Kelowna, BC

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For this weeks destination I’m going to take a closer look at another CHE tournament and camp destination; Kelowna, BC.  A hugely popular vacation destination in the summer and winter months, I’m going to argue that the best time to visit Kelowna is in the spring, and here’s why!

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1.   Catch some end of season powder runs at Big White!

If there’s one thing I’ve always loved about Kelowna it’s the quickness of the transition from winter to summer activities that takes place during the month of April.  The sunny slopes of Big White Ski Resort has spring skiing at it’s finest and is known for late season powder and extremely mild temperatures at the same time.  There’s still a 2.5 meter base and with 51 cm of fresh snow in the past 7 days so don’t discount the Okanagan as a ski destination even though the weather in the valley can heat up to the mid 20’s.  Beginner or expert, grab your ski’s or board and head to Big White to cruise through the snow covered trees known locally as snow ghosts, or drop into some seriously steep powder over on The Cliff.

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2.  Don’t ski, no problem….you can Golf instead.

Doesn’t make much sense in most places, but if you’ve gotten all of your skiing in for the season and are ready to trade your ski gear for golf clubs it’s not a problem.  The Okanagan seems to heat up faster than any other region on the planet, and with moderate temperatures at the valley floor throughout the winter, most courses in the region are open and ready to go by early April at the latest.    With some of the most scenic golf courses in the country, there’s no shortage of world class courses for you to start your golf season, because this is going to be the year that you finally break…..

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3. Patio Season is already going.

It has been a long and cold winter for most of the country beyond never shoveling snow again there are a few things I’m really looking forward to doing again; not wearing a jacket, breaking out the flip flops and drinking on a patio with friends being t at the top of that list.  Here in Ontario, patio’s will be packed on the first days that reach +10 degrees or higher, but out in Kelowna spring temperatures can reach as high as +30, and patio season goes from closed to full on pretty quickly.  All beer tastes great, don’t get me wrong, but cold beer on a warm patio tastes a heck of a lot better, and the opportunity to possibly get that base tan going doesn’t hurt either.

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4.  Mosquitoes, or lack there of.

I feel like I’m repeating myself in this post but it bears mentioning again….Kelowna is weird, and it doesn’t do spring like the rest of the country.  I love the spring!  It’s the time of year where everything comes back to life.  Buds start forming in the trees, birds start returning from their wintering grounds in the south and in most places, the bugs return in full force to make sure you don’t get to spend any time outside.  Well….not in Kelowna….Kelowna is different.  The leaves don’t fall, the lake doesn’t freeze and the bugs don’t exist.  You can leave your deet infused bug repellent at home and enjoy the warm temperatures in perfect tranquility without fear of being eaten by tiny flying vampires.  If nothing else on this list entices you this definitely should.

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5.  It’s not really spring, it’s summer but without the tourists.

The best part about visiting Kelowna in the spring is that, well, it’s not really spring, it’s summer but with without the tourists.  You may miss out on seeing the actual grapes on the vines that will be plentiful in late summer, but you can still visit all of the beautiful vineyards in the region without competing with the swarms of tourists that smother them in the summer months.  The lake is a bit cool, but it never really warms up that much anyways and you can go sailing without the constant barrage of wakeboard boats sending you waves.  You can even relax on one of the many public beaches without having to fight through the crowds to find a place to lay down for some sun.

 

For those of you that read this and think, “yeah! why don’t I go to Kelowna this spring?”  You’re in luck.  Canadian Hockey Enterprises still has for men’s and women’s recreational hockey teams on the weekends of April 11 – 13 and April 25 – 27.  So if you and your friends want to take advantage of this great destination but need some incentive, give us a call and we’ll help make this dream trip a reality.

Graydon Crowley

Canadian Hockey Enterprises

 

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Top 5 Reason’s to go to Banff this Spring

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I get it.  Whether you’re from Toronto or Texas, the polar vortex has made this winter a bit of a monster and a little fun in the sun sounds fantastic. I’m here to argue that if you haven’t yet made it south, you’re better off saving your vacation days for a real Canadian vacation to beautiful Banff, Alberta.

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1. World Class Late Season Skiing/Snowboarding

It doesn’t matter if you’re a seasoned back country shredder or a first time skier, there’s perfect terrain for all levels of experience.  If you don’t want to spend too much time travelling, you can hop on a shuttle bus to Norquay mountain 2 minutes from downtown.  If you’re looking for a bigger mountain experience Sunshine Village offers over 3000 skiable acres with uber advanced runs like Delerium Dive, to your basic green run  and is just 10 minutes outside Banff, or head another 25 minutes down the Trans-Canada Highway and hit up Lake Louise Resort.  The Banff National Park is truly blessed with 4 world class ski resorts (Nakiska, Norquay, Sunshine Village, Lake Louise) within a half hours drive and will absolutely blow any ski bums mind, especially anyone living east of the Rockies.

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2. Ever seen an Elk?

If you’re not from Banff, haven’t been to Banff and don’t hunt wild game in Alberta, you probably haven’t seen an elk; I know I’d never seen one before going there.  Renowned for it’s wildlife, the National Park in which the town of Banff is situated provides a sanctuary for many Rocky Mountain animals, but while bears, wolves and sheep can be quite shy, Elk are quite confident that no one will bother them.  If you stay in Banff for more than 1 day your are pretty much guaranteed to see a gang of elk bedded down in a field on the side of the highway, feeding on someones front lawn or just cruising down Banff Ave.  Just be careful cruising the back streets at night as you don’t want to run into a big bull.

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3.  Brilliant Winter Activities

Snowshoeing, dogsledding, nordic skiing, hockey and winter camping; if you’re not a skier but still enjoy being active in the winter, there’s no shortage of things to do in Banff.  What better way to spend a winters day than renting a set of cross country skis and heading up to Lake Louise to ski around the lake with the massive, glacier covered mountains as a backdrop.  The Fenlands (Banff’s new Recreation Centre) was completed just two years ago and features 2 NHL sized ice surfaces and the most picturesque curling club you’ve ever seen, using post and beam construction with plenty of windows to let the natural beauty of the outdoors into the facility.  CHE offers adult recreational tournaments there March 28 – 30, April 4 – 6, April 11 – 13 and April 25 – 27.

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4.  Mmmmmm…..Hot Springs

You’ll surely be looking for a way to relax and wind down, and while there are plenty of traditional Apres-ski experiences in the village, it’s recommended that you head up the hill and hit up the natural hot springs.  Against the backdrop of Banff’s spectacular alpine scenery, the Banff Upper Hot Springs is a modern facility that’s been visited by tourists for over a century.  It can often get very crowded with tourists in the summer months, but during the spring season you’ll get the benefits of relaxing in the naturally heated water in the crisp winter air with almost no one else around to interrupt the tranquility.

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5.  Shops, Sites and Snacks

As one of the most popular ski destinations in the world, Banff is one of the most visited cities in all of Canada, but not everyone who visits comes to ski.  During the day the main drag (Banff Ave) is packed with shoppers heading from one shop to the next looking for a new sweater, a perfect gift or a delicious piece of chocolate.  Though there’s definitely an influx of tourist shops featuring little statues with beavers dressed as Mounties, there’s also a number of wonderful art galleries with fine works depicting the scenic views associated with the town, such as the majestic Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel or Bow Falls.  At night the town really comes to life with plenty of restaurants and bars to accommodate all tastes, whether you want to grab a burger at Banff Ave Brewing Company or some fine dining at Le Beaujelais.

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So if you haven’t already blown your winter vacation time, or even if you have but have a yearning to try something different, hop on a plane to Calgary and head to Banff National Park this spring to experience Canada like you never have before.

Graydon Crowley

Canadian Hockey Enterprises

2014 February Draw Winners

2014 February Draw Winners

 

1st GRAND Prize – Free Tournament Entry to Las Vegas, Phoenix or Florida in 2014 or 2015

 Rhonda Tottle – Call When UR Sober – Niagara Falls 2

 

 2nd Prize – Team Rep gets a FREE tournament package

 Brian Joyes – Clavet Farm Team – Las Vegas 3

Stacey Solman – Fireball – Montreal 2

Andrew Kennedy – Black Gold Militia – Banff 3

 

3rd Prize – Team Rep receives $100.00 cash voucher

 Erin Scott – Black ‘n Blues – Phoenix

Mike O’Neill – Candiac Crusaders – Lake Placid 2

Claude Bourck – Backslow Presenters Plumbing Ltd. – Florida

Colin Ferster – Bacardi Blues – Banff 5

Adam Fearnside – Ice Men – Banff 3

Mike Donovan – Stampeders – Vancouver

Faye Brett – 50 Blades of Grey – Quebec City

Peter Hiebert – Victoria Local Hawks – Vancouver

Jennifer Lynn – Poker Face – Lake Placid 2

Mike Di Salvo – Moose – Kelowna 2

 

4th Prize – Team Rep receives CHE Gift

 Mike Moore – Airdrie Wings – Banff 3

Chris McCann – McCann Oldtimers – Montreal 2

Daniel Lessard – DCL Drywall – Las Vegas 4

Theresa Johnson – Grimshaw Hustlers – Banff 4

Cass Johnson – Breton Riggers – Banff 4

Colleen Sawatzky – Hot Flashes – Banff 4

Chris Malmberg                – Precision Drilling – Montreal 3

Mike Berg – Itchy Beavers – Banff 5

Dave Reich – Mech E Moose – Las Vegas 3

Ryan Piche – Espanola Eskimos – Las Vegas 2

Greg Beeds – Kamloops Bisons – Kelowna 2

Gavin Tanner – Mt. Brydges – Niagara Falls 2

Christian Guimond – Les Bouffons – Lake Placid 2

Theresa Moore – Delaware Bobcats 1 – Lake Placid 2

Mitch Bosse – Seattle Roguerunners – Las Vegas 4

Rick Cerilli – Old Snappers – Las Vegas 3

Ian Graydon – Sunderland Classics – Niagara Falls 2

Dave MacLeod – East York – Montreal 4

Edward Frantik – Battleford 50’s – Las Vegas 2

Jason Fox – Ruff Rhinos – Niagara Falls 1