10 Reasons Why British Columbia, Canada, is a Must-Ski Destination

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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 vacation.

 

Whistler Blackcomb

1. North America’s largest ski resort—Whistler Blackcomb—is just a 1.5-hour drive from Vancouver  

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.

Revelstoke Mountain Resort | Andrew Strain

2. Burn your thighs down the longest lift-serviced vertical in North America

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.

SilverStar Mountain Resort | Blake Jorgenson

3. Ski straight to your door and through alpine villages

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 slopeside cabin rentals, hotels at the base of gondolas, and ski-in/ski-out condo rentals.

The Josie Hotel at RED Mountain ResortWhistler’s new Pangea 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.

Dogsleding at Sun Peaks Resort | Ryan Creary

4. There’s plenty more to do than just ski

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.

Skiing at Revelstoke Mountain Resort | Royce Sihlis

5. Ski along a Powder Highway. Time to hit the road 

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.

Cat-skiing at RED Mountain Resort. | Erik Kalacis

6. Cat-ski for a mere $10? Yes, you can 

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.

Walking the trail to Schooner Cove in Tofino | @nathanielatakora via Instagram

7. Ski and surf on the same day 

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.

The Eagle’s Eye Suites at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort | Resorts of the Canadian Rockies

8. Apres-ski at Canada’s highest-elevated restaurant

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-elevation 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.

Heli-skiing in Northern British Columbia | Reuben Krabbe

9. BC is the birthplace of heli-skiing

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?

Grouse Mountain overlooking Vancouver | Pierre Leclerc/Getty Images

10. Night ski above Vancouver’s city lights at three resorts

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 MountainGrouse 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.

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POSTED BY: Leah Adams-Chute

From: Vancouver
Leah Adams-Chute likes to pedal bikes, wander trails, and chase snow. She spends her weekends exploring BC and all her other free time searching for cheap flights to places she's never been to.

Revelstoke Mountain Resort | Andrew Strain

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