A ski resort with terrain for all levels and closeby lodging, lots of apres ski activities and a good ski school make for great vacations on snow.
Big mountains, tremendous vertical drops, vast alpine bowls and rolling ridges, generally consistent snow and surprisingly short distances make British Columbia a candy story for skiers and riders, offering enough variety to last a lifetime. There are 13 major resorts in BC.
Whistler Blackcomb is the Big Shot of BC ski resorts with two mountains, 8,171 acres of alpine terrain served by 36 lifts with an uphill capacity of 69,939 skiers/riders per hour. This huge resort is 100 miles north of Vancouver - less than two hours away by car from the airport.
Whistler Blackcomb hosted a number of events at the 2010 Winter Olympic Games.
Whistler's vertical is 5,020 feet while Blackcomb's is an even mile at 5,280 feet. The base elevation for both is 2,140 with Whistler's summit at 7,160 feet and Blackcomb's at 7,494. Each offers more than 100 trails and slopes, more than half of them intermediate terrain, with the longest at each 7 miles. Whistler has 19 lifts, including 2 high-speed gondolas, 6 high-speed quads and 2 high-speed 6-packs. Blackcomb has 16 lifts - a high-speed gondola, 7 high-speed quads, 2 triples and 7 surface lifts. The two areas have snowmaking, and there are five terrain parks (two on Blackcomb and two on Whistler) and one halfpipe.
Cypress Mountain is close to Vancouver and is highest of the North Shore peaks with a 2,010 foot-vertical, 53 trails - the longest 2.5 miles, served by 9 lifts. Cypress, too, hosted some Olympic events. Other nearby ski areas include Grouse Mountain, Hemlock Resort, Manning Park Resort and Mount Seymour.
Kimberley Alpine Resort and Fernie Alpine Resort offer skiing farther inland. Kimberley has a vertical drop of 2,465 feet off a summit elevation of 6,500 feet, 1,800 acres of terrain, 80 trails with the longest run just under 4 miles in length and 5 lifts - a high-speed quad, a triple, a double, 1 T-bar and 1 Magic Carpet. Fernie has a vertical of 3,550 feet, a summit elevation of 7,050 feet, 2,504 acres of skiable terrain, 142 trails, 5 bowls and numerous glades. There are also 10 lifts - 2 high-speed quads, 2 quads, 3 triples and 3 surface lifts.
Fairmont Hot Springs Resort; Kicking Horse Mountain - with 4,314 feet of vertical; Panorama Mountain; Revelstoke Mountain Resort; RED Mountain Resort - 110 runs, 3,850 skiable acres and 2,919-foot vertical; Saimo Ski Hill; Summit Lake Resort; and Whitewater Ski Resort complete the ski areas of the central BC Rockies.
Northern B.C. holds Murray Ridge Ski Hill, Powder King Mountain Resort, Purden Ski Village, Shames Mountain Ski Resort, Hudson Bay Mountain Resort and Whitewater Ski Resort.
The Okanagan region of British Columbia offers the second-largest ski area in the province. The area includes Big White Ski Resort with 2,765 acres of patrolled terrain, 119 designated trails, 15 lifts and a vertical of 2,550 feet. It also features Western Canada’s largest night skiing area at 38 acres. This is wine country so you'll never need hydration. This region also has Apex Mountain Resort, Crystal Mountain, Harper Mountain, Mount Baldy, Phoenix Mountain Resort, Silver Star Mountain Resort and Sun Peaks Ski Resort.
The nearest ski resorts to Vancouver are:
Whistler and Blackcomb are about two hours out from the city.
The largest ski resort in BC is Whistler Blackcomb with over 8,000 acres of slopes, and this is followed by Sun Peaks with over 4,000 acres of slopes.
Many BC ski resorts are family friendly. These include the following: