Mountain magic – do you know it? If you’ve ever experienced winter outside the city and amongst the peaks, you probably know what I mean. There’s something special about the combination of cold snow and ice, natural beauty, rustic architecture, and getting chilly [outdoors] before getting warmed up [indoors] that makes a cold Canadian winter extra memorable. It can even lead to a case of the tingles, and not just due to the temperature! Here’s where our family found that mountain magic during a recent weekend getaway to Panorama Mountain Resort in south-eastern British Columbia.
On the Hill
Certainly the slopes are a major attraction at Panorama. The kids and I are still novice skiers so we enjoyed the learner-friendly Discovery Zone with its manageable terrain, while their experienced-skier Dad loved making tracks for over 5 km on one run, thanks to Panorama having one of North America’s Top-10 verticals.
Although family together-time was our major goal for the weekend, we still sent the kids off on a 2-hour PanoKids lesson. They had fun, improved their skills, got a confidence boost and – perhaps most importantly – gave their Mom and Dad a bit of much-needed couple-time.
Infrequent skiers are prone to the wobbly-legs, so we all took a breather to participate in a cross-Canada attempt at breaking a Guiness Book of World Records’ (simultaneous snow angels of all things!). We didn’t manage to break the record, but it was fun trying. I love that Panorama had a drone out to snap our pic.
Have you heard that setting goals is an ingredient in success? Yeah, me too. So… next year I plan to make it just a little higher up the mountain (yes, there’s a green run up there, honestly I was being super wimpy), so we can all sit down to lunch together at one of the picturesque dining huts. Lofty goals? Perhaps not, but they’re mine!
In the Water
Warm water + crisp mountain air = mountain magic for sure! Our kids may still be learning their times tables, but they have this equation down pat. Water makes any kind of family getaway more fun and the slopeside hot pools and hot tubs (Canada’s largest) at Panorama are no exception.
And for when your tired legs just can’t make the short walk to the pools… the condo-style accommodations all have their own hot tubs too. It’s a rough life.
In Our Bellies
There may be families out there for whom food is simply fuel, but ours is not one of them. We should have a bumper sticker that says “We Brake for Good Food!”. Which can get expensive. And we’re not made of money. Sigh. But we struck a nice balance between saving some money on food and getting a break from the kitchen: we made breakfasts and lunches in our condo with supplies brought from home, and reveled in coffee breaks and dinners ‘out’.
We had two delicious dinners over the weekend, the first at Monticola (in the village) and another in the restaurant at Earl Grey Lodge (steps from the village). Both have an upscale feel and serve delicious gourmet food, but were very welcoming to our kids, with colorable menus and non-alcoholic bevies.
In the Village
Great scenery is important to me and – given my sub-par ski skills – it’s so great that I didn’t need to leave the village to find fantastic views at Panorama. I also know from previous experience that the higher up the hill you go, the more spectacular the view gets. You’re going to want to tuck a camera into your ski jacket pocket.
We ran out of time and energy to take in all the fun activities offered in the village, from jewelry-making to movie nights, Euro-bungy to snowshoe-and-s’mores tours. Happily, it doesn’t take much energy or any planning to take a free open-air gondola ride from the upper village to the lower village, and back again. Do this at night and enjoy the short walk across the illuminated suspension bridge over Toby Creek. If it’s Friday or Saturday night, the night-skiing lights on Mile 1 add to the effect.
Down in the Valley
Although we happily spent our whole weekend at Panorama, we did make a point of stopping at Lake Windermere in Invermere before heading home. Why? To show our kids the “World’s Longest Skating Trail” of course! They were suitably impressed and, once they have a bit more stamina on skates, this is going to be a winter must-do. I was lucky enough to cross-country ski on the lake a couple of winters ago when it was snowy.
One weekend isn’t nearly enough to do everything that Panorama Mountain Resort (and the beautiful surrounding area) has to offer in the way of winter magic, but it was a great start for our family!
Thank you to Panorama Mountain Resort for providing accommodation and lift tickets for family; the opinions expressed here are my own. ~ am