Ahhhhh, Spring Break is upon us here in the Okanagan. Take a long, deep breath of that fresh BC air and think about all the fun things to do in your backyard. If you live here, you know that there is plenty to do, especially outside. If anything, this last year of "new normal" has taught us it is that there are so many places and activities we hadn't discovered...until we couldn't hangout in side anymore! So read on and come play outside with us!
Spring time is prime time at Big White Ski Resort. Sure, everyone knows Big White for it's famous Okanagan Champagne Powder but when the air turns warm and the sky is that vibrant blue it is one of the best places to be. Especially with the family. In the Spring the runs are perfectly groomed (World-class actually!), there are no cold toes or fingers and the apres beverages in the sun are just the best! You may even see some skiers starting to shed their winter coats :)
When the days start getting longer so do the operating hours. Big White extends their daily lift operation to 4pm so you can ski into the afternoon and then enjoy epic sunsets and create lasting memories with your family.
Things to check out at Big White this Spring:
Slow the pace down a bit and give snowshoeing a try. If you aren't already into it, you must try it. At least once. I mean, hey, we're Canadian right?! With all the places to go like Telemark Nordic in West Kelowna, Kelowna Nordic up in the McCullogh, Big White Snowshoeing and also just going for a walk with the dog on all the easy access logging road there are 100's of kilometres of trails to discover. Telemark has multiple trails from 2, 4, 8, 10 and 15kms and Kelowna Nordic has a vast network of 75kms and beautiful views! Snowshoeing is an excellent social activity. Your pace allows you to chat while getting some exercise. Bring the kids, bring the pups and don't forget the hot chocolate!
No gear? No Problem
All the places mentioned above rent snowshoes and poles. All you need is a warm pair of boots (preferably a warm, sturdy hiker) and they will set you up.
Getting out for a walk in the woods is just good for the soul. The fresh air, the smells, the sights, the sounds and the new experiences do wonders for you and your family. Here in the Kelowna area we have discovered so many accessible trails and there are plenty more to check out. Last Spring with not a lot of fun activities to partake in, we turned to finding walks and hikes. At first the kids envisions beefy boots, heavy packs and long walks but we knew better! We found nice light trails and worked our way up...and packed plenty of snacks! The other trick is to find a hike that has something cool to see or a goal. In the case of one of our favourites, Mill Creek Park, there is a series of waterfalls to see. As the Spring progresses and water flow changes the Falls are different everytime you go. Be water smart of course and stay clear of fast moving water.
Some of our recommended hikes for families are:
Hiking Addiction is a great website for trail descriptions, lengths and directions. Check it out here:
Don't let the warm air fool you, the lake is still cold! But it is easy to launch your kayak, canoe or SUP. The water is low and there is a shallow shelf all the way along the lakeshore to enjoy. We get out every Spring to get some paddling in while the lake is calm without any boat traffic. The water is shallow and clear so the kids love watching fro fish and other interesting things to discover just under the surface.
Be sure to bundle up for the journey and put that PDF on. Safety first of course! We always tell a family member or friend when we have launched into the water and when we will be back. Having a plan before going out and making sure someone knows about it is key to a safe journey on the lake. Then all you have to think about is having fun.
The cool thing about Spring paddling (no pun intended!) is that we always see more wildlife. More fish, more birds, etc. It is just a different experience than in the Summer when you typically think about an activity like this.
Our recommended spots to launch:
Check conditions before you go. Here are two webcams with direct feeds of Okanagan Lake:
Get on your bikes and ride! Freddy Mercury had it right :) Spring riding is one of the best ways to blow the winter cobwebs out. But some of us are too eager to get on the mountain bike trails. They aren't even close to being ready yet so opt for putting some kilometres in around town on the Mission Park Greenway or the Okanagan Rail Trail. Both are great places to ride without damaging our precious mountain bike trail network.
For up to date trail info in the Okanagan:
Check out MTBco: www.mtbco.ca
Need a Spring Tune up?
Try our friends at Rock'n'Road Bicycle Repair: www.rocknroad.ca Book early because they are busy!
It is time to dust off the winter chill and get outside more. Many of you may be skiers and boards and don't want Winter to end. Hey, we get that but it will eventually warm up and we need fresh ideas to get us out there! The mountain bike trails aren't quite ready yet, it is still cool in the mornings and evenings but there is so much to do in this valley we call home. So get you there and enjoy Spring Break in the Okanagan.
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