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Skating The Whiteway In Invermere

Lake Windermere Whiteway for Skating & Skiing

You’ll find Lake Windermere in the Columbia Valley between the Rocky Mountains to the east and the Purcell Mountains to the west. It is the winter home of the Lake Windermere Whiteway, a recently declared Guinness World Record holder with the title as the longest naturally frozen skating trail in the world with 29.8 km of cleared ice.

It’s worth the winter drive through Kootenay National Park just to enjoy the activities on the Lake Windermere Whiteway. Spend a weekend to take advantage of the exceptional skating and cross-country skiing.

One of the access points to the Lake Windermere Whiteway
One of the access points to the Whiteway

Lake Windermere Whiteway – the longest natural frozen ice skating rink in the world

By the time December rolls around and Lake Invermere is frozen solidly, the Toby Creek Nordic Ski Club goes to work. 

A 6 m wide path of ice is cleared around the circumference of the lake. When they started back in 2008, only a 15 km loop was cleared. Now it’s the whole lake and it’s officially 29.8 km (18.5 miles) long. The snow is moved to one side of the cleared ice – and it’s that snow that becomes the base for skiing. The snow is track-set but there’s also enough room for skate skiers.

A stunning winter playground
A stunning winter playground

The Whiteway is a superb family-friendly outing

You can do short or long loops on skates and skis and you can even bring the dog. On a sunny day, the view of the mountains from the lake is outstanding. Skaters and skiers in great shape can knock off the full loop in about two hours.

In recent years in early winter some people have been treated to mirror smooth ice, so clear that you could see fish swimming below.

Cross-country skiing on the Whiteway
Cross-country skiing on the Whiteway

Biking on the Whiteway

Mountain biking is also permitted on Lake Windermere, but because of the wind chill, it’s a good idea to bring extra face protection.

Mountain biking on the Lake Windermere Whiteway
Mountain biking on the Whiteway

Cars and trucks are also allowed to drive on the lake, but they are forbidden from using the Whiteway. It appears that ice fishing is popular but only at the northern end of the lake.

Looks like ice-fishing huts to me
Looks like ice-fishing huts to me

The cost is minimal – a mere $5 donation to the Toby Creek Nordic Ski Club if you aren’t a member. Look for cash boxes at information kiosks.

Useful Lake Windermere Whiteway info

  • They now ask that you pay $5 to use the Whiteway.
  • You can rent skates or skis at The Inside Edge Sports Store in Invermere.
  • There are three official entrances including the Kinsmen Beach in Invermere, by the Invermere Bay Condos in Invermere and at Windermere Beach.
  • Invermere is located 275 kilometres west of Calgary and 17 kilometres south of Radium Hot Springs (a perfect place for a soak after your workout.)
  • If you’re looking for a similar experience nearby, check out the Lake Lillian Whiteway on the road up to the Panorama Ski Resort.
Radium Hot Springs are the best place to be after skiing
Radium Hot Springs are the best place to be after a day outside

Entrances to the Whiteway

There are three official entrances; the Kinsmen Beach in Invermere, by the Invermere Bay Condos in Invermere and at Windermere Beach. Invermere is located 275 km (171 mi) west of Calgary and 17 km (11 mi) south of Radium Hot Springs.

Beautiful backdrop to the Lake Windermere Whiteway
Beautiful backdrop for skating, biking and cross-country skiing

When is it open?

The season varies from year to year. Typically, it runs from late December until early March. The Whiteway is not lit at night but in theory, it’s open 24 hours a day.

Biking on a cold winter day
You may need a mask to mountain bike on a cold day

This post includes some affiliate links. If you make a qualifying purchase through one of these links, I may receive a small percentage of the sale at no extra cost to you. Thank you for your support.

Where to stay in Inveremere

On one occasion I stayed at the Copper Point Resort in winter and thoroughly enjoyed it. It’s one of the nicest places to stay in the Invermere area. 

The Kanata Inns Invermere is called a superb choice. If you like soaking in hot springs then the Fairmont Hot Springs Resort 13 kilometres south of Invermere is a great choice.

Cross-country skiing the Whiteway
Cross-country skiing the Whiteway is a fantastic way to spend a winter day

Further reading about things to do in British Columbia in winter

Click on the photo to bookmark to your Pinterest boards.

Skating, Nordic skiing or biking the Lake Windermere Whiteway in BC's Columbia Valley





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

This Post Has 28 Comments

  1. I’d never heard of the Lake Windermere Whiteway, but it looks amazing. You always discover such interesting, out of the way places!

  2. I have passed through this area in summer, but have never been here in winter.I’m not much into winter outdoor sports and don’t like the cold, but I have to admit your pictures show how scenic the area is, even in winter.

  3. Well, till now i have only heard about Lake Windermere, but not yet visited. I have visited other skiing places including Revelstoke, Canada.

  4. The Whiteway looks like great fun! It’s good to hear Canada is home to longest naturally frozen skating trail looks much warmer there than in other parts of the country.

  5. My mother loved to figure skate and always loved opportunities to do it outdoors – she would have been fascinated by this! I have weak ankles and am a cold coward but I think I’d even give it a try. Thanks for telling us about this place.

  6. That looks like a lot of fun. You could really work on your sprints here and get a lot of speed. The last part of the Birkie is over a frozen lake. It would be good practice for the finish.

  7. Oh my gosh that is absolutely beyond beautiful there, Leigh! I can barely stay upright on ice on my feet – me being on a bike? Impossible! 🙂

  8. Gosh it looks cold, but also awesome. I’d love to mountain bike across the ice – face protection sounds intense though, but I guess that’s what it takes. Great post and voted!

  9. On the “Whiteway,” I see rinks cleared on Lake Windemere but only hockey being played there. What about rink use for figure skaters?

    1. @Candice Don’t quote me but I think it was pretty loose – don’t see why figure skaters couldn’t also enjoy the hockey rinks. Maybe there are local games set up but I don’t know for sure. The Tobe Ski Club may be able to tell you more.

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