Cypress Mountain's 2014 opening day on the hills — Photo courtesy of Cypress Mountain
When winter ski season arrives, dust off those boots, pack up your board, grab a lift ticket and get ready for a day of fresh powder and thrilling runs. Check out local hills on Vancouver's North Shore, or pack up the car and head up to Whistler.
North Shore Mountains
The North Shore Mountains have three ski resorts, they're all only about a half-hour drive from the city. Though the runs aren't as long as Whistler-Blackcomb, it's a huge treat to have skiing so close to the city.
Grab your skis, zip up that jacket, put on those gloves and head to Cypress Mountain! This mountain is equipped with six chair lifts and 53 ski runs (ranging from green to orange), so there's something for everyone here. They usually open in mid-November and go through sometime in April.
After a day of powder, why not go to the Crazy Raven Bar & Grill for après-ski?
Mt Seymour has been a leader in freestyle skiing and snowboarding since the early 1990s, and it continues to be a local favorite. Ride the five chairlifts and explore 40 trails (plus many acres of off-piste terrain) and four terrain parks with 12 trails.
Not into skiing, but love the snow? There's snowshoeing, tobogganing and tubing here.
Grouse Mountain attracts visitors throughout the year. During the summer months, fitness enthusiasts flock here to do the Grouse Grind. When the snow falls, you'll hear the hills buzzing with skiers and snowboarders alike. Opening day is weather dependent.
Ski Mt Seymour — Photo courtesy of Mt Seymour
When you think of British Columbia, Whistler may be one of the first places that come to mind; given the town’s natural beauty and incredible mountains, it’s not surprising. The two-hour drive up to Whistler is a stunner, and it goes by pretty quickly, too.
With an average annual snowfall of 30 feet, Whistler-Blackcomb is one of the best ski resorts in the world. The best skiing is done during the colder months, but glacier skiing often lasts into August.
The two mountains have a combined acreage of over 8100 acres, with 200 marked trails and 38 lifts able to move 61,407 skiers per hour – you never have to wait too long to get on the lift.
The longest runs are seven miles, and there's a solid mix of varying levels. For those who prefer to snowboard, there are several parks and pipes to practice your tricks.
Want to hit up both mountains? Hop on the PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola, and make your way across to the other side and enjoy 360-degree views along the way.
After a day of skiing, go to Whistler Village for après-ski; it's basically a rite of passage. For something a little more fancy, slip back to your hotel and treat yourself to a five-star meal at Araxi or Bearfoot Bistro. There are plenty of ski-in and ski-out hotels and lodging options around the mountain.
Whistler Mountain and Blackcomb Mountain usually open in late November and close in April. Depending on the weather, they may open earlier.
With so many options to choose from, it's a good thing we're looking at cold weather for the next few months, so that you can enjoy each of these ski resorts!