Columbia Valley & East Kootenay
East Kootenay winter events to warm you up!
East Kootenay winter events, both indoors and out, offer residents and visitors lots of reasons to love this season of the year. There are festivals, sports competitions (many of them at the national and international level), music concerts, live theatre and art exhibitions, and you’re sure to find your own reasons to smile when nights are long, the temperatures dip low and spring seems so far away. We have a lot to celebrate so let’s get out there and play!
February 12 – It’s BC Day!
No matter where you live in the province, February 12 is BC Day, set aside to celebrate everything that’s wonderful about living, working and visiting in British Columbia. School’s out and many businesses give their employtees the day off so they can spend time with family and friends. Mark the date on your calendar and plan something special — an East Kootenay winter event where everyone gets to play — together!
Dubbed by Rolling Stones magazine as “North America’s Coolest Town”, Fernie is known for its legendary snowdumps and the slopes at Fernie Alpine Resort are kept busy every year with thousands of fans who come from all over to enjoy their favorite outdoor sports. But there’s much more to Fernie than skiing, boarding and skating — the district also has a thriving arts and cultural community with festivals, theatre, markets and literary events to warm you up when the forecast is for cold, cold and more cold! Enjoy some of these East Kootenay winter events this season:
- Jan 3 – The Vogue Theatre is the place to be for films of the annual Banff Mountain Film Festival tour
- Jan 10, Mar 9 – Fernie Heritage Library finishes up the Booked! Fernie Writers Series for this season with guests, award-winning novelist Esi Edugyan and Joseph Boyden. Everyone’s invited to these FREE events.
- Feb 17 – If you’re a fan of snowmobile racing, make plans to be a part of the cheering section at the Fernie Snowmobile Festival — one of the biggest, and most thrilling, sledding events of the winter. It’s a fundraiser featuring the film premiere of Thunderstruck, sled drags with the Elk Valley’s best riders going head to head for the top titles, and a trail ride on old-fashioned sleds.
- Feb 18 – Fernie Winterfest is a fun and friendly cross-country ski event for all ages at the Elk Valley Nordic Centre. Cost is minimal and everyone’s invited to come to ski, to race or to cheer!
- Mar 2-4 – Griz Days is a 3-day annual community event to celebrate winter and honor the legendary Griz. There’s crazy fun for everyone so be here!
- Mar 3 – The Annual Griz Days Craft Fair at the Fernie Community Centre is jam-packed with handmade crafts such as jewelry, clothing, art and toys, plus home baking, jams and jellies and lots more great stuff. Entrance is by donation.
- Mar 24 – Fernie Stoke Fest is a party for everyone in downtown Fernie, with local band Shred Kelly.
It’s hockey season and all you Fernie Ghost Riders fans won’t want to miss a single home game of the Junior “B” hockey team at the Elk Valley Leisure Centre this winter!
The city of Cranbrook boasts more hours of sunshine than any other location in all of BC and after the holiday season has come and gone, when you’re feeling the winter blahs, it’s a great place to live or to visit. As the largest of the East Kootenay communities, Cranbrook has a lot to offer, with an international airport and close proximity to the slopes at Kimberley Alpine Resort. But there’s more! There’s live theatre at Key City Theatre, showcasing to the region some of the best East Kootenay winter events. You can enjoy popular stage plays, ballet and comedy, as well as nationally and internationally known musicians. A lively community theatre offers comedy and drama at the Stage Door Theatre and the only casino in East Kootenay is right here. Here are some Cranbrook events to take note of:
- Jan 5 & 6 – Get your tickets early for the Banff Mountain Film Festival tour event. It’s a cinematic feast of the best outdoor films in the world!
- Jan 20 to Jun 9 – If you’re missing the summertime farmers markets, there’s an indoor farmers market every second Saturday at the Ktunaxa gym. You’ll find all the great locally grown and baked items, meat, eggs, honey, jams and jellies plus soaps, lotions and tons more!
- Jan 31, Feb 21, Mar 28, Apr 25, May 15 – The Fisher Peak Winter Ale Concert Series brings to the stage at Key City Theatre, some really great musical performances plus refreshing drafts of frosty Fisher Peak Winter Ale.
- Feb 3 – The 7th annual wedding fair at St. Eugene Resort is the place to get the latest scoop on what’s hot in food, wedding cakes, venues, wedding planners, attire and more on the wedding scene for 2018.
All winter long, watch live hockey at home games of Cranbrook’s WHL team, Kootenay Ice, at Western Financial Place.
Kimberley is located on the famed Powder Highway and rightly deserves its acclaim as one of Canada’s top wintertime destinations for skiing and every other outdoor sport. Kimberley Alpine Resort is a key training ground for alpine skiers preparing for world-class events, and every winter it hosts major skiing events on its slopes. Kimberley and the surrounding area is also a haven for artists and artisans in every creative endeavor. At the forefront is the Kimberley Arts Council whose hub of activity is the wonderful Centre 64 which hosts ongoing artist shows in its gallery plus stage plays and music concerts all through the year in its theatre and at Studio 64. Check out some of these wintertime events coming up:
- Jan 13 – The ULLR Dag Fest at Kimberley Alpine Resort is an annual FREE event in honor of the Norse God of Snow, ULLR. There will be a huge bonfire, a snow dance, live music, face painting and a bocce tournament for everyone to enjoy.
- Jan 13 & 14 – Teck Kootenay Cup races number 3 and 4 take place at the Kimberley Nordic Centre. No club membership is necessary but if you are a member of a club, you get points for your club.
- Jan 26 to Feb 2 – Watch the FIS U18 training events as our future Olympians hone their racing skills on the notorious Dreadnaught Run at Kimberley Alpine Resort!
- Feb 7-11 – The Para Alpine World Cup Finals take place on the slopes at Kimberley Alpine Resort — a great opportunity to watch the world’s best physically challenged athletes race downhill at speeds of about 100 km/h.
- Jan 6, Feb 3, Mar 3 – Warm up on a chilly Saturday evening with a hot cup of coffee, some great conversation and live music by talented local artists at the Home Grown Coffee House at Studio 64
Throughout the winter months, enjoy ongoing art exhibitions in the art gallery at Centre 64, bringing to the community the artworks of local and regional artists in varous mediums.
If you are a hockey fan, this winter you’ll want to watch all the home games of the Kimberley Dynamiters Junior “B” Hockey League at the Civic Centre.
The folks of Invermere and the surrounding communities of Fairmont Hot Springs and Radium Hot Springs celebrate a host of the most fun East Kootenay winter events anywhere. There’s the annual Snowflake Festival, a community salute to winter on the shore and ice of Lake Windermere. Keeping the momentum going is the annual snow-golf tournament, a fishing derby, the world-famous Bonspiel on the Lake and the BC pond hockey championships, for just a few. Enjoy ongoing artist exhibitions, acclaimed films and live music by the many local musicians at the Pynelogs Cultural Centre and Art Gallery, home of the Columbia Valley Arts Council. There’s always something special to look forward to during the long winter months. Check out some of these:
- Jan 7 – Prepare to hold onto your seats while you watch the films of Banff Mountain Film Festival tour.
- Jan 13 – All you avid golfers who are lamenting being unable to get out there on the fairways, listen up! The annual Kinsmen Snow Golf Tournament invites you to shine up your clubs and try your skills on the snow of Lake Windermere. Great prizes to be won too.
- Jan 19 – The Snowflake Festival is a community celebration on the ice at Lake Windermere with samplings of the Taste of the Valley, skating, pond hockey, bonfires, live music and fireworks.
- Jan 19-21 – The annual Bonspiel on the Lake is an annual tournament on the Lake Windermere ice, drawing teams from near and far to vie for the coveted glass curling rock.
- Jan 26-28 – The BC pond hockey championships take place on the ice at Lake Windermere each year.
- Jan 27 – The annual Kinsmen Fishing Derby on the ice at Lake Windermere is a fun event with big prizes to be won!
- Jan 27-28 – The 15th annual Nipika Toby Creek nordic loppet weekend combined with Teck Kootenay Cup race #5 in the annual race series will be hosted by the Toby Creek Nordic Ski Club at the Nipika Mountain Resort just outside of the Village of Radium Hot Springs. This is one of the key events of the season at Nipika. BBQ to follow. Skiers of all ages and abilities may take part in the Teck Kootenay Cup race #5 and membership in a club is not required.
- Feb 2, 9, 16, 23 – Every Friday evening in Fairmont Hot Springs this month, skiers compete in the popular annual Starlight Challenge, a floodlit race event on the family ski hill forIndividuals and teams.
- Feb 10 – Mountainfilm on Tour is coming to Invermere for the first time at the Columbia Valley Centre with a selection of documentary films, packed with culture, adventure and inspiration. It’s a fundraiser for the Westside Legacy Trail.
- Feb 24 – The Cross River Ripper Fat Bike Race on the fat bike trails at Nipika Mountain Resort features distances of 5km, 10km and 20km and a barbecue party and award presentations to end the day. Sounds like a great event!
- Mar 2-4 – The Invermere Coffee Fest is a 3-day event that’s just for you if you want to know how to make the perfect cup of coffee, how long to steep the tea, or how to do that brew art thingee like the barristas do. Among other fun stuff.
All winter long, hockey lovers can watch the home games of tnvermere’s own pride and joy Junior B hockey team, the Columbia Valley Rockies.
With up to 700 cm of fluffy white snow falling on the slopes in the Golden area each winter and with Kicking Horse Mountain Resort and a half dozen national parks within a short drive, there are plenty of East Kootenay winter events to indulge in — from winter outdoor sports like skiing in all its forms, to snowmobiling in the backcountry, snowshoeing, dog sledding and hiking on the hundreds of kilometres of groomed trails. And there’s more too, with the Golden District Arts Council, better known as Kicking Horse Culture, spearheading a host of film festivals, live theatre, art exhibitions, music concerts and the legendary Snow King Mask Parade, a beloved winter festival, every February. Watch for some of these great winter events in Golden:
- The Golden District Arts Council presents LIVE KICKS and FILM KICKS, bringing live theatre and cinema to the public at the Golden Civic Centre during the winter months.
- Feb 3, 4 – The annual weekend Huckleberry Loppet is a fun-filled cross-country ski weekend event for the whole family at the Dawn Mountain Nordic Centre. Win fabulous prizes! Saturday, the Classic Event features 1k, 5k, 15k and 30k distances and the Sunday FREE event features 1k, 5k and 10k distances.
- Feb 3-9 – The Freeride World Tour qualifier event is at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort in Golden for the first time. It will be the tour’s only stop in North America.
- Feb 17 – The Snow King’s Masque Parade pays homage to the history and cultural heritage of Golden’s mountain home through creative home-made art making and it’s a theatrical spectacle to remember. A communitiy evening gathering in Spirit Square.
The Golden Rockets, the town’s own Junior “B” Hockey League team, play throughout the winter for all you fans at the Golden District Centennial Arena.
Here are some of our favorite annual fairs and festivals. Large or small, they draw friends and neighbors together to celebrate the uniquely beautiful tapestry that is Columbia Valley culture.