Winter is no time to hibernate!

Pay Chen is a popular TV host, writer and producer with a passion for food, fitness and travel. She is frequently seen on shows such as Breakfast Television and Cityline.

Thanks to my visit to Sparkling Hill Resort in beautiful Vernon, BC — my first “winter wellness” experience — I was recharged and energized in a whole new way! Nestled in British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley, Sparkling Hill is as open, airy and breathtaking as its surroundings. I found myself in constant awe of the natural beauty of the mountains and the gentle mist over the lake, both mentally calming and inspiring at the same time.

Sparkling Hill Resort main entrance
Sparkling Hill Resort lake view

In KurSpa, the 40,000 square foot spa and the crowning jewel of Sparkling Hill Resort, I could feel my every muscle relax in the dry heat of the Panorama Sauna with its views of Okanagan Lake and the snow-covered trees outside. Strolling from sauna to steam room, I casually forgot about appointments, reminders and to-do lists. Although I could easily have stayed in the steams and saunas, there were more European-style spa amenities and services for me to experience.

Panorama sauna

One signature spa treatment is the Fango Mud and Muscle where a thick, warming layer of pure volcanic dust is mixed with water and applied to your back. Wrapped snugly to let the body absorb the minerals, the mud detoxifies your skin and reinvigorates your muscles. Even the most fidgety and restless person can’t help losing track of time and completely relaxing in the stillness of the treatment room. The wrap is followed by a quick rinse and a relaxing massage to further ease the muscles with residual warmth from the mud. After trying all seven themed aromatherapy steams and saunas, I found myself often returning to the Salt Steam Room, mimicking a natural pure salt cave, to absorb the benefits of the briny humidity and heat. My tension and stress evaporated in the lightly herbal-scented air.

Fat-biking on the Okanagan Rail Trail

The thing about being in a setting that looks like a postcard is you eventually want to step into the spectacular scenery. The charming city of Vernon offers picturesque views no matter what you choose to do, and I was eager to make the most of all the activities I had such ready access to. Snowshoeing and cross-country skiing are easy ways to get active on the trails and quiet forests surrounding the city, providing an irresistible invitation to become a true winter outdoors person. Perhaps the biggest thrill for me was discovering the joy of fat-biking down a path with my thick tires effortlessly dashing through the snow. Frequently stopping to marvel at the scenery (and snap more postcard-perfect photos), it was a relief to have no one rush me and nowhere to be in a hurry.

Shopping in downtown Vernon

My only difficult decision was whether to keep going or take a mini-break in one of Vernon’s many quaint and inviting cafes and shops. Full of indie restaurants and boutiques, downtown Vernon manages to offer the best of everything, from the eclectic flavours and treats of a hip city to the relaxing and walkable areas of a friendly small town. It’s definitely “the place” to experience winter wellness for yourself.

Health bath treatment room
You Could Win a trip for 2 to Sparkling Hill
in Beautiful Vernon, BC!
  • 5 nights’ luxury accommodation 
  • Access to KurSpa’s 40,000 sq. ft. of included amenities
  • Daily breakfast, lunch and dinner in PeakFine Restaurant
  • 4 hours of KurSpa treatments*
  • Unlimited daily activity classes, plus much more!
  • Round trip airfare for two within Canada

To enter for your chance to win, visit:

No purchase necessary.  Contest closes Sunday November 3, 2019 at 11:59 EDT.  Open to residents of Canada (excluding Quebec) over the age of majority.  One Grand Prize to be won consisting of a trip for two to Vernon, BC, valued at approx. CAD $3,245. One entry per person. The odds of winning depend on the number of eligible entries received. Math skill-testing question must be correctly answered to win. Visit for full contest details.
*Excluding physician services