According to ancestral beliefs, in balance when March comes in like a lion, it goes out like a lamb.
When it comes to outdoor recreation in the Okanagan, the Sheriff usually finds both: March is a lion in the hills and a lamb in the valley bottom.
On Monday, the last day of February, Big White Ski Resort reported 16 centimetres of new snow. On Tuesday, the first day of March, another 15 cm. Thursday 12 cm more. Prompting powder alerts plus humour. “Caution: faceshots and extreme excitement may occur.”
Meanwhile, the valley bottom had 11 C on Tuesday, prompting the Sheriff and Constant Companion Carmen (and friends) to check out the Okanagan Rail Trail heading north from Oyama on our e-bikes. Unfortunately, our advance scout didn’t advance scout.
The packed gravel trail had two small stretches of snow and ice just north of the isthmus, more of the same at last year’s erosion mitigation project and a long daunting section just before we would have reached Kal Crystal Waters Trail. Reversing course, the paved multi-use pathway beside delightful Pelmewash Parkway had more than a few smiling pedestrians and cyclists enjoying the half-frozen Wood Lake vistas.
With average March temperatures in the 14-day forecast, it could be multiple days before the rail trail’s ice and snow melts, especially on the east side of Wood Lake which is shaded by a steep hillside and doesn’t receive a full day of sun.
The paved rail trail in Kelowna has been in great shape for several warm weeks but there is a short detour north of Dilworth Drive around a Mill Creek diversion channel upgrade, plus the month-long Old Vernon Road bridge replacement for those who bike the loop around Kelowna airport via Bulman Road.
Last Saturday, Kelowna Nordic Ski and Snowshoe Club reported “fantastic conditions for skate and classic” — perfect for a large group of Kelowna Special Olympians who waited for us to pass. They normally train at Telemark Nordic Centre, but it hosted 250 young athletes for the 2022 Teck BC Track Attack Championships last weekend.
The large groomer saga at Nickel Plate Nordic Centre continued Monday with no trailwork by the little groomer since “a bucketload of snow” was expected overnight.
The saga came to an end on Tuesday when the daily snow report announced: “It’s alive! The groomer is repaired. The anticipated snowfall didn’t materialize into much with only 10ish cm since yesterday. The road up is in perfect condition as are the trails. To keep this in perspective, we are incredibly grateful that a broken groomer was our biggest worry these days. Sending peaceful energy overseas.”
Telemark Nordic Centre will host an Adaptive Sit-Ski Demo Day today. Telemark partnered with the Community Recreational Initiatives Society (CRIS) to obtain federal funding for the purchase of two new sit-skis. Together, they now have three different sit-skis to help adaptive skiers get out on the trails. Those with a disability (or who know someone who does) are invited to give sit-skiing a try 1:30-4:30 p.m.
CRIS (crisadaptive.ca) is an Okanagan-based non-profit organization committed to making outdoor recreation and sport accessible to people regardless of age, ability or experience.
The BC Interior Sportsman Show (bcinteriorsportsmanshow.com) scheduled for Feb. 24 in Kelowna was postponed to April 2023 due to uncertainty on possible staff shortages, public health order requirements, travel challenges and supply chain issues.
“We feel that we would be unable to provide the quality show that both our vendors and attendees have come to expect,” said Rosanne Ting-Mak Brown, show producer.
Starting March 1, all regional parks in the Central Okanagan shifted to the spring hours of
6 a.m.-9 p.m.
Some parking lot gates will remain closed until March 31 and on-street parking may be limited. Visitors are asked not park in front of gates as it blocks emergency access.
With the spring cycle of daytime thaw-overnight freeze, snow/ice traction footwear as well as hiking poles are recommended. Regional parks staff have loaners for program participants if conditions warrant.
Spring programs were announced in the latest newsletter, which you can find through the links at rdco.com/parks.
— Nature Detectives is a spring break camp for ages 6 to 9 at Mission Creek Regional Park going from 9 a.m.-noon March 21-25. Activities include a pond study, fishing, nature games and storytelling. Cost is $125.
— Nature journaling through sketching: 10 a.m.-noon, March 10, Mill Creek Regional Park; 1-2 p.m., April 6 at Kalamoir Regional Park; 1-2 p.m., April 20, Goats Peak Regional Park; and 1-2 p.m. April 27, Trepanier Creek Regional Park; no fee; all supplies included.
— Park hikes, no fee: Woodhaven Nature Conservancy Regional Park, 1-2:30 p.m. March 10; Scenic Canyon Regional Park, 10 a.m.-noon, March 12; Black Mountain Regional Park, 9-11 a.m., March 30; Glen Canyon Regional Park, 10 a.m.-noon, April 9;
Kalamoir Regional Park, 9-11:30 a.m., April 13; Rose Valley Regional Park, 9-11:30 p.m., April 20.
— March break park tour: easy guided walk, perfect for families – Mission Creek Regional Park, 9-10 a.m., 10:30-11:30 a.m. and 3-4 p.m., March 23; no fee.
— Owl Prowl: evening walk through the woods on easy to moderate paths; no fee at Glen Canyon Regional Park, 6:30-7:30 p.m., March 16, and 6:30-7:30 p.m., March 30; KLO Creek Regional Park, 6:30-7:30 p.m., March 23.
— Mindful photography with your phone camera with artist Alison Beaumont. Cost $15 at Kaloya Regional Park, 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. on March 18; and Scenic Canyon Regional Park, 10-11:30 a.m. on March 26.
J.P. Squire, aka the Ski Sheriff, is a retired journalist. Email: [email protected]