It’s known for its spectacularly beautiful location and the indescribable feeling of “being away from it all,” just 25 minutes from an international airport.
But architects and community planners also recognize Predator Ridge as a resort that continues to defy inertia: each year, rather than settling into its success and playing it safe, it finds innovative new ways to make the lifestyles of its residents even richer.
Now celebrating its 25-year anniversary, the resort initially renowned for two world-class golf courses has become so much more – a mecca for people who value an active four-season lifestyle and a welcoming, warm community with safe, beautiful neighbourhoods.
This year, for example, three kilometres of new groomed trails will link the existing 12 kilometres onsite to the extensive trail systems of Ellison Provincial Park. Even in a landscape this dazzling, the attention to detail impresses, with electric and mountain bikes available for rent in the fitness centre and picnic tables and yoga platforms strategically placed at particularly spectacular viewpoints. “Our staff can put together a picnic basket and have it waiting for you, so that you can have a lovely lunch in the middle of the wilderness while you’re hiking,” says Predator Ridge property specialist Richard Zokol.
Located within minutes of the region’s famed freshwater lakes, the lifestyle possibilities at Predator Ridge extend far beyond the stunning 1,200 acres that make up the resort. Golf starts early and ends late here, but the spring and fall seasons are also known for being the best time of year for hiking and biking. In the winter, two of the Okanagan’s most popular ski resorts are within easy driving distance, and there are many miles of snowshoeing and cross-country ski trails to explore.
While it’s an amazing place to holiday, more and more visitors are deciding that this is what ‘home’ should feel like, and new neighbourhoods launching in 2016 and 2017 will bring that dream within reach for a wide range of homebuyers.
“Many people associate the Okanagan today with great wine, golf, champagne powder and lakeside living, but there is also an older, mellow Okanagan of rambling orchards and pastoral views with a sense of wildness,” says urban planner and landscape architect Paul Fenske, a consultant on the project. “When you leave the highway and drive the five or 10 minutes along Commonage Road towards Predator Ridge, you feel as if you’re in a place that hasn’t changed in 100 years. In certain places you could say, ‘This hasn’t changed in 1,000 years,’ and you would be fairly accurate, because the grasslands and montane forests here were carved out by the last ice age.”
Later this fall, the Commonage neighbourhood will come on stream, with ranch-style architecture that acknowledges this history.
“Commonage will be the arrival neighbourhood for Predator Ridge, a touchstone for the past as well as a look to the future,” says Fenski, a principal at Ekistics and the designer of the Whistler Olympic Village. “The planning is rooted in winding streets that climb the hillsides, complemented by bold, simple architecture in harmony with the land.”
Built around destination parks that include the Orchard Commons, the Lavender Meadow, the Blueberry Ramble and the Aspen Thicket, Commonage offers a different kind of resort lifestyle, one rooted in the kind of “back to nature, back to the land movement we’re seeing in food, wine, craft beer – and for millennials in general,” he adds.
The resort’s new Havencrest neighbourhood, selling now, is located at the resort’s highest elevation. With 17 home sites artfully nestled between rock outcroppings and undisturbed natural vegetation, these spacious lots are designed for dream homes, large enough for luxurious single-level living and even private swimming pools.
The Havencrest showhome, with 2,200 square feet on the main floor, offers a glimpse at the “huge views” that define the neighbourhood, says property specialist Claire Radford.
“You have these long view corridors overlooking the valley,” says Zokol of the new sites. Not surprisingly, he adds, “we’re already seeing strong demand.”
Warm people, easy living
One of Predator Ridge’s earliest residents, property specialist Claire Radford has watched its community deepen and strengthen since she and her husband moved into their home in 2000. “I love the way people help one another here. If you’re going on a holiday, you can be sure that one of your neighbours is going to offer to take you to the airport or pick you up. You often hear people say, ‘I’m going into town. Do you need anything?’”
She describes the resort as “a happy place.” Wherever you’re coming from, she says, “someone is coming from somewhere else, and friendships develop really quickly. It’s a lovely feeling.”
Easy living is a significant element in the resort’s appeal, she reports. For example, all homes come complete with landscaping services that mean residents never have to mow a lawn or rake the leaves when they’d rather be playing outside or enjoying brunch at Range, the resort’s destination restaurant.
Property specialist Richard Zokol adds that Predator properties come with another highly valued comfort -- security. With Wesbild, the resort’s owner since 2007, he says, “when potential buyers do their due diligence, they find that security of investment is at its highest level here.”