British Columbia: Choose your own Ski and Snow adventure

Does British Columbia have good skiing?

Does it ever! British Columbia is renowned worldwide for its exceptional skiing and snowboarding opportunities. With breathtaking mountain ranges, abundant snowfall and well-developed ski resorts, British Columbia offers an unforgettable winter experience for both beginners and seasoned enthusiasts alike. Choose from one (or more) of 13 British Columbia ski resorts across 10 diverse mountain ranges with abundant mountain adventure and rich with small-town charm. Stretching from the Pacific Ocean to the Rocky Mountains, British Columbia boasts a diverse range of ski destinations that cater to all skill levels.

What month is best for skiing in BC?

The best time for skiing in British Columbia typically spans from December to April. This period guarantees the best snow conditions and excellent skiing opportunities across the region. However, the actual timing can vary slightly depending on the specific resort. December and January are particularly favoured for early-season skiing, while February, March/April tend to offer the most consistent snowfall, the best conditions and that epic powder Canada is known. Want the best of both worlds? April often combines great conditions and a deep snow base with longer days and milder temperatures.

British Columbia Ski Fields

How many ski resorts are there in British Columbia?

British Columbia boasts 13 destination ski resorts, not to mention many more cat, heli and backcountry ski operators. These resorts are scattered across the province, each offering its own unique charm and skiing experience. Looking for world-class properties with extensive amenities? Check. Smaller, hidden gems in picturesque settings? Double check. 

Where do people ski in BC?

There are destination resorts, popular resorts and smaller resorts, but they all offer the incredible ski conditions and friendly staff for which Canada is famous. Let’s have a look at just few of them here:

1. Whistler Blackcomb: One of the most famous ski destinations in the world, Whistler Blackcomb offers a massive ski area with an unparalleled variety: two mountains, connected by the PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola, offer more than 200 marked runs, 16 alpine bowls, and three glaciers. If you like some fun off the slopes, the après scene here is arguably one of the world’s best.

2. Revelstoke Mountain Resort: Revelstoke boasts some of the most extensive vertical terrains in North America, perfect for experienced skiers wanting adrenaline-pumping challenges. Skiers often use the term ‘steep and deep’ – this resort actually lives up to it. Canada’s newest ski resort claims the longest lift-served vertical in North America at 1,712 metres (5,620 feet).

3. Sun Peaks Resort: The second-largest ski area in Canada doesn’t mess around. We’re talking 138 runs, long cruisers, deep steeps, incredible tree skiing and an enormous top-to-bottom terrain park. Sun Peaks Resort’s interior BC location provides frequent bluebird powder days, and in our opinion is one of the most under-rated resorts in Canada.

4. Kicking Horse Mountain Resort: Attention, thrill-seekers – Kicking Horse’s steep chutes, deep powder and incredible backcountry is the stuff of adrenaline-fuelled dreams. It’s home to four alpine bowls and chutes that keep skiers exploring for days. More thrills? The surrounding heli-skiing terrain is seemingly limitless. It might not have its name up in lights, but if you know how to ski or board, this place is for you.

5. Silver Star Mountain Resort: Famous for its colourful village, Silver Star is a fantastic destination for families and couples looking for a romantic ski getaway. Think of it as a big mountain with a small-town feel. Canada’s first all-inclusive lift ticket provides access to numerous activities—including 55 kilometres (34 miles) of stellar Nordic trails—for one price. And seven metres of light dry snow annually will keep the powder hounds happy.

6. Fernie Alpine Resort: Nestled in the Kootenay Rockies, Fernie is an authentically Canadian experience: legendary powder, and charm aplenty. It has some of the most diverse terrain around from gentle green runs to incredibly steep double blacks. Nearly nine metres (30 feet) of snow blankets this resort each year, ranking it among the snowiest ski destinations in Canada.

7. Kimberley Alpine Resort: With a laid-back atmosphere and picturesque setting, Kimberley is an excellent choice for families and beginner to intermediate skiers looking for well-groomed slopes and a relaxed skiing environment. There is plenty of “ski in, ski out” accommodation so if you and the kids don’t like walking in boots this is a great place to be.

8. Panorama Mountain Resort: Offering stunning views of the Purcell Mountains, Panorama boasts Canada’s largest slope-side hot pools, and even a sauna just steps from the hill. Skiing’s excellent too, the resort famous for its incredible vertical of 1300m. Almost the entire resort is below the tree line so for those tree skiers out there, this is the place to be.

9. Red Mountain Resort: Located in the Monashee Mountain Range in the rugged Kootenay region, Red Mountain offers an authentic, laid-back experience with incredible terrain. It’s probably best for the more experienced and offers deep powder runs, cut piste, wide-open bowls and challenging tree skiing.

10. CMH Heli-Skiing: For the ultimate thrill and adventure, CMH Heli-Skiing provides an unparalleled experience of skiing in the untouched backcountry of British Columbia’s stunning mountain ranges. With access to vast terrain via helicopters, skiers and boarders can explore some of the most remote and pristine powder-filled areas.

Who gets the most snow in BC? 

British Columbia’s abundant snowfall is the real reason winter sports enthusiasts flock here every year, earning the province’s reputation as a top ski destination. But when it comes to the winter fluff, certain regions are more blessed than others. Consider this your snow report:

The Coast Mountains

The coastal regions of British Columbia, particularly the Coast Mountains, are renowned for their heavy snowfall. The combination of the Pacific Ocean’s moisture-laden air masses colliding with the rugged coastal terrain results in abundant snow deposits throughout the season. Areas like Whistler Blackcomb and Sun Peaks benefit from this weather phenomenon, consistently receiving impressive amounts of snowfall each year.

Columbia Mountains

The four major mountain ranges of interior southern British Columbia, from northwest to southeast, are the Cariboos, Monashees, Selkirks, and Purcells. Pacific storms first hit the Cariboos, but the highest snowfall is in the section of the Monashees opposite the south end of the Cariboos, home to CMH heli-ski operations. 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.

Kootenay Rockies

You may have heard of ‘The Powder Highway’, a stretch of south-eastern British Columbia, home to some of the snowiest regions in the province. The area includes a string of ski resorts and towns along Highway 95A, where deep powder snow is a regular occurrence. Kimberley, Panorama, Red Mountain, Revelstoke, Kicking Horse and Fernie thrive in these conditions, drawing powder hounds from around the world. Some areas get an average of 18m annually!

Choose your own adventure

1. For Families: Resorts like Whistler Blackcomb and Kimberley are perfect choices. These destinations offer a welcoming atmosphere, well-groomed slopes and a host of family-oriented activities, making them ideal for memorable ski vacations with loved ones of all ages.

3. For Couples: Looking for a romantic escape? Sun Peaks and Silver Star both have charming villages and cosy accommodations, providing the perfect setting for a winter retreat filled with romance and adventure.

4. For Adventure Seekers: The province’s vast backcountry terrain and heli-skiing opportunities make it a mecca for adventurous skiers and snowboarders. Whether it’s exploring untouched powder or heli-skiing down remote slopes, British Columbia promises unforgettable adventure experiences.

5. For the Experts: British Columbia offers unparalleled opportunities for advanced skiers and snowboarders. Resorts like Revelstoke and Kicking Horse provide an adrenaline-packed experience with steep chutes, off-piste skiing and challenging terrain that will thrill even the most experienced skiers.

Getting there

Air Canada’s direct flights out of Sydney and Brisbane to Vancouver are key if you are wanting a fast entry into Canada from Australia. From there, direct short flights and/or shuttles can get you to whichever stunning BC destination you’ve chosen.

• Whistler is a 2.5 hour shuttle, and the village is pedestrian friendly, so no need for a car. 

• Powder Highway visitors will need to get their gear to Calgary International Airport from Vancouver; flight time is 1 hour and 25 minutes, with individual shuttles to each resort in this popular area.

• Silver Star is accessed from Kelowna International Airport with regular connecting flights from Vancouver (55 minute flight time).

• Sun Peaks can also be accessed from Kelowna, but the more popular option is to fly directly to Kamloops, and shuttle from there. 

Wherever you end up getting your shred on, British Columbia stands out as a premier ski and snow destination, boasting excellent skiing opportunities, a diverse range of ski resorts and – key to an excellent ski holiday – abundant dumps each year. So grab your goggles, hit that book button and embrace the magic of skiing in this magnificent Canadian province.

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