PENTICTON - Christmas 2015 looks like it will be white in Penticton this year, which will be a blessing to those looking for winter activities on the valley bottom.
With Apex Mountain Resort a 40-minute drive from downtown Penticton, winter is never far away, no matter what kind of winter we’re experiencing, however. The resort has 73 runs and a full-sized ice skating rink to enjoy.
Lifts run daily from 9 a.m to 3:30 p.m. with night skiing and tubing from 4 p.m. until 9 p.m., except Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.
Special events on Christmas Eve include a bonfire, torchlight parade and Santa’s arrival to meet with the children. Parents can supply presents for Santa to distribute to the kids.
The hockey rink is open to the public until 11 p.m. Please note the rink does get booked for private functions, so check with the resort to find out dates and times of bookings. A one-kilometre skating loop near the main parking entrance is lit until 11 p.m.
Another five minutes down the road is Nickel Plate Nordic Centre, where cross country ski enthusiasts can find 56 kilometres of trails at an elevation of 6,000 feet. A comfortable 4,000 square foot day lodge and facilities for rental equipment, instruction and races round out the facility.
Closer to the valley floor, for more casual hiking in less winter like conditions, try a hike on Munson Mountain. There are some great 360 degree valley views at the top.
There are also hundreds of other trails near Penticton, ready for the casual hiker and mountain biker. See the Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen Trail Search Page for information on 150 trails in the South Okanagan and Similkameen Valley area. Check out their website at: http://www.rdos.bc.ca/departments/community-services/regional-trails/trail-search/
A popular spot for short toboggan runs, when snow exists on the valley floor, is Columbia Elementary School, located at 1437 Allison St. in Penticton.
In the City of Penticton itself, the Community Centre is open Monday to Wednesday, Dec. 21 to 23 from 6 a.m. until 8 p.m. The centre closes at 4 p.m. Christmas Eve and reopens from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 26.
The community centre operates on regular hours the following week, closing at 4 p.m. New Year’s Eve and operating from 10 a.m until 4 p.m. New Year’s Day.
Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 2 to 3, hours are 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., for the office and fitness centre while the pool is open from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.
McLaren Park Arena has a holiday schedule for public skating from Dec. 21 to Jan. 3 that can be viewed at the City of Penticton website.
Hours of operation at the Penticton library are 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, and 9:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday, and closed on Sunday. The library will be closed Christmas Day and Boxing Day, as well as New Year's Day.
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