A skier glides through deep powder in Whistler with the Coast Mountain range in the backdrop.

Ski in BC: Canada is Calling, Always

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Whistler Blackcomb | Blake Jorgenson

Rachael Oakes-Ash is an Aussie travel writer and a self-confessed Snow It All who covers all things winter and ski.

Skiing in British Columbia is a rite of passage, and a badge of honour, for every snow lover. Indeed, you haven’t really skied or snowboarded until you’ve taken on (and boasted about) the mammoth peaks at Revelstoke, the snow ghost-lined runs at Big White Ski Resort, or the sunset-tinged uber groomers at Sun Peaks Resort.

But why stop there? With one week you’ll barely touch the sides of the Rocky Mountain ranges; with two under your belt, you’ll have “vertical” thigh burn and a new love for the old-school ski towns, the grass-roots breweries, the quirky adventures, the people, and the poutine.


Skiing in British Columbia is unique—it’s big, rugged, and remote, and it will push you in a good way. This vast wilderness also comes with a side of big-hearted, laid-back Canadian hospitality that includes a back slap, a bear hug, and, if you’re lucky, a freshly baked cinnamon bun. Yes, checkered flannel shirts, toques (beanies), and ice skates are de rigueur, maple syrup is a staple condiment for everything, the locals put cheese and gravy on their fries, and—quelle horreur—drink clamato juice with their vodka.

But they’re kind and welcoming, too, and will invite you to come along as they throw axes at bullseyes while drinking beer in Revelstoke, cling to wire cords and zipline over snowy forests in Whistler, scream for blood in the bleachers at ice hockey matches in Vernon, and sip a cup of Grand Marnier-infused coffee served from a flaming, long-barrel gun at Apex.

Once you’ve clicked into your skis or snowboard, make your mark on the snowy canvas of BC mountains—accented by rugged ridgelines and blue-bird skies. And what a canvas it is, thanks to 10 mountain ranges, 13 major ski resorts, and a ton of cat- and heli-ski lodges from the rugged Southwest Coast to the deepest interior Kootenay Rockies.

Mica Heli Skiing Lodge | Blake Jorgenson

Journey Through the Powder Highway

BC is vast and road trips allow you to make the most of your days and take in multiple resorts, especially in the mountain playground of the province’s interior. This is where you’ll find the aptly named Powder Highway that connects a number of resorts and heli and cat operations—think of it as a mixed bag of lollies with all your favourites, so you don’t have to choose.

Here, eight world-class resorts are accessed via scenic highways that meander along mammoth blue lakes with crystal waters and snow-lined beaches, dotted with quirky heritage-filled Canuck townships. Tip: stop roadside for a hot springs soak with water views and park the car on a ferry to cross the lake for more.

The heritage mining town of Fernie, for example, serves up a Main Street in the shadow of a five-bowl ski resort, filled with mountain legends, both real (you’ll likely meet them) and mythical (you’ll hear about them). Nearby Panorama Mountain Resort is known for uber groomers and a back bowl for the adventurous looking for a patrolled backcountry-style ski experience. Oh, and you can lace up along the world’s longest ice-skating trail near Invermere.

Kicking Horse Mountain Resort will school you with 60 double blacks on the mountain, and Kimberley Alpine Resort is the hidden gem down a side street you never knew existed; Fairmont Hot Springs is a family favourite; and those who like it steep and deep will find their groove at RED Mountain Resort (and join the locals at 5 pm at Rossland Beer Company).

You’ll find the Nelson locals sculling caffeine at Oso Negro before hitting the cult-classic Whitewater Ski Resort. Add the infamous 1,700 metres of vertical at Revelstoke Mountain Resort to the mix on a guided, free mountain tour, and you’ve conquered the highway.

SilverStar Mountain Resort | Blake Jorgenson

Ski-in/Ski-Out Villages

Prefer to fly in, settle in, and ski in? Then the purpose-built resorts of the Okanagan—with ski villages where everything is literally at your door—have your name on them.

Sun Peaks is the second-largest resort behind Whistler Blackcomb, with three peaks for all levels and some of the best snowmobile adventures to frozen lakes and wiener roasts around. SilverStar Mountain Resort is a picture box of multi-coloured cottages peppered across a snowy mountain, with cruisey groomers on the front and terrain to school you on the back.

Big White Resort has cream-filled bowls of powder goodness, a pedestrian-only village, and locals playing ice hockey to add to the charm. Then there’s Apex Mountain Resort, with 5,000 acres of backcountry accessed from the resort near the wine town of Penticton.

Whistler Blackcomb and the iconic Black Tusk | Randy Lincks

Dreamin' Of The West Coast

On the west coast you’ll find the uncrowded slopes of Mount Washington Alpine Resort on Vancouver Island, where 11-plus metres of snow falls each season. Snow also blesses Whistler Blackcomb, the beast of resorts that seduces many an Aussie with its big-mountain ways. The largest ski resort in North America has it all—from glaciers, chutes, and couloirs to tree skiing and groomed skiing (and everything for beginners to experts), plus a village built to celebrate living your best life at the end of the day.


There’s no doubt that life’s an adventure in British Columbia and we haven’t even mentioned the dog sledding, ice climbing, fat biking, light shows, horse-drawn sleighs to fairy cottages in the woods, and jaw-dropping vistas that will touch you when you arrive, crawl into your heart, and tug at your soul, begging you to stay for life.

One thing’s for certain: You’ll be back. It would be rude not to, eh?


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