Big White Ski Resort east of Kelowna hosted 26 members of the British Columbia Dragoons for a day of skiing and snowboarding last weekend. Lt.-Col. Nigel Whittaker, BCD commanding officer, presented Big White with a medallion as a token of appreciation.
The Sheriff and Constant Companion Carmen had an "oops" start when we went for a "sniff" hike in Stephens Coyote Ridge Regional Park. For those who don't have pets, a "sniff" hike involves one's two dogs looking for the most interesting smells on the trail, in the bushes, in wild animal scat, on complete strangers you meet on the trail, up and down everywhere, running two or three times as much as you walking up the trail.
There are two options for exercising your dog in North Glenmore opposite the Glenmore dump on Glenmore Road in Kelowna: the fenced city dog park and the regional district's 40-hectare Stephens Coyote Ridge. We've been in the regional park so often, it's now "our park." When we arrived at the northerly parking area, we immediately noticed a white regional district vehicle with "Parks" written on the side.
Thinking staff were checking for leashes and dog licences, we scrambled to find our leashes, found only one and quickly returned home to get the other.
Now properly leashed, we headed up the series of terrain "steps" to the top of the ridge and saw numerous trees with orange tape circling their trunks. Marking the property boundary? We couldn't figure it out.
On the second level, we met Nicole Marzinzik, regional district parks interpreter (and friend Pam), who reassured us she wasn't checking for leashes or licences. But she suggested leashes are a good idea since Coyote Ridge lives up to its name and there are coyotes, some perhaps ready to snatch a small dog running at large.
The orange tape identifies coniferous trees dying from mountain pine beetle and spruce beetle, and will be removed, she said. Some tape also marks a future trail network. She laughed when we told her she was in "our park." She said she felt the same way about Mission Creek Regional Park.
They continued on their way and we wound around on a loop trail, meeting another area resident with her dog. Earlier in the winter, she spotted a young bear behind the Glenmore Road trailer and RV park, phoned conservation officers and was told to "let nature take its course." Shortly after, she discovered bones and black hair, so the coyotes must have come across the bear as well and nature did take its course. We felt sorry for the bear although we didn't want it in "our park."
For those thinking of exploring "our park," the three pieces are located between large tracts of private property, and the numerous interconnected trails aren't marked yet. So, you have to keep your bearings and remember the correct path back to Glenmore Road. Look back occasionally since the trail often looks completely different when you are trying to retrace your path. A compass is handy since the series of steps and the top ridge run north and south. From the top of the ridge, you can look down on Light Blue Lake, also in the regional park, according to Marzinzik's map, and, in the distance, Okanagan Lake.
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Last weekend, Big White Ski Resort east of Kelowna welcomed 26 members of the British Columbia Dragoons (BCD) for a day of skiing and snowboarding.
"In addition to having a fun day on the mountain, this was a community relations event for the BCD and provides them with an opportunity to interact with the community and educate them on the BCD," said Big White senior VP Michael J. Ballingall.
For those unfamiliar with the Dragoons, the BCD is a primary reserve armoured reconnaissance regiment of the Canadian Forces based in Kelowna and Vernon. Established in 1911, the Dragoons currently have 110 active members, both men and women, ranging from 17 to 59 years of age.
The regiment trains locally with G-Wagons, Milcots and "medium support vehicle systems." Each member is highly trained and capable of fighting side by side with regular force personnel in various capacities. Many have chosen to do that in Afghanistan, and with United Nations and NATO operations globally. The BCD also provides domestic support to the community - the Okanagan fire in 2003, for example.
Lt.-Col. Nigel Whittaker, BCD commanding officer, presented Big White with a medallion as a token of appreciation. This medallion has the image of the BCD current cap badge on one side and the centre of the regimental flag on the other. Big White is one of only a few recipients.
To learn more about the Dragoons and their 100-year history, pick up a copy of Always First: A Pictorial History of the B.C. Dragoons for $25. Proceeds from the book go to the Kelowna Museums Society. For more information, go online to kelownamuseum.ca.
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Still at Big White, Will Gadd will offer an advanced ice climbing clinic at the ice-climbing tower on Feb. 9 and 10. Gadd is one of the top outdoor adventure athletes in the world, according to Outside and Explore magazines.
"Will climbed his first waterfall at age 12 and has won the Ice Climbing World Cup, multiple gold medals at the X Games and numerous other international competitions since then. His book on ice climbing is the top publication in its field and has been translated into four languages. The opportunity to learn from this accomplished climber in the Pacific Northwest is a rare one," said spokeswoman Toni Clark.
Clinic participants are also invited to a day of complimentary climbing on Friday prior to the clinic. There is also an optional gear package rental that includes harness, helmet, boots, crampons, belay device and carabiner.
On Feb. 9, Gadd will present 20 Trips of a Lifetime in 60 Minutes in the Big White Chalet in the village centre. The clinic, sponsored by True Outdoors, has a limited number of spots. Big White is also offering an accommodation special for participants. For more information and to register, go to www.corporateheights.ca/?page_id=485.
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The Central Okanagan Naturalists Club will hold its annual potluck banquet at 6 p.m. Feb. 12 at Evangel Church, 3261 Gordon Dr. in Kelowna. Tickets cost $5 plus a potluck item of your choice. People should bring their own plate, mug and utensils.
Tickets can be purchased until Feb. 7 at Second Tyme Around, 120-2000 Spall Rd.
The entertainment is a members' photo contest in which everyone can vote for the best photos.
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Last week, Silver Star Mountain Resort near Vernon hosted a Canadian Ski Instructors' Alliance level-four certification course, the pinnacle of instructors' vision of where they want to be. The best level-three CSIA instructors from Western Canada were schooled in technique and methodology.
At the same time, Silver Star hosted the best members of the Canadian Association of Snowboard Instructors who want their level-four certification, said Norman Kreutz, Silver Star's director of snow sports.
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Silver Star Mountain Resort and Sovereign Lake Nordic Centre have just announced two 105 Weekends, a reference to the total length of their combined trails in kilometres.
This weekend and March 2 and 3, you can get a complimentary upgrade to a dual-area pass for the day, good for season pass holders at one or the other and for day passes.
That means you can ski from Sovereign to Paradise Camp for a hot chocolate, take a picnic to Silver Star's Alder Point or ski to the Bugaboos for a croissant.
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Silver Star Mountain Resort also has announced plans for the inaugural B.C. Family Day on Feb. 11: B.C. residents will get 50 per cent off on lift passes.
Silver Star is in a good mood after coming off the most successful Christmas-New Year season in recent years.
"From Canada's first ski-in, ski-out 10-pin bowling experience to the expanded Rockstar Terrain Park, there are more than enough activities to mark B.C.'s first Family Day," said spokeswoman Amanda Van As.
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Ryan Morice of Kelowna, who wants to climb the seven highest mountains in the world, is holding a Seven Summits "Go for Summit" party and open house 4-8 p.m. Feb. 13 at 204-3295 Lakeshore Rd. in Kelowna.
"This is an open house, so everyone is welcome to stop by. It is a casual evening of meeting, greeting, eating, sweeting and tweeting," said Morice.
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The Shuswap Trail Alliance's annual AGM, awards and year-in-review session is at 6:30 p.m. March 5 in Room 141 of Okanagan College's Salmon Arm campus.
The AGM outlines the accomplishments of 2012 throughout the region, looks ahead to 2013 and celebrates outstanding trails leadership through the annual Shuswap Trail Awards. All are welcome.
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The Shuswap Trail Alliance is working with local Shuswap resident Debra McDonald, who has a vision to make trails accessible to everyone. She's raising funds to buy three TrailRiders, specially designed chairs on a single wheel for assisting people with mobility challenges to use outdoor nature trails, for $6,000 each. The Trail Riders would be available for community use as well. For more information and to help get an adaptive adventure group off the ground, call 250-832-1353.
To donate, call Joan at 250-832-4671 or mail a donation to the Shuswap Trail Alliance, P.O. Box 1531, Salmon Arm, B.C., V1E 4P6. Cheques should be made out to the Shuswap Trail Alliance and marked "for TrailRider Fund." All donations will receive a tax receipt.
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Registration for the 2013 Salty Dog Six-Hour Enduro Mountain Bike Race is now open online at zone4.ca. This annual all-ages festival of mountain biking will be held May 12 at South Canoe east of Salmon Arm. More information is available at skookumcycle.com.
J.P. Squire, a.k.a. the Ski Sheriff, is an Okanagan Sunday reporter and an avid outdoors enthusiast. His column appears every weekend.