The mountainous spine of Vancouver Island has peaks rising to 2200 meters. Adjacent to these mountains, and next to Strathcona Provincial Park, Mount Washington Alpine Resort offers fabulous views of Georgia Strait. With 1000 cm of annual snowfall, 500 meters of vertical drop, an excellent lift system, 2 day lodges, pristine, wilderness cross country trails, and mountainside accommodations, Mount Washington is a great winter playground with deep coastal snowfalls and friendly island hospitality.
Cypress Mountain is the first and largest in a chain of three ski resorts that look nearly strait down from their ski slopes to the metropolis of Vancouver. Superb roadways take you from sea level in West Vancouver to 1000 m in about 20 minutes. From there, the well-developed ski area offers two mountains, high-speed lifts, 526 meters of vertical, service from morning to 11pm, and bountiful snow.
Cypress is the Official Freestyle Skiing and Snowboard Venue for the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games.
Grouse Mountain offers the quintessential mix of skiing, urban convenience, and aesthetic pleasure. The justifiably famous Grouse Mountain Skyride takes skiers and sightseers from rain-coast forest to a winter wonderland in 12 minutes. Once there, ski lifts service 365 m vertical feet of beginner and advanced terrain. There are plenty of services, other activities, shops and fine dining as well. When skiing down the famous 'Cut' at night, one seems to be flying over the city lights.
Downhill and cross-country skiing have been popular winter activities in Manning Park since the early 1950's. From skating to snowboarding, Manning continues to be a favorite spot for winter sport enthusiasts from BC and around the world. Located in the Gibson Pass Valley, Manning Park is renowned for its dry snow and variety of Snowplay Experiences.
Mount Seymour's relatively small vertical drop is offset by excellent natural freestyle terrain, a good terrain park and a half pipe. In combination with plenty of easy, groomed runs, there is something for everyone, from families to hard-core boarders. The mountain has a reputation for having a relaxed atmosphere and the most reliable snowfall of all the North Shore resorts. Like its neighbouring hills, Seymour offers incredible views over the city and into the Coast Range, as well as night skiing.
There are few superlatives that cannot be applied to this famous resort. The two mountains offer an immense in-bounds ski area and a vertical drop of 1530 m. From Olympic runs to terrain parks, from 50-degree couloirs and expansive alpine bowls, to glade skiing and endless 'groomers', Whistler has it all. With a lift system unmatched anywhere in North America (now including the record-breaking Peak to Peak Gondola), incredible snowfalls, and excellent resort facilities, Whistler-Blackcomb deserves its mythic reputation.
Whistler is home to the 2010 Olympics.
Apex has been recognized with many awards in Canadian skiing, including Best Steeps, Best Grooming, and B.C. Alpine Resort of the Year. The mountain benefits from the dry air on the leeward side of the Coast Mountains, making for 600cm of powdery, smile-producing snow each year. Topping out at nearly 2200 m, the mountain has plenty of steep and gladed terrain, while beautifully groomed blue and green runs can be found off every lift. The resort has 5 lifts including a high-speed quad, a quaint village, good restaurants and a variety of slope-side accommodations.
Glide silently between the mystical 'snow-ghosts' at the top of the mountain in powder so light it blows from your boots, around your waist, and over your head. From its peak at 2300m there is a 770 m vertical drop, 118 runs, and 2700 acres of terrain, all coated with 770 cm of snow annually. Whether you are looking to cruise corduroy, drop into a half pipe with 17' transitional walls, dig in on the 45-degree face of The Cliff, or enjoy the biggest night skiing area in Western Canada, Big White delivers. With hundreds of mountainside rooms and dozens of restaurants and cafes, your apres experience can be just a good as your day on the slopes.
The southernmost of the Okanagan ski resorts, Mount Baldy is situated east of the famous desert valley. The snow falling on Baldy is typically wrung of any moisture and falls lightly amongst the open trees. Mount Baldy is a comfortable place to visit, dominated by glade skiing, and open cruisers. Lacking crowds and high-speed lifts, the powder is well preserved. A terrain park, toboggan runs, excellent cross-country, and peaceful snowshoe trails round out the Mount Baldy experience. Good value and accommodation choices, on the hill or in the nearby towns, make it a great alternative to the bigger resorts.
From your Victoriana style hotel set on a ski-able main street, it is easy to see why people love the atmosphere at Silver Star. The village charm is combined with lots of fluffy-dry Okanagan powder, and views of the Monashee Mountains. A wide variety of runs from green to double black, 760 meters of vertical, terrain parks, and 60 km of X-country trails explain why Silver Star has a loyal following decade after decade. Over 700 cm of snow falls annually, but there are numerous blue-sky days at Silver Star when the ice crystals glitter like magic in the winter sun.
By ski acreage, Sun Peaks is the second largest ski hill in BC. Combine this with an impressive 880 m vertical, eleven lifts, a new ego-boosting terrain park set above the village, and 28 km of cross-country trails, and you have the makings of a great winter. Because of its relatively northerly position, average temperatures are cool and the snow is kept dry and crisp. Two alpine bowls combine with 12 gladed areas and dozens of long, smooth cruisers. The ski-through village is complete with lots of well-planned accommodations and restaurants as well as an outdoor pool, kids pool and hot tub at the Sports Centre. With green, blue and black runs accessible at the top of every chair, and runs meeting at the bottom and in the village, it is easy to stay together even if you don’t ski together.
The snow is deep, the mountains are stunning, and the town site is full of historical interest. The ski hill, located where the Columbia Valley meets the Rocky Mountains, is over-shadowed by spectacular cliffs. At one time an isolated piece of paradise, improved airport connections have made it easier to get to this corner of skiing paradise. Fernie boasts a combination of high snowfall (900 cm annually), varied terrain with lots of groomed runs, five alpine bowls and countless glades and chutes. It has a well-serviced 850 meters of vertical, plus 14 km of X-country trails and endless back-country possibilities. Fernie is called the fastest growing resort in Canada, in the 'top ten ski hills in North America', 'most improved' and is noted for having the 'best new lifts'.
A single gondola takes you from the valley floor up 1260 meters to the 2450m peak, where the view into the heart of the Purcell Mountains is breathtaking. Coated in pure white for as far as the eye can see, there is something about Kicking Horse that defines not only Canadian wilderness, but also the essence of winter. Situated deep in the interior of the province, but still within the 'snow zone', the terrain of bowls, ridges, glades and chutes keeps delivering surprises, even to the most expert of skiers and boarders. With some exceptions (there are a few blue and green runs off the peak), Kicking Horse is suited to advanced skiers who can take advantage of the "70 inbound chutes" and other natural features. After several quad-burning descents into the valley, eating and taking in the view at the highly regarded Eagles Eye restaurant at the top is a well-deserved reward.
Walking around the small town of Kimberley, you might think you have mysteriously landed in Bavaria; but look past the quaint buildings, and you will see you are on the edge of one of the most spectacular and best loved mountain ranges in BC. Kimberley Alpine Resort is only 20 minutes from the airport, minutes from the town, and offers slope-side accommodations and eateries. It is an excellent choice for a friendly and hassle-free ski-holiday. Dominated by intermediate and beginner terrain, it also has a good selection of advanced runs. The mountain has a very respectable 750 m vertical rise and 5 lifts, including a high-speed quad that services 650 vertical meters. Night skiing, cross-country skiing, dog sledding, snow shoeing and skating will round out a great winter holiday.
Panorama is a model of good Intrawest design. As a purpose built ski resort, everything is well planned to get the most of the 1220 m vertical (in the top 10 ten in North America). The lifts are fast and well placed, the runs long and perfectly groomed, access is easy, and the village and slope-side accommodations are excellent. The drive in from Invermere offers many pleasing views as it ascends a narrow valley, while the view from the top into the rugged Purcell backcountry is magnificent. The recently added terrain of Taynton Bowl offers a back-country experience with 405 hectares of chutes, glades, and gullies. There are both intermediate and expert terrain parks. Besides the great hill, there are 20 km of track-set cross-country trails, several well-reviewed restaurants, and a very friendly atmosphere. Panorama is also a great departure point for heli-skiing in the famous Bugaboos Mountains.
Tucked away on the southernmost and less traveled route through the BC interior, Red Mountain Resort has been operating to the delight of locals for decades, but the secret is out, and word of its virtues is spreading. With its revered racing program, it has produced numerous famous names in Canadian skiing, including Olympic and World Cup medalists. Red Mountain has a 880 m vertical, and offers a "ski anywhere" terrain policy that opens up some of the best off-trail tree skiing in North America. The mountain has numerous steep runs, frequently coated in deep, soft snow and is best suited to intermediate and advanced skiers. Access to the backcountry from the top of the lifts is extraordinary. The hill is 5 minutes from the 'ski-town' of Rossland and 30 minutes from Castlegar Airport. Red Mountain is home of The Mountain Project (TMP), a new initiative dedicated to innovation and sustainability in the mountain environment.
After decades of gazing at the formidable peaks of the Selkirks from the town centre in Revelstoke, B.C., and dreaming of a lift that would do justice to the magnificent mountains, the dream became a reality with the creation of Revelstoke Mountain Resort. Still in its early stages, the multimillion-dollar ski destination already has the greatest vertical in North America, surpassing Whistler Blackcomb. The west-facing Selkirks are snow magnets, attracting 1200 cm per year, and their elevation, combined with interior setting, keeps the snow dry. The terrain is extraordinary, with unbroken fall lines descending in all directions from the peak and encompassing long green and blue cruisers, glades, steep chutes and bowls. 4 high-speed sixes, a quad, plus a gondola already serve the mountain, and more terrain is opening. First class on-hill accommodations are available at Nelsen Lodge, and numerous choices are available in the town of Revelstoke. The resort is located on the edge of the most famous helicopter/cat-skiing terrain in the world.
What Whitewater lacks in 'resort niceties', it more than makes up for in skiing pleasure. Whitewater has drawn 'ski-bums' for decades, many of which view the hill and town of Nelson, B.C., nearby with hallowed reverence. Although the vertical is modest (400m), the base elevation is 1640 m, keeping the snow dry, and there is plenty of challenging terrain. Furthermore, hiking along ridges to access more terrain and vertical is commonplace at Whitewater. Most of the lines bring skiers back to the base of the chairlift and it is not uncommon to see as many people in the backcountry as on the piste. Ski Canada has rated Whitewater to have the Best Deeps, Best Bowls and Best Glades in the province. There are also 20 km of picture-perfect cross-country trails and legendary eats in the Fresh Tracks Cafe. In Nelson, refurbished Victorian houses, hotels, B&B's and brick storefronts give the town a special charm.
Many resorts purport to have great powder skiing, but few can back up the claim as well as Powder King where the numbers speak for themselves: 1250cm of annual snowfall sounds like something out of a helicopter ski lodge, not a family-owned ski hill. Situated in the Pine Pass in the wild Northern Rocky Mountains, Powder King is as far away from civilization as any ski resort in the province. There is a recently renovated 60-room hostel style hotel on the mountain and plenty of accommodations in the town in MacKenzie, 67 km to the east. For a true-north winter immersion, there is no better place to ski than Powder King.
At nearly 55 degrees north latitude, and on the leeward side of the northern Coast Range, winter comes early, and the snow piles deep and dry at. Home to an eclectic mix of environmentalists, artists, sportsman and authors, the town of Smithers is just 20 min from Hudson Bay Mountain. Far from the populous south, the mountain offers un-crowded and relaxed skiing. There are 530 vertical meters and 4 lifts spread over the north and south faces of the mountain. The Rayz terrain park is a well-designed mix of sculpted hits, flowy rails and boxes suited to a mix of levels. In a unique twist, a ski trail descends another 620 vertical meters from the bottom of the hill, all the way into town. Enjoy the Swiss-themed town centre of Smithers where several hotels offer accommodation and ski packages.