By Tracey Rayson, Travel Writer
Admit it: You’ve hit the snooze for a second time, now contemplating a third. But what you might not realize is there’s a layer of freshly fallen champagne powder eager to be discovered. Or better yet, disturbed. After all, you’re in the Thompson Okanagan and your wellness vacation is waiting for you.
When you’re ready to trade the comforts of your warm bed and cozy woolen blanket for an untracked trail bed and a blanket of snow, you’ll be presented plenty of opportunity to reboot and recharge. Believe it or not, the exquisite beauty of mountain-high tranquility is more energizing than an extra hour of sleep.
With an up and at ’em attitude, you’ll be amply rewarded. Take a long deep breath. Slowly exhale. Repeat. It’s the equivalent of gassing up the car, except you’ve just filled up your lungs with crisp invigorating alpine air. A restorative winter getaway in Thompson Okanagan may challenge your mindset but you’ll find stillness and your true balance. It will help get your physical and mental health, and positive energy on track. This is a place that will nurture you – mind, body and soul. Embrace the cold and take a self-care sojourn to these fabulous three resorts: Big White, SilverStar, and Sun Peaks, and explore beyond the verticals.
Big White Ski Resort
Photo Credit: Destination BC / Blake Jorgenson
Big White Ski Resort sits 56 kilometres southeast of Kelowna and offers a convenient 55-minute shuttle from Kelowna’s International Airport. On average, Big White receives 750 centimetres of snow every winter, so, it’s no surprise to see the annual ‘snow ghosts’ emerge – trees transformed into snow-caked creatures—a benchmark of the resort.
Explore the backcountry and view them on snowshoes via the Wilderness Trails, with / without a guide. On the extensive Nordic trail network, slice through feather-light pillows of accumulated flakes, while your heart beats in tandem with the rhythmic glide of every stride of your cross-country skis. You’re bound to boost your vitality levels taking in the intoxicatingly fresh pine air no matter what activity you choose. If you’re craving a different vantage point, perhaps you’re inclined to strap on your crampons and scale the 18-metre ice tower or lace-up your blades and experience Canada’s highest (1,755 metres above sea level) outdoor skating rink in Happy Valley.
Afterwards, you’ll be ready to round out your lofty activities with a visit to Elevation Spa (2,318 metres), for a soothing in-house treatment with eco-friendly Eminence Organics. Also on offer are male-specific treatments including manly mani-pedis.
SilverStar Mountain Resort
Photo Credit: Destination BC / Blake Jorgenson
Situated 22 kilometres northeast of Vernon and less than an hour from Kelowna International Airport, SilverStar Mountain Resort enjoys more than 700 centimetres of snowfall annually, blanketing a colourful Victorian-inspired village and varied and vast terrain. Despite its small-town charm and intimate utopian community – a large part of its appeal – SilverStar is one of BC’s largest ski areas with four distinct mountain faces.
Indulging in this escape, you can embrace a diversity of winter experiences without sacrificing tranquility. Canada’s largest cross-country network—105 kilometres of Nordic trails between the mountain resort and neighbouring Sovereign Lake Nordic Centre—delivers a blissful intimacy to reconnect with yourself. As you glide along seemingly endless snowy glades, expect the stillness to resonate a deep meditative silence and stir mindful reflection. Explore a skate on Brewer’s natural ice pond or snowshoe on singletrack dog-friendly trails.
Prepare to restore your energy and be revitalized with wellness services like On Mountain Yoga, or Elevate Spa, the mountain’s only full-service Aveda day spa. Their high standards are matched only by the altitude, and are fully committed in finding how best to recoup, restore and achieve your optimum balance.
Sun Peaks Resort
Photo Credit: Destination BC / Ryan Creary
Located 50 kilometres northeast of Kamloops, Sun Peaks Resort is a winter mecca (Tod, Morrisey and Sundance) and is celebrated as the second-largest ski area in Canada. This might not matter to those who come for other snow-focused activities (like the Moon Light Snowshoes & S’mores tour, horse-drawn sleigh rides, or the personal chauffeured Snow Limo—an on-mountain snow gliding experience), but it should. Especially for wellness seekers, because it translates to lots of space, fewer crowds, to wit, more serenity.
A wellness vacation at Sun Peaks looks like a potpourri of tension-melting undertakings and a welcome mat of spa pleasures: Four Winds Massage Therapy and Yoga; Spa Express; Sun Peaks Yoga; plus two mobile services: Knee Deep Sport Massage, and Hands on the Move. Sun Peaks Spa in the Kookaburra Lodge offers relaxation massage, and more, all with the aim of providing relief from your daily stresses.
Sure, spa culture may focus on clean living and cleansing, but oenophiles love pampering rituals, too, which makes it the perfect blend for village restaurants to pair unique menus with British Columbia wines during Sun Peaks Wine and Dine (part of the Sun Peaks Wine & Food Festival), March 5 – 8, 2020.