There is no experience that makes you feel closer with nature than the warm feeling of sitting in the Lussier Hot Springs as you admire the view of frosted trees and rocks dusted with snow.
Kimberley Alpine Resort is the ideal place to begin any family ski trip. They have some of the best terrain for all levels of skiing, with over 80 runs (in addition to gladed terrain), a vertical rise of 751 meters and most impressively an average snowfall of 460 centimeters. The groomed runs are exceptionally well kept and a pleasure to ski on, and there are some of the most spectacular views you’ll ever come across. With a huge variety of long, wide runs where you’ll have the mountain all to yourself, it’s the perfect place for beginners to learn while still totally meeting the needs of those who are looking to challenge themselves.
As with Fernie, Kimberley is a mining town with a life of its own, and there’s an amazing local spirit which infects its visitors. There’s also no shortage of things to do and places to eat. The local hangout is the Spirit Rock Climbing Centre which is conveniently located just a walk away from the post-workout ‘Over Time Beer Works’, a local brewery and bar which is definitely worth checking out. If you’re feeling peckish after, I’d have to recommend The Shed for a great selection of classic North American food.
Next up was my favourite part of my whole trip to Canada – the Lussier Hot Springs. Found in Whiteswan Lake Provincial Park, just an hour’s drive away from Kimberley, the springs are an untouched and undeveloped place of intense natural beauty. I have never before felt so adventurous sitting in a bath of comfortably hot water as I did at Lussier. Even though we went on a cold day of roughly -30°C, I could not have been more relaxed and warm. While my hair was turning white as the steam around my hair crystalised, my body felt like it was in a hot tub. Best of all, because my body had soaked up so much heat, I was no colder getting out and putting my clothes back on than I would have been on a windy summer’s day at Bondi.
For the grand finale of the British Columbia powder highway adventure, we went to the Panorama Mountain Resort in the Purcell Mountains. Panorama is literally a village on top of a mountain. There are over 3,000 acres of terrain and an enormous range of activities from slopeside hot pools to heli-skiing.
Skiing in Panorama is something else. There is a vertical rise of over 1,200 meters and an enormous range of terrain. There is a Discovery zone which is custom designed for beginners to learn how to ski, and also the Taynton Bowl, a former heli-skiing area famous for its luscious powder. There’s something there for everyone.
First up for me, however, was fat-tire biking. It’s like regular mountain-biking, but on snow, and it’s an incredible way to get to know the mountain and see all it has to offer. It’s also much easier than it sounds. If you can ride a bike on a dirt road, you can also do it on snow.
The last supper of the trip was spectacular. Half way up the mountain, the Elkhorn Cabin offers a combination of beautiful views and delicious food. Their specialty is the Swiss raclette: the finest Swiss cheese melted onto your choice of high grade beef, potatoes, bread and mushrooms, served with tasty and healthy side-dishes. This all cooked by you on a grill shared by the table, which makes for a memorable après-ski experience to be shared with everyone. With the help with some of the local wine served at dinner, we then got to ski down the mountain at night with head torches guiding our way.
British Columbia is stunning. There is an endless supply of beautiful scenery, spectacular food and incredible people. If you’re keen to visit, the Powder Highway has to be one of the best ways of exploring the region, as you’ll get an authentic glimpse at a variety of the towns and villages, not to mention experiencing the best snow the world has to offer.
There’s a reason so many Australian visitors make skiing in the resorts of Canada’s scenic British Columbia an annual event. It makes for an unforgettable experience, full of adventure and beauty, and there’s just so much more on offer than its reputation as a destination for first class skiing.
Credit Photos: Destination British Columbia
Michael Townsend travelled to Canada as a guest of Destination BC. For more information, click here: HelloBC.