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There's snow place like home—your guide to British Columbia's best slopes
Whether you’re hitting the slopes this season or planning next year’s trip, these B.C. mountain resorts are a must-add to your travel list.
Where: Whistler, B.C.
Driving time from Vancouver: 1.5 to 2 hours
Skill level: Beginner to advanced
The powder: Not just the biggest ski resort in Canada, Whistler Blackcomb is often ranked the best. With breathtaking scenery and a variety of beginner to advanced trails, Whistler ski/board trails offer something for everyone. With 200 marked runs, 8,171 acres of terrain, 16 alpine bowls and three glaciers, the side-by-side mountains (Whistler and Blackcomb) provide the longest ski season in North America and can be counted on for consistent snowfall. The Peak 2 Peak Gondola links Whistler and Blackcomb mountains, and even if you aren’t a skier, taking a ride to the top of the mountain and across the valley in the 28-person gondola cabin is a must. Additionally, Whistler’s bustling village is great for off-piste activities (cross-country skiing, tobogganing, ice-skating), including a seriously lively après scene (head to the Longhorn if you’re wanting to get the party started), shops, bars, coffee shops and so much more.
Accommodations: Choosing where to stay in Whistler isn’t an easy task, especially during the insanely busy ski season. But don’t let that put you off. Besides the main village, there are a handful of places to stay in and around Whistler including the Upper Village, Village North and Creekside. For those wanting to be submerged in Whistler’s vibrant atmosphere without breaking the bank, the Pangea Pod Hotel is a budget-friendly option in Whistler’s village. If it’s something a little more luxe you’re after, the ski-in/ski-out Pan Pacific Whistler Mountainside and The Western Resort and Spa offer nothing short of a perfect stay.
Dining: From restaurant chain classics like Hy’s Steakhouse and Joe Fortes to local hot spots like The Bearfoot Bistro, Araxi and Wild Blue—whatever you’re dining preference, Whistler Village has you covered. Head to Purebread bakery for all things sweet, savoury and seriously drool-worthy; Cow’s for handmade ice cream in a waffle cone; and the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory for an he infamous grizzly paw.
Facebook/Big White Ski Resort
Where: Big White, Kelowna
Driving time from Vancouver: Approximately 5 hours
The powder: The third largest ski resort in British Columbia, Big White offers snow-goers 119 trails and 2,765 acres of terrain. The picturesque, ski-in ski-out village is perfect for families, those learning to ski and beginners, while also offering those more advanced the excitement they desire with a varied terrain, tree-skiing and an amazing laid-back atmosphere. Ski schools are available for all abilities and include teen clubs, parent and child lessons, and an over ’50s club. Living up to its name, ‘Big White’ offers the fluffiest powder with fresh flurries guaranteed often, and as Canada’s largest ski-in ski-out resort village, guests can ski to their doorstep as Big White’s Main Street is actually a ski run! Although not famous for their nightlife, Big White has a variety of restaurants and lively bars to keep you entertained well passed après.
Accommodations: The best ski-in ski-out accommodation is situated in the heart of the resort and can be found at Chateau Big White, which is located at the top of the village with an outdoor hot tub and spa. Urban Retreat Hostel is a more budget-friendly option, and while there is no swimming pool, there is ski-in ski-out access and with a cool vibe allowing you to meet like-minded folk.
Dining: Head to Snowshoe Sam for its live music, classic pub grub and selection of beers on tap; the on-mountain Big White Bakery and Underground Pizza for fresh pastries and—you guessed it—pizza; Globe Cafe & Tapas Bar for a great après experience; and Cantina del Centro for lovingly prepared Mexican food.
Facebook/Sun Peaks Resort
Where: Sun Peaks
Driving time from Vancouver: Approximately 4.5 hours
Skill level: Beginner to intermediate
The powder: As the second largest ski area in Canada and just an hour outside of Kamloops, Sun Peaks is at the base of Mount Morrisey, Sundance and Mount Tod, with 137 runs across 4,270 acres. A great family holiday spot, recent investment to their uphill capacity allows for a stress-free ride. Sun Peaks’ Sundance is best suited for beginner to intermediate skiers and offers a friendly network of nursery runs and blue runs, while Morrisey and Mount Todd offer more challenging routes. The delightful European-style, ski-through alpine village is filled with quaint shops, cafés and eateries, and if skiing isn’t your thing, explore winter activities like Nordic skiing, dog sledding and more.
Accommodations: Offering a variety of accommodation options—from hotels and lodges to private condos, townhomes, chalets and suites—ski-in and ski-out options are available in a abundance in Sun Peaks. Try the Sun Peaks Grand Hotel located at the foot of the slopes with its outdoor pool; or the Sun Peaks Hostel for a budget-friendly option. Complimentary resort shuttles also run on a regular schedule for the outlying village areas. And for those on a budget who don’t mind driving, you can stay in Kamloops, which is less than an hour away.
Dining: From sushi to schnitzel, grilled salmon and homemade fudge, surprise your taste buds with Sun Peaks’ dining options. Make your way to Bolacco Café for your morning coffee and baked goods, and Cahilty Creek Kitchen & Taproom, Oya sushi and Voyageur Bistro for extensive menus of fresh local eats whether you’re on the go or in need of fuel for the slopes.
Facebook/Revelstoke Mountain Resort
Where: Revelstoke, B.C.
Driving time from Vancouver: approximately 6.5 hours
Skill level: Intermediate to advanced
The powder: The newest resort of all, Revelstoke averages 12 metres of snowfall per year and is home to the longest, vertical descent ski trail in North America at 1,713 metres. With incredible terrain and inspiring views. Revelstoke Mountain Resort is located in a snowy valley on Mount Mackenzie, a 6.5 hour drive from Vancouver—but don’t let that put you off. The uphill capacity consists of the eight-passenger Revelation Gondola and three detachable quad chairlifts with 75 runs for you to enjoy. As 88 percent of the terrain here is geared towards intermediate and advanced skiers/snowboarders, you may want to skip this hot spot if you haven’t found your ski legs yet. However, if you’re happy to spend your time meandering down the handful of beginner-friendly slopes, this resort accommodates just that. Revelstoke town is a super-short five-minute drive from the mountain, making après ski entertainment after a big day on the slopes easy. And if you’re looking to challenge yourself, Revelstoke Mountain has some of the best heli-skiing in Canada.
Accommodations: Whether you’re after a luxury ski-in-ski-out resort or hotels on a budget, a wide range of options are available to fit your vacation needs. Situated in the heart of Revelstoke Mountain Resort with spectacular views of the surrounding Selkirk and Monashee Mountains, the Sutton Palace Hotel is just a few steps away from the Revelation Gondola, offering the ultimate ski-in ski-out experience. And for a cozy stay after a long day shredding, The Sandman pet-friendly property is fully equipped with an indoor pool and hot tub. Additional Revelstoke accommodation can be found in town.
Dining: A handful of dining options are available at Revelstoke Resort itself, including the Rockford Bar and Grill; the Mackenzie Common Tavern and Food Truck, offering the best in après vibes and late-night cocktails; La Petite Baguette for baked good and to-go lunches; Revelation Lodge located mid-mountain; and Mackenzie Outpost located at the top of Revelation Gondola.
Facebook/SilverStar Mountain Resort
Where: SilverStar, Kelowna
Driving time from Vancouver: Approximately 5.5 hours (1 hour from the Kelowna airport)
Skill level: Beginner to advanced.
The powder: One of B.C.’s best family-friendly ski resorts and only a short one-hour drive from Kelowna airport, SilverStar mountain offers 132 marked runs, and looks like it was plucked straight from a fairytale. There’s a colourful alpine village, and the town has access to four distinct mountain faces and offers terrain for all levels thanks to the annual seven meters of snowfall it gets. From easy greens to double black diamonds through trees and mogul fields, there’s plenty to keep you entertained in this ski-in out resort.
Accommodation: Stay in the picture-perfect newly built Firelight Lodge for the home away from home feel, with all rooms featuring a personal hot tub to enjoy (except studios); The Lord Aberdeen Hotel, offering competitive prices and located right in the centre of the village; or opt for one of SilverStars luxury, on-mountain vacation homes with room for up to eight people.
Dining: SilverStar Mountain resort has more than 18 charming cafés, restaurants, pubs and lounges to explore. Taste the best of Canada at The Red Antler; grab a quick and delicious breakfast to-go at Town Hall and Coffee; head to Den Bar and Bistro for fireside dining and so much more!
Facebook/Kicking Horse Mountain Resort
Where: Kicking Horse, Golden
Driving time from Vancouver: Approximately 8 hours (a 3-hour drive from Calgary)
Skill level: Intermediate to advanced
The powder: Home to 120 trails fit for experts, and with more than 4,300 feet of vertical, Kicking Horse was once dubbed the ‘Champagne Powder Capital of Canada’ solely for its impressive heli-skiing. Offering some of the best terrain with 85 chutes, four bowls and endless tree runs, Kicking Horse makes for incredible skiing. Although there are gentle runs towards of the base of the mountain suitable for beginners, the majority of terrain here is intense, so make sure those quads are at the ready. Providing stunning views of the Rocky Mountains and surrounding national parks, a singular gondola ride will take you from the base right to the summit.
Accommodation: For ski-in ski-out lodging, stay at the Palliser Lodge, Kicking Horse’s most upscale condo hotel offering spectacular views of the Rocky Mountains or ski hill from many of their suites. For a gondola-adjacent stay, try the Glacier Mountaineer Lodge at the Gondola Base just steps from all village shops, restaurants and bars.
Dining: Perched at an altitude of 7,700 feet, the Eagle’s Eye Restaurant is a must-do as Canada’s most elevated restaurant, which overlooks the surrounding National Parks. And maybe most unique, try Heaven’s Door Yurt and enjoy a fresh baked pizza or sandwich mountainside.
Originally published January 2023