We arrived in Panorama Ski Resort in late February, after an evening drive from Calgary Airport via Canmore. The temperature at 11pm was -28C, and had been colder on previous evenings. The daytime temperatures were unusually cold for first few days, (sometimes -20C at the summit) however it warmed up to more pleasant temperatures after a few days.
Situated in the Purcell Mountains, in southeastern British Columbia, Panorama has a ski-in, ski-out village at 1,150m . The locals refer to the resort as being in a ‘doughnut’, the resort often having pleasant weather while it is snowing in the surrounding mountains above. (Click any image to enlarge.)
With the temperature at -6C and with snow falling lightly, we jingled our way through the forest aboard a horse-drawn sleigh. The sleigh was pulled by two Clydesdales, decked out in traditional gear, including bells. The bells and the swishing of the sleigh were the only sounds we heard as we moved through the tall snow-covered trees. The forest sleigh ride is one of the alternative activities offered to skiers at the Big White Ski Resort, in the Okanagan Valley, British Columbia. We were there in January 2013.
Clydesdales ready to go
Sun Peaks Resort offers some superb skiing with surprising diversity across its three mountains. There are gladed areas, steep runs, cruisers and alpine bowls. It’s called Sun Peaks for a reason, with an average of 2,000 sunshine hours per year. The average temperature in January is -6.7C (21F) however when we skied there in late January 2013, the thermometer climbed higher than this on most days, which were often sunny and calm.
Sun Peaks Village
Nestled at the base of the three mountains is the Sun Peaks Village (1255 m/4116 ft), allowing ski in/ski out accommodation. This modern purpose-built village has been developed since 1993 when Nippon Cable Company purchased what was then called Tod Mountain.
The Hoary Marmot is the largest North American ground squirrel, found throughout the alpine areas of British Columbia. On a visit to Whistler Ski Area in the summer of 2010, we came across this fellow while on a walk down from The Peak chairlift to the gondola.
Big White is in the Okanagan Valley, 450 north east of Vancouver. It is the second largest ski area in British Columbia, after Whistler. There are 16 lifts, the summit being at 2319m with a 777m drop. The village is well organised and attractive , with ski-in ski-out access to the slopes. In January it is bustling and vibrant.
Big White Village Centre