Fresh Air-Scapes

Where to go for winter escapes and mountains of activities

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Whistler, B.C.
Photo: Mountain Skills Academy. Whistler, B.C.

Winter may be here but don’t let yourself cocoon inside, it is better to seek daylight and exercise. And before you say don’t even go there – enough blaming the weather and it being too cold to get out. It is time to right-side that age-old winter excuse, unplug now and then head to these top five mountain towns for winter adventures. We hereby double dare you to try going unconnected, by putting down that iPhone and adding some extra self-care into this blissful snowy season.

There’s nothing like a road trip to really feel that get-out-of-town sensation — the mountains and healing waters are calling.

1 Reach New Heights – Whistler, B.C.

Midweek turns and learn to climb ice

Get vertical, not only while descending the slopes but on the ice wall, too. Take a course and learn to ice climb. You will feel accomplished knowing you really challenged yourself with this activity. No limits for you, build upon your winter season’s skillset by joining a high-performance group lesson from the Whistler Blackcombe Snow School to raise your skiing and riding game.

Whistler, B.C.
Photo: Mountain Skills Academy. Whistler, B.C.

2 Hidden in Plain Sight – Canmore, AB

The perfect midweek sneak

Who does not like waking up to towering peaks and a wide array of walking trails? Here, these features are available and accessible from the front doors of the Malcolm Hotel for that sneaky midweek getaway you’ve been dreaming of. Feel like an Olympian by visiting the Canmore Nordic Centre, take a cross-country ski lesson to hone your gliding game, or practice your kick and skate. One of the best ways to get your cardio workout in, if you are in need of some thrills, is to try tubing or learn to alpine ski or snowboard at nearby Nakiska Ski Area.

Canmore, AB
Photo: Matt Mosteller. Canmore, AB.

3 Enjoy Daylight – Cranbrook, B.C.

Winter walks and more

Have you driven through but not stopped in for a visit? Now is the time to give this sunny place its due recognition. Looking for trail time? Pick from one of the largest groomed networks for winter fat biking at South Star Trails. Or go for that winter walk or trail run, starting at the College of the Rockies Trailhead at Gateway Trail and take the 10 km Lakes Loop – its gradual grade is a perfect winter workout. More than likely, given that Cranbrook and Kimberley get the most sun hours in British Columbia, you’ll feel better thanks to the region’s boost of vitamin D. Of course, don’t miss an après workout healthy fuel up. Try Kootenay Soul Food in the historic Mt. Baker Hotel.

Cranbrook, B.C.
Photo:Visit Cranbrook. Cranbrook, B.C.

4 Mountains of Adventure – Fernie, B.C.

Think big

Rolling down the winter trails and not only getting your body in gear, but feeling that powerful refresh, is the norm in Fernie where you can ride year-round. Rent fat bikes at Fernie Alpine Resort or Gear Hub Sports just off historic main street. You will be out spinning with joy in no time on the snowy trails. Pause amongst giant cedar trees to reflect and, like the size of the snowflakes here, you may find some new big ideas.

Fernie, B.C.
Photo: Tourism Fernie. Fernie, B.C.

5 A Hearty Escape – Sun Peaks, B.C.

Mountain village

A newly built NHL-sized rink is calling, so lace on the skates because nothing beats taking laps around a snowy mountain rink in a flake-filled village. Welcome to Sun Peaks. Next up is snowshoeing. No, this is not the penguin walk – snowshoeing is easy. It’s just like walking but with bigger shoes on your feet; you got this. Don’t miss features along the village trails like the snow cave, various winter bird identification signage and areas to learn about the winter animals who inhabit the area.

Sun Peaks, B.C.
Photo: Kelly Funk. Sun Peaks, B.C.

6 Golden Moments – Golden, B.C.

The perfect family and cohort adventure

Combine some adventures here with a couple of days with your cohort group skiing and riding at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort. Pre-booked, guided snowshoe and/or ski touring adventures are offerred at Purcell Mountain Lodge, one of Canada’s first luxury backcountry lodges. Stay in a private cabin at Lush Mountain Accommodations, and your group can ride together on the gondola to explore the mountain and head into the backcountry to Purcell Mountain Lodge for an epic playtime in untouched powder.

Golden, B.C.
Photo: Dave Best. Golden, B.C.

7 Stormy Goodness – Tofino, B.C.

Worlds away from reality

Welcome rainy and windy into your life. There’s really nothing like being smacked in the face by Mother Nature on a beach walk to truly hit your refresh button. Let the vibes of big trees settle in and hit Long Beach for a unique winter walk while keeping aware of tides and the wild waves. Don’t shy away from the storm as local accommodation spots like Long Beach Lodge Resort have guest rain jackets and umbrellas. Your inner seven-year-old self will enjoy wearing rubber boots to splash in puddles again.

Tofino, B.C.
Photo: Sander Jain. Tofino, B.C.

8 Trail Time – Kimberley, B.C.

Break the script and learn

Stay in Trickle Creek Lodge and from your doorstep take the snowshoes for a loop on the flat and easy nearby trails of Trickle Creek Golf Resort – trails perfect for learning. A short drive away is a hidden gem, The Kimberley Nordic Club, where more than 30 km of cross-country trails beckon. It’s not difficult to see why everyone in Kimberley has such vibrant smiles from sunrise to sunset. A favourite first-timer trail which is also lit at night is the three-kilometre Centennial-to-Spruce loop. This one comes complete with views of the Rockies, forested corridors and an inviting grade. Why not make this town a trifecta of first-time experiences? Learning something new is always good especially when it comes to the roots of this town’s winter activities of cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and alpine skiing, all in one place.

Kimberley, B.C.
Photo: Matt Mosteller. Kimberley, B.C.

9 Hot Soak, XC & Foodie Delights – Nelson & Ainsworth, B.C.

Crafted for you

A stay in Nelson may require a good workout afterwards, as the foodie experience here is top notch and worthy of enjoying. So why not rent cross country gear from Gerick Cycle and Ski, head up to Whitewater Ski Area and venture out on to their five kilometres of trails and take in spectacular mountain views? Our advice for beginners? Start on the flat Night Loop trail, at the Nelson Nordic Club, and you will glide like a pro in no time. Enjoy an historic and luxury stay downtown at the Hume Hotel, then relax with craft food and local brews in the Library Lounge. From food and fitness, it’s onto healing waters. Ainsworth Hot Springs Resort is your place to recuperate and rejuvenate. Proudly owned and operated by the Ktunaxa People, why not make your visit a healing-waters tour? Add a stop and stay at Halcyon Hot Springs Resort for good measure. You can never be too relaxed.

Nelson & Ainsworth, B.C.
Photo: Nelson & Kootenay Lake Tourism/Janneke Guenther. Nelson & Ainsworth, B.C.

Road manners

COVID, COVID, COVID…

We all want this to leave our lives as soon as possible. Of course, we know you may be tired of hearing this but please be a responsible and respectful traveller to any of your upcoming destinations. The protocols may be different in the communities you are traveling through, however it’s always better to have your mask on in public, practice social distancing and show your respect by not traveling in the event you are not feeling well. Check details on your destination regularly before you go, as information may change – this can help you stay alert and in the know.

Sun Peaks, B.C.
Photo: Kelly Funk. Sun Peaks, B.C.

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