The Thompson Okanagan is known for its lakes and year-round outdoor recreation. // © 2013 Matt Jennings/Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association
To many, British Columbia is synonymous with Vancouver or Victoria. The province’s biggest city and its capital are easily accessible before or after an Alaska cruise or on their own due to ample airlift. But farther from the coast, with weather that is warm and arid in the summer and pouring champagne powder instead of rain in the winter, is the region known as the Thompson Okanagan.
A place where people from Vancouver move when they are done with traffic jams and want a lifestyle change, B.C.’s interior teems with outdoor experiences in the winter and summer, offered at year-round resorts such as Sun Peaks Resort and Silver Star Mountain Resort. Intimate and family-friendly, the properties offer chances to connect with friends and family as well as the area’s nature and wildlife.
With more than 50 golf courses and 140 wineries, the region hasn’t been passed up as a vacation destination because it lacks adventure — many in the U.S. just don’t know it exists. Up until now, much of the problem has stemmed from a lack of direct airlift. Its biggest city, Kelowna, is now accessible from Los Angeles via a new daily nonstop flight offered by United Airlines. The service was introduced in December and provides clients on the West Coast with an alternative to their other nonstop option from Seattle. During several days of unhurriedly exploring the winter scene, I raced sled dogs, descended a mountain via a snow limo and traversed Canada’s second-largest Nordic ski trail. Three hours of air time is a rather short commute for what feels like another world.