This Family Escape Rates A Big Star
By Jane Cassie
Photos by Brent Cassie
Contributors to Travelink Publishing
Whenever we head into the Okanagan, it brings back fond memories from my years as a young tyke when we would load up the old station wagon with tents and tarps and head off to BC's sunny interior for our annual vacation. We all looked forward to playing car games en route, the great outdoors and roasting marshmallows over the open fire. Yes, those were the good old days.
Although walkmans and Game Boys replaced twenty questions on a recent journey to the O.K., the same enthusiasm was expressed by all of our three children. "I can't wait to try some REAL mountain biking" our 11 year old exclaimed, who was using a hand-me-down bike from his sister, burning along the asphalt at home as if it were a dirt track.
"Should I have brought up my mountain bike?" our daughter inquired. I had checked into the summer sporting options when booking our accommodation at The Pinnacles Suite Hotel on Silver Star Mountain. We didn't need to bring a thing except our active and energetic crew.
Thirty minutes from Vernon, BC, perched next to T-bars and chair lifts, the multi-coloured Silver Star Village welcomes folks with a Victorian western-style flair. Cedar boardwalks directed us to the town hall, trading posts and saloons, where seasonal activities were offered. Trail riding was available for those who prefer to hop into the saddle and explore the surrounding terrain like our forefathers did. There's even a new Golf Disc park where you throw Frisbees from one tee-off pole to a target all the way from the mountain summit to the village.
The A-framed peaks of The Pinnacles Suite Hotel soared above the village square, where, thanks to spacious suites and adjoining rooms, even catering to the largest of families was a breeze. Their broad selection of videos and board games registered a two thumbs up approval from our eleven year old, and the fully equipped kitchen and barbecue made meal preparation a snap. From our private patio we enjoyed access to the wildflower-clad slopes where in winter, they transform into powder-white wonderlands and popular destinations for skiers and boarders.
Whether in search of rolling cruisers, glades and bumps, challenging terrain park or a wicked half-pipe, there are snowsational offerings for all abilities! There's even snowmobiling, ice-skating and a special tubing slope for the ski-less souls.
After unpacking their gear, our troops were ready for some outdoor action and Dan, our Bugaboo Biking tour guide, came to the rescue. The meandering network of paved nature trails led to viewpoints and village sites, and although it appealed to me, the others voted unanimously to ascend to the top! By hitching our two-wheelers onto chairlifts, the ride up was easy. It was the coming down that I was concerned with! My heart felt like it was in my throat as I released the brakes and 'let her rip.' Like bats out of you know where, we swerved boulders, banked corners and challenged gnarly tree roots. It had been exhilarating. It had been breathtaking. And when the group begged for a repeat, I declined in an effort to recover.
Soothed by the sun's luminous rays, I sat back and relaxed while they continued to frolic. After their second, third and, I couldn't believe it, a fourth descent, Brent and Daryn tried out the Altitude Centre's climbing wall, Daniel cooled off with an indoor pool dip, and Emily took off for an in-line skate.
Finally, come late afternoon, the crew was ready for relaxing, and after immersing in the comfort of our rooftop hot tub, I had the opportunity to relive one of my childhood memories.
As we roasted marshmallows over the blazing bon fire, I reflected back to the days as a young tyke and realized, based on Daniel's response, "This place is sweet, Mom!" followed by a 'high five' sign, that the good old days still thrive!
If You Go:
The Pinnacles Suite Hotel
9889 Pinnacles Road, PO Box 3008
Silver Star Mountain, BC Canada V1B 3M1
Phone: 1-800-551-7466 or 250-542-4548
Web site: www.pinnacles.com
From Vancouver: Highway #1 to Hope
From Washington: Take Sumas Border Crossing then Highway #1 to Hope
Coquihala to Kelowna
Highway 97 to Vernon
20 km (12 miles) north-east of Vernon
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