Known for its rugged landscape, vast mountain ranges, and comfortable year-round climate, Penticton is one of Canada’s most popular winter destinations. Located just outside of Vancouver in the Okanagan Valley, the city is accessible by flight—thanks to affordable deals from Air Canada—with plenty of accommodation options available, including The Ramada Penticton Hotel & Suites, to ensure an enjoyable stay.
From downhill and cross-country skiing to winery tours through some of area’s best vineyards, here are seven must-try winter activities for your next stop in Penticton.
No visit to Penticton is complete without a run on the slopes. Explore more than 1,000 skiable acres at Apex Mountain Resort, where you can hone your ski and snowboard skills atop some of the lightest powder snow around. Located a short 30-minute drive from the city, the award-winning site boasts a variety of runs for all skill levels, from the beginner-friendly Grandfather’s Trail to the heart-stopping Twenty Two.
Looking to experience the slopes in a different light? The resort’s night skiing and boarding program will ensure the fun continues post-sundown. For a more relaxed experience, try cross-country skiing at the nearby Nickel Plate Nordic Centre, which features 56 kilometers of world-class trails suitable for both classic and skate skiing.
Who says hiking is strictly a summer activity? Brave the colder conditions and take the trek up Munson Mountain, where you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking, 360-degree views and Instagram-worthy shots of the city.
The mountain is also known for its recognizable “Penticton” sign as well as its Sunset Markers or “Pen Henge”—a set of small stones that are aligned to indicate the sun’s position during the winter/summer solstice and spring/fall equinox.
Another fun way to enjoy the outdoors during the winter months is a snowshoeing tour with Hoodoo Adventures. Pick from a number of programs, from brief two-hour jaunts to wine and cheese tours, each of which is guided by a knowledgeable instructor who will share the history, flora, and fauna of the area.
The company also offers a snowshoeing adventure that concludes with a three-course fireside dinner cooked up by Chef Mark Ashton of The Patio at Lake Breeze, which begins at $135.
Take to the ice at Apex Mountain Resort’s Adventure Skating Loop, a one-kilometer long ice track through the forest. The loop is Zamboni-maintained and lit nightly until 11PM, making it the perfect spot for a romantic evening on ice or a leisurely, after-dinner skate.
If you’re feeling competitive, get in on a pick-up hockey game, curling or bonspiel on Apex’s NHL Sized Hockey Rink. Also lit for evening use, the rink can be rented for private use starting at $90/hour.
With over 100 wineries less than an hour’s drive away, Penticton is at the heart of wine country. A number of these vineyards remain open during the winter, including the renowned D’Angelo Estate Winery, Joie Farm, and Red Rooster Winery, with tours and tastings available by appointment or through expert-led excursions with Top Cat Tours.
‘Tis also the season for ice wine, so be sure to sample the sweet, locally made variety at one of the area’s many wineries or restaurants.
Not a wine drinker? You’ll be happy to hear that Penticton’s craft beer scene is booming, with a wide selection of tasty ales available from microbreweries like Cannery Brewing, Whistle Brewing Company, and, the newest addition to the city, Bad Tattoo Brewing Company.
The area’s bounty of fresh, homegrown fruit also makes for a unique variety of spirits. Check out Maple Leaf Spirits or Old Order Distilling Co.—Penticton’s only farm-to-glass craft distillery—and enjoy an award-winning spirit or liqueur during your evening wind-down or as a nightcap.
If you’re looking to pick up some souvenirs or just want to get into the holiday spirit, Penticton’s popular Winter Festival is a good place to start. Taking place December 4 to 6, the three-day event kicks off with the 19th annual Royal LePage Santa Claus Parade and features a host of pop-up vendors throughout downtown that will be selling an assortment of seasonal wares—including jewellery, kids’ clothing, and baked treats—as part of the Community Christmas Market.