BC’s Best Winter Getaways

Ski, snowshoe, sled, sip and soak your way around BC this winter

Whether you prefer to spend your vacation days in the presence of fresh pow, or would rather watch winter’s storms from the comfort of an ocean-front spa, these 10 BC winter getaways offer something for every fair and foul-weather traveller

For those who love everything that winter has to offer, there's no place like BC.

So if you save your vacation days for the winter months, here are 10 local getaways that will have you skiing, dog sledding, ice fishing, snowshoeing, ice climbing and tubing, before thawing in hot springs and sipping on some fine BC wines.

Heliskiing or Catskiing in Whistler

Miles of untouched terrain await the skier or border who chooses to adventure beyond slope boundaries with Powder Mountain Catskiing.

Whether scoping out runs from the cockpit of a helicopter or powering up the mountain in a snowcat, one thing is certain, nothing stands between you and the mountain when you're heliskiing or catskiing. No lifts, no lines, no crowds.

Get your adrenaline pumping as you drop into a bowl of fresh power, glide across glacier runs and through tree trails, all the while taking in the awesome scenery of the pristine peaks surrounding you.

Although venturing into the backcountry may seem like something better left to the experts, even in this remote landscape green and blue runs are available for the average skier. A certified guide will assess the skill level of all participants with a starter run to determine suitable terrain. And with only three other skiers/boarders in your group, you’ll hardly be fighting for attention.

Wickaninnish Spa Getaway

If a busy week has you yearning for down pillows rather than downhill skiing, or if that last trip up the mountain left your back in knots, indulge in a weekend of rest and relaxation at Tofino’s Wickaninnish Inn.

Greet the morning with a yoga class in the private Rainforest Haven studio, before choosing from a variety of treatments and packages at the Ancient Cedars Spa. Soak in a bath of seaweed salts, try a mani/pedi, or loosen your muscles with a hot stone massage.

Once your mind and body are at ease, return to the tranquility of your room and take in the majesty of the Vancouver Island coastline before you. All rooms boast ocean views, which become even more impressive in the winter as gale force winds and 10-foot breakers turn the ocean into a raging storm before your eyes. (Special rates start at $220 during storm watching season.)

Kids and pets are also welcome. The Wickaninnish offers special pet-friendly rooms and dog sitting. And when it comes time for that much needed massage or glass of wine, babysitters are available to entertain your little ones.

Alpine Adventuring in Revelstoke

Journey to the edge of the BC Rockies with Revelstoke Alpine Adventures for some extreme winter recreation that will have you traversing through miles of untouched terrain or climbing your way up the side of a frozen waterfall.

The mountain peaks surrounding Revelstoke offer unique alpine adventuring that makes the 6.5-hour road trip worth the mileage. Strap on your gear and hike hut to hut on the high level Wapta Traverse. This glaciated trek will take you to four different alpine huts over the course of five days and offers breathtaking views of the surrounding mountain range.

Alternatively, you can try your hand at ice climbing, using some of the best frozen waterfalls on the planet as your winter playground. Experienced guides will lead you along ice routes that scale the sides of mountains and bring you face to face with nature’s frozen force.

Family Fun at Silver Star

Take your kids to the closest thing BC has to a storied winter wonderland. With its colourful village gently dusted in snow and decorated with a fresh crop of icicles, Silver Star will delight the imagination of both you and your kids.

And the excitement doesn’t end there. Beyond the standard ski and board lessons, a new program has been added for this upcoming season: Mountain Free Riders. The program is designed to equip young alpine adventurers with the skills and knowledge to explore all that the mountain has to offer. Including general freeriding and terrain park practice, gate racing and even video shooting and editing skills. Safety not forgotten, avalanche awareness is an important part of the program to ready young riders for roaming the mountain on their own.

Off the mountain, classic activities such as tubing and skating are also offered, as well as sleigh rides and laps around the mini snowmobile track. You won't here the word "bored" for the entire duration of your stay.

Ainsworth Hot Springs

If bundling yourself up for an early day on the mountain is not your winter style, then Ainsworth Hot Springs offers an alternative way to relax this season.

Dip your toes into the warm natural mineral waters of the lounging pools, or explore the hot spring cave with its stalactites and stalagmites. This unique horseshoe-shaped stone cave is where the waters first enter Ainsworth and is the hottest pool on site.

Once you're hot enough to require cooling, grit your teeth in the stream-fed cold plunge. Later, take a scenic hike through the surrounding forest trails or continue the relaxation with a nice dinner in the Springs Dining Room.

Dogsledding in Prince George

Riding in a dogsled at the hands of a guide is an exciting experience, but it doesn’t compare to the thrill of being at the helm of the sled, steering it yourself across the snowy terrain.

Dog Power Adventures lets participants take hold of the reins and lead their own team of six huskies through the trails. Its All Inclusive Three Day Dog Sledding Adventure takes you and your canine companions on a wilderness retreat, complete with home-cooked meals, campfires and lots of time steering your sled. It's an experience you won't find anywhere else!

Sun Peaks Winter Festival of Wine

Apres ski done right! Sun Peaks Alpine Village has ingeniously taken two of the region's best assets and combined them in the 15th annual Winter Festival of Wine. From January 12 to 20 you can trade in your skis (or board) for a glass of red (or white) and soak up the sites involved in this nine-day celebration.

Test your taste buds at a blind tasting, sample small plates of Sun Peaks' finest restaurant fare while sipping on perfect wine pairings or go for something unique and try wine cocktails at the Winetenders Cocktail Shake-Off.

These and various other wine-themed events take place all day long, giving you every excuse to turn winter recreation into wine recreation and try them all with one of the package deals. Or, if you’d rather wait to whet your whistle between runs on the mountain, tickets are available for each individual event as well.

Ice Fishing in Pemberton

Have you ever dreamed of camping out in a cozy ice fishing hut to see if you can get a bite? It's as simple as heading to Pemberton for a day of ice fishing on one of its frozen lakes.

Boasting some of the best ice fishing in BC, the Pemberton area offers sturdy ice and big fish, like Rainbow Trout, Bull Trout and Kokanee, to name a few. For all-day fishing trips, Pemberton Fish Finder offers a fish-catch guarantee, making sure you leave the ice with a catch in hand.

River fishing is also an option from November to April, when Coastal Cutthroat come rushing down the river in droves, making it likely you’ll walk away with more than your night's dinner.

Night Skiing on Mount Washington

Just because the sun goes down before dinner, doesn’t mean your day on the mountain needs to end, in fact, it can be just the beginning! Vancouver Island’s Mount Washington Ski Resort offers night skiing on both alpine and nordic runs throughout the season.

Known for its stellar skiing, Mount Washington makes hitting moguls or cruising terrain even more enchanting when experienced under a canopy of stars.

With runs of all skill levels open into the evening, snow bunnies and serious skiers alike can stay strapped in until 10 pm (Friday & Saturday) (9 pm Thursday & Sunday).And if carving down the Coaster isn’t enough for the alpine adventurer, the Terrain Park also stays open during those hours.

Snowshoe Fondue at Grouse Mountain

If you can’t steal away for a full-length vacation, Grouse Mountain's snowshoe fondue makes for a sweet daytrip.

Led by an expert guide, you and a small group of snowshoers wind your way through the fragrant pines on this one-hour outdoor excursion. Then, end your tour with cheese, broth and chocolate fondues at Grouse’s Altitudes Bistro.

With all equipment included, (snowshoes and headlamp for when it gets dark – tours start at 7 pm), this winter activity is a quick and easy way to get out of the city and immerse yourself in the serenity and beauty of BC’s alpine forests.