Here's when every ski resort in BC is opening this winter

Nov 22 2019, 1:49 pm

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While the sunny fall weather as of late in the Lower Mainland has been a welcome sight, the fact remains that we are on the cusp of another winter season.

With that comes the most wonderful time of year for skiers and snowboarders: Opening day at their local or favourite ski resort.

But it’s not only about those North Shore nights or Whistler weekends. BC is a big place with seemingly unlimited options if you’re down for a drive or can fork over some green for a flight to the white room.

So without further ado, here are the opening dates of BC ski resorts that you should add to your winter bucket list this season — if you haven’t already.

In the meantime, don’t forget to keep doing that snow dance.

Ski resorts nearest Vancouver

Cypress Mountain

Snowboarding at Cypress Mountain (Peter Lonergan)

  • Opening date: A Cypress spokesperson told Daily Hive its historically average opening date is December 1, “give or take a week.”  Last year it was December 3.
  • What: Cypress Mountain is the biggest of the North Shore resorts and good for getting some turns in after work. With 240 hectares of skiable terrain, it offers 53 runs and serious snowmaking systems. Plus there are delicious snowshoe and fondue tours.
  • Where: Cypress Mountain Resort is just over the Lions Gate Bridge, a 35-minute drive from Vancouver, or take one of the shuttle buses from downtown.
  • Trails: Green 13%, Blue 35%, Black 45%

Grouse Mountain

Skiing/Grouse Mountain

  • Opening date: TBA for skiing/snowboarding but all mountaintop activities and amenities are open.
  • What: Grouse Mountain is the only North Shore Mountain accessible by public transit. The resort has 33 runs, many of them centred around The Cut, with spectacular views of Vancouver. With only 86 hectares of skiable terrain, it’s small, but offers lots of variety for beginners.
  • Where: Grouse Mountain is just over the Lions Gate Bridge, a 20-minute drive from Vancouver, or take a shuttle or transit bus from downtown.
  • Trails: Green 40%, Blue 40%, Black 20%

Mt. Seymour

  • Opening date: TBA
  • What: Mt. Seymour is the smallest of the North Shore resorts, with only 80 hectares of skiable terrain. But it’s a great family resort, with plenty of runs for beginners, four terrain parks, snowtubing, showshoeing, and toboggan runs.
  • Where: Mt. Seymour is just over the Lions Gate Bridge, a 40-minute drive from Vancouver, or take a shuttle from East Vancouver.
  • Trails: Green 40%, Blue 40%, Black 20%

Whistler Blackcomb

Whistler Blackcomb

Whistler Blackcomb/ Facebook

  • Opening date: November 28
  • What: Ranked best overall ski resort in North America for 2017, Whistler Blackcomb has everything from a dedicated beginner area to challenging powder-filled bowls. On a clear day, the views are incredible; this is a resort that will make or break you.
  • Where: Whistler is off the Sea-To-Sky Highway, about 120 km north of Vancouver. A two-hour drive from the city.
  • Trails: Green 18%, Blue 55%, Black 27%

Sasquatch Mountain Resort

Photo: Eric Zimmer / Daily Hive

  • Opening date: Mid-December
  • What: Formerly known as Hemlock until it rebranded in 2017, Sasquatch Mountain Resort is in the Lower Mainland, northeast of Mission and has more than 100 hectares of skiable terrain. The resort was closed for a long period, but has now reopened with a mix of 35 runs in the Douglas Ranges.
  • Where: Hemlock is off Highway 7, about 50 km from Mission. A two-hour drive from Vancouver.
  • Trails: Green 20%, Blue 34%, Black 46%

Manning Park

Eric Zimmer / Daily Hive

  • Opening date: December 7
  • What: Manning Park Resort in the heart of the Cascade Mountain Range has 34 runs for skiing and snowboarding, in 57 hectares of skiable terrain. It also offers more than 60 km of classic skate and groomed cross-country skiing and snowshoeing trails.
  • Where: Manning Park Resort is off Highway 3, about 70 km west of Hope. A three-hour drive from Vancouver.
  • Trails: Green 30%, Blue 40%, Black 30%

Ski resorts on Vancouver Island

Mount Washington

  • Opening date: December 6
  • What: Mount Washington is the closest mountain to Vancouver that you’ve probably never visited. With the Pacific Ocean on one side and Strathcona Park, the resort on Vancouver Island boasts more than 689 hectares of skiable terrain and 81 runs.
  • Where: Mount Washington is located off Highway 19, just outside Courtenay on Vancouver Island. A five-hour drive from Vancouver, including a 2.5-hour ferry ride.
  • Trails: Green 14%, Blue 35%, Black 52%

Mount Cain

  • Opening date: Early December
  • What: Mount Cain is a hidden gem nestling on the north end of Vancouver Island, with 21 runs and few lineups. It also has the highest base elevation of any coastal ski hill in BC, Alaska and Washington State, second only to Whistler.
  • Where: Mount Cain is off Highway 19 on Vancouver Island, about 130 km from Campbell River. A six-hour drive from Vancouver, including a two-hour ferry ride.
  • Trails: Green 20%, Blue 45%, Black 35%

Ski resorts around the Okanagan

Mount Baldy

  • Opening date: December 14
  • What: Mount Baldy is in the Okanagan Highland, between the Monashee Mountains and the Okanagan Valley. The resort offers 22 runs for skiing and snowboarding, over 200 hectares of skiable terrain, plus a ski-in ski-out village of 150 ski cottages.
  • Where: Mount Baldy is off Highway 3, about 80 km south of Penticton. A 5.5-hour drive from Vancouver, or a 50 minute flight to Penticton then a 1.5 hour drive.
  • Trails: Green 33%, Blue 46%, Black 21%

Apex

Finding fresh tracks at Apex Mountain Resort. (Eric Zimmer / Daily Hive)

  • Opening date: December 7
  • What: Apex Mountain remains one of the hidden gems of Canadian skiing, famous for its light, dry powder snow. About half an hour outside Penticton, in the Okanagan, it covers 450 skiable hectares, with more than 115 marked and unmarked runs.
  • Where: Apex is just south of Penticton off Highway 97, very close to Penticton Regional Airport. A five-hour drive from Vancouver, or about a 45-minute flight.
  • Trails: Green 16%, Blue 48%, Black 36%

Big White

Big White Ski Resort/Facebook

  • Opening date: November 28
  • What: Hailed as British Columbia’s second most popular ski resort, Big White has 118 designated Alpine trails and more than 25 km of Nordic trails. A little ways past Kelowna, Big White has 1,100 hectares of skiable terrain.
  • Where: Big White is located off Highway 33, 60 km east of Kelowna. A five-hour drive from Vancouver, or a 45-minute flight to Kelowna, then a one hour drive.
  • Trails: Green 18%, Blue 54%, Black 28%

SilverStar

  • Opening date: November 28
  • What: SilverStar Mountain Resort has four different mountain faces to enjoy in the northern Okanagan and a total of 132 runs, ranging from beginners terrain to steep, deep double-black diamonds in the uncrowded backside of the mountain.
  • Where: SilverStar is off Highway 97, not far from Vernon.  A five-hour drive from Vancouver, or a 45-minute flight to Kelowna.
  • Trails: Green 15%, Blue 40%, Black 45%

Ski resorts around Kamloops

Sun Peaks

Skiing/Sun Peaks

  • Opening date: Open now, with limited terrain
  • What: Sun Peaks is Canada’s second largest ski area, with 1,728 hectares of skiable terrain, spread over three peaks near Kamloops. On top of 12 lifts, 137 trails, and 16 gladed areas, there’s also Nordic skiing available, and terrain and tube parks.
  • Where: Sun Peaks is located off Highway 5, about 50 km from Kamloops. A 4.5-hour drive from Vancouver, or a 45-minute flight to Kamloops.
  • Trails: Green 10%, Blue 58%, Black 32%

Harper

  • Opening date: Mid-December
  • What: Harper Mountain is a family-owned mountain just outside Kamloops, offering more than 160 hectares of skiable terrain. The resort has 16 runs over 1400 vertical feet of elevation, plus terrain and tube parks, cross country skiing, and snowshoeing.
  • Where: Harper is off Highway 5, about 25 km from Kamloops. A four-hour drive from Vancouver, or a 45-minute flight to Kamloops.
  • Trails: Green 25%, Blue 50%, Black 25%

Ski resorts in the Kootenays

Revelstoke

Revelstoke Mountain/Royce Sihlis Photography

  • Opening date: November 30
  • What: Revelstoke is legendary. With a total of 208,413 hectares of skiable terrain (not a typo), this is a beast to be reckoned with.
  • Where: Revelstoke is off the Trans-Canada Highway, about 200 km east of Kamloops. A six-hour drive from Vancouver, or a one-hour flight direct to Revelstoke, or 45-minute flight to Kelowna, then 2.5-hour drive to Revelstoke.
  • Trails: Green 7%, Blue 45.5%, Black 47.5% (not including heli and backcountry)

Phoenix Mountain

  • Opening date: TBA
  • What: Phoenix Mountain Ski Resort is a small community-owned ski area in southern BC, near Grand Forks. With 18 designated runs, it has alpine terrain for all skill levels ranging from beginner to advanced, as well as cross country trails.
  • Where: Phoenix Mountain is off Highway 3, about 50 km west of Grand Forks. A six-hour drive from Vancouver, or 50 minute flight to Penticton then a two-hour drive.
  • Trails: Green 22%, Blue 39%, Black 39%

Panorama

Heliskiing at Panorama ski resort (Panorama/Kyle Hamilton)

Heliskiing at Panorama ski resort (Panorama/Kyle Hamilton)

  • Opening date: December 6
  • What: Panorama Ski Resort nestles in the Purcell Mountains, with views of the Rockies. With 1,214 hectares of skiable terrain, you can glide down corduroy cruisers and blast through freshly gladed, powdery paradise to your heart’s delight.
  • Where: Panorama is off Highway 95, about 150 km north of Cranbrook. A nine-hour drive from Vancouver, or a one hour 25-minute flight to Cranbrook then a two-hour drive.
  • Trails: Green 20%, Blue 55%, Black 25%

Kimberley

(Raven Eye Photography/Kimberley Alpine Resort/RCR)

(Raven Eye Photography/Kimberley Alpine Resort/RCR)

  • Opening date: December 14
  • What: Kimberley claims to be North America’s largest gladed terrain, covering more than 728 hectares, with 80 named runs and glades. Located in the Purcell Mountains,  it also offers cross country, dog sledding, and snowshoeing.
  • Where: Kimberley is located off Highway 95, just north of Cranbrook. An 11-hour drive from Vancouver, or a 1.5-hour flight.
  • Trails: Green 20%, Blue 42%, Black 38%

Whitewater

  • Opening date: December 6
  • What: Whitewater has more than 623 metres of steeps, deeps, chutes, bowls, and glades, along with 81 marked runs, all beneath the ski resort’s majestic Ymir Peak. There’s cross country and snowshoeing too.
  • Where: Whitewater is located off Highway 3, just outside of Nelson. A nine-hour drive from Vancouver, or a 70-minute flight to Castlegar, then a 45-minute drive.
  • Trails: Green 10%, Blue 32%, Black 58%

Red Mountain

  • Opening date: December 12
  • What: Red Mountain Resort in Rossland offers visitors 110 runs spread across three mountains, with everything from wide-open groomers to steep, powder-filled glades. There are 1,700 skiable hectares, in-bounds cat-skiing, and 360° descents.
  • Where: Red Mountain is off Highway 3, extremely close to the US. A seven-hour drive from Vancouver, or a two-hour 45-minute flight to Spokane, WA, then a 2.5 hour drive.
  • Trails: Green 18%, Blue 31%, Black 51%

Ski resorts in the Canadian Rockies

Fernie Alpine Resort

(Fernie Alpine/RCR)

Fernie Alpine/RCR

  • Opening date: November 30
  • What: More than 1,000 hectares of skiable terrain, 142 named ski and snowboard runs, five alpine bowls, four cross country and snowshoe routes and a beginner’s area, all just outside the small mountain city of Fernie in The Canadian Rockies.
  • Where: Fernie Alpine is located on the Crowsnest Highway (Highway 3), about five km before you hit Fernie itself. An 11-hour drive from Vancouver, or a 1.5-hour flight.
  • Trails: Green 30%, Blue 40%, Black 30%

Kicking Horse

(Trent Bona/Kicking Horse Mountain Resort/RCR)

Trent Bona/Kicking Horse Mountain Resort/RCR

  • Opening date: December 8
  • What: Just outside Golden, Kicking Horse has more than 120 runs and more than 1,100 hectares of skiable terrain. It also has the fourth highest vertical drop in North America — 1,260 m — and there’s even the option to heli-ski.
  • Where: Kicking Horse is located off the Trans Canada Highway, just outside Golden. An eight-hour drive from Vancouver; no airports nearby.
  • Trails: Green 20%, Blue 20%, Black 60%

Fairmont Hot Springs

  • Opening date: TBA
  • What: The Fairmont Hot Springs Resort doesn’t just offer golf courses, hot springs, and winter lodges – you can also ski and snowboard in its Columbia Valley ski area. It has 12 runs and two terrain parks to keep you amused before you soak in the springs.
  • Where: Fairmont Hot Springs is off Highway 95, about 110 km from Cranbrook. A nine-hour drive from Vancouver, or a one hour 25 minute flight to Cranbrook then one hour drive.
  • Trails: Green 25%, Blue 40%, Black 35%

Ski resorts in Northern BC

Powder King

  • Opening date: Now open
  • What: Nestled in the pristine northern wilderness of Pine Pass, Powder King is a family-owned resort, with 405 hectares of terrain that ranges from breathtaking drops for the adventurous skier, to the gentle groomed slopes of beginner runs.
  • Where: Powder King is off Highway 97, about 200km north of Prince George. An 11-hour drive from Vancouver, or a one-hour flight to Prince George, then a two-hour drive.
  • Trails: Green 37%, Blue 38%, Black 25%

Hudson Bay

  • Opening date: November 22
  • What: Hudson Bay is a wilderness resort that rises spectacularly above Smithers in northern BC, offering abundant powder over 118 hectares of skiable terrain. It may be small, with only 36 runs, but its got a continuous mountain vertical of more than 1 km.
  • Where: Hudson Bay is off Highway 16, right above Smithers. A 13-hour drive from Vancouver, or a one hour 45 minute flight direct to Smithers.
  • Trails: Green 25%, Blue 55%, Black 20%

Murray Ridge

  • Opening date: TBA
  • What: Murray Ridge near Fort St. James is a small, community run ski area and terrain park, with the longest T-bar in North America, and perhaps even the world, spanning around two km. It’ll take 12 minutes to ride it to the top, if you can hold on.
  • Where: Murray Ridge is off Highway 16, just north of Fort St. James. An 11-hour drive from Vancouver, or a one-hour flight to Prince George, then a two-hour drive
  • Trails: Green 27%, Blue 33%, Black 40%

Purden

  • Opening date: TBA
  • What: Purden Ski Resort is a small ski resort near Prince George with 25 runs spread over more than 1,100 vertical feet of powder. It’s the biggest ski area in central BC, with gladed areas and wide cruisers; its longest run is more than three km long.
  • Where: Purden is off Highway 16, about 66 km east of Prince George. A nine-hour drive from Vancouver, or a one-hour flight to Prince George, then a 45-minute drive.
  • Trails: Green 20%, Blue 55%, Black 25%

Shames Mountain

  • Opening date: December 7
  • What: Shames Mountain is a small community ski area near Terrace, with 28 runs and an abundance of natural glades. Shames receives 12 metres of snow every year, making it one of the deepest, most consistent snow packs in North America.
  • Where: Shames Mountain is off Highway 16, about 35 km west of Terrace. A 16-hour drive from Vancouver, or a one-hour 35-minute flight to Terrace.
  • Trails: Green 26%, Blue 50%, Black 24

Troll

  • Opening date: December 7
  • What: Troll Resort is a small family-run ski area in the Cariboo region, with 35 runs ranging from gentle beginner slopes and long fall-line groomers to steep gladed tree runs. There’s also a large terrain park and a rustic log day lodge with a huge fireplace.
  • Where: Troll Resort is off Highway 26, about 40 km east of Quesnel. An eight-hour drive from Vancouver, or a one-hour 20-minute flight to Quesnel.
  • Trails: Green 11%, Blue 32%, Black 57%