience. The analogy I use is you wouldn’t buy a pair of pants without trying them on.”

A sign on a shop window indicates the store is closed in Ottawa, Monday March 23, 2020. The Canadian Federation of Independent Business is raising its estimate for the number of businesses that are considering the possibility of closing permanently. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Small business struggling amid COVID-19 pandemic looks for aid in Liberals’ budget

President Dan Kelly said it is crucial to maintain programs to help businesses to the other side of the pandemic

Most Read