B.C.’s cosy winter cabins provide sanctuary

Off-the-beaten-track retreats in B.C. as diverse as the province's landscape.

Tofino’s Crystal Cove Beach Resort is a great place to relax and take in some storm watching while visiting Pacific Rim National Park.

It’s not just bears that like to hibernate in winter.

When temperatures and snowflakes start to tumble we humans also crave a cosy off-the-beaten-track retreat to curl up in front of a blazing wood fire, tuck into hearty comfort food and sink into a steaming hot tub. While a rustic log cabin nestled in a snowy forest with wisps of smoke from a stone chimney first comes to mind, in British Columbia winter getaway cottages can be as diverse as the landscapes.

Choose a luxury cedar and glass outpost perched seaside or above a mountain lake. Pick a vintage cabin on wide-open ranch country or alongside a natural hot spring. Pop a champagne cork and make it romantic or bundle up the kids or friends for a lively group getaway where cottage kitchens allow you to create your own private feasts. When Europeans dream of an idyllic Canadian winter, their vision just might be of escaping to a heritage cedar log cabin from the 1930s at Nakiska Ranch, a working farm where you can horseback ride in snow and dogsled alongside pristine Wells Gray Provincial Park.

Adventure, with or without the torque, abounds in the newly created Hankin-Evelyn Backcountry Recreation Area near Smithers. While staying at a charming three-bedroom cottage called Stonesthrow Guest House, enjoy all things ski, from beginners’ cross-country at Bulkley Valley Nordic to snowshoe trails and powder downhill without crowds at Hudson Bay Mountain. There’s even an opportunity to spend a day in the backcountry with the folks at Skeena Cat Skiing, or hop on a helicopter to hit high alpine bowls for a multi-day excursion in the region’s Coast Mountains with Bear Mountaineering. Should you prefer your adrenalin rush aboard a sled, forgo the skis and make an afternoon of it with the snowmobile pros from Harvey Mountain Adventures Ltd.

Powder snow is also the Kootenay Rockies region’s signature offering and that’s where Nipika Mountain Resort has eight unique log cottages with spectacular views of the surrounding peaks. Bonus: there’s also a historic 1920s trapper’s cabin converted into an interpretive centre with a telescope for stargazing. Watch for elk strolling up from the river, skate or chuck a puck across Nipika Pond, or head out for 50 kilometres (31 miles) of groomed cross-country ski trails that boast warming huts. Finish the day in the wood-fired hot tub and sauna or drive 32 kilometres (20 miles) to immerse yourself in the soothing hot mineral pools of Radium Hot Springs.

If ski boots and parkas aren’t your first choice for winter apparel, try slipping into a wetsuit and tackle surfing in Tofino on Vancouver Island’s west coast where winter storms that bring in epic rollers are celebrated with gusto. Here, you can beachcomb along wild, wide stretches of strand before warming yourself in a modern log cabin at Crystal Cove Beach Resort. An added bonus? Watching waves pound MacKenzie Beach from your hot tub.

Wetsuits are also de rigueur when you submerge into waters of the Sunshine Coast north of Vancouver, a stretch of oceanfront that lives up to its name with a surprisingly balmy climate. Some of the country’s best scuba diving takes place on this coast, especially in winter when the waters are clearest for communing with octopus and poking around wrecks off Powell River.  The eco-friendly Stillwater Beach House is nestled right on the shore amid towering evergreens with views across Malaspina Strait to Texada Island. For over 25 years, this was Christine and Jock McLauchlan’s summer hideaway, until they retired recently and upgraded the two-bedroom cottage.

“At Stillwater, you can hike and cycle year-round,” said Christine. “We also have a wonderful bay for kayaking and canoeing, and the beach is just outside your door.”

That same roll call of activities can be enjoyed year-round on Galiano Island in the Gulf Islands where the Cliff House cottage is romantically — and dramatically — perched above the ocean with spectacular sea views from the deck, solarium and bedroom hot tub. A more rustic atmosphere characteristic of funky Galiano is the theme of the nearby Treehouse, a second cottage among the trees: both share a quaint Hobbit house-like wood-heated sauna near the ocean.

From the high alpine meadows of the Kootenay Rockies where the only sound is the shushing of your skis to the jingle of bells on a sleigh ride to the mini-Mediterranean oasis of the coastal southwest there’s a perfect cottage out there for everyone, a place where you can close the door on the rest of the world and live a winter dream.

For more info visit www.HelloBC.com.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Penticton City Hall. (File photo)
Cuts help balance Penticton’s COVID-19 budget

City staff expecting revenue and expenses to come in $4.3 million below 2020’s budget

The Salvation Army thrift store in Penticton will be taking donations for the fire victims. Red Cross will be taking financial donations. (Western News file photo)
Salvation Army, Red Cross help out fire victims

Clothing and household donations can be brought to the Penticton Salvation Army

RCMP are trying to determine why a woman fled the scene of an accident in Sooke. (File - Black Press Media)
Crime rate down in 2019 for Keremeos and Osoyoos, up in Oliver

The crime rate in Keremeos went down in four of the last five years

A fundraising initiative has been set up to help Mirjana Komljenovic, who has been diagnosed with Hermansky Pudlak Syndome and requires $2,000 a month to cover the costs of her medication. (gofundme.com)
Fundraiser created to help Summerland woman with rare condition

Mirjana Komljenovic requires costly medication to treat Hermansky Pudlak Syndome

Heather Pescada is Ms. Halloween and when COVID threatened to ruin her haunted fun, she got creative, inventing a six foot candy chute at her Summerland, Trout Creek home.
(Peskelly Family Facebook page)
Okanagan Halloween house invents huge candy chute

The six foot chute looks like the snake from Nightmare Before Christmas

Physical distancing signs are a common sight in B.C. stores and businesses. THE CANADIAN PRESS
272 more COVID-19 cases for B.C., outbreak at oil sands project

Three new health care outbreaks, three declared over

Several police vehicles were seen at the Sagmoen farm on Salmon River Road in Silver Creek on Thursday night, Oct. 29, 2020. (Martha Wickett-Salmon Arm Observer)
UPDATE: One person arrested, released following police presence at Sagmoen farm

RCMP were at Silver Creek property where remains of Vernon woman were found in 2017

Vernon Council voted in favour of implementing a 500-metre buffer between all new cannabis stores in the city at its meeting Monday, Oct. 26, 2020. (Black Press files)
New cannabis shops in Vernon will need to stay 500m apart

The distancing rule won’t apply to existing stores, including the six currently in downtown core

A case of COVID-19 has been confirmed at Little Seedlings Daycare in Armstrong, located beside Highland Park Elementary School (pictured above). Interior Health confirmed the positive case was present at the daycare on Oct. 22 and 23, 2020. (Google image)
COVID-19 case reported at Armstrong daycare

IH letter says positive case was present at Little Seedlings Daycare Oct. 22 and 23

This house at 414 Royal Ave. became notorious for its residents’ and visitors’ penchant for attracting police. It was also the site of a gruesome torture in August 2018. It was demolished in 2019. KTW
6-year sentence for Kamloops man who helped carve ‘rat’ into flesh of fellow gang member

Ricky Dennis was one of three men involved in the August 2018 attack

Cpl. Nathan Berze, media officer for the Mission RCMP, giving an update on the investigation at 11:30 a.m., Oct. 30. Patrick Penner photo.
VIDEO: Prisoner convicted of first-degree murder still at large from Mission Institution

When 10 p.m. count was conducted, staff discovered Roderick Muchikekwanape had disappeared

Among the pumpkin carvings created this year by Rick Chong of Abbotsford is this tribute to fallen officer Cont. Allan Young.
Abbotsford pumpkin carver’s creations include fallen police officer

Rick Chong carves and displays 30 pumpkins every year

A GoFundMe page has been launched to assist Frankie and Billie Douglas as Frankie undergoes surgeries related to an illness which leaves her bones brittle. (GoFundMe photo)
Fundraiser supports Shuswap child battling brittle bone disease

A $5,000 goal has been set to assist Billie and Frankie Douglas as Frankie spends time in hospital

Most Read