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Discover Big White Ski Resort: Canada's largest ski-in, ski-out resort!

Nestled in the heart of the Okanagan Valley, Big White is Canada's largest totally ski-in, ski-out resort and features an average of 7.5 metres of amazing Okanagan Champagne Powder a season. This means you have over 2,765 acres of terrain featuring 118 runs, 5 alpine bowls, 16 lifts and a terrain park are right at your doorstep.

Family ski holidays at Big White have never been easier and more stress-free as the award-winning Kids Center and Ski School can accommodate any level or age of skier. They even offer 'child pick up' services from your accommodation in the mornings! Have a carefree day knowing that the Big White Ski Resort staff are taking care of the needs of your entire family.

Just because the sun goes down doesn't mean the resort stops buzzing as Big White Ski Resort features western Canada's largest lit night skiing area. If you're looking for après activities, try a guided dog sled ride, or a horse-drawn carriage, skate under the stars on Canada's highest skating rink or go tubing in Canada's largest tube park.
 
Once you've worked up an appetite head over to one of the 20 plus restaurants and eateries to get what you need. Try a Gunbarrel coffee at the Gunbarrel Grill, or tackle the world famous 50oz Tomahawk steak at the Kettle Valley Steakhouse and Wine Bar.

No matter what your skill or experience level, Big White Ski Resort is there to give you and your family the most memorable experience of your lifetime.

Big White Ski Resort really does live up to its name!

This ski/board destination is big on après ski. There are so many activities on offer - here are 5 epic activities you are sure to love when visiting Big White Ski Resort.

Weave through Snow Ghosts: Ski or snowboard on terrain with trees completely encased in snow and ice! Renowned for its amazing powder, when the snow falls and freezes onto the trees, this forms spooky and unique shapes on the uppermost section of Big White's two peaks.

Go Tubing: Jump in a tube and speed downhill on North America’s largest resort tubing park. Located in Happy Valley, you’re just a short gondola ride from the Village Centre. Load the tube with friends or go solo, this exciting ride should not be missed during your stay on the mountain.

Climb an Ice Tower: Constructed of four telephone poles and thick layers of ice, the Ice Tower reaches over 18m high and is located in the Happy Valley adventure park. It includes beginner and advanced options to make this a fun challenge for all fitness levels.

For more information call a Mondo Travel Specialist on 0800 110 108.

Source: travel&co

See the Okanagan stars: After a day on the slopes, what could be better than sitting under the Okanagan stars and enjoying winter movie nights at Big White’s epic outdoor winter cinema. Or why not try night skiing under the stars at the largest night skiing area in western Canada! 

Free Kids Carnival and fireworks: On Thursday and Saturday nights, the Village Center Mall transforms into a free kids carnival with games, popcorn, and a bouncy castle! Saturday nights also feature free fireworks in Happy Valley!

 

 

submitted by -- Anonymous

Eleanor Hughes heads outside to experience life in the Arctic Circle on a recent visit to Finland.

The skis on the front of the red and black Lynx machines look like gigantic transformer pieces, the track at the back an oversized Lego bit. But weighing 300kg, these snowmobiles are definitely not toys.

After brief driving instructions, I'm still not confident to take control. I mount the back of one. John, from my tour group, takes the front seat and attaches a springy cord from the snowmobile to his overalls. If he comes off, the snowmobile will stop. It won't if I do.

I cling to the grips positioned slightly to the rear on either side of my thighs as the snowmobile jars over the equivalent of judder bars on a road, but these humps of ice have barely any space between them. I'm thankful when we get off them and on to the frozen Ounasjoki River. The jarring turns to jiggling and shaking and doesn't stop. Viewed from above we must look like scurrying ants on a blank wall as we follow Markku, our guide from Lapland Safaris, across the great white expanse leaving Rovaniemi behind.

My black helmet bangs up and down on my head over every bump as we roar along, but it keeps my face and head warm. The visor fogs up occasionally, I hope John's doesn't.

Marrku shows ice-fishing novices how it’s done.

After a while we take a left turn and enter a track, metre-high snowbanks either side of it, into pine forest. Markku puts his hand up several times to stop us so that everyone catches up. Then, pulling his left hand down twice like a train driver pulling a steam whistle cord, he signals we're off again.

John negotiates bends and hills like a pro, albeit a slow one. When Markku waves his arm we slow further to find a snowmobiler coming the other way. John remembers to keep to the right of the track, which may possibly be a road in the summer - there are occasional stop signs.

My fingers are icy, despite woollen gloves and mittens, I play the piano on the grips to warm them and try to take my mind off the coldness seeping into my toes by looking for shapes in the snow laden trees. A tree my height is so completely covered it resembles Casper the ghost. Treetops wear white nightcaps. Some branches bear such a load it's a wonder they haven't snapped.

We come out of the forest on to the great expanse of iced-over Pikku-Mellalampi Lake. It's hard to tell it is a lake; it could be a field under all that white. But this is Spot X. We're about to partake of one of Finland's popular sports, ice-fishing.

From the sled he's been towing, Markku brings out an auger, a large corkscrew-type tool about a metre and a-half in length. He winds it into the ice ... and winds ... scoops out loose ice ... winds ... scoops ... and winds some more ...

After what seems about 10 minutes, a gush of brown water flows on to the white ice. He's drilled through, roughly, half a metre of ice. Scooping loose ice from the water with a colander-like ladle, Markku then unwraps a bundle of plastic, 12-inch long rods that resemble children's toys. They look as if they might break with a good tug on the end of the line. The red rubber maggot and tiny silver-coloured sinker on the end of the nylon line is dropped into the 20cm-wide hole and goes slack quite quickly. The lake can't be more than 2m deep. Bringing the line up from the bottom with three turns of the reel, Markku jiggles the rod up and down. I take several photos, having to take my mittens off to push the shutter button. I regret it. My hands sting and ache from the cold, the pain like that from spending ages searching for something in a chest freezer. I clap and rub them vigorously but it's probably five minutes before the pain recedes.

I let a line down into the icy water of the hole John drilled and jiggle the rod, bouncing on the spot trying to keep my feet warm. Oversized boots, (supposedly loose keeps feet warmer) and three pairs of woollen socks aren't cutting it. How can anything survive in the water below me?

After maybe 30 minutes the surface of the hole begins to freeze over. The nylon line resembles one of those scientific experiments that grows crystals on string - but on this occasion it's icicles.

I give up. Not a nibble. An information board, situated near the lake edge - I presume it's the edge as the snow covered ground rises - shows what could be caught. I peruse pictures of perch, pike, trout, poach and whitefish then crunch over the snow to seek warmth in an open-fronted lavvu, tepee-like, nestled among pines. A fire throws out warmth, sausages brown and the hot berry juice is delicious. I don't want to leave the cosiness.

Plucking up courage, I drive the snowmobile on our return journey. It does the equivalent of a few bunny jumps before I get used to the accelerator button. Too scared to go fast in case I hit a snow bank or tree and wreck the machine which may cost me 980 ($NZ1670) for compulsory deductible expenses - the insurance excess - I'm like a very elderly driver to begin with. My travel insurance doesn't cover me for snowmobiling either ...

I wrestle the handlebars to navigate corners. The skis on the front tend to slide into the grooves already made by other machines and trying to get out of them takes a bit of muscle. After a while my right thumb and hand ache from holding the accelerator button down, although they're warm. The accelerator button is heated, as are the handlebars. Bliss. I want to wiggle my thumb and hand but taking my thumb off will stop the machine. Moving my hand around a bit, I manage to position my palm on the accelerator. Relief. The windscreen seems to distort my vision and I don't know whether to look through it or above it. I do both. By the time we get back to the Ounasjoki River I'm braver - there's nothing to run into, it's several hundred metres wide.

Pushing the accelerator button to max, I get up to 40kmh. It feels faster. Markku stops us and checks to see if anyone would like the snowmobile key changed to another that will give more power.

Those who take the fast option are soon black spots in the whiteness, apparently reaching speeds of 70kmh. I race back to Rovaniemi more slowly, better late than never, rather proud of my new skills.

The writer travelled courtesy of Bentours and Mondo Travel on a Bentours "Follow the Lights'' tour.

Source: https://www.odt.co.nz/lifestyle/travel/ice-finland-snowmobile

 

submitted by -- Anonymous

Head to Sun Peaks Resort for the 2019/2020 winter season and experience a true winter wonderland in a European-style, ski-through village filled with quaint shops, cafés, and eateries. 

Sun Peaks was named in National Geographic's Best Winter Trips of 2019 article, a testament to Sun Peaks' terrain and conditions, and overall village vibe and amenities. 

  • 3 mountains with 4,270 acres of skiable terrain
  • 13 lifts and 137 trails with 17 gladed areas
  • 37 km groomed and track set Nordic trails
  • Winter activities: Hotpools to dog sledding
  • Fantastic winter events 
  • Great dining and après ski options 

Sun Peaks | The best time to visit

Our friends at Sun Peaks have the inside word on this topic. While they love all the months during winter - if you have to pick a time to visit, this Sun Peaks' guide is sure to help. 

Christmas/New Year: Book early. Yes, this time of year is popular and you can understand why. A white Christmas experience with all the trimmings: fireworks, Santa on the slopes and festive activities - everything that makes December a very jolly time to visit.  

January: The best time for snow. January has a reputation for delivering the best snow in Sun Peaks with an average of just under 100cm of new snow and cooler mountain temps to keep it light. 

February: The local's favourite time. The snow base has already built up and the temperatures rise above the average -6.1 C for winter. Longer days also mean that the Sundance, Morrisey and Orient chairlifts stay open until 4:00pm, so there is even more time to get those turns in.

March/early April: Spring skiing: We know you are looking forward to next season's skiing and don't want to think about the end of the season but this time is a great option to hit the slopes in Sun Peaks. More bluebird days, warmer weather, fewer crowds and the end of season party. Plus, you'll get great deals at this time of year too. 

Sun Peaks Highlights

  • Three mountains - one ski resort
  • Uncrowded slopes
  • Cat trax groomer rides
  • Alpine Fondue & Starlight Descent 
  • Dog sled tours
  • First Tracks 
  • Guided ice fishing
  • Skibike & Snowlimo tours
  • Complimentary sun host mountain tours
  • Tube park

Call your local Mondo Travel Specialist on 0800 110 108 for detail on Sun Peaks and all other Ski Packages.

Source: travel&co  

submitted by -- Anonymous