By Sera Madrigrano
You don’t need to travel too far to find a great spring getaway. Do you want to feel the rush of skiing the crystalline powder of the Monashee Mountains? Would you rather forget about snow and play a round of golf on one of 19 fabulous courses? Or, spend an afternoon finding the perfect wine to take down to the lake for an evening of stargazing? You can do all this and more in Kelowna.
Big White Ski Resort is just one of the options for spring skiing near Kelowna. An hour away from Kelowna International Airport, you will find a picturesque resort village on the mountainside. Stay at a hotel, condominium, townhome, vacation home or luxury cabin all located slope-side, the way a ski vacation should be. Go ultra-lux or economy, either way you can ski right from your front door.
The Monashee Mountains provide the backdrop for Canada’s largest totally ski-in and ski-out resort. You can enjoy these stunning vistas from the hot tub on a private balcony or as you sip your cocoa at the local cafe. The resort boasts 19 restaurants, cafes, delis, pubs and nightclubs on the mountain to refresh and replenish its guests.
Blessed with ideal ski conditions, Big White offers a state of the art lift system to both groomed and powder runs. Their motto is, “It’s the snow”, as they receive over 750 cm (295 inches) of light, dry, fluffy powder falling annually which not only makes for ideal run conditions, but creates beautiful snow-caked trees or ‘snow ghosts’ as they call them. Spring skiing is ideal with temps that usually hover around -5 C.
Big White offers a choice of 118 runs, 5 alpine bowls and the TELUS Terrain Park. With over 11.2 km (2,765 acres) of terrain, your choices are vast and varied and will keep you coming back for more. The best part? With 15 lifts you’ll never wait for more than a few minutes, even when it’s busy. Family activities will keep every member entertained with everything from shows, skating, hockey, tubing, bonfires and fireworks at the Big White Kids’ Centre.
The northernmost tip of the Sonora Desert reaches the Okanagan Valley and ends in the rain-shadow of the Coastal Mountains. Kelowna therefore is located within a microclimate which receives 2,000 hours of sunshine a year, hot summer temps and 30.5 cm (12 inches) of rain. Mineral rich soils are ideal for growing grapes and several wineries are located in and around Kelowna. Before you embark on a tour stop by the B.C. Wine Museum, enjoy complimentary wine sampling and get the scoop on the staff’s favourite wineries to visit.
The Spring Wine Festival takes place April 28 through May 8, an ideal time to taste all Kelowna has to offer. Nicknamed “Bud Break”, as it coincides with orchards blooming, the spring festival is when wineries introduce their new releases. For those who would rather go it alone there are over 30 wineries to choose from within a 20 minute drive and five distinct wine trails for your wine touring convenience. If you don’t have anyone volunteering to be a designated driver there are several tour operators that will help organize your tour, pick you up and drop you off at your hotel.
Kelowna is a must-play destination on every golf enthusiast’s list! With one of the longest golf seasons in Canada, 19 golf courses and an easy to use central reservation system, there is no excuse to not hit the links. Go easy or challenge yourself. Play overlooking the lake, on the mountain or in the orchards, the scenery just can’t be beat. When you’re done for the day, enjoy a meal at the clubhouse or find a neighbouring winery to relax and discuss your game.
Book your game through Tourism Kelowna at GolfKelowna.com for spring and summer golf trips. GolfKelowna.com is the central reservations system developed by Tourism Kelowna in partnership with local courses, allowing out-of-town golfers to book their tee times, accommodations, and receive tourism information all in one spot.
To see some of what Kelowna has to offer watch “Some People Say This Place Doesn’t Exist” at https://www.youtube.com/user/TourismKelowna