Vernon and Kamloops: Winter Wonderland of the Interior

Winter Wonderland - X country near Vernon

Winter Wonderland – cross-country skiing near Vernon

Finding somewhere to go over the Christmas break is always a challenge. Everyone is on vacation at the same time and therefore flights and everything related to traveling is more expensive. Things get even more complicated in the third trimester of a pregnancy since we wanted to avoid flights, long drives and downhill skiing is out of the picture for now. So we decided to stay ‘close to home’ this time. Then Tal, Gili’s brother, said he was coming for a visit, which is always nice.

Magical forest leading to the Othello Tunnels

Magical forest leading to Othello Tunnels

Since Tal was keen on doing some skiing, an activity he doesn’t get to do often due to living in Israel, and the local hills were still quite bare, we decided to take a trip to the Interior. Tal, the constant traveler because of his work, arranged two nights at a hotel in Vernon and one night in Kamloops using only his points. So we set off on Boxing Day heading east. We stopped at the impressive Othello tunnels, just after Hope, where we had a picnic for lunch, although it was quite cold. Then we went to check out the tunnels and it turned out they are closed in winter due to rockfall hazard. A couple we met who come there regularly told us it’s only a problem when it’s really cold (which it wasn’t), so we sneaked in, around the gate.

Then we continued our drive, passing through the not so impressive outskirts of Kelowna, a constant row of shopping centres, till we reached the small town of Vernon. Surprisingly we found a Nepali restaurant under cover of an Indian restaurant. Then we headed to our hotel in the outskirts of Vernon.

Othello tunnels - a railway used to go through here....

Othello tunnels – a railway used to go through here….

When we woke up in the morning something was strange – everything was white outside! When we went to sleep the night before there was no evidence of snow, and suddenly everything was covered in a pure fluffy coat. After breakfast the boys headed to Silver Star for some downhill skiing and I went back to sleep. Then I checked out local attractions like the Superstore and Blenz, had another nap and before I knew it they were back from skiing.

The biggest attraction at the hotel was a red three story high water slide which the boys announced to be very scary and dark. They both tried it once, but then were saved from another go since all of the sudden the power was out and with it the water on the water slide… We took a candle from reception, and it turned out that Tal’s phone among other things is also a flashlight – the wonders of technology…

X- Country skiing at

Cross-country skiing at Sovereign Lake

The next morning we checked out of the hotel not too early and headed towards Sovereign Lake Cross Country area. It snowed for most of the day, so it was the perfect conditions if you wanted to go slow, which I did. I like cross country a lot. It’s very relaxing and the gear is very light, and although it’s not as exciting as downhill/backcountry skiing it is still a great activity and good exercise too. The scenery didn’t change much as the trails are mostly in the forest, but with all the magical snow around us, everything was beautiful. Cross country ski areas also don’t get very crowded – even though it was a weekend and holiday and we did the most popular green loop twice, we were mostly by ourselves on the trails.



The drive towards Kamloops was a bit challenging for Gili, lots of snow and a dark slippery road, but he got us there safely. We really didn’t get Kamloops, it’s so spread out and the downtown seemed dead even at 7pm… As for food, we only found one pub that was open with very limited (i.e non existing) vegan options for Tal. Then we headed to the hotel and Gili and Tal spent a long time in the hot tub which was good for Tal’s sore neck.

Tropical Vancouver - Taken on Christmas Day while riding the Seawall

Tropical Vancouver – taken on Christmas Day while riding the Seawall

The next day was freezing and it was expected to reach -25c at the Twin Peaks ski area with the wind chill. Taking into account the neck situation too, the boys decided not to go skiing and after sleeping in we started to drive back home. Arriving back to Vancouver felt kind of tropical… It was a sunny day and there was no snow on the ground. Also, after the ghost towns of the interior it was nice to see people out on the streets, riding their bikes and smiling. It was good to be home.

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One Response to Vernon and Kamloops: Winter Wonderland of the Interior

  1. Tal says:

    That was fun!

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