March 26, 2018
Welcome to the Alaska Highway, where you’re more likely to see wildlife than people. Local photographer Ryan Dickie shows us his favourite places to photograph…
By Leah Adams-Chute March 16, 2018 #php comments_number('0 Comment', '1 Comment', '% Comments'); ?> #php echo wpb_get_post_views(get_the_ID()); ?>
Did you know that British Columbia, Canada, has the longest lift-serviced vertical in North America? Or that you can go cat-skiing for $10? Or that you can dogsled through a winter wilderness and ski through an alpine village? Here are some of the top reasons why a ski experience in British Columbia, Canada, should be your next ski holiday.
North America’s largest ski resort is a short, scenic 1.5-hour drive from Vancouver. Whistler Blackcomb spans two mountains, connected by the record-breaking PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola, with more than 200 marked runs, 16 alpine bowls, and three glaciers. This destination ski resort lures skiers from all over the world, and the glamorous après and endless off-mountain activities help make a ski holiday here unforgettable.
Canada’s newest ski destination, Revelstoke Mountain Resort, gives skiers and snowboarders access to the continent’s longest lift-serviced vertical at 1,712 metres (5,620 feet). The best part? The village base is only 512 metres (1,680 feet) above sea level, which means you won’t be short of breath plowing through the nine to 13 metres (30 to 45 feet) of powder the resort sees on average each season. Lap the alpine before ending the day with a slow, easy cruise down The Last Spike, a 15.2-kilometre (9.5-mile) green run that winds its way to the village base.
The ski-in, ski-out accommodations are abundant at most resorts in British Columbia. This means less time getting to and from the skiing, and more time for après, post-ski activities, and long days on the mountain. Options include private slopes-side cabin rentals, hotels at the base of gondolas, and ski-in/ski-out condo rentals. The Josie Hotel at RED Mountain Resort, Whistler’s new Pod Hotel, and a few new boutique hotels in Revelstoke are great options. Big White Ski Resort has the largest ski-in/ski-out village in Canada, SilverStar Mountain Resort’s colourful village offers plenty of options to choose from, and the modern village Sun Peaks Resort is a ski-through affair is so you can ski right up to your hotel, local coffee shop, or dinner reservation through the pedestrian-only ski village.
Skiing is one reason to make a holiday to British Columbia, but there are so many other activities to enjoy too. Winter is full of reasons to play in the snow. Most ski resorts offer dogsledding, a chance to glide through the forest pulled by a team of mountain-loving sled dogs. Or you can lace up and skate along Apex Mountain Resort’s one-kilometre (0.6 mile) skating loop. At Big White Resort you can climb a frozen tower of ice, standing 18 metres (60 feet) tall. Cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, snowshoeing, and a simple stroll through an alpine village are all great ways to spend time between laps down the mountain or rest days. There are plenty of winter activities to enjoy around British Columbia.
The ultimate ski road trip is found in BC’s southeastern corner. This powder-seekers loop travels through the Kootenays and deep into the heart of the Rocky, Purcell, and Monashee mountains. Eight lift-service alpine resorts, two dozen cat-ski and heli-ski operations, and backcountry lodges punctuate the landscape. Ski them all, or choose just a few—BC’s Powder Highway will not disappoint.
It’s a few quick turns from the top of the Grey Mountain Chairlift at RED Mountain Resort to the Mt. Kirkup Cat Skiing pickup spot. You could ski right past the sign among the trees if you weren’t paying attention. If you’re lucky enough to spot it, toss the driver a cool $10 and jump in. Listen to the instructions carefully and study the trail map as you creep along the snowcat trail to the slopes of Mt. Kirkup. Pick your line—open runs or tree skiing on advanced terrain—and float on untracked powder back to the lifts.
There aren’t many places in North America where you can ski on a mountain while taking in views of the ocean. There are fewer still where you can ski in the morning and surf in the afternoon. On Vancouver Island, you can do it all. Grab first tracks at Mount Washington, then head to Tofino and learn to surf Chesterman Beach or tackle the swell at Long Beach. For lovers of both swell and snow, Vancouver Island is paradise.
Sip a cold one while scoping your lines for the next day at a cosy mountain lodge 7,700 feet (2,346 metres) above sea level. The views from Eagle’s Eye Restaurant at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort are some of the best in Canada. A meal, or just an après, at Canada’s highest-elevated restaurant is a must-do. You don’t even need to come down: you can book a stay in the Eagle’s Eye Suites. That means guaranteed first tracks from your own private mountain-top retreat.
Over 50 years ago, Hans Gmoser—legendary climber, mountain guide, and backcountry skier—whisked a few intrepid skiers into the Bugaboo Mountains by helicopter. Soon after, the first commercial heli-ski operation in the world was up and running. Now, BC is home to dozens of heli-ski operations, with terrain that stretches from the far corners of Northern BC, to the rugged Coast Mountains, and into the Canadian Rockies. Choose from one-day boutique operations to week-long adrenaline getaways. Why not give it a go where it all began?
Where else in North America can you ski on three different mountains while gazing down upon a major metropolis? By travelling less than 30 minutes from downtown Vancouver, you can ski at Cypress Mountain, Grouse Mountain, or Mt Seymour before heading back into the city for an evening on the town. Glide down perfectly groomed night-skiing runs while the city lights twinkle below.
Check out this BC ski map to start planning your holiday.
Featured Image: Whistler Blackcomb/David McColm photo
If there are two things you need to know about a BC ski holiday: British Columbia is one of the top places in the world…
Enter your email address below to receive seasonal travel information from Destination British Columbia including trip ideas, great places to go and fun things to do on vacation in BC.
You may also wish to receive (check all that apply):