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9 Fun Things To Do In Invermere, BC In Winter

9 Fun Things to do in Invermere, BC in Winter

Looking for fun things to do in Invermere, British Columbia in winter? Head to this small town in the Columbia Valley, an area that bills itself as the “warm side of the Rockies.” Temperatures are often warmer than the eastern side of the Rockies – a bonus when there are so many exceptional outdoor things to do in Invermere and the surrounding area. Allow at least a weekend though it wouldn’t be hard to spend a week.

Stay busy in Invermere with these nine ideas for outdoor winter fun

10 Winter Activities on the Warm Side of the Rockies
Spectacular views coming down from Panorama Mountain Resort

Go skiing at Panorama Mountain Resort or Fairmont Hot Springs Ski Area

Boasting one of the largest verticals in North America with 4,000 feet, there really is something for every type of skier at Panorama Mountain Resort. Approximately 75% of the runs are geared for beginner to intermediate skiers while expert skiers will love Taynton Bowl. It offers powder hounds 750 acres of bliss, in an area that was once the preserve of heli-skiers only.

I think Panorama is one of the prettiest resorts I’ve ever skied, especially on one of its frequent blue bird days when the views of the Purcell Mountains are nothing short of spectacular. 

Skiing at Panorama on a bluebird day
Skiing at Panorama on a bluebird day

I haven’t skied the Fairmont Hot Springs Ski Area but if I had kids that were just learning to ski, I’d take them here. It’s an affordable alternative to bigger resorts – and after you finish skiing you can immediately head for Fairmont Hot Springs.

Go cross-country skiing near Invermere

There are many excellent choices for track-set cross-country skiing and even more options if you’re prepared to break trail. The Panorama Nordic Centre offers 20 kilometres of trails. Head for Hale Hut if you’re looking for a pretty destination and a place to warm up. 

Lake Lillian, accessed on the way up to Panorama Mountain Resort offers an easy 3 kilometre track as does Radium Resort – though it’s on a golf course. Fairmont Resort also offers 6 kilometres of groomed trails.

The piece de resistance is the Whiteway on Lake Windermere. Once Lake Windermere freezes solidly enough to be walked upon the Toby Creek Nordic Ski Club gets to work. A 30 kilometre, 6 metre wide path is cleared around the lake for skating. The snow that is cleared is used for skiing. Once there’s enough the club track-sets the whole loop. It’s a great way to spend a big chunk of a day.

10 WINTER ACTIVITIES on the WARM SIDE of the ROCKIES (Columbia Valley)
The view from Hale Hut

Skate the Whiteway

The Whiteway, a Guinness World Record holder with the title as the longest naturally frozen skating trail in the world with 29.8 kilometers of cleared ice is a great place to skate no matter what your age.

There are shorter loops if you don’t want to skate the entire length. Near one of the entrances you’ll also find stand-alone rinks – though without any boards. I believe there are curling events here every winter.

Skating the Whiteway in Invermere
Skating the Whiteway in Invermere

Try fat tire biking at Panorama Ski Resort 

Panorama Ski Resort has added fat tire biking to its options of non-skiing activities. Not only can you rent fat tire bikes right on the hill, but you can bike all 20 plus kilometres of the Nordic trails. Just don’t ski in the tracks.

The roads around the resort are also perfect in winter for biking – and may provide a welcome respite from some of the hillier sections.

You can bike the Nordic trails at Panorama Mountain Resort - beautiful and one of the things to do near Invermere
You can bike the Nordic trails at Panorama Mountain Resort

The other main option is the Whiteway. If you decide to bike it, don’t forget to bring something to protect your face from the wind. It can be bitter – even on the warm side of the Rockies!

Be prepared for a cold wind on the face if you bike the Whiteway - one of the things to do near Invermere
Be prepared for a cold wind on the face if you bike the Whiteway

Go for a snowshoe in the Columbia Valley

Panorama Mountain Resort offers several kilometres of snowshoeing trails. But you can also check in with the Columbia Valley information centres and get their up to date opinions on where best to go. And if you can walk you can snowshoe so just about everybody can enjoy this activity.

Try snowmobiling with Toby Creek Adventures 

I’m a wimp when it comes to anything recreational with an engine; motorboats and snowmobiles both fit in this category. So it was with some reluctance that I headed out on a half day trip with Toby Creek Adventures.

I had been on a snowmobile many times but I’d never actually driven one. Child’s play many would say but not me. After a few practice loops my guide Mike “Tucker” pronounced that I was ready to roll.

And roll we did – about 16 kilometres and 4,000 feet one way to a gloriously perched hut in the Purcell Mountains called Paradise Hut. It was a former blacksmith shop for the Atlas Silver Mine. Although I’m not about to go out and sink $15K into a snowmobile I do now understand the appeal of getting to places that would probably take a few days to access on cross-country skis.

The people running Toby Creek Adventures offer all sorts of tours from family friendly to adrenaline pumping backcountry jaunts. You’ll find them a kilometre before Panorama Mountain Resort.

Snowmobiling up to Paradise Hut in the Purcell Mountains of BC - one of the fun things to do near Invermere
Paradise Hut in the Purcell Mountains

Go paragliding over the Columbia Valley

I was supposed to try paragliding on a recent trip to the Columbia Valley but between poor weather and “Flying Max” out of town on business I missed my chance. Max offers tandem experiences over the Columbia Valley and Windermere Lake.

Most flights are 10 – 25 minutes in length depending on thermals and air currents. For a bird’s eye view of the area and a chance to get your heart rate up, sign on for one of his rides. Most are done in the morning when valley winds are more predictable.

Soak in Radium or Fairmont Hots Springs

I think the best way to warm up after you’ve been outside in winter is to soak in the hot springs. The Columbia Valley is blessed with two developed hot springs. (There are more undeveloped ones that probably aren’t very accessible in winter).

I visited both on a recent trip and would have a hard time choosing a favourite. Fairmont Hot Springs has a big pool adjacent to the real “hot springs” which is great if you want to swim lengths outdoors in the depths of winter. Their hot springs pool isn’t as deep but it offers lovely views.

The Radium Hot Springs named for the trace but harmless amounts of radon in the water are located just inside the Kootenay National Park boundary in a dramatic and rocky setting. They see on average 270,000 visitors per year.

Don’t forget that you must have a park pass to use the hot springs. Should you forget anything, even your swimsuit – you can rent one. On weekends the springs are open between 10 AM and 9 PM. It can get busy but it too is in a magical setting. You’ll have to be the judge and try them both.

Soak in Radium Hot Springs - one of the fun things to do in Invermere
Radium Hot Springs

Renting gear in Invermere

If you need gear – like skates or skis – check out Inside Edge Boutique and Sports in downtown Invermere.

Getting to Invermere, BC

It’s only a three hour drive from Calgary to get to Invermere via a drive through two of Canada’s most beautiful national parks – Banff and Kootenay. Continue south from the town of Radium via a spectacular rock cut just south of Radium Hot Springs and you’ll be in Invermere in about 15 minutes.

Watch out for big-horned sheep on the highway
Watch out for big-horned sheep on the highway in Radium Hot Springs

Where to stay in the Invermere Area

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Click on the photo to bookmark to your Pinterest boards.

Things to do in winter in Invermere, BC

 

Leigh McAdam

Leigh McAdam is a Calgary based writer, author, photographer and social media enthusiast with over 61,000 followers. Her blog: HikeBikeTravel is frequently cited as one of the top travel and outdoor adventure blogs in Canada.

Author of Discover Canada: 100 Inspiring Outdoor Adventures
Co-author of 125 Nature Hot Spots in Alberta

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