This postcard-perfect lake town is nestled in Canada's Okanagan Valley, home to more wineries than Walla Walla and better snow than Whistler. And you found it first.
Author Jacqueline Detwiler Photography Michael Hanson
WHEN FACED WITH THE PROSPECT of describing Kelowna, a winemaking and ski resort town surrounded by three mountain ranges and a lake in Canada’s Okanagan Valley, one is tempted to rely on juxtaposition: Napa meets Tahoe, Sideways meets Dirty Dancing, Ski Party meets Meatballs. Otherwise, conveying the scope of the place can be difficult. In valleys abutting a 68-mile-long lake fed by crystalline mountain streams sit nearly 30 wineries, 20 golf courses, countless running and biking trails, and a ski resort with some of the most pillowy powder in the world.
What the comparisons fail to capture, however, is that unlike Napa or Tahoe, Kelowna is a 1,120-square-mile playground that remains largely untouched by the other kids. You can taste wines poured by the vintners themselves, swoop down black diamond runs all by yourself and procure a lakeside table without making reservations a week in advance. As one local ski instructor puts it, “I think I waited in a lift line for five minutes … once?” Napa meets Tahoe meets Narnia. There. That should do it.