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Apex Skating Loop | Kim Walker

Winter Fun Skating in the South Okanagan, British Columbia

By Carol Stathers

There is nothing better than a cool, crisp winter day in the Okanagan! Join me on a tour as I share our family’s favourite places to skate on one of those amazing days!

Zamboni Clearing the Skating Loop at Apex Mountain Resort | Kim Walker

Our first stop is the outdoor skating loop at Apex Mountain Resort. Beyond magical is how I sum up our Apex skating experience. We have spent years going to the ski hill on day trips or even renting a cabin for a weekend away. As a family who loves to downhill or cross country ski, snowshoe, sled and hike, we never miss a chance to skate the loop. This 1 kilometre oval winds its way through the forest and even gets cleaned once a day by the resort-owned Zamboni. Skating the loop is a perfect activity during the day, but becomes even more magical at night when the lights come on to illuminate the way through the trees. When we stay overnight, it is high on our list of things to do in the evening after a day of skiing or other adventures.

If you don’t have skates, don’t worry you can rent them from the nearby Apex rental shop. At the loop, there is a change room so you can put on your skates and leave your shoes in a dry place. There is even an area to have a bonfire to get warmed up or for those who prefer to watch the skaters go by. But no hockey on the loop! For those who prefer to play with sticks and pucks, there is also an official hockey rink close by.

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Next stop is the skating rink at Pioneer Park, located just south of Penticton in the town of Kaleden. Founded by James Ritchie in 1906, there is a plaque at the north end of the park on the shell of the old hotel recognizing a number of pioneer families. For those interested in the old hotel, it was completed in 1912 and only survived until it closed shortly after the First World War; it is pretty neat to see that the concrete shell has survived over 100 years!

Skating Rink at Pioneer Park, Kaleden | Carol Stathers

On the south end of the park, you will find the outdoor cement ball court. When the cold weather sets in, the court is flooded for those who like to play hockey or skate. It is a great opportunity for both locals and visitors to skate on the large community ice surface and it is right beside Skaha Lake.  The rink has a friendly and welcoming atmosphere when you see a stack of hockey sticks left for all to use and a spot to have a fire and roast marshmallows.  

Preparing the Skating Surface at Vaseux Lake | Carol Stathers

Next stop for some lake skating is Vaseux Lake, right off Highway 97 just south of Okanagan Falls. With no organized skating area, bring your snow shovel and you can do what we do; pick a spot, clear off a patch of ice and spend some time gliding on the 3.8 kilometre lake.  Sometimes–if you’re lucky– the lake is clear of snow and you can skate forever, ice fish, or maybe catch a glimpse of sail boats on skates!  It was a blustery day when we were there, but the scenery was still stunning.

So get your blades ready, wait for a beautiful day and skate to your hearts content in the South Okanagan!

For accommodations in the South Okanagan and elsewhere in British Columbia check out travel-british-columbia.com

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Published: February 20, 2020

Carol Stathers

About the Author

Carol loves being in the outdoors whether it is hiking, camping, kayaking or enjoying time at the lake. With a health background in nursing, she has written for many health-related journals and is also writing a historical non-fiction book about the Peach Valley area of Summerland where she lives. Along with writing, she and her family love camping. She grew up camping on Vancouver Island and has explored many parts of BC with her husband, three kids and their golden retriever. She and her newly-retired husband just upgraded to a newer trailer and are looking forward to more camping adventures throughout British Columbia.

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