Panorama Mountain Village: The Happiest Place in BC

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Pristine and secluded, Panorama Mountain Village is BC’s best kept secret. Nestled between three giants, the Bugaboos, Purcells and Rockies along the “Powder Highway,” upon arrival it feels as if you have been dropped into Never-Never Land.

The unique appeal of Panorama is infinite. Some say it’s the people and some say the 360-degree panoramic views. For others it’s the fresh, untouched powder runs. Comparable to the vibe of a European resort, the staff at Panorama are all smiles. More than a few admit, they will never leave. Those who have gone searching for a better wonderland found no such place and then returned.

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The beauty of Panorama is that not many people know about it… yet. To outdoor enthusiasts, this means no line-ups, no crowds and no cruddy conditions. There simply are not enough people in town to track out the best runs or trails. A little off the beaten path, the closest air transportation options are either Canadian Rockies Airport in Cranbrook or Calgary International Airport. The short journey to the resort is an adventure in itself and scenic, so be sure to book the resort shuttle if you prefer to sit back and enjoy the epic Rocky Mountain wilderness views. From Calgary, you will head 311kms past Invermere before arriving at Heaven-on-Earth, the happiest place in BC, Panorama Mountain Village.

Panorama lodging is booked out of a central reservation pool with incredible ski-in, ski-out access. Each lodge is uniquely different. SkiTip Lodge is perfect, if you want to be close to all the action. The resort is so quaint that no matter which lodge you stay in, hot spots like the Final Gate Retail Shop, The Great Hall, Mile 1 Quad Express and, of course, the one-and-only T-Bar are but steps away. Access to areas like the general store, snowshoe and nordic trails and Choppers Landing are easily accessible by means of a complimentary Village Gondola–a unique way of transportation from upper to lower village in less than five minutes.

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View of the Mile 1 Quad from accommodation at Ski Tip Lodge

The only mountain pass you need to purchase is the newly introduced PanoPass. A day ticket gives you access to everything Panorama Mountain Village has to offer including skiing, snowboarding, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, tubing and tobogganing.

Parents love the endless programming options for the kids. Throw the little rippers in ski school or if you’re the ripper, sign them up for Wee Wascals Daycare. Daily activities like Yoga for kids, Drama Club, Pano Scientists classes are so inviting, you may have a hard time choosing. Truly the beauty of the resort is the family friendly vibe. Parents, there is even the Saturday Night Babysitters Club, should you need a night out at the T-Bar (the local pub that turns into a dance club after hours). Boogie until the wee hours on weekends with the house DJs after an exhilarating day on the mountain.

Recognized as an Alpine Canada National Training Centre, the mountain is always buzzing with up-and-coming athletes. The mountain prides itself on offering runs for all levels. A mountain guide is a great option for even experts as areas like the coveted Taynton Bowl are easier to explore with a guides know how. The summit sits at 7,759 feet and on a clear day boasts a view to kill. Dropping into the 4,000 foot vertical from the summit is a rush. Choose your line and get ready for the ride. With 2,847 acres of skiable face, the possibilities are endless.

At the Summit Hut, you can snuggle up and enjoy a hot chocolate, beer or burger and warm your gear by the wood-burning fire. When Taynton Bowl gets you all fired up and wanting more, take your powder dreams backcountry with rk Heliski. Located in the Lower Village, Chopper Landing Restaurant and Lounge is just a short walk from the gondola in the lower village. Leaders in the industry since 1970, rk Heliski guides will make your dreams a reality. Even if you are sitting on the fence, make an effort to meet the happy staff, enjoy breakfast and learn more about this epic opportunity firsthand. The beauty of the terrain at Panorama Mountain Village is that it offers something special for everyone. Endless groomed runs, the 135-meter carpet lift and plans for a new quad chair in 2014/2015 are sure ways to keep even beginners stoked for more.

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Canadian Para Alpine Ski Team competing in the IPC World Cup at Panorama Mountain Village pre-Sochi 2014

Shhh… snowshoeing at Panorama Mountain Village has yet to explode. Don’t worry, it will be soon enough. Now is the time to make the trip. There are two official tracked snowshoe trails in total at the resort, and the chances of passing other human beings on your adventure is slim.

When the snow falls, the majority of guests and staff are more interested in hitting the bowls for fresh tracks, which is great news for snowshoers. Unlike other resorts with fully developed snowshoe areas, Panorama’s snowshoe trails are actually a peaceful, scenic getaway. From the stable area, it will take you 15 minutes to climb the trail to the ridge. From there the horse trail undulates for another 30 minutes before you must choose to return on the same trail or take the lower road back. Either way, the views are spectacular and the snow is perfection.

There is one other tracked option that starts at the heliplex and is a half-hour in and half-hour out. For well-seasoned snowshoers who are comfortable breaking trail, the options are endless. On a clear day, there is nowhere else in the world you would rather be than Panorama. Take the entire family out and enjoy the light traffic; because as snowshoeing grows in popularity, finding quiet, scenic trails will continue to be more and more difficult. Snowshoe Guide Michelle Morris describes the Panorama snowshoe experience: “I feel like Alice in Wonderland!”

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When you’ve played hard outdoors at Panorama Mountain Village, your body, mind and soul all deserve a special treat. For a more traditional option, head to Pure Massage. Those who prefer a yogi/new-age approach to wellness, do not miss the chance to be touched by the healing powers of Adele. Certified holistic health coach and owner of Evolution Facial Spa and Wellness Centre, Adele Engel offers the best in non-traditional healing and therapies. Since staying at Panorama is like visiting another universe, booking an appointment with Adele is the dessert to your Panorama feast. Personal health coaching, ULTRA facial treatments and her Indigo Biofeedback System are worth the trip in spades and will leave you feeling de-stressed and full of positivity. Not only will you leave wanting more, you will wish her services were offered closer to home.

Adele works closely with famous yogis like Wade Morissette and will be offering her unique Panorama yoga retreat shortly after the snow melts. Book your appointments and learn more about her services and famous shakes, a staple among locals for energy and balance:

If you prefer to indulge your senses in a hearty meal after a day of outdoor pursuits, both the Wildfire Rustic Grill and Earl Grey Lodge have menus and upscale après-ski/snowshoe atmospheres to die for. The coolest things about Early Grey Lodge are the cozy Canadiana cabin feel and the unique experience of leaving your boots at the door while dining in your ski socks.

Après doesn’t end here. The hot tub gatherings are a highlight. The Panorama Spring Pools are Canada’s largest mountainside hot tubs. Soak and surrender to the beauty of the day while sharing your experiences with fellow guests in a giant slopeside hot tub. Be sure to choose the Panorama Springs Lodge as your home base if the convenience of being close to the pool party is important. Happy vibes are everywhere.

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Whether it is your first visit to Panorama Mountain Village, or you are a seasoned guest, you will discover new adventures awaiting. Since timing is everything, plan a snow “playcation” now before this very special place becomes trendy and populated. If you are in the market for a recreational property, excitement looms as the resort plans a $7 million dollar expansion to include housing development, new runs, businesses and amenities. The affordable single family housing development and slopeside condo options all scream “buy me!”

This little piece of Heaven on Earth has what every ski resort wants: everything! From the fresh tracks and panoramic views to endless slopeside adventures and perma-smiles, be prepared to be touched by the magic.

Get on it, before everyone else does! Book a reservation and learn more about Panorama: http://www,

About the author

Steph Florian

A resident of the North Shore and avid Weekend Warrior, slowing TV Host Stephanie down just doesn’t happen. Always chasing her next ‘adventure’, Vancouver’s active wonder-woman spends her time on the mountain, in the surf, on the mat and playing with her 2 boys.

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