Winter is here but the festivals celebrating it haven’t even begun, although this is about to change.

On Friday (January 18) night, Kinsmen Beach in Invermere will be the site of the 3rd annual Snowflake Festival. The event, which runs from 6 to 8 p.m., will kick off the ever-popular curling extravaganza, Bonspiel on the Lake, and the official opening of the Whiteway — conditions permitting — as well as offer live music, outdoor fires, kids’ activities, and delicious samples from local restaurants.

But the fun doesn’t stop there. Also on Friday night, Panorama Mountain Village’s own Snowflake Festival begins with free tobogganing — guests can pick up their complimentary ticket at Guest Services.

Then, over the next two days (January 19 and 20), many other activities and events can be enjoyed at the ski resort including a carnival-like atmosphere with games, a snow snake hunt, live music, a BBQ, movies and the not-to-be missed first instalment of the Syndicate Rail Jam Series.

The series, open to both skiers and snowboarders, is a freestyle challenge that will take place over all four of Panorama’s winter festivals.

Riders of all ages will be called to do two judged runs per festival, which are eligible for prizes supplied by Syndicate Boardshop.

A grand prize will also be given to the overall series winner.

The rail jam takes place in the Upper Village just above the Great Hall. With night lights and music pumping over loudspeakers, it’s undoubtedly going to be a spectator favourite.

Sunday, the final day of the Snowflake Festival, will start with a pancake breakfast and the carnival games will continue.

The weekend also coincides with Avalanche Awareness Days, a national Celebration of Canada’s avalanche safety expertise that will be taking place in venues across the country, including Banff, Lake Louise, Revelstoke, Whistler and more.

The public is invited to participate in backcountry education and training which, at Panorama Mountain Village, will include a free avalanche film, The Fine Line, at the Great Hall at 6:30 p.m. on Friday night and and a second showing on Saturday at 5:30 p.m., plus hill safety demonstrations,  transceiver races and skill stations at the summit from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday.

Both movie nights will also feature information on avalanche conditions, prizes and beverages, as well as fundraising for the Canadian Avalanche Centre through the Hugh and Helen Hinks memorial fund.

For more information, contact Scott McClain at avalanche@panoramaresort.com and visit www.avalanche.ca.