Columbia River Valley

Windsurfing can be an especially elevating experience when it takes place between the towering peaks of the Rockies and the serrated ridges of the Purcell Mountains. Windermere Lake is the place to go for this serene activity. Launch from the wide, sandy beach in James Chabot Provincial Park in Invermere, where strong winds arise with regularity on summer afternoons. This is also a delightful spot for swimming, canoeing, kayaking and trout fishing. Only day-use facilities are provided, including picnic tables, toilets, and drinking water. There is also a children’s playground and a volleyball net nearby. James Chabot Provincial Park is wheelchair accessible.

When wind squeezes through a narrow section of the west arm of Kootenay Lake, just 3 km from Nelson, windsurfing conditions come to a boil. If there is a northerly wind, Kootenay Lake at Kaslo can see great conditions, and the lake at Schroeder Creek can be a hot spot if the wind is from the south.

Good westerlies frequently blow across the Arrow Lakes near Castlegar (Lower Arrow Lake). Put your board in the water anywhere on the north shore, just upstream of the Keenleyside Dam that spans the Columbia River 12 km west of Castlegar.

Windsurfers can breeze along on Columbia Lake at Canal Flats Provincial Park, getting a head start on the same waters that eventually flow through the Columbia River Gorge in Oregon, one of the preeminent windsurfing spots on the North American continent. There is also a small boat launch available on Columbia Lake. An endless choice of activities takes you away from the rush of modern living – enjoy picnicking, fishing, canoeing and kayaking.

Nearby are the remains of an historic canal that was constructed in the 1880s to connect Columbia Lake with the Kootenay River. The park sits on the south side of the lake, just 3 km north of the village of Castlegar on Highway 93/95.