The sticky snow clung to the branches of the thick forest surrounding us, the result an enchanting winter wonderland worthy of an artist’s paintbrush.
Thick plumes of steam swirled up through the chilly December air, creating a haze that clouded our view of the sun-kissed cliffs jutting out of the mountain range.
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The only pop of colour was the brilliant turquoise hue of the Radium Hot Springs, which my friend Steph and I were now soaking in on our quest to discover the best things to do in Invermere, BC in winter.
Things to do in Invermere, BC in winter: Soak in the Radium Hot Springs
The natural springs near Invermere were a token stop of our girls’ getaway to the area, which is found in British Columbia’s picturesque Columbia Valley in the Kootenay Rockies region.
The timing of our quick trip couldn’t have been better: with the hustle and bustle of Christmas celebrations just a couple days behind us, a mountain escape from the big city was the ideal way to unwind before ringing in the new year.
The heat of the thermal bath was the perfect antidote to the stress of the season, and we marvelled at how the steaming mineral pools were seamlessly tucked into the cliffside, the towering rock walls providing both shelter and scenery.
It’s no surprise that Radium is a popular destination year-round, not only for tourists but also wildlife such as bears, deer and bighorn sheep which frequent the area—the latter being a common roadside attraction.
There are actually a few hot springs near Invermere, including the Fairmont Hot Springs resort area which is just 20 minutes away, and the Lussier Hot Springs an hour further near Cranbrook.
Guests of Panorama Mountain Resort can also take advantage of Canada’s largest slopeside hot pools.
Invermere winter activities
Relaxing with a steamy soak after a big day on the slopes is the perfect way to unwind, and with the Purcell Mountains on the town’s doorstep you don’t have to go far to find alpine adventures.
Winter hikes to frozen waterfalls, cross-country skiing along Toby Creek, skating and snowshoeing are ideal for those looking for a more chill activity, and more than 120 trails await up on Panorama Mountain Resort which is a 20 minute drive from town.
Traverse the hill using one of its nine lifts, or spring for a ride on one of the Monster X Snowcats over to the untouched terrain in Taynton Bowl.
READ MORE: An insider’s guide to Panorama Mountain Resort in BC, Canada
Thrill-seekers can level up by soaring over the ski resort during a tandem paraglide (in skis!), or book a coveted spot for a day of heli-skiing with RK Heliski.
Paragliding over Panorama Mountain ResortA family-friendly option is taking a revved-up snowmobile ride into the backcountry with Toby Creek Adventures.
This is one of the most popular things to do in Invermere during winter, since you get to head straight into the virgin powder of Paradise Bowl which is reserved exclusively for riders.
The day’s highlights include a coffee break and barbecue at a charming cabin beside an abandoned 1900s silver mine to enjoy the view from 8,000 feet, and getting the chance to rip around the mountain as fast as your sled will take you.
READ MORE: 10 unique things to do in the Columbia Valley, BC during winter
Go shopping in Invermere’s downtown area
Despite the outdoor playground surrounding us, given our more relaxed pace we opted for an afternoon of exploring town followed by a sunset skate.
First up was a quick jaunt through the compact core, to check out the numerous shops, art galleries and the pretzel-topped bakery to pick up some sweet treats for our next stop…
Skating in Invermere on the Lake Windermere Whiteway
…a spin around the world’s longest skating trail.
The Lake Windermere Whiteway links the towns of Windermere and Invermere, offering more than 30 kilometres of groomed ice as well as skating rinks, hockey rinks and ample space for activities like walking the dog, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing.
With multiple paths to choose from Steph and I knew we wouldn’t be able to complete the whole circuit before the sun went down, so we opted to take off down the 12 kilometre Windermere Loop.
Our blades made a satisfying swishing sound as they glided through the ice, the rhythmic tempo slicing the silence as we coasted along the frozen lake while the dark mounds of the Purcell Mountains served as our backdrop.
Sip suds at the Arrowhead Brewing Company
With the sun setting, it was time for happy hour and sampling some local suds.
The Arrowhead Brewing Company is a short drive from the Whiteway, so we soon found ourselves pulling up a chair inside their eclectic tasting room and ordered a tray featuring a flight of craft beers.
Our favourite? Berries Of The Night, a raspberry wheat ale, natch.
Continuing on our quest to eat and drink our way through Invermere’s culinary scene, our last stop turned out to be one of the most impressive: dinner at Birchwood Restaurant.
The cozy, candlelit eatery was the perfect place to escape winter’s chill, and trying to decide on which of the hearty, seasonal entrees to tuck into was nearly impossible.
Suffice it to say it wasn’t long before we found ourselves in a blissful food coma, yet somehow managed to find enough room in our bellies to fit in a few bites of sweet creme brûlée to top off the evening.
Another popular option is The Black Forest Restaurant, a Bavarian-themed schnitzel house that’s been around since 1979. Designed to resemble a farmhouse from Germany’s Black Forest region, the walls are all hand-painted, there’s taxidermy in the bar, and there’s even an entire room with viewing windows that’s like a giant bird cage.
Reservations are recommended, and it’s open from Wednesday-Sunday.
With that it was settled: when you’re deciding what to do in Invermere, winter is the perfect season to appreciate the area’s natural wonders and activities, making it the ultimate girls’ getaway in the heart of the Columbia Valley.
Accommodation options and hotels in Invermere, BC
One of the most unique places to stay near Invermere is a trio of huge geodesic domes perched among a tranquil forest on a private property just outside Windermere.
Winderdome Resort opened in 2022, and has been booked solid ever since thanks to unique touches like giant outdoor patios with built-in hammocks, and a loft-style layout with lots of room for four people to spread out.
The layout of each animal-themed dome is identical, with a kitchen, bathroom, dining area, two lounge areas, a king size bed on the main floor and two single beds upstairs.
There’s also a private pool on site that can be rented. Rates range from $250-$425 per night, and can be booked directly through Winderdome Resort, Expedia and VRBO.
Panorama Mountain Resort
If you’re visiting Invermere during winter with a larger group, then the Panorama Mountain Resort is where you’ll want to be. Aside from all those hot pools, you’ll be steps away from the chairlifts, restaurants and cafes.
There are seven different hotels and lodges on the mountain, including the newly-refurbished Approach Hotel in the centre of the action.
There are also hundreds of privately-owned houses, townhomes and condos that are rented out by owners; check out all the listings on VRBO.
Copper Point Resort
Located right off the highway and only a couple minute’s drive from downtown Invermere, this well-appointed resort has nearly 200 rooms and suites with fireplaces and full kitchens, making it an ideal spot to hunker down for a few days.
The Elements Grill restaurant has a huge outdoor patio with views of the adjoining golf course, and there’s also a full service spa, fitness centre and playground. Copper Point is also one of the only Invermere hotels with pools. See current prices on Expedia or Booking.com
The Kanata Inns Invermere
This is another good option just down the road from Copper Point with quick highway access. Amenities include a small indoor pool area, and some of the clean, updated rooms include kitchenettes. Click to see pricing
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First, the pretzel bakery…then the thermal pools…then the spa…then the beer. Sounds awesome
I’d never actually heard of Invermere until now but it looks like the perfect winter wonderland! The perfect combination of snow, relaxing Radium Hot Springs, spa and winter activities like iceskating. It looks so idyllic, I’d love to go one day, especially if the snow stick like you’re beautiful photos 🙂
Hi Melissa, it snows a lot in the Kootenays so no worries there about getting similar scenery!
what a great girls’ getaway you had. Swimming in a pool or lagoon while watching snow is my dream. I would like to do it soon. I assume the Radium Hot Springs is a great place to give it a try 🙂
Spa time, beer and coffee? You’re speaking my language. Ice skating? Not so much for this southern girl sadly.
Haha if you can survive Quebec’s Winter Carnival, you’d have no issue with this!
Stay at copper pointe resort every year. It is the most amazing place and so relaxing. Local restaurants and bakery , hot pools , boutique shopping … an amazing way to relax and refresh . This is a great holiday if you are needing social distance during our time in a pandemic. Booked for March and the September this year. An affordable refreshment in a really hard time.
We’ve been wanting to explore BC for so long–hopefully we can head that way this summer! I had never heard about Invermere. We will definitely have to look into that as a stop. The hot spring looks so nice and relaxing and that skating trail looks so cool! Looks like a fun adventure!
Yay, hope you make it there!
Winter is amazing time, especially in place such as British Colombia. But okay – after one or two hours one gets really freezing outside. Thanks for great spa recommendation – I would like to visit Pleiades spa in future!
It’s a great spa, hope you get to!
This really does sound like the perfect weekend getaway! I love that there are options for staying active as well as just relaxing. And all of the food looks amazing too, especially that tenderloin!
MEmories. I just love these thermal springs, out in the freezing cold, whilst you are submerged in hot, hot water. I first had this experience in Hungary and loved it and would easily do it again and again. Your photos are just glorious. We couldn’t take photos when we were in the baths as they weren’t allowed.
Thanks Kerri! I’ve done the baths in Hungary, and agree they’re special!
This looks like my sort of girls weekend away! Good coffee, food, massages and hot springs. Don’t even mind the lack of mani-pedi!
Next time try staying at the Fairmont Hotsprings Resort! You will not be disappointed! Guests get access to the big spring pool, as well as a private pool, and a set of plunge pools!
Sign me up for those hot springs. And skiing of course!
Spent four nights in Invermere as part of a 28 day roam around BC in July 2005. Looking through my images again (stuck in lockdown) and when we can travel again I am tempted to come back.. Lovely place to relax.
Agreed, it’s a special place!