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How to Spend 5 Days in the Columbia Valley in Winter with Kids: Skiing, Skating, and Hot Springs

The Columbia Valley is home to Radium Hot Springs, Invermere, Panorama, Windermere, Canal Flats, and Fairmont Hot Springs. It is located approximately 3 hours from Calgary and 90 minutes from Banff. It is a mountain corridor between the Rocky Mountains and the Purcell Mountains. It is located right next to Kootenay National Park in British Columbia.

In the winter, enjoy snowy mountains, sunshine, frozen lakes, and pleasant hot springs. There are views in every direction and a friendly mountain culture. It is the perfect Canadian destination to get a taste of real Canadian winter with your family.

How to Spend 5 Days in the Columbia Valley with Kids

Columbia Valley with Kids Photo by Lindsay Nieminen

Where to Stay in the Columbia Valley in Winter with Kids

Having kids means that convenience and comfort are factors when choosing accommodation. The nice thing about the communities in the Columbia Valley is that they are relatively close together. As long as you have a car, you can get just about anywhere in less than an hour. When we visited the Columbia Valley in winter, we spent 2 nights in Radium and 2 nights in Panorama resort. If you have more time, extend another night in Panorama Mountain Resort for more skiing.

Columbia Valley with Kids - Bighorn Resort

Radium Hot Springs:

The village of Radium offers a variety of motel-style accommodations in town. There is also condo-style accommodation with a full kitchen at Bighorn Meadows Resort. We liked that Bighorn Meadows Resort offered condo-style 1 bedroom units and we saw the bighorn sheep every day! There is a hot tub on site.

Approach Hotel Panorama Resort Family Room

Panorama Mountain Resort:

Hotel accommodations outside Invermere with ski-in / ski-out access at the Approach Hotel at Panorama Mountain Resort. Perfect for families, rooms have beds for 6! Parking is convenient outside the hotel just a 1 minute walk. There is a hot tub attached to the building or nearby hot pools.

Day 1 in the Columbia Valley

Head up to Fairmont Mountain Resort (about 30 minutes drive from Radium) and enjoy this little mountain and get into the groove of skiing!

After skiing, soak in Canada’s largest hot springs pool before driving back to Radium. If you are into hiking, you can also check out the hoodoos nearby. They are just a few minutes outside of town.

Enjoy dinner at one of the local restaurants in Radium (suggestions include Horsethief Creek Pub or Wildside Pizza for takeout or grab groceries at the grocery store in town and eat in your accommodation) Overnight at Bighorn Meadows Resort.

Fairmont Hot Springs - learning to snowboard
Fairmont Hot Springs Resort Pools
Radium - Burger from Horsethief Pub
Columbia Valley Hoodoos
Skiing at Fairmont Hot Springs

Day 2 in the Columbia Valley: Skating and Hot Springs

Enjoy breakfast in your condo or head over to Screamers Ice Cream Cafe or Bighorn Cafe for something to eat. If the weather is very cold (colder than -12) I suggest going to Radium Hot Springs until the afternoon. Otherwise …

Head into Invermere to skate the Windermere Whiteway. There are skate rentals available in Invermere. If you are into hockey, there are also flooded hockey rinks (when the conditions are right).

Enjoy a latte flight at Kicking Horse Coffee (or a steamer flight for kids) to warm up and then have lunch in Invermere. In the afternoon head back to Radium for a soak in the hot springs.

Enjoy dinner in Radium Hot Springs or cook in your condo. Keep an eye out for the bighorn sheep. They love the golf course. Overnight at Bighorn Meadows.

Radium hot springs, BC
Latte Flight from Kicking Horse Cafe, Invermere BC
Skating the Windermere Whiteway

Day 3 Skiing at Panorama

Enjoy breakfast in your condo or drive to Radium and eat at Bighorn Cafe or Screamers Ice Cream Cafe. Check out of Bighorn and drive to Panorama Mountain Resort, about 40 minutes. There is a central check-in which makes it convenient.

Gear up and get rentals and lift tickets and enjoy a day on the slopes. After skiing, enjoy dinner at the Resort. Finish with an evening in the hot pools.

Overnight at the Approach Hotel.

Skiing at Panorama
Apres Ski at T Bar Panorama Mountain Resort
Ski lift Panorama Mountain Resort Lindsay, Mattias, Markus

Day 4 Skiing

Head over to Alto for a buffet breakfast. It is served from 8am to 10am. Then grab those multi-day rentals out of the ski locker and walk the 20 steps to the slopes. If you did enjoy the Windermere Whiteway, it’s a short drive back into Invermere for an evening skate. Otherwise you can try skating on the pond in Panorama Resort.

Dinner at Panorama Resort or in Invermere

Overnight at the Approach Hotel

Day 5 Skiing

Its hard to figure out how many days of skiing is best, but we really wish we had more in a row. I would suggest skiing again on day 5 if you can arrange it. To see how much it costs, check out my post on how much it costs for families to ski at Panorama.

Overnight at the Approach Hotel.

Practical Information

  • If you are flying in, you can fly into Calgary or Cranbrook. Calgary is better for international arrival options and has more rental cars. Cranbrook works for those coming from Vancouver.
  • Ensure you book your rental car in advance. For winter conditions, and to easily carry gear, I suggest a small SUV however the drive is pretty moderate with just a few climbs up to the ski hills.
  • Book 2 nights at Bighorn Meadows and 3 nights at the Approach Hotel.
  • Book your lift tickets and rentals online in advance for Panorama. It saves up to 20% on the day rate for skiing or riding

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  1. Sarah Samith says:

    This place looks like a dream! I would love to go there with my kids and husband! Thank you for sharing!