More to Explore in the Okanagan Valley: December Edition

by Josée

We made it through November – phew! It started off cold and snowy and ended balmy. Now that December is here, it’s time to fully embrace winter. Embrace winter? That’s right. Winter is an awesome time of year, there are so many fun things do outside. If the thought of December causes tears instead of fist pumps, then head outside and enjoy one of these great stress-busting activities.

1. Grab those skis and head for the mountains.

December marks the start of downhill ski season here in the Okanagan Valley. As long as the snow gods cooperated all four Okanagan ski resorts will be open by the first week of December. If you’re new to downhill skiing fear not, last season was our first time downhill skiing and we loved it.

Must Read: 10 Tips for Beginner Downhill Skiing Families 

Ski Resort Opening Days:

Apex Mountain Resort opening day: December 9, 2017

Big White Ski Resort opening day: November 23, 2017

Baldy Mountain Resort opening day: December 8, 2017 (check out the first chair festival!)

Silver Star Mountain Resort opening day: November 23, 2017

Great Resource: The Ultimate Okanagan Mountain Round Up.

2. Discover the fun and beauty of winter hiking.

Hiking doesn’t have to stop once snow falls – no way! Winter hiking is definitely doable with kids, and it’s a lot of fun too. Start by exploring a familiar trail and observe how winter has magically transformed it. Some of my most fond memories as a child were hiking through winter wonderlands with my family and sipping hot chocolate on the trail.

Check out: Naramata Creek Park in the Winter .

Must Read: 6 Tips for Winter Hiking with Kids.

3. Go sledding with your kids.

Sledding is so much, but don’t let your kids have all the fun on their own – join them! After a good snowfall head to a local sledding hill with some sleds and go for it. Not sure where to go, ask a friend or pose the question in a local parenting Facebook group. Another option is to head up to your local ski hill. Most ski hill have a sledding area that’s perfect for kids and parents

4. Try a family snowshoeing adventure.

Rent some snowshoes at your local ski resort or Nordic ski centre and explore a snowshoe trail. Snowshoeing is a very easy skill to learn, if you can walk then you can snowshoe! If you’re interested in a guided snowshoe tour then look no further than Hoodoo Adventure company. They offer fun snowshoe adventures for the whole family.

5. Lace up those skates and hit the ice.

Take part in the Ugly Sweater Skate at the Oliver arena on from 6:00 to 8:00 pm on December 16th. Or how about dropping in for family skate session at your outdoor or indoor rink. Usually family skates nights are low cost or free. Local outdoor rinks should be open by the beginning of December depending on the weather.

Centennial Outdoor Rink (Vernon, BC)   – Schedule

Kelowna Arenas – Schedule

McLaren Arena (Penticton, BC) – Shedule

Oliver Arena – FREE Public Skate and Rentals on Saturdays and Sundays from 5:30 to 6 :45 pm (October 14 to March 18th, 2018)

Summerland Arena  – Schedule

West Kelowna Arenas  – Schedule

Vernon Arenas – Shedule

6. Ride the Kettle Valley Christmas Express Train. (Summerland, BC)

For nine days the Kettle Valley Steam Train in Summerland, BC runs a Christmas Express Train. This 90 minute train ride runs Thursday, December 14th to Friday, December 22, with two departure times each day (4:30 pm and 6:30 pm). For more information visit Summerland Christmas Train Express.

7.  Take a nighttime stroll with the family.

The days are getting shorter and shorter, but that doesn’t mean you can’t go outside. Grab a flashlight or headlamp and go exploring at night. Walk silently and listen carefully, what do you hear? Discover how your five senses change and adapt in the dark.

8. Celebrate the winter solstice outside. (December 21st)

The winter solstice is the shortest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. After December 21st the days will start getting longer again – yippee! Get outside and celebrate by taking a solstice hike or hosting winter solstice bonfire, complete with mulled wine.

9. Feeling stressed about December? Check out my recent post: 12 Ways to Make Christmas More Meaningful for Your Family.

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