If you have been contemplating a fall or winter trip up to British Columbia, do it! As of September 2015, the currency exchange rate is around 30% in favor of the U.S. dollar, and it’s been that way for a while. The potential savings for U.S. travelers is huge and not likely to last forever. That hot springs trip or ski vacation you’ve been talking about for way too long? A fall hiking, biking and holiday shopping trip? All 30% off. Here are a few travel ideas for making the most of this historic exchange rate bonanza north of the border.
Ainsworth Hot Springs Resort—Stunning scenery in a laid-back, mountain village atmosphere is what you’ll find at Ainsworth Hot Springs Resort north of Nelson. The hot springs feature a main pool with a steamy horseshoe cave with 108F mineral water in the cave and 96F water in the main pool. Many soakers swear by the health benefits of the high mineral content of the odor-free water that trickles down from the mountain above. The resort has a hotel and restaurant with gorgeous views of Kootenay Lake and the Purcell Range that will make you want to stay for a while. Before or after soaking at Ainsworth, drive a half hour north and enjoy a walk around the waterfront at the village of Kaslo, or try hiking, biking or snowshoeing the local trails that wind their way up out of town. For a little more adventure, try a guided tour through the nearby Cody Caves. Info: Hotnaturally.com and Visitkaslo.com.
Fernie—High in the Canadian Rockies, this stunning mountain community has a historic downtown filled with interesting shops and restaurants and the surrounding mountains are alive with recreation potential – from the renowned powder slopes of Fernie Alpine Resort to snowshoe trails and a booming fat biking scene during the snowy months to endless mountain biking, hiking, fly fishing and trail running options in the fall. You may catch a great live music act downtown, carve the best powder turns of your life and enjoy a fantastic meal washed down with local brews all in one weekend. Many hotels are bike and ski friendly, and you can head out on a trail right from town without setting foot in your car. Fernie seems to have some cool event scheduled almost every weekend, so explore options before you go. Tourismfernie.com.
Kimberley—Tucked into the Purcell Mountains a little over an hour north of the border, Kimberley is a friendly alpine community that has everything from lively local pubs and pennywise crash pads to fine dining and plush accommodations. While it’s most well-known for Kimberley Alpine Resort ski area and an insane number of top-notch golf courses, Kimberley is also gaining recognition for the massive network of hiking and cross-country mountain bike trails right in town. Hit the trails then wander around the historic downtown with its unique shops, pubs and eateries before the resort opens for the winter. A great choice for both families and powder-crazed rippers all winter long, Kimberley Alpine Resort is frequently blessed with legendary Purcell powder. Tourismkimberley.com.
Nelson—Culture, art, awesome food, live music, cool pubs and shops, and historic hotels in a magical mountain town a few minutes walk or pedal to miles of trails and waterfront strolling or paddling on Kootenay Lake. It’s why a lot of us make multiple pilgrimages to Nelson each year. Before the ski season gets started, try hiking up Pulpit Rock for epic views, or stop by a local bike shop for maps to explore the relatively new Morning Mountain cross-country mountain bike trail system just west of town. And any Nelson trip wouldn’t be complete without a soak at Ainsworth Hot Springs. Once the snow starts piling up, find some of the best skiing and riding in the Kootenays, as well as backcountry touring, Nordic skiing and fat biking all at Whitewater Ski Resort. Nelsonkootenaylake.com.
Rossland—The miles of mountain bike trails around the town of Rossland can be in killer shape long after the Seven Summits Trail closes each fall. Trails range from family-friendly to intermediate and expert singletrack. And many of them double as phenomenal trail running and hiking trails. A new brewery in town and several great restaurants and pubs, along with events like the annual Rossland Mountain Film Festival held each November, will keep you busy well after dark. RED Mountain Resort is the center of Rossland’s winter sports universe, where you can find world famous alpine skiing and riding, cat skiing, fat biking and snowshoeing, as well as nearby Nordic trails at Black Jack. Tourismrossland.com. //