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Making Memories on the Lake Windermere Whiteway in Invermere BC

Blue skies and a snow-covered lake awaited us in Invermere as we parked at what was supposed to be Kinsmen Beach. Instead of a beach, we found snow-covered sand and a frozen lake, covered with a recent snowfall. Our hunt for real winter skating was successful! A three-meter wide path meandered across the lake, splitting off in different directions. Tracks for cross-country skis were placed beside it. We were here. The Lake Windermere Whiteway.

Making memories on the windermere whiteway - Lindsay, Mattias and Markus

After seeing a post on Instagram I knew we had to add the Lake Windermere Whiteway to our winter bucket list. Having grown up in Vancouver, we do not get a sense of what a frozen winter landscape is. 

I wanted my kids to experience skating on a frozen lake for the first time. The Lake Windermere Whiteway seemed like the perfect place to try it!

Windermere Whiteway in Invermere
Lake Windermere Whiteway from Above. Photo by Lindsay Nieminen

A small army of volunteers from the Toby Creek Nordic Ski Club has been creating and maintaining the Lake Windermere Whiteway since 2006. They celebrated the 10-year anniversary of their Guinness Book of World Records Trail, the longest skiing trail in the world, the weekend after we left. 

Picture yourself in the crisp outdoors, stride by stride, enjoying a taste of winter in the Columbia Valley. It is almost as idyllic as it sounds, as long as you know what lake skating entails. 

Skating on WIndermere Whiteway
Mattias in Akova Insulator size 16 on WIndermere Whiteway
Windermere Whiteway from Above

Having never skated on anything other than a groomed ice arena, the kids were surprised at what it felt like to skate on a lake that had frozen, then thawed, and then refrozen with a layer of snow on top of it. The surface was quite bumpy. My bloody knuckles can attest to the need to watch for cracks as you skate along the beautiful lake. Once we got a few hundred meters away from the edge, it was much smoother. It must have something to do with the way it freezes at the edge.

bring a puck and stick to the Windermere Whiteway

To prepare for the Whiteway, check the temperatures. If it is lower than -10°C, (that works out to about 14°F for you Americans) it is going to be very cold out on the lake. Make sure you dress in layers (we were dressed in Akova gear which we absolutely love), and have good wool socks and toe warmers! Skates do not often have much in the way of warmth. 

On warmer sunny afternoons, -5°C did not feel cold at all as we got our hearts racing skating along the trail. 

The Lake Windermere Way has several loops along the lake, as well as space for walkers, cross country skiers and plenty of space for skating. There are two access points, one at Kinsmen Beach and one at Windermere Beach.

At Kinsmen Beach there is also a flooded ice rinnk for hockey. The day we arrived, they were flooding the rink so we were not able to use it. If you like hockey, bring your stick and puck and enjoy the game outside!

Admission is managed by the Toby Creek Society and they ask for a $5.00 donation to use their groomed trails. There are benches to put your skates on on the ice and a cash box to place your donation into!

While we were out enjoying the Lake Windermere Whiteway on a sunny afternoon there were dozens of locals out enjoying the winter wonderland for themselves. For a small community, I was suprised at how well used the Whiteway was! We skated for over an hour until the sun set behind the mountains and then headed back indoors to enjoy the rest of our night!

For those who are looking for an active winter holiday, including a day or two in Invermere and the Whiteway need to be on any Columbia Valley Itinerary.

We were guests of the Columbia Valley, but all options are our own. 

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