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Family Friendly Winter Road Trip

Kids skiing

With all kinds of family friendly activities between Nelson and Rossland, you’ll be able to pack in more things to do than gear into your car. From indoors to outdoors, you’ll find plenty to keep the whole family happy on a Kootenay Road Trip.

Our alpine wonderland offers mild to wild downhill skiing at Whitewater Ski Resort and Red Mountain Resort. Beginners will find a magic carpet and welcoming ski and snowboard lessons at both resorts, while thrill seekers can challenge themselves to deep powder and legendary tree runs. Cozy rustic lodges provide the perfect indoor space for families to warm up over hot chocolate and satisfying meals.

Summit Lake Ski Hill is the perfect stop for families. The single T-Bar accesses runs from green to black diamond – everyone can find just the right level of challenge! For those that don’t downhill ski, there is a short XC ski and snowshoe loop on the hill. Night skiing on Friday nights is an evening worth planning for. Make sure to pack your bathing suits because a soak at Nakusp Hot Springs of Halcyon Hot springs is the perfect cap to day on the slopes.

Cross-country skiers will love the variety of Nordic trails in our region. Rossland’s acclaimed Black Jack Ski Club offers approximately 45km of expertly groomed trails, including various loops, night skiing, a terrain park for kids and warming huts. Nearby Castlegar Nordic Ski Club is located at the lofty Paulson Pass, and offers a diverse interconnected system of trails.

The Nelson Nordic Ski Club is just a 10-minute drive from Nelson and features a series of shorter circuits ideal for families. If you’re bringing your pooch, head to the Rail Trail above Nelson and enjoy the gentle grade as it winds through the forest and over impressive trestles. The Kaslo Nordic Ski Club also offers great classic skiing over 12km and two warming huts and dog friendly.

Be sure to also head out the Slocan Valley toward Nakusp and catch one of the groomed rail trails on the way. The Valhalla Hills Nordic ski area and Wensley Creek Trail networks offer variety of options. Jack Rabbit Trail is perfect family friendly snowshoe, with interpretative signage to keep everyone engaged with the forest flora and fauna.

Summit Lake Ski is located between Nakusp and New Denver on HWY 6

Still keen for more winter sports? Try fat tire biking in Rossland or snowshoeing along the Kaslo River Trail, local golf courses, or Strawberry Pass near Rossland. All that crisp fresh air will have you and the kids craving some soothing warmth – make them happy with a trip to Ainsworth Hot Springs Resort, where they’ll be wowed by the underground caves and multiple pools.

There’s also plenty to do indoors on a winter getaway in Rossland and around Kootenay Lake. Bring the family to the pool at the Nelson & District Community Centre or the Trail Aquatic Centre and enjoy the waterslides and play pools. Head underground to the newly opened bunker at Touchstones Nelson Museum of Art and History or catch a flick at the Civic Theatre in Nelson. Wander the charming downtowns of Nelson, Rossland and Kaslo, where you’ll find great kids stores, chocolatiers, and outdoor gear shops for your little rippers.

There are so many fun things to do in Castlegar with the family during every season throughout the year. And winter is no exception. 

Outdoor skating is a part of every Canadian child’s upbringing and in Castlegar, the best outdoor rink can be found at Kinnaird Park near the baseball diamonds. 

There are also plenty of maintained nordic track destinations as well, such as the Paulson Summit Recreation Area, where the Castlegar Nordic Club maintains trails for both the classic Nordic skier as well as the skate skier.

For indoor recreation, check out the Castlegar & District Community Complex is a multi-purpose facility that houses an Arena, a 6 lane, 25 meter pool and leisure pool, whirlpool, weight room, fitness studio, meeting rooms, banquet facility, kitchen and senior centre. Adjacent to the facility are four tennis courts, soccer/football field, ball diamond and skate park.

The best part about snowshoeing is you can do it anywhere. Which is why it’s one of the top things to do with your family in Castlegar in the winter. You can snowshoe around Millenium Park), along the rail trails or on any of the numerous nearby hikes, provided there is snow on the trail of course. Give it a try! You can rent snowshoes at Mallard’s Source For Sports on 660 18th Street.

From ski chalets on the slopes to waterfront resorts, comfortable suites to deluxe vacation homes, you’ll find the perfect accommodation for your winter retreat. Dozens of unique and independent cafes and restaurants in the region serve up mouthwatering meals for all ages.

With some of the best ski towns in North America, a West Koot Route road trip is the perfect winter family getaway.

To learn more about winter activities in the area visit the local tourism websites.


Enjoy the #WestKootRoute