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From Snowy Peaks to Cozy Retreats, Here’s Why You Should Visit BC Mountains This Winter

December 12, 2023
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Chills & Thrills: Ski Festivals and Events to Warm Your Winter Heart

There’s nothing quite like a ski (or après-ski) party at BC resorts! Plan your ski trip around one of these hallmark events.

  • Western Canada’s largest winter carnival runs in Vernon and nearby SilverStar Mountain Resort Feb. 2-11, 2024. The festival kicks off with a Balloon Glow in Polson Park on Feb. 3, when hot air balloons light up the evening sky, and carries on with the BC Snow Sculpture Competition (Feb. 2-4) and the Fat Shoe Duathlon, a Fat Bike/Snowshoe race at Sovereign Lake Nordic Centre.
  • Watch the planet’s best freeskiers and snowboard freeriders tackle the steep, ungroomed, big mountain terrain at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort during the Freeride World Tour, taking place Feb. 14-20, 2024.
  • Panorama Mountain Resort is the place to be this Family Day weekend (Feb. 16-19, 2024) with Family Day fireworks and a nighttime Lantern Ski through the forest following a trail of lit lanterns to the Pentagon Hut.
  • If Darwinism had a snowboard equivalent, it would be the Natural Selection Tour, happening at Revelstoke Mountain Resort March 10-17, 2024. Riders battle over two days of head-to-head competition in the backcountry and at the resort, which winnows down the playing field so the best snowboarders advance.
  • Break out your sunglasses and sunscreen for the Whistler World Ski & Snowboard Festival, April 8-14, 2024, where revelers pay tribute to mountain culture on and off the slopes. Highlights include ski and snowboard competitions, the annual Slush Cup, live music, and après-ski patio parties.

Cross-Country Skiing at Panorama Mountain Resort | Destination BC/Stirl and Rae Photo

Mountain Mix: Resorts Serving Up Fun On & Off The Slopes

BC resorts are blessed with deep powder snow every season—up to 400 inches (1,000+ cms) at Whistler, for example. All that white stuff makes for epic skiing and riding, but it also translates into fun off the slopes, from snowshoeing and fat biking to snowmobiling and dog sledding. 

  • Discover North America’s most expansive network of cross-country ski trails at SilverStar Mountain Resort, where 105 kms of paths groomed for skate and Nordic skiing connect the resort’s snowy summit with neighbouring Sovereign Lake Nordic Centre. Many of the trails, including the resort’s multi-use snowshoeing and fat biking paths also welcome dogs on leash, and everything is accessible using SilverStar’s MY1PASS. This all-inclusive ticket lets guests downhill ski or snowboard, cross-country ski, night ski, snowshoe, fat bike, ice skate on Brewer’s Pond, or tube down the tracks at Tube Town. After an active day, ski right into a slopeside, dog-friendly condo and relax those quads in a private hot tub or book a massage at Elevate Spa.
  • If skiers and riders ever get tired of shredding Whistler Blackcomb’s 8,000+ acres of bowls, glades, groomers, and glaciers, they can stow the planks and try out The Adventure Group’s new winter Park Pass model. Choose a base activity such as Winter Superfly Ziplines, then add on additional activities including snowmobiling, snowshoeing, and the multimedia Vallea Lumina experience, at a discounted rate. Other off-slope activities at Whistler include dog sledding through an old-growth forest in the Callaghan Valley, plunging into the hydrotherapy circuit at Scandinave Spa, or watching the weekly Fire & Ice Show where skiers pull tricks through a burning ring of fire in Skiers Plaza. 
  • New glading, better snowmaking and a second passenger snowcat to shuttle guests to Taynton Bowl for backcountry-like riding headline Panorama Mountain Resort’s on-slope upgrades. There’s plenty to do off the mountain, too, from the usual winter sports suspects (ice skating, snowshoeing, and Nordic schussing), to more adrenaline-fuelled activities. Try tandem paragliding from the top of the resort for panoramic views of the Purcell and Rocky Mountain ranges, or join a snowmobile tour into the backcountry with Toby Creek Adventures and zoom past a frozen waterfall on the way to historic Paradise Mine and Paradise Cabin, where hot chocolate awaits. Back at the resort, don’t forget to soak in the expansive heated outdoor pools under the stars.
  • Sun Peaks Resort, BC’s second-largest ski area, is including access to its popular Nordic trail network on full-day and half-day alpine lift tickets this season, so flatland dabblers can follow-up their downhill fun by gliding along the 30+ kilometres of groomed cross-country trails. The adventures continue off the slopes, with backcountry dog sledding tours, guided ice fishing trips, or axe-throwing lessons for lumberjack wannabes.

A group downhill skiing at Big White Ski Resort | Blake Jorgenson

Sip, Ski & Celebrate: Ski Companies Marking a Mountain Milestone

Ever since British Columbia’s first ski race was held from the top of RED Mountain way back in 1896, people have been strapping planks to their booted feet in BC’s mountains. This season we celebrate anniversaries and milestones, and herald these companies’ contributions to mountain culture.

  • Big White Ski Resort turns 60. What began as one T-bar and a dream in 1963 has grown into a powder playground that spans over 2,700 acres of varied terrain accessed by 16 chairlifts. In the last six decades, Big White Resort has consistently been named one of Canada’s best family resorts thanks to its soft snow, beginner learning areas, car-free pedestrian village, and off-slope activities like mini snowmobiles for kids. Most recently, it was named second in North America for snowboarding in USA Today’s Reader’s Choice 2023 vote.

    In order to ensure it remains a fan favourite for the next 60 years, Big White recently partnered with Protect Our Winters Canada (POW) to make sustainability a priority—80 to 100 per cent of lifts are powered by renewable hydro, the resort uses reusable, re-loadable passes to cut down on plastic use, and Big White is building a new water treatment facility to produce clean effluent that can be used for irrigation and snowmaking, among other green initiatives.


  • Northern Escape Heliskiing turns 20. What do you need to be named the World’s Best Heliskiing Operation not once, but twice? A deep, light, reliable snowpack that consistently covers exciting big mountain topography: alpine bowls, enormous glaciers, steep chutes, and hero tree skiing. These conditions and terrain come together in Terrace, located in Northern BC near the Alaskan panhandle. Not only is Northern Escape Heliskiing the best, it’s one of a handful of carbon-neutral heliskiing operations. The company partners with Synergy Enterprises to offset the sport’s carbon footprint.

    To celebrate 20 years of face shots and pillow drops, Northern Escape is offering 20 per cent off a selection of its early season packages, which include helicopter rides, snowcat skiing backup (in case of inclement weather that grounds the chopper), boutique lodging, gourmet meals, avalanche safety equipment and training, certified guides, and lodge transfers.


  • Kicking Horse’s resident grizzly bear turns 20. Most resorts don’t have an apex predator sharing real estate with skiers, but for the past 20 years, Gortex-clad riders have been zipping past the fenced-off 20-acre refuge of Boo—a grizzly bear orphaned when his mom was shot by a poacher. Though Boo will be hibernating for most of the ski season, visitors can still celebrate the epic terrain that he calls home.

    Since opening in 2000, Kicking Horse Mountain Resort has been heralded as a must-stop on BC’s famed Powder Highway. Averaging 24 feet of snow each season that’s spread across 3,500 acres of alpine bowls and chutes, and one of the biggest vertical drops in North America at 4,314 feet, Kicking Horse is the place to come for big mountain inspiration. In fact, it’s the only North American stop on the Freeride World Tour (Feb. 14-20, 2024), and advanced skiers and riders can check out the gnarly terrain themselves in the resort’s Fuez Bowl and Rudi’s Bowl.