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Your Winter Chalet Getaway Guide

From a relaxed retreat to a high-energy expedition, these chalet vacations are tailored to winter travellers of all kinds.

December 12, 2018

By Madison Taylor

In the early 20th century, dairy cattle herders in countries like Switzerland and France saw an opportunity to convert their chalets into desirable, winter travel destinations. And why not? A picturesque house tucked into a mountainside by a blanket of snow, the chalet’s appeal stretches far and wide.

Fast forward to today, and British Columbia’s countryside is home to many winter retreats, ranging from the traditional single-room structures to luxurious, multi-storey estates. To help you avoid Goldilocks-ing your way through a series of destinations that aren’t quite right, we’ve compiled a list of accommodations and activities tailored to the kind of winter getaway you’re craving.

And before you head out, don’t forget to include safe winter driving on your travel checklist. Anyone who’s driven on the Coquihalla in December knows it can be a challenge, so take your time, drive for the conditions and keep an emergency kit in your vehicle complete with a first aid kit, flashlight, highly visible winter outerwear and other gear to protect you in the event of a roadside emergency.

A BCAA Membership is the best way to ensure you make it from A to B safely, as it comes with the best roadside assistance in Canada, the U.S. and 120 countries around the world. Plus, BCAA Members get perks at over 1,000 Reward Partners across North America. Whether you’re using your Membership for gas or meals, you can make your winter getaway an affordable escape from the ordinary.

High-Adrenaline Holiday

Image: Kelly Funk, courtesy Sun Peaks Resort

Dropping temperatures and shorter days can only mean one thing: ski season is coming. For those who get giddy over the thought of bluebird days, there’s no better place to spend winter than the Okanagan.  Get a taste of that famous Okanagan champagne powder at Sun Peaks Resort, where the 4,270 acres of skiable terrain will ensure that you never get bored. It’s even more affordable with a BCAA Membership, which takes 20% off a 1-Day Peaks Card. For adrenaline junkies whose taste for adventure isn’t satisfied by a day cruising down deep steeps and through powder stashes, the resort also offers winter activities like dogsledding, snowshoeing and ice fishing.

When you’re finally ready to call it a day, the Shanski Chalet will welcome you home with its snow-dusted, gingerbread house façade. Kick off your ski boots and sink into your private hot tub just as the sun begins to set. If you’re in the market for a more traditional hotel experience, Sun Peaks Grand Hotel offers premier access to the best that Sun Peaks has to offer in addition to a 20% discount on midweek accommodations for BCAA Members.

Luxury Long Weekend

Scandinave Spa Whistler in winter. Photo by Justa Jeskova.

If the very thought of the holiday season makes you tense up, there’s no shame in trading sleigh bells for saunas. For those seeking a pampered getaway without the stress of leaving the province, look no further than Whistler. Home to Scandinave Spa, a traditional Scandinavian spa specializing in hydrotherapy, Whistler is chock-full of charming places to hang your hat (or towel) after a day at the spa. BCAA members get a 15% discount on bath access, plus 10% off massage service with bath access.

Rent a sprawling private chalet, like the Falcon’s Nest Estate, and spend your evenings curled up by the fire with a juicy winter read. If you’d prefer an even more luxurious experience, the Fairmont Chateau Whistler offers castle-like ambiance in an unbeatable alpine setting. Plus, if you’re a BCAA Member, you can save 20% on accommodations at this historic hotel. The moment you enter its stately lobby, the stress of the holidays will melt away faster than a pad of butter in a hot toddy.

Small-Town Sojourn

Photo: Raven Eye Photography, courtesy Kimberley Alpine Resort

When the crowds, concrete and endless rain of Vancouver start to leave a Scrooge-like scowl on your face, it might be time to seek greener (or in this case, whiter) pastures. Tucked away in the Kootenay Rockies and full to the brim with charm, the town of Kimberley may just be your dream winter destination.

For some true ski town hospitality, look no further than Alpenglow Bed and Breakfast. This family-owned and operated B&B will give you an insider’s look at the idyllic community of Kimberley. Skiers will rejoice at the opportunity to stay at Trickle Creek Lodge, which offers ski-in, ski-out access to the slopes of Kimberley Alpine Resort—all you’ll need to do in the morning is strap on your skis and glide out the front door. BCAA Members receive exclusive discounts on lift tickets at this four-star resort. Plus, you can stretch your ski-weary muscles with a stroll through the shops in the Platzl, the town’s Bavarian-themed city center, and practise your best small-town smile as you greet the locals.

These days, you don’t need to cross the Atlantic to enjoy the classic European comfort of a chalet. Ski bums and homebodies alike can find respite in these wood-frame wonders, and the diversity of offerings in B.C. means that you can find a place to suit your travel style. Plus, for less than $7 a month, you can stay safe on the way to your winter getaway and enjoy all the deals that come with a BCAA Membership. Whether you’re planning to traverse our province’s wild terrain or wash the city grime away in a spa bath, a private winter retreat is the best place to put up your feet at the end of a long winter day.

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