Bralorne Recreation Area History

The Bralorne Recreation Area cabin is located just outside town off the Noel Creek FSR on the historic Sunshine Mountain. 50-60 years ago this was the location of the “ski hill” with two rope tows and a ski cabin before a big economic downturn when the Bralorne Mine closed in 1970.

The old ski cabin is user and volunteer maintained and stands as an emergency warming shelter. Use the cabin and the area at your own discretion. Residents and visitors use the area for mountain biking, hiking, ski / snowboard touring, snowshoeing, atv, dirt biking, picnics and social gatherings. Snowmobiles are used for access only.

Work done on the area is performed by community volunteers. The town that once had a population of 1700 is now 78. More volunteers and fundraising membership sales are needed. If you are a lover of Bralorne and it holds a special place in your heart please become a member of the BRA. We need help from residents, past residents, and our visiting friends. Everyone who loves Bralorne. Help us maintain and improve the area for future use and generations to come.

Having a strong membership base and some savings of our own in the fundraising bank is a key element to successful grant applications for bigger things like gladed runs, more trails and a warming hut in the alpine.

For the latest update on the tenure expansion project see the news page.

Bralorne Recreation Area is a community amenity owned by BRVCA and managed by the volunteers of Bralorne Recreation Area Advisory Committee (BRAAC).

  • 1858- First gold placer discoveries in the area.
  • 1896-1898- Mining action begins to develop, albeit slowly due to transportation challenges into the area.
  • 1915- Mining ramped up with development at the Pioneer Mine, employing 10.
  • 1916-1920 Arthur Noel develops the Lorne Claim.
  • 1928- Lorne Gold Mines Ltd. is established by the Stobie Furlong Company and takes over many of the privately held claims in the area. The first buildings in what would become the town-site of Bralorne are constructed by the company.
Skiers Bralorne area
  • 1930- January 30, the Lorne Mine is closed due to a ‘financial crisis.’ The Government funds the cutting of a ‘new lower road’ providing some work for a few of the unemployed miners. Most people leave the community at the start of the Great Depression however the population rebuilds quickly as gold retains its value and is viewed as a stable commodity in an uncertain time.
  • 1931- The Lorne Mine became Bralorne Mine when Bralco Development and Investment Company acquired it. The Bralorne Community Club is formed. Recreation facilities were built in the effort to provide an attractive and fulfilling community life for the mine’s employees. The Bralorne Community Club oversaw the majority of organized recreation. The Club described itself as ‘a local, non-profit-making organization devoted to the purpose of promoting suitable social intercourse and entertainment for its members.’ They lobbied for the construction of the recreational facilities with mine management and operated them once built. A deduction was taken from the Bralorne Mine employee paycheques to help pay for the operational costs.  The Ski Club was a branch of the Community Club.
  • 1934- The Bralorne and Pioneer Mines lead all of Canada in gold production.
  • Mid- 1930s- More miners began the influx into the area for work at the Bralorne and Pioneer Mines, among them were some Norwegians, Austrians and others who were skiers. Skiing took hold as a popular sport in the area as the mines began to boom. Avid skiers would climb and ski Sunshine Mountain (2,300m) enjoying its alpine terrain. However, most local skiers enjoyed the more accessible tow ropes and ski cabins at the Bralorne Ski Hill which rose behind and above the Bralorne Community Hall or at the Pioneer Ski Hill at Pioneer town-site.
  • 1942- Many people had left the area to serve in the armed forces or to work in the wartime industries, production at the mines cut back.
  • Late 1940s- Post war, skiing continues its growth as a popular sport. Bralorne Ski Hill hosts races for locals and built ski jump. More ski trails are opened by the Mines allowing for firewood to be gathered from the hill.
  • 1950- Bralorne has a population of 1,700.
Sunshine Skiers
Bralorne Ski Hill View
  • 1963- Fall- The Ski Club decided to relocate its operations from the Bralorne location above the Community Hall to a higher elevation with a more favorable aspect and choose Sunshine Mountain. The Ski Club convinced the Mine management of the feasibility of the project. The Mine loaned equipment for the job including the ardours task of clearing the ‘old wood road,’ and the slopes of stumps, then building the A-frame cabin and installing two tow ropes. The volunteers who carried out the work were led by Ski Club President, Murray Dunbar with active members Art Williams and Harry Brown.
  • 1963-Winter-Volunteers kept the road clear with an excavator so that a WWII Jeep could be driven up to the area with skiers. Volunteers also manage the operation of the two rope tow lifts, one rising above the cabin for experts and one below for novices. Hot drinks and snack could be purchased in the cabin. On Wednesday nights, skiers could buy a pasta dinner there before skiing under the lights.
  • 1964- 150 people came to the hill for the annual spaghetti supper organized by the Ski Club. The celebration included fireworks and a skiing torchlight parade visible from Bralorne with binoculars. The Ski Club organized professional instructors to travel to the area for the weekend and teach lessons. Slalom and Giant Slalom Ski races were held April 18-19 for aged 6 to adults. Mr. F. Lee reported ski news to the Communicator.
  • 1964- The Mine assisted in fixing the road to Sunshine and making considerable improvements to the cabin. Murray Dunbar established Murray’s Ski House, offering a full line of ski equipment for sale in a trailer near his garage in Bralorne.
  • 1970- Sunshine Ski Area closes, leaving dreams of extending lifts into the alpine unrealized.
  • 1971- Bralorne Mine closes, population had dwindled to 370.
Bralorne Ski Hill History
2013 Bralorne Cabin

1977- BBRVCA (Bralorne-Bridge River Valley Community Association) formed continuing with the objectives of the original Bralorne Community Club to provide recreational opportunities and facilities.

1979- BBRVCA obtains the License of Occupation tenure as a 50m² box surrounding the Ski Club Cabin and a Right of Way –Tow Line Tenure 15m wide and 450m long running approximately 300m below the cabin and 150m above the cabin. Hard economic times cause the population to dwindle even further.

2006- Bralorne has a population of 45.

2012- Population of Bralorne is 78. The Sunshine Mountain Cabin continues to stand. The area remains a hub for recreational activities including hiking, skiing, snowboarding, mountain biking, picnics, dirt biking, and social gatherings It holds the hearts of many who have lived in or visited Bralorne over the years. Local outdoor recreationists vote to work towards expanding the tenure to accommodate the current use and preserve the history of the area. 

2020- After an 8-year uphill grind, the tenure has been expanded and approved as a 4 season Backcountry Community Outdoor Recreation Tenure!  Upgrades and revivals will happen through a Section 57 / Section 56 / Rec Sites and Trails BC agreement. See the News Page for the Phases of Development and 25-year plan. Phase One currently underway. The dream continues. 

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