INVERMERE, B.C. - Winter, spring, summer or fall there's one main attraction that keeps visitors coming back to the B.C. resort town of Invermere.
It's Lake Windermere.
Nestled in the scenic Columbia Valley with the Rocky Mountains to the east and the Purcell Mountains to the west, Lake Windermere is actually a very large widening in the Columbia River. It's one of the largest and warmest lakes in the region and has an average depth of only four-and-a-half metres.
"The lake is pretty much the focus," said Heidi Korven, a travel media specialist with Tourism B.C.
"In winter they have the 'White Way' on the lake. It's a 16-kilometre stretch where they clear it for ice skating as well as (put) tracks on it for cross-country skiing on the lake, so that's kind of cool. They also have pond hockey and a curling bonspiel," she said.
"It's a very cool thing you can do — very Canadiana because you're right in the valley there with the Rockies on one side and the Purcells on the other on this beautiful lake in the winter.
"In the summer the main draw is again the lake because they've got great beaches and it's a really good lake for jet skiing."
As in real estate one of the benefits of Invermere is location, location, location.
The town of 4,000 is about a three-hour drive (277 kilometres) west of Calgary and is a half hour away from ski resorts at Panorama Mountain Village to the west and the Fairmont Hot Springs Resort ski area to the south.
There are the Radium and Fairmont hot springs year round and in the summer the Columbia Valley Golf Trail features nine golf courses within minutes of Invermere including the Radium Resort Course, Eagle Ranch, Copper Point and Greywolf.
"The town is really hopping in the summer," said Korven.
The region was first documented in 1807 by Canadian explorer David Thompson. While travelling with his wife and children, Thompson was the first European to explore the upper Columbia River. After paddling upstream from a tributary just below present day Golden, Thompson established a trading post known as Kutenae House.
The region is popular with hikers and home to the Columbia River Wetlands, which is North America's largest intact wetland and a designated site under the Ramsar Convention, an international treaty for the conservation and sustainable utilization of wetlands.
The Invermere Airport houses the non-profit Canadian Rockies Soaring Club which welcomes dozens of student pilots and private owners in the summer months and provides glider rides to the general public. The local area is also a popular destination for other non-motorized forms of flying including hang-gliding and paragliding with a launch site at nearby Mount Swansea.
If You Go...
Take a tour of the Columbia River Wetlands; http://www.wetlandsadventures.com
Information on activities in Invermere; http://www.hellobc.com/invermere.aspx
Explore the Columbia Valley Golf Trail and its nine golf courses; http://www.columbiavalleygolftrail.com
Soar the Rockies at the Invermere Soaring Centre; http://www.soartherockies.com