While winter doesn’t officially arrive until late December, the holiday cheer and snowy mountaintops mean it's time to say goodbye to fall and embrace all that winter in Kelowna has to offer. Read on to find out more about what you can discover, and what to expect, in and around Kelowna when visiting at this time of year.
Kelowna Nordic Centre. Photo by: David Vassiliev
Kelowna’s four-season playground turns into a winter wonderland come December, with the snow-covered mountains surrounding the city home to all sorts of outdoor adventures.
Less than an hour from downtown sits Big White Ski Resort, which offers an array of winter activities, including Alpine and Nordic skiing, fat biking, snowshoeing, and ice skating on Canada’s highest outdoor skating rink. Those who are new to skiing and snowboarding can take advantage of the resort’s beginner lessons, while experienced skiers and boarders can set out on 118 designated Alpine trails. The resort also offers Adaptive Ski Programs for guests with physical, cognitive, and sensory challenges, thanks to its partnership with People in Motion.
Outside of Vernon, just over an hour from Kelowna, is SilverStar Mountain Resort, with its European-inspired village where you’ll find several dining and shopping options. Along with 132 marked Alpine runs, SilverStar is also home to a vast network of groomed Nordic trails. For a unique experience, be sure to check out the resort’s Snow Cat Tours, which include a trip to Paradise Camp, located on the backside of the mountain, to enjoy a 3-course, lantern-lit dinner.
Other uniquely Kelowna winter activities include skating alongside Okanagan Lake on the ice rink in Stuart Park, hiking or snowshoeing along the Myra Canyon Trestles Trail, and winter wine touring, where you’ll get to admire area vineyards blanketed in snow.
Quails' Gate Winery. Photo credit: Wines of British Columbia
The holiday season kicks off in late November, but December is when the spirit of the season is in full swing.
The annual Downtown Kelowna Winter Street Market & Light Up takes place in early December—this year on December 3 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.—with free, family-friendly entertainment and activities, including photos with Santa. More than 50 local artisan and market vendors are set up for you to find unique gifts for everyone on your list. Be sure to stick around for the tree light-up, which takes place at 4:45 p.m.
December also means it’s time for Craft Culture’s Holiday Market, which is the Okanagan’s largest holiday market. More than 180 vendors will be set up in Prospera Place from December 2 to 4, selling an array of goods, including handmade, one-of-a-kind pieces. Visit our online events calendar for info on other craft and holiday markets taking place throughout the month.
The end of the month means it’s time to usher in a new year. Kelowna’s annual family-friendly celebration, New York New Years, is back with indoor and outdoor activities at the Kelowna Community Theatre and Stuart Park, including fireworks over Okanagan Lake, which take place at 9 p.m. to align with New York’s time zone so the little ones can take part, too. Stay tuned to our events calendar for more ways to celebrate NYE in and around Kelowna.
Festival of Trees at Mission Hill Family Estate. Photo by: @hashtagmeag
For more events taking place in and around Kelowna, visit our online Calendar of Events.
While the snow accumulates quickly in the mountains surrounding Kelowna, there tends to be less snow on the ground right in the city—when the snow does fall, it typically doesn’t stick around long thanks to Kelowna’s milder winter climate. December and January are typically the coldest months of the year in Kelowna, with average temperatures for both months at 1°C / 34°F on the high end and -6°C / 21°F on the low end. You’ll want to make sure you pack appropriately if you plan on spending a lot of time outdoors, especially near the lake and at higher elevations where the temperatures will be cooler. December is one of the more overcast and cloudier months of the year, though you can often get above the clouds up at the ski hills thanks to inversion. You can monitor current conditions through the live webcam at the Kelowna Visitor Centre.
Hotel Eldorado at Eldorado Resort
Plan a purposeful and rewarding trip to Kelowna by using the resources available on our website:
Have more questions about your trip to Kelowna? Connect with our team at the Kelowna Visitor Centre.
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Kelowna is situated on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded tm̓xʷúlaʔxʷ (land) of the syilx/Okanagan people who have resided here since time immemorial