Like true Canadians, we take our winter in stride – but we take them outside. Since we have a true-love for the outdoors, hibernating is not something residents and visitors in the Kootenays aspire to.
So here are our top suggestions of what to do with all of the “white stuff” this winter, if you don’t ski or snowboard:
#6 – Dog Sledding
#5 – Fat Biking
Love to bike? Here in the Kootenays snow doesn’t stop us — and to make it more accessible, we have groomed trails too! So, rent a fat bike for an exciting new work-out and a fun day exploring packed routes in the region.
Fat-Biking along groomed trails; photo by RipTip Studios
#4 – Hot Chocolate
Technically not snow, but if you top it off with whip cream then it’s ‘white’. Many of our local cafes and restaurants have their signature offerings… all chocolate infusions. Just ask what their signature hot beverage is!
#3 – Ice Skating
Most of our funky Kootenay towns offer ice-skating on local ponds. There is nothing like strapping those skates on and gliding on an open surface. And be sure, to check out the World’s Longest Skating Trail – ‘The Whiteway‘ on Lake Windermere.
Visit each community’s visitor centre to find out the current conditions, of their local skating ponds.
The Whiteway on Lake Windermere; photo by RipTide Studios
If you can trek, then in all likelihood you can snowshoe too. It’s relatively easy and a great way to get outside and explore — and in the Kootenays we have some amazing trails with natural beauty around you and breathtaking views in all directions.
And when you want to warm up from exploring, then we have the hot springs — five that are accessible in the winter time. Easy to get to soothing springs, like Ainsworth (with its natural cave) to Radium Hot Springs (nestled in Kootenay National Park). (Due to COVID-19 many of our hot springs have new protocols, such as access to the hot springs pools are available only to overnight guests.)
Inside the cave at Ainsworth Hot Springs; photo courtesy of Ainsworth Hot Springs Resort
~ Take extra time to research and plan your trip in advance. Many of our tourism businesses and services have adopted new COVID-19 protocols and changes to their schedules or policies to ensure your safety. You’ll want to become familiar with them ahead of time.
~ If you normally travel with extended family or with several friends, consider travelling in a smaller group this summer. Travelling with fewer people makes it easier for you to practise physical distancing in public, and may have less of an impact on the destination.
~ Consider a slower travel pace this winter to help curb the spread. Instead of checking in and out of multiple destinations during one trip, choose one or two destinations and one/two accommodation properties for your entire trip (and explore all the things to do & see nearby).
~ Funky Finds on the Powder Highway
~ Getting into Hot Water: Kootenay Hot Springs
~ Invermere’s Whiteway: And All things Winter
~ Outdoor Skating: Gliding on Frozen Lakes in the Kootenays
~ Powder Highway 101
(Original story published during the 2018/19 season.)