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Posted: February 16, 2014

January in the East Kootenay


The word January brings up less than favourable comments from me. Not much of a fan of January, so named from Janus, the doorway. A new year begins and fresh opportunities await as days slowly grow longer.

But I spent the first half my life in Winnipeg, a city famous for its amazing wealth of restaurants, culture, homegrown entertainment talent, wide streets, homicide rate and skin-cracking cold winters.

January, to a Manitoban, is the middle of the friggin’ winter and, as my suffering home province residents can attest from this current winter, it makes Mars appear potentially habitable.

While winter ‘13/’14 has been colder and much less predictable, with more gloomy, cloudy days than last year, it has still been a cakewalk on the warm side of the Rockies compared to our friends down the eastern slopes and beyond.

Thanks to the lousy timing of available sunshine and blue skies, January’s shoots were all about ‘get ‘em as you can’ and ‘don’t go searching for the light because you will waste gas.’

However, two trips to the Columbia Valley resulted in some spectacular days.

We spent a weekend at Fairmont Hot Springs Resort – a smoking good two-night package involving dinners and breakfasts and access to the pools.

And we were welcomed back to the valley Jan. 31 and Feb. 1 by Columbia Valley Tourism – as part of a fam tour event involving media from Alberta and B.C.

We were lavished with incredible accommodations at Copper Point Resort, featuring a loft two bedroom, 2.5 bathroom suite and almost every conceivable winter tourism feature was presented to visiting media to impart in.

Welcoming blue skies and sunshine made the weekend even better as Lake Windermere was literally teeming with recreationalists.

The White Way, which meanders around the ice surface of Lake Windermere, beginning at Kinsmen Beach, was astoundingly well used. Skaters, speed skaters, crosscountry skiers, strollers and amblers soaked in the spectacular bounty of scenery.

A pond hockey tourney rolled at Kinsmen Beach, adjacent to the 18-hole golf course carved out of Taynton Bay by the Kinsmen Club of Windermere Valley for their annual Snow Golf Tournament.

Beyond the golf course, the ice fishing hut village buzzed with people coming and going and the ice road between Invermere and Windermere carried a steady stream of traffic. A picture perfect day in the Columbia Valley.

Hearty thanks to Columbia Valley Tourism for their hospitality.

Please click on an image to enlarge and to begin self-directed slide show.

Locations included in this month’s shoots: Aq’am, Athalmer, Fairmont Hot Springs, Cranbrook and area, Radium Hot Springs, Invermere, Kootenay National Park, Kimberley and Panorama Mountain Village.

By Ian Cobb and Carrie Schafer/e-KNOW

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