With 85 years of skiing, Vancouver's Grouse Mountain has something to celebrate this winter.
It has grown from its first rope tow into a resort that offers year-round recreation, dining, wildlife education, entertainment, and its annual month-long Christmas festival.
The Tyee Ski Club, one of Canada's oldest ski clubs, built the first rope tow on Grouse Mountain in the 1930s. But Grouse's big claim to fame was the installation of the world's first double chairlift in 1949. The resort added more lifts over the years along with lodges, restaurants, the Theater in the Sky, Skyride, and most recently, its wind turbine and ziplines.
Kids skiing and snowboarding can stop by Santa's Workshop to share their Christmas wishes at Grouse Mountain. Photo by Jodi/Flickr.
This time of year, the resort also hosts one of its biggest annual celebrations - the Peak of Christmas. The month-long festival brings Santa Claus to the slopes every day until Christmas Eve. Families visiting Grouse for skiing or riding can stop in Santa's Workshop daily to meet the jolly man in red and Mrs. Claus. Santa's Workshop sits adjacent to the natural outdoor ice rink.
The outdoor ice rink opens 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. for family skating on the 8,000-square-foot frozen pond. Special lessons are available from skating champion Karen Magnussen and friends on Dec. 3, 10, and 17. An ice show on Dec. 17 features Karen Magnussen along with other international skaters and local athletes.
A natural ice rink offers a place to skate all winter at Grouse. Photo by Dave Rutt/Flickr.
Other Peak of Christmas activities include sleigh rides and holiday movies shown in Grouse's Theater in the Sky. Carolers and choirs add live music to the atmosphere 6-8 p.m. on weekdays and 1-3 p.m. on weekends. The SOS Children's Village Parade of Trees features decorated and lighted trees. Wildlife Rangers present Reindeer Interpretive Sessions at the Habitat in the afternoons twice daily. Special dining events also squeeze into the schedule, including Breakfast with Santa.
Many of the Peak of Christmas activities are free with a general admission ticket. For more info, call Guest Services at 604-980-9311 or check http://www.grousemountain.com/events/the-peak-of-christmas--2" target="_blank">here.