skip to Main Content
Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Search in posts
Search in pages
Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Search in posts
Search in pages
What You Can Do On A 3 Day Winter Getaway To The Kootenay Rockies

What You Can Do on a 3 Day Winter Getaway to the Kootenay Rockies

What can you do and where can you go if you have three delicious days to spend on a winter getaway? If you’ve never been to the Kootenay Rockies, put this area on your must-visit list. In particular plan stops in Kimberley, Invermere and Panorama along British Columbia’s famous Powder Highway.

Here’s how a 3 day winter getaway can unfold, assuming a Calgary start.

The drive from Calgary through both Banff and Kootenay National Parks is nothing short of spectacular. Just be prepared for winter driving conditions. Snow tires are a must. (If you’re renting a car request them.) Make a quick detour to the Wild Flour Bakery in Banff if you’ve forgotten to pack food and drinks. Then enjoy the rest of the scenic 135 kilometre drive to Radium Hot Springs.

What You Can Do on a 3 Day Winter Getaway to the Kootenay Rockies

Stop for 5 minutes at Marble Canyon in Kootenay National Park

If you’re not in a hurry to get to Kimberley stop at the actual Radium Hot Springs for a soak. Don’t worry if you’ve forgotten a bathing suit as they rent them along with towels. There’s the option to sign up for an onsite spa treatment as well. Alternatively stop in after a day of skiing at Panorama Mountain Resort on the drive home. Nothing warms and relaxes you like a soak in these springs!

What You Can Do on a 3 Day Winter Getaway to the Kootenay Rockies

Scenic backdrop as you enjoy a soak in Radium Hot Springs

Continue driving for another 130 kilometres to arrive in Kimberley. While you enjoy the grand mountain scenery interspersed with ranch-like looking landscapes watch out for big-horned sheep on the road. They seem oblivious to cars.

What You Can Do on a 3 Day Winter Getaway to the Kootenay Rockies

Stopped in our tracks by big-horned mountain sheep in Radium Hot Springs

What You Can Do on a 3 Day Winter Getaway to the Kootenay Rockies

Beautiful scenery on the drive alongside the Kootenay River near Canal Flats

Kimberley, British Columbia

Arrive in the cute town of Kimberley, British Columbia, population 7,000 or so. For 92 years the Sullivan Mine, the largest lead-zinc mine in the world, operated here. Before it closed in 2001 the town started the process of reinventing itself.

Now Kimberley is very much a thriving alpine town with a young vibe and an entrepreneurial spirit. With its enviable location in the Purcells, outdoor lovers may find themselves checking out real estate options. Flights to Calgary and Vancouver are also easy to access from the nearby Cranbrook Airport.

Kimberley is a snap to get around, especially as its small enough to need only one stop light. Before heading to the ski hill, 3 kilometres from town, fill up your car and stock up with healthy groceries at the Centex gas station. That’s not a typo.

You could easily drop a couple of hundred dollars at this close cousin to Whole Foods. And while you’re there, if it’s the season order your Christmas turkey and pick up a tree.

What You Can Do on a 3 Day Winter Getaway to the Kootenay Rockies

The Centex gas station in Kimberley for fuel and groceries

What You Can Do on a 3 Day Winter Getaway to the Kootenay Rockies

You’ll find lots of organic food at the Centex gas station and everything you need so you don’t even have to leave your condo!

Head for the ski hill

There are many ski in-ski out condo options at Kimberley Alpine Resort. After our two night stay I’d highly recommend Mountain Spirit Resort for its well-appointed rooms, its location and several extra-large outdoor hot tubs. Rooms are fully equipped for cooking as well. I’d suggest breakfast in your room so you can quickly hit the slopes in the morning and dinner in town.

Kimberley’s Platzl

On your first night in Kimberley check out the world’s largest cuckoo clock on the pedestrian friendly Platzl, wander into some of the locally owned shops, try a few climbs at the indoor climbing gym where you can self-belay and then grab a local brew at The Shed. Walk 30 seconds around the corner to dine at the Pedal & Tap, recently featured on the Canadian series “You Gotta Eat Here.”

What You Can Do on a 3 Day Winter Getaway to the Kootenay Rockies

The world’s largest cuckoo clock requires feeding ($) if you want to see Happy Hans, a yodeling man in short leather shorts hoisting a beer stein

What You Can Do on a 3 Day Winter Getaway to the Kootenay Rockies

The Pedal & Tap restaurant and lounge on the Platzl

Day One in Kimberley

On your first full day in Kimberley plan to ski or board at the Kimberley Alpine Resort. Located in the Purcell Mountains, it offers four lifts to access 68 runs and 12 glades. With an average of 13 feet of snow, the season lasts until early April. While I was there, the valley was fogged in but it was glorious and sunny on top. The hill doesn’t see much in the way of line-ups so you can ski till your legs give out. Then hit the hot tub.

What You Can Do on a 3 Day Winter Getaway to the Kootenay Rockies

Long shadows in mid-December at the Kimberley Alpine Resort

What You Can Do on a 3 Day Winter Getaway to the Kootenay Rockies

In time for fresh corduroy

What You Can Do on a 3 Day Winter Getaway to the Kootenay Rockies

Skiing lower down and out of the sunshine

• What You Can Do on a 3 Day Winter Getaway to the Kootenay Rockies

So pretty with trees covered in frost and snow

What You Can Do on a 3 Day Winter Getaway to the Kootenay Rockies

Hit the pool size hot tubs at Mountain Spirit Resort right after skiing

Make reservations (250-427-5133) when you first arrive in Kimberley so you can eat at the Old Bauernhaus Restaurant on your second night in town. The restaurant is housed in a beautiful 350 year old building that was originally constructed in Germany. It survived the Black Plague. Transported in pieces and reassembled in Kimberley in 1989, it’s been serving delicious Bavarian food like spätzle, schnitzel and apple strudel since then.

What You Can Do on a 3 Day Winter Getaway to the Kootenay Rockies

The Old Bauernhaus Resataurant

Day Two in Kimberley and a drive to Invermere + Panorama Resort

Friendly and low key, the Kimberley Nordic Centre is home to 35 kilometres of double track that is groomed for both classic and skate skiers. It’s got another 7 kilometres of singletrack and the 3.3 kilometre lit loop for night skiing.

While there are no warming huts on the trails, there is a clubhouse and waxing room located a short walk away from the parking lot. There’s excellent signage, picnic areas, and lookouts along some of the trails. The skiing here is truly sublime. It’s higher than the downhill resort so it gets a bit more snow and the area is simply beautiful as you can see in the photos below.

What You Can Do on a 3 Day Winter Getaway to the Kootenay Rockies

Those trees – as someone said when I shared this photo on Instagram

What You Can Do on a 3 Day Winter Getaway to the Kootenay Rockies

Views out towards the town

What You Can Do on a 3 Day Winter Getaway to the Kootenay Rockies

Eye-catching bark

What You Can Do on a 3 Day Winter Getaway to the Kootenay Rockies

The Landsem trail takes you into this stunning landscape

Say good-bye to Kimberley sometime in the early afternoon so you can do the 90 minute drive to Invermere during the daylight hours. If you haven’t brought skates, stop in at The Inside Edge Boutique and Sports Store on 7th Avenue, the main street in Invermere.

You want to do this because Windermere Lake is home to the Whiteway – an awesome 30 kilometre skating loop and this year it’s smooth as glass. You HAVE to go skating! When I did it there was a dusting of snow but the day before people who skated here told me they could see the fish swimming below them.

What You Can Do on a 3 Day Winter Getaway to the Kootenay Rockies

It was a thrill to be skating on Windermere Lake

What You Can Do on a 3 Day Winter Getaway to the Kootenay Rockies

Skating on Windermere Lake is so much fun, no matter what your age. You can also cross-country ski and bike on it once the snow has built up

After skating drive the 20 kilometres up the winding mountain road to the easy to find Central Reservations check-in at Panorama Resort. Find your condo and then hit the hot pools before dinner on the hill.

Day 3 Downhill Skiing at Panorama Mountain Resort

Get up early, grab breakfast at Picnic (at the base of the ski resort) and be one of the first in line so you can ski the groomers before anyone else. You’ll find its hard not to fall in love with Panorama Mountain Resort, one of the highest and I think prettiest alpine resorts in Canada.

Its home to 10 lifts and 129 named runs. There is terrain for everyone including the experts who will want to go directly to Taynton Bowl, especially on a powder day.

What You Can Do on a 3 Day Winter Getaway to the Kootenay Rockies

Head for the summit chair and these awesome views

What You Can Do on a 3 Day Winter Getaway to the Kootenay Rockies

Panorama is one of the prettiest ski resorts I’ve visited

What You Can Do on a 3 Day Winter Getaway to the Kootenay Rockies

The Summit Hut is a beautiful place to hang out – and warm up depending on the season

What You Can Do on a 3 Day Winter Getaway to the Kootenay Rockies

Cooking – Summit Hut style

What You Can Do on a 3 Day Winter Getaway to the Kootenay Rockies

Don’t want to downhill ski at the resort? Try heli-skiing up the far valley with RK Heliski for the day

If there are friends or family members that aren’t into downhill skiing send them across the road for a snowmobiling tour with Toby Creek Adventures. Check out the Nordic ski trails or try some fat tire biking. One of the newest options that sounds very appealing is Heli Fondue. Take a scenic helicopter flight to the Summit Hut; partake of both cheese and chocolate fondue and fly back.

What You Can Do on a 3 Day Winter Getaway to the Kootenay Rockies

I did this exact trip over a three day period – without the Heli Fondue; You could easily spend a week in the area, skiing more and taking advantage of all the extra activities offered. A big thank you to Kootenay Rockies Tourism , Tourism Kimberley and Panorama Mountain Resort for making all the arrangements and hosting my trip. It was a real treat to spend time in the area; I only wish I’d been there for the epic dump of snow (+30 cm) that I missed by 48 hours!

 

 

Leigh McAdam is a Calgary based writer, author, photographer and social media enthusiast with over 57,000 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 One Comment
  1. Would definitely be going there this holiday with family the pictures looks amazing and the post is very detailed.
    Thanks for sharing keep up the good work.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Pin It on Pinterest

Close search

Cart