Choose Your Own (Local) Experience

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Choose Your Own (Local) Experience

By John Bowden   |   Cover photo: The Sentinel

Tucked away between the Rockies and the Okanagan, the Kootenay Lake region has a compelling and magical blend of culture and nature. It begs visitors to slow down, explore and discover what makes this place tick. And there are more ways than ever to immerse yourself in authentic, local experiences.

The concept of experiential tourism isn’t a new phenomenon, but it is steadily gaining more awareness. Living like a local, actively participating in experiences, and learning about the people and geography that have shaped a place are at the core of it. We are wanting you to get the most out of your vacation, and it’s all waiting for you in the Nelson and Kaslo areas.

Coinciding with the popular Kaslo Jazz Etc. Festival, local businesses just outside of Kaslo will be offering Open Houses - a taste of the local experience for visitors.

  • The Sentinel welcomes you to take in views of Kootenay Lake and Mount Loki from our expansive sundeck and terrace. Wander through our organic garden, sit lakeside and get a sneak peek at our massage rooms, brand new cedar hot tub and sauna. Hosted in the roundhouse Maloca, join us in an open drumming circle. Come for the views and the mountain air and come back for our famous garden to table breakfast!  Saturday and Sunday, August 4 and 5, 11am-2pm.
  • Wing Creek Resort, with it's stunning grounds, orchard, show home, forest trail and beach walk will be opening its doors for you to come and explore. Leave the stress of city life behind and find a little piece of paradise. Your experience will have you coming back for a night, a week, or perhaps even a lifetime. Sunday, August 5th, 12pm-3pm.

Knowledge, Observation, Participation - Feel the Difference

  •  Between a Lake and High Place is a new, and unique business that specializes solely in experiential tours. They are located in the Kaslo area and offer a variety of experiences. They’re taking visitors to new heights with experiences such as acoustic walks, “batstronomy”, and a Pixie Treehouse MicroConcert. Their tours encourage guests to slow down, discover, and learn about the culture, people and landscape of the West Kootenays through distinctive local experiences. Like other tourism operators, their passion for this place is contagious. Visit their website for special events. 

A Tasty Experience - Agritourism

  • Biobio Guest House located on Arrowhead Farm minutes from Nelson provides eco accommodations with tours of the organic farm. Come learn about organic farming and permaculture, buy farm fresh organic produce, swim in natural ponds and participate in workshops on farm crafts.
  • West Arm Apiaries in Harrop harvests honey from bee yards in the area. They also grow delicious blueberries - U-PICK, and garlic. Call ahead to make sure they are open and they have product available. 

Tours and Guides

If you’re keen to get outdoors, but not sure where to go or what to do, consider hiring a local guide to show you around.

These are just some of the talented and passionate folks that you’ll meet on your tours. And don’t forget about our ski guides – they can spin more than a few yarns and help you find the sweetest of sweet powder stashes during the winter: backcountry, cat skiing or at Whitewater Ski Resort.

Behind the scenes brewery tours (like the new Beans and Brews Tour with Kootenay Mountain Culture), outdoor markets featuring nearby producers and artisans, and dozens of independent restaurants and cafes with their own flair provide a truly local experience. Wandering the historic downtowns in Nelson and Kaslo reveals a treasure trove of boutique shops with curated items for the Kootenays. Strike up a conversation with a shopkeeper and you’re bound to learn an insider tip or two about the area.

Dozens of accommodation providers allow you to choose your home away from home. The newly opened Savoy Hotel offers a boutique experience from the team responsible for the world famous Shambhala Music Festival, while the Hume Hotel exudes over a century of Nelson’s heritage charm. Cozy spots like Logden Lodge and Wing Creek Resort feature a genuine mountain feel in nature, and there are top quality vacation rentals with a personality to match your own.

Whether you want to relax and smell the roses or carve turns at top speed, richly rewarding and authentic experiences await in the Nelson and Kootenay Lake region.

Feel the difference.

The Not-So-Hidden Gem of Nelson’s Summer, ‘MarketFest’

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The Not-So-Hidden Gem of Nelson’s Summer, ‘MarketFest’

By Emma Chart | Cover photo: Thomas Nowaczynski

If there’s anything that really showcases Nelson’s Arts & Culture, it’s MarketFest. This highlight of the summer happens twice every year, in July and August. Although Nelson’s culture is subtly woven into almost everything in town: making appearances in the lovely old heritage buildings that line the streets, as well as street art and murals adding splashes of colour in the alleys, and evident in the abundance of outdoor adventure stores. There is als the whimsical collection of diverse and unique boutiques and shops, but nothing brings it to the forefront like MarketFest does. It’s an event for everyone!

The locals know it well, and look forward to the food, and street vendors, the goods and wares that are on display, as well as the art, dancing, bands and musicians that play on the two stages, at opposite ends of the market.

Markets are the blending of a myriad of human traits, from business and bartering to pure socialization and the sharing of gifts. For centuries, markets have been the hub of all activity and trade in cities and villages alike. They are the converging of so many mediums of human creation. And in the sharing of these different mediums, human connection occurs, the pure love and joy of socialization. And this is where Nelson’s famous ‘vibe’ comes from. It’s unabashed sharing of what makes us human, allowing everyone to partake in this community of art, and creation, and sharing of passion: all the things that make up Nelson’s culture. The atmosphere of Nelson is the freedom to be you, whatever that may be, and share your passions while your at it.

For the past eight years, the West Kootenay Eco Society has been putting on Nelson’s MarketFest in the downtown core. The streets are transformed into a lively night market, featuring 100 vendors, live music, dance performances, and kids entertainment. Beautiful hand-made goods including jewellery, clothing, pottery, body products, baked goods, deliciously prepared foods, fresh local delicacies, and so much more, line the streets.

Here’s what a typical market experience is like… and what to expect:

First, if it’s been a sunny day, you can believe it won’t end too soon but will stick around until around 8pm or so, casting a sparkling hue over the evening. The air is warm, but a slight breeze is enough to cool you. Parking can be tricky during MarketFest, so if at all possible, plan to walk from your accommodation. This will make you feel better about the treats you will likely indulge in, and it’s almost impossible to decide on ONE place to eat. Sometimes one person in a group eats here and the other there and sharing of the flavours and experience begins.

As you approach, you’ll hear the distant sounds of live music, a band, or solo artist, and the muffled buzz of the crowds and children playing. Soon, delicious smells will waft towards you, and you will have arrived. It can be a bit disorienting at first, there’s so much energy, and so many things happening. On your left and right, vendors frame the road you walk down. As people stream by you, alight with the magic and joy of this street party, the sun falls just slightly more behind the mountain, yet still peeking over, the sky turning a greyish, purpley-blue. The fairy lights decorating the tents and tables, glow and shimmer, and something like magic pervades the air.

As you wander by the stalls, admiring the vast amount of organic, homemade and carefully created treasures available, children run past you, squealing with their painted faces, holding balloons in their hands. Further down the street, the Moving Mosaic Samba Band can be heard warming up for their segment, the sound of drums and tambourines joining the general hum.

As you approach the intersection, children can be seen playing with giant bubbles, chasing and laughing, utterly absorbed, as their parents look on. All around, the smell of authentic foreign cuisine, traditional BBQ smoked foods, and buddha bowls, swirl around. There’s even a popcorn stand, selling traditional caramel popcorn, as well as regular butter and salt options. Whether you decide to grab a more conventional dinner, or let yourself indulge in a Nutella, and strawberry banana crepe for supper (a local favourite), there’s no doubt you’ll be satisfied. And maybe even have room for a melt-in-your-mouth cupcake. Whatever your dietary needs, Nelson’s rich diversity in nutrition and natural and organic food preferences will most definitely deliver. An enormous amount of vendors have vegan or veggie, gluten free, dairy free, and refined sugar free options. For example, Rawsa, an organic, vegan cuisine stand has a selection of both savoury food, as well as raw cheesecakes, cream pies and tarts, for any sweet tooth, whether you have an allergy or not.

Now munching on whatever delicious treat you’ve chosen, you continue down the street, getting closer to what sounds like a performance of some kind. A crowd is gathered around the end-of-the-street stage, watching a dance performance by local dancers. This can be anything from belly dancing to a contemporary dance demonstration, and is always a wonder to watch.

Later in the evening, a band starts to play and the dancing begins! No matter your age, or dancing style, there’s room for everyone. While children laugh and dance with their friends, and awkward dads nod their heads to the music, others explore what it feels like to dance in the middle of the street, on a warm sunny summer night, taking in all the community has to offer, and celebrating Nelson and Kootenay Lake.

By now, the sun has gone down, the moon is pale white in the light night sky, and the air is fresh. As you grab a last treat from your favourite food stall, peruse one last time the vendors’ gorgeous goods and wares, gather your family and friends that you arrived with, and make the sad but sweet decision to head on home to bed, there is an undeniable feeling of contentment and joy. One that only an experience such as this can give you.

MarketFest is Nelson’s not-so-hidden gem of the summer. And no one can deny why that is. Nelson has a special something, and MarketFest invites everyone to experience the magic of it.

MarketFest is happening on July 27th and August 24, 2018, on the 200 and 300 blocks of Baker Street.

#FindingAwesome Summer Winners

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#FindingAwesome Summer Winners

You guys did it again! Another amazing batch of #FindingAwesome photos for us to go through from all your summer adventures. It's so cool to see all you lovely folks showing us how YOU find awesome in the Nelson and Kootenay Lake region! With over 1600 entries it was a tough decision but here are our summer winners:

Video Winner - $500 Cash Prize

Adventure Photo Winner - $250 Cash Prize

Chill Photo Winner - $250 Cash Prize

Honourable Mentions

Favourite Landscape - Empire Gift Certificate

Favourite Business Submissions - Backroads & NBC Gift Certificate

They were so good we had to pick two! Thanks for participating Dancing Bear Inn & Adrian Wagner Studio!

Keep posting your #findingawesome moments, the contest runs another two seasons with more prizes being awarded for Fall, and Winter. View the Official Contest Rules and Prizes, then come find awesome, and capture it on your camera, and share.

Motorcycling Paradise

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Motorcycling Paradise

By John Bowden

Kootenay Lake is a well-deserved motorcycle mecca. With scenic views, quiet winding roads, and some of the most charming towns and communities, it’s little wonder that bikers make the pilgrimage to this little slice of paradise.

Over a hundred motorcyclists congregated in Nelson for the 15th Annual Kootenay Rat Raid, a weekend festival for Triumph riders, typically hosted at the Adventure Hotel. Held on the same July weekend every year, the popular event attracts participants from all over Western Canada and the United States.

“It’s an event by Triumph riders for Triumph riders” said organizer Liane Langlois. “It’s beautiful here, there’s a relaxing atmosphere, great weather and spectacular roads. And we’re treated really well here.”

The parking lot at the Adventure Hotel was packed with sleek machines and guests enjoying the private outdoor patio (when not out cruising the roads). In between banquets, prizes, and “show & shines”, bikers took to the local roads.

A popular route is the “Silver Triangle”, starting in Nelson and continuing on to Kaslo, New Denver, and through the Slocan Valley back to Nelson. At just over 220kms, it’s a good half-day ride (plus no shortage of photo opportunities).

Other riders took advantage of the world’s longest free ferry, with a loop that starts in Nelson and climbs up over the Kootenay Pass before descending into Creston. From there, the road veers north along the eastern shores of Kootenay Lake to Crawford Bay, and then the 35 minute ferry over to Balfour, followed by a short scenic ride back to Nelson.

For those with a passport, other routes south of the border also tempt riders with longer options, including destinations such as Kettle Falls, Sandpoint and Spokane.

Ducati fans also got in on the action earlier this summer with their very own DUCwc Mountain Rally based in Nelson. The Adventure Hotel laid out the red carpet for participants, and welcomed them to the Uptown Sportsbar on site.

It’s also common to see folks on their own self-organized tours spending a few nights on Kootenay Lake. Most motorcyclists tend to stay in Kaslo or Nelson, but there are also some great lodging options throughout the region.

The Kaslo Hotel is always a popular spot and is ideally suited for those looking to explore the north end of Kootenay Lake. Check out the Nelson & Kootenay Lake Tourism accommodation links for more options too.

With memorable lodging, delicious restaurants, fantastic weather and famous Kootenay Lake scenery, you’d be hard pressed to find a more magical motorcycling destination in North America. Find out more at about motorcycling in the Kootenay Lake region here.  #findingawesome  |

Kootenay Lake Camping Gems

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Kootenay Lake Camping Gems

By John Bowden
Cover Photo: Sunrise at Kokanee Creek Provincial Park by Michael Dill 

Warm weather, quiet waterfront sites, and million dollar views of Kootenay Lake. Oh, and no bugs. Does camping get any better than this?

BC Parks offers three different campgrounds to choose from on Kootenay Lake, each with their unique charm and appeal. Although Kokanee Creek gets the lion’s share of attention (and visitors), the lesser known (and smaller sites) at the north end of Kootenay Lake are truly magical.

Located less than half an hour north of Kaslo, Lost Ledge and Davis Creek campgrounds are well worth the drive. Their smallness (14 and 29 sites respectively) means that you’re more likely to hear the sounds of nature than civilization.

The views are unreal too. The lake seems to go on forever to the south, while the towering peaks of the Purcells rise up to your east, framing the vista like something from a fairy tale. The crystal clear water is equally inviting for a refreshing dip or a paddle.

The site at Davis Creek received a thorough overhaul recently, and features a brand new outhouse (no stink!) and nicely manicured sites and pathways. From Davis Creek and Lost Ledge it’s a short drive (or better yet, bike ride) to Meadow Creek, and jaw-dropping views of glaciers and the wild valley surroundings.

New this year is wifi at campgrounds on Kootenay Lake. Although I have mixed feelings about technology creep at rustic retreats, it’s nice to have some communication in an area that’s otherwise off the grid. It’s also surprisingly affordable ($4 for 24 hours, or $20 for a week).

If you’d rather be closer to Nelson and its heritage charms, Kokanee Creek is a fantastic option. With over 150 spots, it’s by far the largest campground on Kootenay Lake.

The popular site also boasts one of the nicest and largest beaches in the region, drawing in campers and day guests alike. Whether you snooze on the sand, go for a swim, or rent a kayak or SUP from the on-site gear shop, it’s a great way to spend a day.

There’s plenty to do beyond the beach too. The excellent visitor centre offers great interpretive info and programs about the local flora and fauna, while a variety of mellow walking trails are a nice shady option. For adventure seekers, the must-do Kokanee Mountain Zipline is just up the road.

A number of campsites can be reserved online in advance. For those winging it, try to arrive before noon at the campground of your choice to nab one of the non-reserved sites. Regardless of where you stay, it feels like a small price to pay for the stunning views and comfortable amenities.

For other things to do and places to stay look around the Nelson and Kootenay Lake Tourism website - you'll be surprised at what you find. #findingawesome  |

What You’ll Want To Do If You Have 24 Hours In Nelson, BC

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What You’ll Want To Do If You Have 24 Hours In Nelson, BC

Photos and Story by: Leigh McAdam of

For a small city of 10,000 perched on the side of mountain, NelsonBritish Columbia delivers an amazing range of activities – from outdoor adventures through to the arts, galleries, culture and dining. Starting as a camp providing services to miners involved

in the silver rush, the city grew quickly and by the early 1900’s was home to several hotels, many beautiful public buildings, churches and homes – lots of which can be seen on a historical walking tour today.

On a recent visit I had just 24 hours to explore Nelson.

What You'll Want to do if you Have 24 Hours in Nelson, BC

A view of Nelson built into the side of a mountain

Here’s what you can do in that time frame.

Check in at The Adventure Hotel where you’ll find modern rooms in a variety of configurations at a very good price. Another top choice is the historic Hume Hotel, built in 1898. Both locations are within a block or two of fabulous restaurants and the wonderful Baker Street.

What You'll Want to do if you Have 24 Hours in Nelson, BC

Our room at The Adventure Hotel

Wander up the hill and have dinner the first night on the outdoor patio of BiBo Nelson. With white lights and flower filled planters, you can sit back with a drink and enjoy the view. Then order the buttermilk fried chicken (trust me!) with a spinach and green onion pancake, marinated carrots and Chengdu lime syrup. Then be enveloped in a state of bliss.

What You'll Want to do if you Have 24 Hours in Nelson, BC

Dine outside on the patio at BiBO Nelson

The next morning head for Oso Negro Café, a fixture on the Nelson scene since 1993. Hopefully you’ll get a sunny day so you can sit outside with your coffee and homemade baked good, surrounded by flowers and listening to the water gurgle out of fountains. Timing is everything as its popular and so are lineups.

What you'll want to do if you have 24 Hours in Nelson, BC

Don’t miss a morning stop for coffee at the Oso Negro Cafe

Then while it’s still cool, head for the Pulpit Rock trailhead on the other side of the lake. Do the steep 1.8 kilometre hike and you’ll really feel like you’ve earned the best view in town. Once at Pulpit Rock you also get a sense of how the town of Nelson is laid out – and there’s a great view of Kootenay Lake. For those wanting even more of a workout continue steeply up the Flagpole Trail and do a 2 kilometre loop. Still want more? Take the 3.3 kilometre one way CBC Tower Trail and then carefully retrace your steps all the way down. Expect the Pulpit Rock hike to take 60 – 90 minutes depending on how long you linger on top.

What You'll Want to do if you Have 24 Hours in Nelson, BC

The hike starts up through huge trees on a well-defined trail

What You'll Want to do if you Have 24 Hours in Nelson, BC

Superb views of Nelson from Pulpit Rock

Next head to Baker Street for lunch and choose of the many independent cafes or restaurants – preferably with an outdoor patio. Cantina del Centro, a Mexican restaurant was highly recommended to us but we decided on another caffeine hit, this time at Empire Coffee beside the Adventure Hotel. Both coffee and baked goods were first rate.

Plan to spend the next few hours doing the Heritage Walking Tour. Though there are over 350 heritage buildings in town, the map put out by theTouchstones Nelson Museum of Art and History (visit the museum if you have time) describes 33 buildings with the bulk of them located on Baker Street between Kootenay and Hall Streets. Most of the buildings hail from the early 1900’s. You’ll see architecture running the gamut from Edwardian Classical with Richardsonian Romanesque features (McCullough Building) to Beaux Art Classical Revival (Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce and Bank of Montreal), Mission Revival (Wood Valance Building) to Queen Anne Commercial (Houston block) to Boomtown Wooden False Front (Bellamy’s Grocery). Combined they add a tremendous amount of colour and character to the city.

What You'll Want to do if you Have 24 Hours in Nelson, BC

The Courthouse – built in 1908

What You'll Want to do if you Have 24 Hours in Nelson, BC

The Hume Hotel

Shoppers will enjoy wandering through the diverse selection of boutiques found on Baker Street. Housewares, book, sport and clothing stores – most with an artistic bent will all vie for your shopping dollar.

What You'll Want to do if you Have 24 Hours in Nelson, BC

Baker Street is home to loads of diverse boutiques

After the heritage tour we decided to tackle the Uphill neighbourhood running behind Nelson’s downtown core to see what we’d find. The overriding impression was one of awe. It’s incredibly steep. And in summer lots of colourful houses with flower gardens filled to the brim will stop you in your tracks. Looking at the streets made me wonder how anyone can get around in the winter after a snowstorm. I concluded that you skied or tobogganed into town!!

Not too many flat lots around in Nelson's Uphill neighbourhood

Not too many flat lots around in Nelson’s Uphill neighbourhood

Be prepared for a workout when you explore the Uphill neighbourhood

Be prepared for a workout when you explore the Uphill neighbourhood

Our last stop before a short rest before dinner was a walk down to the waterfront. We’d contemplated renting kayaks but then a storm blew in so we gave it a pass and sprinted back to our rooms.

The Nelson waterfront

The Nelson waterfront

Dinner reservations had been made the night before for the All Seasons Cafe located just a few buildings down from BiBo Nelson on a quiet side street. Our table on a back patio made me feel like I’d been transported to Europe but my meal – a swoon-worthy piece of fresh halibut with Thai red curry carrot puree took me to BC’s west coast. Both my husband and I were in awe at the calibre and sophistication of the restaurants in Nelson. For a small town the locals are very lucky to have such quality – and variety.

What You'll Want to do if you Have 24 Hours in Nelson, BC

All Seasons Cafe on a little side street has excellent food and a lovely patio

What You'll Want to do if you Have 24 Hours in Nelson, BC

The halibut at All Seasons Cafe is memorable

Nelson offers both adventure loving and cultural travelers plenty of reasons to visit. When are you going?

Read this stroy and more on

Kootenay Moto Diary

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Kootenay Moto Diary

By Eric Berger It all started over a few beers in a Kootenay bar. ... It often starts that way. I was talking about motorcycles & routes with a friend when she asked if I had ever ridden the road from Nelson to Kaslo and then to New Denver. I had not, to which she replied “You have to ride it!” That was in March. Fast forward a couple of months and now motivated by the purchase of my first Harley Davidson, a 2000 Road King, and I was ready to hit the road with a few friends for the first big ride of the season. Seemed like the Nelson/Kaslo/New Denver route would be a great way to start as none of us had ever been there on bikes. We headed out of Whistler over the Duffey Lake Road in mid-June with our first stop in Summerland. The following day was the ride from the Okanagan to the Kootenays via the Crow’s Nest Highway (HWY 3 East). It was a bit of a push to make it to Kaslo and we felt ready to pull out for the night as we rolled into Nelson but the room was booked for Kaslo so we still had a little ways to go. Our route to Kaslo from Nelson was along Kootenay lake on the 3A which becomes the 31at Balfour. It was a beautiful drive that just improved with every mile. There are spectacular views of the lake all along the way and it seemed like there was not a straight section of road that lasted more than a kilometer. The road is smooth flowing curves all the way. We were pleasantly pleased when we pulled up to the Kaslo Hotel to see a dozen fully dressed Harleys lined up in front with just enough room to park our four bikes along side. Some of the plates were from as far away as Florida so you know we wanted to hear some of their stories. The Kaslo Hotel is a beautiful, newly renovated heritage hotel on the main strip that overlooks the lake. It has a great pub which worked out perfect for hot food & cold beer after a long ride. Turns out the group of bikers were all American dentists on an annual ride that took them from Utah to Kaslo by way of Victoria on the south end of Vancouver Island and over the Duffey Lake road just like us. They had been on the road for a week and had another week of riding ahead. Some had trailered their bikes to Utah and others rented. The following day was the ride to New Denver via highway 31A. A spectacular, winding secondary highway with nothing but curves and great views around every corner. What was even more exciting was the almost total lack of traffic. It felt like we had the road to ourselves. Climbing out of Kaslo, the road runs along the beautiful Kaslo River for what seems like half the route. Near the mid-point there are a couple of small lakes with great pull-outs for a short break and an opportunity to take in the great views of the Valhalla mountains to the west. Coming into New Denver there is a road heading off to the south that leads to the old ghost town of Sandon which unfortunately we did not have time to visit. In New Denver we stopped at Odin’s Pub for lunch before heading south to Nelson on highway 6 through the breathtaking Slocan Valley. We enjoyed a restful night in the historic Hume Hotel before heading back towards the coast the following day but not without one more twisty route out of Nelson which we learned of through local knowledge the night before at the pub. If you head west out of Nelson, you have to treat yourself to the Blewett road. Just find a local biker at the pub and get directions...  

Cody Caves - With a Touch of Hawaii?

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Cody Caves - With a Touch of Hawaii?

by Leah Hoeger Just about to hit snooze one more time on my alarm when I remembered…today I get to go caving! A special treat for most, I had never gone caving and was so excited to see what these caves have to offer. Officially a “Nelsonite”, I have lived in the area for over eight years, and driving past the Cody Caves sign many times over the years has continuously sparked a curiosity in me and my companions. So, feeling incredibly privileged, I set out today to experience them.

The drive out to Ainsworth Hot Springs where we were to meet our guide, made my morning well worth getting up for. The mist (OK, it may have been fire smoke from far-far away) added a hazy-brushed layer over the scenery. The mountains were layered fadings of blue against a red-tainted sky. Following a windy road along the green lake with bright-blue wildflowers on all sides, it was all I could do to keep my eyes on the road.

At a cute shack against the far Ainsworth parking lot we were given our caving jumpsuits while we waited for the rest of the crew to join us…and we ended up being accompanied by the sweetest Albertan family here in the Kootenays for holidays! The crew gathered and off we went up the famous Cody Caves road (steep logging road, cars beware—carpool in a truck!) Now I don’t want to spoil your future adventure, but couldn’t if I tried! Safe to say we learnt far more than we thought was possible to know about the caves: built in sub to tropic conditions and then altered by glaciers on ground originally from where Hawaii is!? If we touched the rock with our bare hands, we could cause the water to be diverted for 300 years! A brush of our hands could ruin a cubic centimeter of calcium, which had taken a century to form. We followed the caver’s motto:

Take Nothing But Pictures. Leave Nothing But Footprints. Kill Nothing But Time.


We were on the Adventure Tour, hooting into caverns and inch worming on our stomachs, passing “soda straws” and “boxing”, while paying rapturous attention to the folds of the rock, each nick and groove telling a story. I think we were all proud of being a part of the Kootenays as this lovely Albertan family oohed and awed, so happy to have made the adventure since they had run out of time on their last trip to the Kootenays. A trip, they told us, where they planned on doing as much as possible, yet still would need to come back many times. The father preceded to educate us, happily rubbing his hands together, about the infamous fish “monster pike” that they had witnessed while waste-deep in Kootenay Lake by Woodbury as we all happily trudged back down the hill, hungry, cold, and grinning. Despite my better judgment, I had opted not to wear my wool socks (wool socks and rubber boots, glove linings if you have them- bring them!), and the 6 degree (C) air and the freezing water made me the happiest person alive. As we passed Ainsworth Hot Springs on the way back to Nelson, we fantasized about the hot caves (we wanted more caves!) and the fabulous meals we wish we had time to enjoy after our adventurous, intrigue-filled day. (of course, that didn’t leave us from admiring the fruit stands on the drive back) For tourists and locals alike, create your amazing caving day! Choose your Cody Caves tour here, and Ainsworth Hot Springs is impossible to pass up. Just don’t forget your wool socks no matter the weather! :)

Kootenay Spirit Festival is on Its Way!

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Kootenay Spirit Festival is on Its Way!

The count down is on for the first ever Kootenay Spirit Festival! Just over 7 weeks until we gather. There are only a few days left (until August 1, 2014)  to purchase early bird tickets (buy them ASAP!), and excitement is starting to build!  Festivals are in full swing, and we are all so happy that Kootenay Spirit Festival carries us into the glorious fall, September 12-14. As the organizers gather down at Lakeside Park for our meetings, starting off with some yoga and meditative movements before delving into our brains, we can already feel the energy rising as we mentally prepare and decorate the beautiful, lush grass for the coming together of the yogis for the Yoga Jam. Our banner has taken a life of its own, and soon will become as well traveled as many a yogi! From Tiny Lights Festival to the Vancouver Jazz Festival, it took a rest hanging on the balcony of the Nelson Visitor Centre. It will now be relaxing, meditating, doing yoga and rejuvenated at Mountain Water Spa and Wellness, before it may have to gear up for the Disk Break! The lucky banner will get to enjoy the grooving toons at the Kaslo Jazz Etc Festival in order to prepare to share the love at Shambhala Music Festival. With a stroke of brilliance, it will continue its journey with the Moving Centre and on. It can’t wait to see you at the festival!

Each week I have dedicated myself to learning about one of the artists that are coming, and am starting to wish I could be in five different places at once so I can see and do it all! Simply being a part of this amazing growth process with this shining star of an event in the future lifts my spirits and brings smiles to my day. Join me in raising your spirits by entering our Facebook Photo Competition, and you can win a free weekend pass to the Festival and an Ainsworth Hot Springs pass!

For more information visit our website, like us on Facebook #kootspirit, or shoot us an email (, and be sure to share the love. We look forward to seeing you and thanks for reading this blog - more to come! PS: Special thanks to our many amazing Kooteany Spirit Festival Sponsors! Unite Sponsors: Mountain Waters Spa & Wellness, Nelson Kootenay Lake Tourism, EZ Rock, Kootenay Rockies Tourism Create Sponsors: Black Press, Nelson Commons, NDCU Credit Union

Inspire & Ignite Sponsors: Adventure Hotel,  Academy of Classical Oriental Sciences, Bambu Hot Yoga, Community Chiropractic – Dr. Kevin McKenzie, DC, Gaia Rising, Gaiatri Yoga & Beyond, Hall Printing, Hume Hotel, Kootenay Co-op, Kootenay Co-op Radio, Natural Choice Pharmacy, Naturalife Ayurveda, Oso Negro Coffee, Sacred Journey, Sat Kaur Yoga, School of Sacred Arts, Selkirk College, Shambhala Meditation Centre, Shanti Yoga Studio, Expressions Cafe, Wild Woods Yoga and Wellness, William McNally Law Corporation, Yasodhara Ashram – Yoga Retreat and Study Centre


10 Awesome Reasons to go to Kaslo Jazz Etc. Festival

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10 Awesome Reasons to go to Kaslo Jazz Etc. Festival

10 Awesome Reasons to put the Kaslo Jazz Etc. Festival on your destination list this summer!

10. It has festival toilets like you have never seen before. Early on in the festival's history, Jim Holland (Executive Director of the Kaslo Jazz Etc. Festival), decided there had to be a better alternative to standard 'port-a-potty' toilets. So he and a few others designed and built the first (that we know of) flushing portable toilet system. The toilets are a lot like the toilets you see on airplanes, but the waste is dropped into a large holding tank which can be pumped out as per usual. These festival toilets are clean, ventilated, illuminated, well maintained, and believe it or not, they don't smell. It's a huge difference from the nightmarish poop-hotboxes often encountered at festivals… 9. It's intimate. There are no big crowds, no rush, no push. Due to the capacity restrictions of the Bay, not to mention the village, the festival stays this way. There's something luxurious and opulent about having this incredible event for the exclusive enjoyment of such a relatively small audience. The absence of drive to expand, combined with over two decades of event experience and the not-for-profit mandate, makes it a real, pure, and smooth August long weekend. Laid-back and relaxed, like a plush lounge chair. 8. Kaslo is a unique and charming community, worth discovering in its own right. The village is astonishingly rich and vibrant. It has beauty, history and culture in equal measures, as well as a dedicated and passionate population. Everything is small and homegrown, nestled perfectly into the surrounding wilderness. In an age when most people are abandoning rural areas for the material benefits of the city, Kaslo welcomes a steady drift of urban refugees. People arrive searching for a life that feels more real and connected, and end up finding themselves at home in this quaint and pristine little utopia. 7. Nightlife. After the Kaslo Jazz Etc. Festival closes down each evening, the cafés and pubs around town overflow with live shows of their own. Everything is walking distance, so you can ditch your keys for the entire weekend. After the last notes fade out in the bay, patrons meander back towards Kaslo's bustling core to discover all manner of revelry spilling out in the night air. This is where the real, earnest partying happens: all up and down Front Street after the heat of the day is passed, and everyone in town is feeling the happy laziness, and superb flow of the festival vibe. 6. Workshops with some of the festival's most talented performers. Each day at venues around town, musical discovery is available to aspiring players, and curious amateurs. These workshops are provided freely and are open to anyone. The opportunity to spend time learning from skilled professional musicians in an intimate, personal way is very popular and attendance is "first-come, first-served" so be sure to pick up the program schedule and arrive early. 5. The view. Kaslo is tucked away in the majestic folds of the Selkirk mountains. Remote and pristine wilderness is the backdrop of the Kaslo Jazz Etc. Festival. The venue, perched on the shore of Kootenay Lake, extends from the Lake's surface up into the grass and trees and mountain stream at the base of Mount Buchanan. Everywhere around the Bay is naturally beautiful. True, raw wilderness is only a few steps away. 4. The floating stage. Seriously, you can swim around it. Two greenrooms and a few tonnes of light and sound equipment float just a few meters from the sandy shore. The audience has their choice between sandy beach and grassy park, and for the truly intrepid dancers, knee-deep water. Many of the performers who come to the festival, like the patrons, fall in love with the stage. It is surrounded by mountains and lake and sky. Where else in the world can a musician arrive and depart from their performance by canoe? 3. The sound. Kaslo Bay Park has phenomenal acoustics. With the stage floating in the middle, the bay transforms into a natural amphitheater and the music floats clear across the lake. This natural serendipity is what makes the festival such a unique and worthwhile experience for anyone who truly loves music. The sound is clear, pure, true and never forced. It is so perfectly audible, without ever feeling 'loud'. The feeling of being able to reach out and touch the music is unlike anything else in the world. 2. The line-up. This is not just your dad's jazz! This is a "jazz etc" festival. There are no real genre limitations on the music, and there is always a generous helping of blues, latin, world, soul, and funk-rock. The Kaslo Jazz Etc. Festival goes to great lengths to seek out and secure skilled performers who can deliver a truly great show. It's a great place to discover new artists, and to see up-and-coming stars. The music is always impressive, often unexpected, and generally extraordinary. 1. It's the best little outdoor jazz (etc) festival in Canada, perhaps beyond. For 23 years, Kaslo has been hosting this successful and somewhat hidden gem. Capacity limitations keep the festival small, but it has still been noticed on the international stage for delivering an exceptionally high-caliber experience. Both USA Today and REUTERS named the Kaslo Jazz Etc. Festival among their 'top ten outdoor music venues in the world.' Not bad for a remote little festival in BC's interior mountain range.


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