Planning a Ski Vacation in British Columbia

Hotels, Kid Friendly, Things to Do — By Natasha John on November 29, 2011 at 7:26 pm

Ski season is just around the corner, and eager snow bunnies are itching for local mountains to open up the slopes. From Vancouver, you can see that snow is beginning to dust the mountains in and around November, which excites and gets people in ‘the mood’. Should Vancouver be your destination, but you would like to plan a ski vacation along side your city visit, the options are plentiful and involve short and long drives to different mountains.

The closest to Vancouver would be Cypress, Grouse and Seymour mountains that make up the North Shore. You won’t find world-class skiing, but they fit the bill if you’re looking to just go for a day and don’t want to drive very far. They’re also great for those that don’t have much experience skiing, and there are plenty of other activities to keep the non-skiers in your group entertained. Think snowshoeing, tubing, cross-country skiing and ice skating. These slopes will satisfy city dwellers that like to hit the hill during the day, and go out on the town at night. Not to mention, the lift tickets are quite a bit cheaper than the much larger mountains outside of Vancouver.

Photo Credit: Tim Gage (Flickr)

The most popular destination that people flock to would be Whistler, and that’s for a number of reasons. Whistler is easily accessible, either by your own car or chartered bus, and takes about two hours to get there. Whistler Village and Creekside are ideal locations to rent a condo, or stay in a hotel. If you’re planning on spending a few days up there, renting a condo, cabin or room with a kitchen is likely your best bet. Many of the hotels in Whistler offer apartment-like set-ups that give you access to a kitchen, which makes that early morning breakfast before you put on your ski boots quick and convenient. It also helps keep your costs down so that you don’t have to go out for all of your meals. If you’re looking for accommodations with the aforementioned amenities, you can’t get much closer to the Whistler-Blackcomb gondola at the base of the mountain. However, there are those times where it’s nice to be pampered and spoiled, and the Fairmont Chateau Whistler, Pan Pacific, Nita Lake Lodge and the Four Seasons are all fabulous choices that will be the icing on the cake to your luxury ski trip. A one day lift pass for an adult costs $96, and the more days you buy a pass for, the more of a discount you can receive.

Photo Credit: Hyougushi (Flickr)

Whistler isn’t the only major destination that skiers and snowboarders flock to, Sun Peaks in the Okanagan is a beautiful ski village with stellar slopes and lovely accommodations. It’s definitely a much longer drive, but the Coquihalla Highway makes it a pretty direct route and it’s just 45 minutes outside of Kamloops, where there is an airport. So, you can either make a road trip out of it, or catch a flight and be there in no time. Just like Whistler, there’s a charming village that’s the main hub of Sun Peaks, where you can grab groceries, go out for dinner, do a little shopping and take in the mountain views. The accommodation is plentiful and will suit the needs of  small or large groups. Make sure to bring your bathing suit, because many accommodations in Sun Peaks and Whistler offer hot tubs and pools and your muscles will appreciate the warm TLC at the end of the day. Lift tickets for adults start at $74/day, but if you’re planning on going for more than two days, you can buy a multiple day pass that will be slightly cheaper.

Photo Credit: Yannick Carer (Flickr)

Sometimes you can find a hotel and ski pass combination, which can save you quite a few dollars, so look into those types of deals before booking your accommodation.

Tags: Cypress, Grouse, okanagan, Seymour, skiing, snowboarding, sun peaks, Whistler, winter