PLAN YOUR TRIP
Explore key travel information to plan your BC vacation.Need To Know
Rachael Oakes-Ash is an Aussie travel writer and a self-confessed Snow It All who covers all things winter and ski. This story was originally published in 2019 and updated in May 2023.
You’ve finally committed to your first BC ski trip and now you’re counting the days till you can put down the office stapler and head to the airport with UGGs in hand. We’ve got you covered with everything you’ll need to consider, pack, or prepare for, so tick off the list and thank us later.
You’ll find an exceptional collection of trusted brand skis and snowboards to rent at all the ski resorts, so save your jetlagged shoulders from schlepping your gear across the Pacific. If you love your boots, pack them in your checked or cabin luggage and book your favourite hardware ahead of time.
British Columbia in winter is a long way from Bondi, so bring layers to stay extra comfy and toasty. Try Merino-blend base layers that regulate your core temperature, ensure you have a neck gator or balaclava for skiing or snowboarding, invest in heated socks if you have the dollars, and don’t forget your toque (Canuck for beanie) and mittens. If you happen to forget something, all of the major ski resorts have outdoor retailers to help you fill in the gear gaps.
It’s un-Australian to travel without paw paw ointment so we’ll assume you’ve got it packed already, right? Paw paw will soothe your lips when exposed to the drier air and can be used as a barrier on your nose to help keep frost nip at bay.
The laid-back après couture of BC requires no sequins, heels, or blow outs. Think jeans, plaid, rugged boots, and yes, that toque again. Dressing down here is an art form.
You’ll need an Electronic Travel Authorisation before landing in Canada. It will set you back CAD$7 and is valid for five years. Apply online at least a week before you go; you’ll probably get approved within minutes but better to be organised than scrambling online at the airport.
Not all travel insurance is created equal so make sure yours covers resort skiing and snowboarding and even snowmobiling. If you plan to heli or cat or go backcountry, then triple-check what your insurance company covers. Many will only cover you if you are with a qualified guide.
Grab an international socket adaptor for your Aussie appliances. Canada uses Type A and Type B two- and three-pin sockets with a 110-120 voltage (Australia uses 230 voltage). For basic electrical items such as computers and phones, you can just use an adaptor but if you intend to take your hair dryer or electric shaver, then you’ll need to take a convertor powder adaptor.
You won’t need an international licence to rent a car in BC. Your Aussie one will do. Pack it. Road tripping is the best kind of BC tripping. The views, the views.
Visit the Need to Know page to find more travel tips and tricks.
It’s all about snow at Whitewater. This Kootenay mountain hideaway has some of the deepest, driest powder around.
NEAREST AIRPORT West Kootenay Regional Airport (YCG) | Trail Regional Airport (YZZ) | Canadian Rockies International Airport (YXC) | Spokane International Airport (GEG)
Intimate, accessible, friendly, and laidback, Panorama has long been a favourite ski destination for families.
NEAREST AIRPORT Canadian Rockies International Airport (YXC) | Calgary International Airport (YYC) | Glacier Park International Airport (FCA)
Canada’s newest ski resort claims the longest lift-served vertical in North America at 1,712 metres (5,620 feet).
NEAREST AIRPORT Kelowna International Airport (YLW) | Calgary International Airport (YYC)
Two mountains, connected by the PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola, offer more than 200 marked runs, 16 alpine bowls, and three glaciers.
NEAREST AIRPORT Vancouver International Airport (YVR) | Abbotsford International Airport (YXX) | Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA)
Ski-to-surf views and some of the deepest snow in the west define Vancouver Island's Mount Washington Alpine Resort.
NEAREST AIRPORT Comox Valley Airport (YQQ) | Campbell River Airport (YBL)
Big White Ski Resort is one big winter playground where you'll find loads of deep Okanagan powder.
NEAREST AIRPORT Kelowna International Airport (YLW)
Kicking Horse is home to four alpine bowls and chutes that keep skiers exploring for days.
NEAREST AIRPORT Calgary International Airport (YYC) | Canadian Rockies International Airport (YXC)
Think of SilverStar as a big mountain with a small-town feel, where a colourful mid-mountain village offers true ski-in/ski-out access to the slopes.
NEAREST AIRPORT Kelowna International Airport (YLW)
Apex Mountain Resort is one of British Columbia’s hidden treasures, thanks to terrific snow and varied terrain.
NEAREST AIRPORT Penticton Airport (YYF) | Kelowna International Airport (YLW)
Serious powderhounds make the trek to the southeastern corner of BC to ski at Fernie Alpine Resort.
NEAREST AIRPORT Canadian Rockies International Airport (YXC) | Calgary International Airport (YYC) | Glacier Park International Airport (FCA) | Spokane International Airport (GEG)
Kimberley Alpine Resort is known for consistent snowfall, short lift lines, and abundant sunny days.
NEAREST AIRPORT Canadian Rockies International Airport (YXC) | Glacier Park International Airport (FCA) | Spokane International Airport (GEG)
Located in Rossland along Canada's famous Powder Highway, RED Mountain Resort has 1,558 hectares (3,850 acres) of pristine skiing.
NEAREST AIRPORT Trail Regional Airport (YZZ) | West Kootenay Regional Airport (YCG) | Spokane International Airport (GEG)
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