5 Reasons to Visit Kelowna in the Winter
The Okanagan Valley is a no-brainer summer destination thanks to high temperatures, numerous beaches, parks, festivals, and a diverse landscape that accommodates any number of activities. But what about the winter months?
We’ve still got another month of winter here on the Valley floor and another 2-3 months of snowfall on the surrounding mountains, so why not visit Kelowna in the Winter? What’s there to do? Where can you go? Here are 5 reasons to visit Kelowna in the winter:
The Okanagan Valley plays host to three ski resorts featuring various terrain and a remarkable number of open runs and trails. Closest to Kelowna (a 50 minute drive from McKinley Beach) is Big White, featuring 15 lifts and over 100 active terrain runs of varying skill levels. There’s also an active village community with restaurants and activities and numerous festivals and events that take place throughout the season. You can also visit Silver Star Mountain Resort in the north Okanagan or Apex Mountain in the south.
2) Winter Wine Festival
The Okanagan Wine Festival Society operates year round, hosting various events to entertain anyone’s palate. Throughout the winter months in particular they host a winter wine festival that runs throughout January along with other smaller events. Coming up on February 20th, you can attend their Poutine and Pinot event (it doesn’t get much more Canadian than that). The event will feature gourmet poutine from local chefs with the appropriate wine pairings.
3) Cross Country Skiing
A 35 minute drive from McKinley Beach to West Kelowna, you can discover the Telemark Nordic Club. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned professional, there are numerous trails for you to explore. All trails are well-maintained and range in distance and difficulty. If you don’t have your own gear, the club also features a fully equipped rental and service shop.
4) Outdoor Skating
Downtown Kelowna comes alive in the winter with seasonal decorations lighting up the downtown core. Here you can find Stuart Park’s outdoor ice rink. The outdoor rink compliments the downtown area by offering free skating throughout the season and is open from 6am – 11pm daily (weather and maintenance permitting) and usually remains open until the end of February/early March. Skate rentals are available on site from 11am – 8pm and a fire pit is lit from 3pm – 10pm. Grab some hot chocolate and head out for a skate!
5) Indoor Activities
If the snow and cold weather have you retreating indoors, there are still a number of indoor activities in Kelowna that will keep you active but also keep you warm and dry. Throughout downtown Kelowna you can discover the local museum, restaurants, boutique shopping, and a booming arts culture that includes the art gallery and the Rotary Centre for the Arts. The Kelowna Rockets play WHL Hockey out of Prospera Place Arena if you’re looking for some sports action. You can also experience indoor climbing at the Crux Climbing Gym, yoga at various studios throughout Kelowna, and test your wits at Kelowna’s EXIT facility.