PANORAMA VILLAGE, BC — Sometimes it’s just good to get off the slopes for a while. Now before all of you die-hard skiers and riders start sending me blistering e-mails, there are times when this does happen - admit it, especially if you have spent your days floating down the pow courtesy of RK Heli-Ski which is located right on mountain.
Panorama Mountain Village offers an excellent variety of activities that are off-slope including Nordic skiing, snowshoeing, dog sledding, snowmobile tours and sleigh rides. But it also offers two things that are very different from any other resort – hanging out with wolves and learning how to make glass bead jewellery.
Two polar opposites, I agree, but never-the-less, two great activities which I highly recommend.
The Northern Lights Wolf Education Centre is located behind Toby Creek Lodge, out of the way, yet close enough that it is a pleasant walk down from the village base. The Panorama facility is a satellite of the Wildlife Wolf Centre in Golden, BC and is home to three beautiful and intelligent grey wolves named Moab, Amorok and Keehta.
I’d like to think they were as curious about us as we were about them, but in reality, it was just feeding time. Actually, phone before you go and plan your visit around feeding time, as their enclosure is quite large and they may be back in the bush, and not be feeling up to entertaining visitors.
Panorama’s wolf education centre is home to three beautiful grey wolves.
DAVE GLUNS,Tourism BC
Wolves are very social, family-oriented animals and these three, even though they come from different backgrounds (two rescued ’pets’ and the third, born into captivity) they have formed their own family unit, with each member knowing their place in the pack.
The importance of being a wolf
Our interpreter, Yvonne Howard told us that the centre’s mission, while providing sanctuary for these amazing animals, is also about educating people about the value of wolves in nature’s overall eco-system.
"Many people don’t really understand wolves or the role they play in keeping nature in balance. You only have to look at what happened in Yellowstone National Park and the consequences of wiping out the wolves. Large animals such as elk and deer were increasing in numbers and dying due to sickness and starvation – even the salmon and trout were beginning to die out.
"Wolves are at the top of the food chain, and when you take out such a vital part of the chain, there are ramifications all down the line. Even here in Canada, in our own parks like Jasper and Banff, we are beginning to see a problem because the wolf numbers are declining."
It wasn’t hard to see or understand Howard’s passion for these four-legged wonders, especially when they seem to know they are being talked about, and would sit and give you their most photogenic pose.
The centre is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. through the winter and the small fee goes towards the upkeep of the wolves and the sanctuary plus education programs, so why not take your kids or yourself down to the centre and spend a few hours with the Big Bad Wolf – you may just end up falling in love with him.
Discover your inner artist
The Bavin Glass Cabin, on the other hand, is located right at the base just on the other side of the deck railing. The front is a retail space showcasing some of the talented artisans of the valley and the studio is located in the back; it’s here that I spent a delightful couple of hours learning the art of making glass beads from rods of coloured glass.
You can’t be afraid of flame or melting glass to do this, but with the help of an excellent instructor and some imagination, you can walk out with a one-of-a-kind necklace, bracelet or a pair of earrings that will be the envy of your friends.
When I had finished my lessons, selected my trimmings and the girls fashioned my necklace for me, I headed over to the sun deck to meet my friends. The ladies in the crowd stopped talking about their runs and focused on my necklace which was inspired by water.
"You made that!?" "I didn’t even know that’s what was in that little cabin." "Wow, they hold classes everyday?"
I can tell you, three of them walked right over to Bavin’s and signed up for classes the next day – and you thought there wasn’t a reason to give up the slopes for half a day.
For more on the activities and amenities of Panorama, visit www.panoramaresort.com.
Get more info on Panorama on our SnowSeekers' destination page.