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. (The Whiteway is closed for the 2019/20 season.)
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).
Inside the cave at Ainsworth Hot Springs; photo courtesy of Ainsworth Hot Springs Resort
*Bonus* – Winter Festivals
Jan 19 Invermere’s Snowflake Festival
Jan 23-26 Rossland’s Winter Carnival
Feb 14 Kimberley’s Flannel Fest
Feb 15 Golden’s Snow King MasqueParade
Feb 29 Nipika’s Cross River Ripper Fat Bike Race
Mar 1-3 Invermere’s Coffee Fest
Mar 6-8 Fernie’s Griz Days
Mar 13-29 RED Mountain/Rossland’s The Spring Thing
Mar 21-22 Panorama’s High Notes Festival
Know Before You Go – Heading outside to enjoy that fluffy white stuff? In some parts of our region, there is limited cell service. Always let someone know of your plans before leaving – when and where you’re going and when you’re planning to be back. Prepare yourself with food, water, maps and first-aid supplies. Wear appropriate footwear and bring layers to account for any sudden weather changes on the water or in the mountains. You’ll be happy you did! BC Adventure Smart is a great resource to help you get informed before heading into the outdoors!
~ 9 Things to Aspire To Do on the Powder Highway
~ Funky Finds on the Powder Highway
~ Getting into Hot Water: Kootenay Hot Springs
~ Invermere’s Whiteway: And All things Winter
~ Our Kootenay Winter Celebrations: Along the Powder Highway
~ Outdoor Skating: Gliding on Frozen Lakes in the Kootenays
~ Powder Highway 101