Panorama Mountain Village Resort
After a great stay at Predator Ridge (see part 1), a wine tour in Lake Country (see part 2) and a terrible stay at Three Valley Gap (see part 3) we were happy to be heading to Panorama which we really enjoy. Panorama Mountain Resort is a 20 minute drive uphill from Invermere in the Kootenays (75 minutes south of Golden). From Vancouver it takes us about 9.5 hours (plus an hour time change) so were happy to have a few stops on the way. We have stayed at the Club Intrawest lodging in Panorama three times before. We love the very relaxed and super quite vibe of the village – but with hi speed wifi of course. We have visited in June and September before and this time we were not sure what to expect because it was August. There were definitely more people (and families) in the village but there were still no waits to ride the chairlift, get a table for dinner or to get a seat by the main public pool area. It is a terrific spot to relax for a few days – to feel disconnected and still in touch.
Dining in Panorama – Wildfire Rustic Grill
When we have been to Panorama before in the off-season the Wildfire Grill has not been open so we have had dinner at the Earl Grey Lodge instead (which we really enjoy). This time we were happy to be able to give the Wildfire a try. It is still only open Thursday to Sunday even in peak season so we planned accordingly. The decor is a bit more up-scale than the pub next door with better settings and glassware but still with a bit of a pub feel. It would not be classified as fancy but was clean and our server Dave was quite good. He greeted us right away and met all of our needs but also let us linger over the appetizer without feeling rushed to order our main courses. (We always fear the “American” style experience of quick dining when at a resort but this was not the case here).
The menu includes soups & salads, appetizers, burgers, pastas and mains. The wine menu was short but with a reasonable mark-up in pricing. We started with the Scallop appetizer. The scallops were seared perfectly and served on a bed on endive with orange marmalade and duck riatte. The marmalade was an interesting and flavourful addition. Jeff also like the duck pate but I was (not surprisingly) not a huge fan. For mains Jeff ordered the half rack of Rustic Ribs and I chose the Pumpkin Risotto. The serving of the ribs was huge, not sure how they would fit a full rack on the plate. The house made BBQ sauce had good flavours and Jeff really enjoyed the creamy mashed potato. The risotto had a few crunchy spots but for the most part was cooked well. The flavours of zucchini, tomato, goat cheese and truffle butter were delicious. The goat cheese and the butter were very rich but the seared tomatoes cut the heaviness. I would order it again.
We enjoyed the weekend relaxing at the resort and I took the chair lift up on Sunday morning for a session of Mountain Yoga. The chair lift only operates Thursday to Sunday in the summer but this may change for 2013. It is about a 10 minute ride to mid-station which includes a small cafe/restaurant and a platform specifically for yoga. Definitely worth the ride up (yoga and the lift for $15 was also a good deal). After the relaxing weekend we headed down into Invermere for some work at Copper Point Golf Club. More on that later.