In a province of great ski resorts, no place in British Columbia is as underrated or overlooked as Panorama Ski Resort.
Because of it’s remote location in the Purcell Mountains, it’s more than a resort. Panorama is its own village, and more of a mountainous retreat, a sprawling establishment that contains a ski area, condos, a hotel, lots of restaurants and nightspots, and great outdoor recreation.
Bed capacity at Panorama Mountain Ski Resort is 1,500, while the mountain can comfortably handle 7,000 day-skiers. Panorama has all the trappings of a tremendous resort: walk-to-lifts accommodation, high-speed quad chairlifts, and outdoor hot tubs located right at the base of the lifts in which you can soak your weary bones after an energetic day on the slopes.
Then there’s the mountain itself. With 4,300 vertical feet of skiing, the third highest vertical rise of all North American ski areas, after BC’s Whistler/Blackcomb and Big Sky in Montana, Panorama is one massive piece of work. This is a mountain on which you can really find space to spread out: at the most, only 3,000 skiers and snowboarders show up on a busy day. The runs provide enough length and steepness to regularly host World Cup downhill races.
Starting from the top, Panorama’s summit is just above tree line, reached via two T-bars. This is Panorama’s Extreme Dream Zone, where expert skiers and snowboarders can plunge down gladed runs blanketed in dry, fluffy powder. In places such as Hopeful Sun Bowl and the bottom of the cliff band on Extreme Dream, the terrain opens up, providing dozens of untracked turns before picking up a cat-track back to the main core of the mountain.
Panorama’s terrain flattens considerably on the mountain’s lower flanks, which provide ideal cruising runs on which you’ll seldom encounter another rider. In fact, most of panorama’s more than 60 trails lean to novice/intermediate runs. All runs lead to a common base area, so there’s little likelihood of getting lost.
Skiers wishing to improve their form need go no further than Panorama’s famous ski school, managed by the husband and wife team of Don and Heather Bilodeau, two of Canada’s top instructors. And there’s great cross-country skiing on a network of 30 km of trails that wind their way through the woods at the base of the mountain.
Location: Panorama is located in Toby Creek Valley, a tributary of the mighty Columbia River, 11 miles 17 km west of Invermere on Toby Creek Road. Invermere and the nearby town of Radium Hot Springs provide additional accommodation for the Panorama Ski Resort.
Panorama Mountain Ski Resort is an intimate ski-in/ski-out village that puts you steps from unique experiences like sleigh rides, heli skiing or long soothing soaks in slopeside hot pools. You’ll be even closer to 4,000 feet of vertical and nearly 3,000 acres of snow-covered joy.
Panorama is blessed with the Purcell Wilderness Conservancy Park right on its doorstep. In a class of its own, there’s no road access, and all forms of mechanized access are prohibited, including helicopters! Over 150 km of hiking trails, challenging mountaineering, horse riding, and winter recreation await backpackers.
Summer: Trails for hiking, horse riding and mountain biking abound in the Panorama area. These same trails in winter provide great cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and snowmobiling. Those who devote themselves to adventurous exploration of Canada’s western coast eventually make their way here to hike trophy trails, ski trophy peaks, and paddle trophy waters. Fortunately, most travellers don’t have to resort to extremes in order to get an inside look at these fantastic features.
Mountain Biking: Panorama Mountain Bike Park is the best downhill mountain bike park in British Columbia’s Kootenay Rockies region. With high-speed chairlift access and over 20 trails, the Kona Groove Approved Bike Park offers riders of all abilities a multitude of options. It features three beginner trails for those new to the sport, varied intermediate trails to boost confidence on steeps, features, and technical terrain, along with expert downhill and North Shore style trails, a biker-cross course, and a trials park.
Fishing: In September, the Kokanee salmon still make their way up the Columbia River and its tributaries in search of gravel beds for spawning. Good places to view these fish, which turn bright red during spawning, are under the bridge over the Columbia River at Athalmer, or at the Toby Creek bridge on the road to Panorama. This is a fascinating site, as hundreds of fish can be observed in shallow water, almost immobile. Do not harrass or disturb them.
Golf: The Greywolf Golf Course at Panorama Mountain Village in the Kootenay Rockies offers Canadian mountain golf at its finest. The 18-hole par-72 course (7,140 yards) is ranked the ‘best course in BC’ by Golf Digest, surrounded by the rugged Purcell Mountains of British Columbia, and situated at nearly 4,000 feet. Greywolf can be both visually stunning and intimidating. But whether you’re a beginner, intermediate, or pro, Greywolf has four sets of well-designed tees that make the course playable by all. Nearby golf courses include Eagle Ranch Golf Resort in Invermere, Spur Valley Greens and Radium Hot Springs Resort (Radium Course and Springs Course) in Radium Hot Springs, Windermere Valley Golf Course in Windermere, and the 2 courses at Fairmont Hot springs; Riverside Golf Resort and Mountainside Golf Course. Golf Vacations in British Columbia.
Lake Lillian is a lovely, clear spring-fed mountain lake located along the Toby Creek Road to the Panorama Resort, with a maintained recreation site on the north side of the road. Enjoy picnicking, or paddling and swimming in the crystal-clear water.
To the east of Panorama is Invermere, established in 1810 as a trading post. This is a thriving tourist centre and a great place to stop and enjoy the hot summer months. Situated along the sandy shores of Windermere Lake, this community offers a full spectrum of outdoor activities to visitors.
The Rocky Mountain Trench, known as the Columbia River Valley, is surmounted by the BC Rocky Mountains on the east and the Bugaboos on the west. The valley incorporates the region of the BC Rockies accessed by Highway 93 and 95, between Cranbrook at the south and Golden in the north.
Circle Tours: See the best of the area on the Okanagan and Kootenay Rockies Circle Tour or the Kootenay Rockies Hot Springs Circle Tour. Travel the sunny interior of British Columbia, north through the Okanagan to Sicamous, following Highway 1 into the mountains of the BC Rockies. From Golden, head south through the Columbia Valley to Creston, and west through Boundary Country and the Southern Okanagan to complete the loop.
Circle Tours in British Columbia.