Ski in BC: Where to Push Yourself Out of Your Comfort Zone

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An Insiders’ Guide to choosing the mountain that’s right for you

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

Skiers and snowboarders are a diverse bunch. Some purists salivate over the perfect lines of groomed corduroy. Others find nirvana in the freedom of light, dry, blower powder. Still others think mogul bumps are where it’s at, while some live for sweet spring corn.

Whatever you choose, there’s a place in the wilds of British Columbia’s mountains where you can push your inner ski and snowboard Aussie self one step wilder and revel in your very own sweet spot.

Whistler Blackcomb | Blake Jorgenson

Big and Bold

Whistler Blackcomb

“Whistler’s a year-round playground. Some of the best terrain, conditions, and experiences you’ll ever have.” Aaron Wilmshurst, Sydney, Australia

You don’t get bigger and bolder than Whistler Blackcomb. The granddaddy of British Columbia’s ski resorts, Whistler Blackcomb, boasts 8,171 acres of skiable terrain (the largest in bounds in North America) across two mountain peaks connected by the famed, and world’s longest, PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola. Not convinced? How do three glaciers, 16 alpine bowls, and 200 marked runs sound? Thought so.

Fernie Alpine Resort | Reuben Krabbe

Breathtaking Views

Fernie Alpine Resort

Fernie Alpine Resort’s five impressive bowls serve up 2,500 acres and a stunning backdrop from the Main Street of downtown. This picture-perfect mountain is rugged and untamed and loved by those who revel both in its varied terrain and its vast beauty. Try your hand at the steeps of Currie Bowl, the hero tree skiing of Timber Bowl, the long runs of Siberia Bowl, the thrills of the Easter face on Lizard Bowl, and the natural rollers of Cedar Bowl. Whatever bowl you choose, take your camera.

Revelstoke Mountain Resort | Ryan Creary

Thigh Burn

Revelstoke Mountain Resort

“Fantastic, challenging skiing with massive fall line, brilliant town, and great people.” Cam McKechnie, Melbourne, Australia

Revelstoke Mountain Resort in the Selkirk Mountains will test your thighs from top to bottom with 1,700 metres of vertical rise (the most in North America). That’s almost two kilometres from the top altitude to the bottom altitude with plenty of steep, fall line-groomed pitch, gladed powder tree runs, and even pillow lines to push yourself further. Lucky for you there’s more than 3,100 acres and 40-plus runs so you need never come down the same way twice. If you want extra kudos take the Last Spike; it’s 15.2 kilometres long.

RED Mountain Resort | Ryan Flett

Trees, Please

RED Mountain Resort

Your wish is RED Mountain Resort’s command. If you love skiing and snowboarding the trees then you’re in the right place. Whether you want tight fall-line trees or gladed, mellow pitch trees, you’ll find options on every aspect at RED. Let your groomer-loving friends hit the piste while you schuss through the green on the side and then both meet up at the chair. Win/win.

Big White Ski Resort | Blake Jorgenson

Push Yourself

Big White Ski Resort

Not all skiers and boarders are created equal—but you can push yourself out of your comfort zone at Big White. Groomers can carve their tuned edges through the fast and smooth uber-groomed Okanagan corduroy then test their mettle skiing through the snow-laden monster trees, or snow ghosts, for which the resort is famed. Think you’re ready to play with the big kids? Head straight to The Cliff for some off-piste terrain and prove your advanced status in the Okanagan champagne powder before making your way into cinnamon-wafted wooden cabins for melted hot chocolate served fireside.

SIlverStar Mountain Resort | Blake Jorgenson

Ski-In/Ski-Out

SilverStar Mountain Resort

“SilverStar suits me. I’m not looking to party all night. No lift lines, beautiful big mountain. Just clip into your skis outside your accommodation and head off for the day.” Megan Hawkins, Singleton, Australia

Don’t let the Christmas Card setting of SilverStar’s ski-in/ski-out Main Street fool you. The sweet, multi-coloured alpine houses dotted within the trees may calm you into a sense of soothing security but ski out of your accommodation past the groomed front side of this mountain and prepare to be challenged.

The back side of SilverStar is a black- and double-black-diamond lovers delight where skiers and boarders can push themselves to tackle steep off-piste chutes, powder tree runs, and the best cinnamon sticky buns in the business at the ski-in Paradise Camp.

 

Sun Peaks Resort | Reuben Krabbe

Prepare to Heli

Sun Peaks Resort

Sun Peaks is a picture-postcard ski-in/ski-out alpine village servicing three mountains of fun for all levels. But did you know that the resort is also known as a training ground for heli-skiers? The powder bowls, tree runs, and light, dry snow provide the perfect opportunity to get your ski legs and feel the burn before heading to nearby Mike Wiegele Helicopter Skiing for a multi-day powder feast.

Take a Sun Peaks “intro to backcountry” course and up your ski ante in the patrolled backcountry boot-pack terrain of Gil’s Bowl. Explore open fields, chutes, and tree runs. If you need a bigger nudge, ski with Olympic champion Nancy Greene. The Canadian icon takes skiers to her favourite stashes five days a week at 1 p.m. If you can keep up.

Eagle's Eye at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort | Ryan Creary

Steep and Wild

Kicking Horse Mountain Resort

“Two thirds of the mountain is advanced and challenging, big moguls, best logo, must do at least once.” Cam McKechnie, Melbourne, Australia

Ski and snowboard on the backside of Kicking Horse and expect a rodeo-style ride. This wild mountain lures you in with beautifully spaced blue and green runs seen from the road, but what you can’t see can hurt you. Head over the back and discover five bowls boasting 61 double-black-diamond runs and 60-plus unnamed triple-diamond runs. Enter at your own risk—we know you want to.

Panorama Mountain Resort

Snowcat-Assisted Skiing

Panorama Mountain Resort

Step into the off-piste wilds far from a chairlift without leaving the resort at Panorama. The Monster cat-skiing terrain is 750 acres of inbound open bowls, gladed ridge lines, steeps, and roll overs accessed by a cat ride a short walk behind Summit Hut. Lap the Monster terrain and use the cat as your personal lift to rugged patrolled wilderness.

Whitewater Ski Resort | Gina Bégin

Old-School Pow

Whitewater Ski Resort

“WH2O is rubbish, do not go.” Blair Hislop, Brisbane, Australia (Aussie speak for it’s good. Tell no one.)

Whitewater near Nelson has a cult-like status. Whispers of the blower powder, rugged peaks, old-school base lodge, and hearty food echo through the valleys of British Columbia’s mountain towns until you heed their call. When you do you’ll discover friendly locals, an upbeat vibe, no lift lines, and mellow-to-super-steep tree runs for days cut through with powder-laden groomed slopes. Oh, and that food—that glorious food.

Header image: Whistler Blackcomb |Blake Jorgenson

Revelstoke Mountain Resort | Andrew Strain

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POSTED BY: Rachael Oakes-Ash

Rachael Oakes-Ash, a.k.a. @misssnowitall, is Australia’s leading ski and snow journo and the founder of Snowsbest.com. The self-confessed snow addict has schussed the slopes of the world’s best ski destinations, including British Columbia, for 15 years by chairlift, cat, heli, and skins and written for all the big guns from Condé Nast to ESPN Freeskiing, Inside Sport, Australian Financial Review, TIME, and more.

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