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Digital Detox in Nelson, Balfour, Kaslo and...
By John Bowden, Cover Photo: Steve Ogle
Facebook. Twitter. Instagram. Tinder. Email. The list goes on. No wonder we now have a shorter attention span than a goldfish. But there’s a remedy to this digital desecration.
Sure, you can head deep into the backcountry and enjoy some blissful “no service” time. But if you’re looking for a little more comfort and accessibility, a trip to the Nelson and Kootenay Lake region is just the ticket this winter. Pack your skis, a good book, and an appetite, and get ready to reconnect with what really matters.
You’ll find accommodation options to suit all budgets and tastes. Looking for a true off grid experience? Check out comfy Logden Lodge in Ymir, about 20 minutes from Nelson. Wood cabins, fireplaces and no TVs equal rustic luxury. The historic Cloudside Hotel in Nelson is a great spot to soak up heritage charm, or choose from all sorts of vacation rentals with varying degrees of amenities and features.
Whether it’s dumping or the sun is shining, spending the day skiing is a sure bet. Whitewater Ski Resort continues to be proudly service-free, letting you focus on your turns and your ski buddies instead of your news feed. This helps explain the lively ambiance in the lodge, where you’re more likely to strike up a conversation with a stranger than find people nose deep in their phones. After all, it’s more fun to swap shredding stories in real time than waiting for the “likes” to roll in.
If Nordic skiing is more your thing, head to the Kaslo Nordic Ski Club or Nelson Nordic Ski Club for over 25km of beautifully groomed skate and classic trails. Cell phone service is fuzzy, but the warming shelters are downright cozy. The local rail trail in Nelson also offers great cross-country skiing, based on conditions, plus unbeatable views of Kootenay Lake and Nelson’s iconic Big Orange Bridge.
Balfour Golf Course has classic tracks zigzagging around the course offering open fairways, sunshine, views of Kootenay Lake and the Purcell mountains, and if you travel with your dog, they will be welcomed too.
Keep the digital detox going by exploring the Queen City’s heritage charms. Discover Nelson’s history and cultural spirit with a visit to Touchstones Nelson Museum of Art & History, explore an eclectic store or gallery, or just admire the fascinating architecture in town. Kaslo's Langham Cultural Centre hosts artists and history, with walls of pictures that tell stories of the past. No need to google the history of this part of the Kootenays, the museum tells it all.
Instead of consulting TripAdvisor for dinner, let your taste buds and instinct guide you as you wander Kaslo and Nelson’s compact storybook downtowns. You’ll find over 75 restaurants and cafés in the region, and many within a ten-minute walk. It’s hard to go wrong – their quality matches their quantity.
Fancy a tipple and good conversation? Head to the gorgeous Library Lounge in the Hume Hotel, or Kaslo Hotel, both complete with roaring fireplace, top-notch service, and live music in the evenings. If good beer is your thing, create your own pub-crawl and visit Kaslo's Angry Hen then on to Nelson’s four craft breweries, all within a short walk. Grab a map at your accommodation or the Visitor Centre, forget about Google Maps, and do it the old-fashioned way.
Still eager to unplug? Head up the lake for a quiet drive and relaxing soak at Ainsworth Hot Springs Resort. Yoga fans will find a number of local studios to practice your downward dog. Stylish spas offer massages and all the other therapeutic services you can wish for.
“Service” and “connection” may conjure up images of wifi and social media, but spending time in the Kootenays is a surefire way to rediscover what they’re all about.