British Columbia, Canada’s most westerly province, is full of magnificent towering mountains, and in the winter, they’re coated in snow. Hand-in-hand with the snow comes skiing and snowboarding resorts dotted throughout the province.
It’s no wonder British Columbia hosted the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. Huge verticals, epic snowfalls, expansive backcountry, diverse terrain, spectacular scenery, and a mild winter climate provide the perfect combination for big mountain skiing and family-friendly resorts too.
British Columbia currently has 13 major ski resorts which offer skiing and snowboarding on everything from wide-open terrain and tree lines to black-diamond steeps and chutes. Most of these resorts offer ski-in, ski-out accommodations, rentals, and lessons.
Over half of BC’s big ski resorts are situated in the Kootenay Rockies area. Also known as the ‘Powder Highway’, there are four amazing mountain ranges within this region: the Monashees, Purcells, Selkirks, and the Rockies, and up to 12-18m/40-60ft of light, dry powder falls each year.
When visiting the Kootenay Rockies you can expect shorter lift lines (than the Coastal Mountains), open and less busy slopes, and a friendly atmosphere. Since there are so many resorts all within short proximity of the ‘Powder Highway’ skiers can easily sample a diverse variety of slopes in one trip.
Resorts In The Kootenay Rockies
- Revelstoke Mountain Resort – BC’s newest ski resort
- Kicking Horse Mountain Resort, in Golden
- Panorama Mountain Village, near Invermere
- Kimberley Alpine Resort
- Fernie Alpine Resort
- Red Mountain Resort, Rossland
- Whitewater Ski Resort, Nelson
This region is known for champagne powder snow and for being very family-friendly with terrain to satisfy every skiing level of ability. In a single season, up to 7m/23ft may fall on the slopes. Voted on Ski Canada magazine, the Thompson Okanagan resorts have been recognized for having great ski-in/ski-out accommodations.
Thompson Okanagan Resorts
- Sun Peaks Resort, near Kamloops
- Big White Ski Resort, near Kelowna
- Silver Star Mountain Resort, close to Vernon
- Apex Mountain Resort, west of Penticton
Vancouver and the Coast
This region offers some great and the most accessible skiing in British Columbia, as all are a quick drive from the city of Vancouver. There are three ski mountains within the greater Vancouver area where one can enjoy stunning ocean and city views of Vancouver.
Resorts Near Vancouver & The Coast
- Cypress Mountain
- Grouse Mountain
- Mount Seymour
Cypress Mountain hosted many 2010 Winter Games events.
Whistler, a two-hour drive north of Vancouver is an award-winning resort town and was the 2010 Winter Games’ official host mountain resort. It has been named the best ski destination in North America by US-based Skiing Magazine for an unprecedented 13 consecutive years, with the best apres-ski scene on the continent.
The two mountains of Whistler Blackcomb hold the record of offering the most skiable terrain than any other destination in North America. There are over 200 runs, three glaciers, and many terrain parks. Whistler is also home to a record-breaking gondola – the PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola, which links Whistler and Blackcomb mountains, transporting skiers on a quick and scenic 11-minute, 4.4 km/2.7-mile ride. It also provides access to the Whistler Suspension Bridge, Cloudraker Skybridge.
For a smaller size skiing experience, east of Vancouver are Hemlock Valley (near Harrison Hot Springs) and Manning Park Ski Resort. Both are less popular and have pristine surroundings with the benefit of uncrowded slopes.
The island’s location between the Pacific Ocean and the Strait of Georgia makes for the perfect combination of creating heaps of a deep and all-natural snow base which is perfect for skiing and snowboarding. The average snowfall is in the range of 10.5m/35ft.
Mount Washington Alpine Resort is located within the Comox Valley and is the biggest ski area on the island. It has been voted to be in the top twelve for Best Powder, by Ski Canada Magazine.
Mount Washington’s chairlift glides to a mile above sea level, offering visitors an incredible 360-degree panoramic view of the Strait of Georgia and the Sunshine Coast from Powell River to Sechelt, with the peaks of the Coast Mountains behind them. Closer at hand, the many peaks adorning Strathcona Park’s Forbidden Plateau region look just as spectacular.
Mount Cain Alpine Park is situated two hours northwest of Campbell River. Heaps of untouched powder build up during the week, as this winter park is only open on weekends and Mondays. It is operated by the non-profit Mt. Cain Alpine Park Society and is Vancouver Island’s only community-owned and operated snow activity facility with tons of enjoyable and challenging runs.
As the mountain is located in the interior of the island, it is known for drier snow than other Coastal mountains and fabulous spring skiing conditions.
Northern British Columbia
Big powder dumps, breathtaking landscapes, exhilarating tree-skiing, steeps, and fresh tracks are just a few things one can expect when venturing up to the north.
Oh yes, and no queues and charming small-town friendliness too!
And not to mention, the season is nice and long too – November openings with April closures. There are three main ski resorts: Hudson Bay Mountain Resort (24km/14mi west of Smithers), Powder King Mountain Resort at Pine Pass (67km/42mi northeast of Mackenzie), and Shames Mountain (35km/22mi west of Terrace).
Cariboo Chicotin Coast
Aaah, sunny skies, no crowds, and a peaceful, laid-back vibe on local hills – what more can anyone ask for? This region has some amazing skiing terrain. There are two skiing areas to explore: Mount Timothy Ski Area (100 Mile House) and Troll Ski Resort (Wells). Both ski hills draw a local crowd and are out of the mainstream. Expect dry, light powder and a welcoming atmosphere.
In short, there are about a million ski resorts in B.C. Even though we spend most of our winter skiing in the States, we try to cross the border at least once to see what their snow has to offer.
From the world-renowned Whistler Blackcomb to the hidden gems of Mount Cain Alpine Park and Troll Ski Resort, there really is something for everyone.
So whether you’re a seasoned pro seeking challenging slopes or a family looking for a friendly and accessible ski destination, find somewhere to book today!