Skiing and snowboarding are a deep-rooted part of life in British Columbia. Nights and weekends are spent on the mountains, looking for fresh powder and revisiting favorite runs. For many locals, winter really can’t come soon enough.

Thirteen world-class resorts, boundless backcountry, and incredible snowfalls combine to make BC one of the true North American ski and snowboard hubs. Whether you want to relax with a few easy runs before enjoying the après-ski, or you’re after the toughest double black diamonds and the biggest vertical drops, you’ll find what you’re after here.

Here’s a look at some of British Columbia’s ski and snowboard highlights.

Cypress Mountain - Credit: Destination BC/Insight Photography
Cypress Mountain – Credit: Destination BC/Insight Photography

Skiing via Vancouver

Three ski hills sit within 30 minutes of downtown Vancouver, and you can actually see them all from within the city itself. Cypress MountainGrouse Mountain, and Mount Seymour all have verticals of at least a 300m (Cypress Mountain is the largest of the bunch at 612m) and showcase fabulous views of the city, especially after dark when all three light up runs for night skiing. These are all great options if you only have a day or two to spend in Vancouver, but are eager to hit the slopes.

For those with a bit more time in BC, there’s Whistler Blackcomb.

In 2010, the eyes of the world turned to Whistler Blackcomb as an official venue of the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. While the games have come and gone, everything else is still here!

Only a two-hour scenic drive from Vancouver, Whistler Blackcomb is consistently rated the top ski and snowboard resort in North America. Sitting right next to each other you have two mountains covered in ski and snowboard runs for all skill levels, from glacier riding to bunny hills, connected by the spectacular Peak 2 Peak Gondola. Runs lead right into the heart of Whistler Village, where the many bars and restaurants are perfect for the ever-popular après-ski. The ski season at Whistler Blackcomb is also one of the longest in North America, running from late November to early May, with glacier skiing on Blackcomb available until late July. The term “must-visit” was invented for this resort.

Sun Peaks - Credit: Destination BC/Adam Stein
Sun Peaks – Credit: Destination BC/Adam Stein

Riding the Interior

As you head east through the British Columbia Interior, with Vancouver in your rearview mirror, there are a number of really incredible ski resorts to explore.

The Thompson Okanagan region, in south-central BC, is home to high altitudes and a dry climate that gives rise to some of North America’s fluffiest snow, known locally as “champagne powder.” The region’s resorts are blessed with long verticals, varied terrain, and are generally uncrowded. Here are a few of your options:

Read more…