It’s all about the snow in British Columbia
—Whistler Blackcomb again leads the pack as North America’s Best Resort
By Diane Rudholm
Photo at right: A skier makes her turns through a blanket of fluffy powder at Whistler. Photo by Eric Berger, courtesy of Whistler Blackcomb
With 13 ski resorts, 23 ski areas, 10 mountain ranges and North America’s No. 1 ski resort, it’s all about the snow in British Columbia.
And the trip north to Canada from points in Seattle and Portland is often no longer than driving or flying to other U.S. Northwest resorts. Plus, you’ll get that international experience both on and off the slopes.
Read on to see what’s new and log onto www.hellobc.com to check out the latest at all the B.C. snow areas.
In addition to its broad downhill offerings, Nordic sports are booming at Big White, so the resort has committed $30,000 to upgrade its beginner and intermediate cross-country ski and snowshoe trails.
TELUS, a provider of wireless and internet services across Canada, committed $100,000 to bring the world’s fastest wireless technology to Big White.
Service perks this season include an onsite day-ticket sales counter, additional ski lockers for season-pass holders and a newly expanded parking facility that gives visitors direct walk-to-lift access.
The Globe Café and Tapas Bar has a new space in the heart of the Village, and the new Black Forest Day Lodge is expected to open in December 2015. www.bigwhite.com
Kimberly Alpine Resort
Kimberley Alpine Resort—located 15 miles northwest of the Canadian Rockies International Airport—is said to get more sunny days than any other resort in the province.
With 80 runs shot through with open glades, the resort offers excitement for all ages and ability levels. Dive into the Easter Bowl on the mountain’s backside and experience non-stop fall lines and heart-stopping steeps. For smooth cruising, enjoy Kimberley’s front side and ski right up to the Trickle Creek Lodge or the Stemwinder Bar and Grill.
Kimberley is home to one of North America’s longest illuminated runs, making it a night-time hot spot. www.skikimberley.com
Panorama Mountain Village
Panorama announced a new quad chairlift for the 2014 –15 winter season. The new lift departs straight from the Village and will connect riders with Ski Tip Way and Stringer, and will provide access to new lines for novice to intermediate skiers.
In addition, the new lift will enhance the ski-in, ski-out flexibility of Trappers Ridge, Panorama’s newest real estate housing development.
Panorama will host the World Cup Championship Paralympic ski races in March 2015. This is the first time these championships have been to North America. www.panoramaresort.com
Red Mountain Resort
Red Mountain Resort will expand its in-bounds ski experience again for the 2014 –2015 season with the addition of nearly 200 acres on Mt. Kirkup.
This new cat-skiing operation will act as a shuttle from Grey Mountain to the peak of Mt. Kirkup (elev. 6,772 feet) with seats sold on a first-come, first-serve basis for $10 per run with the purchase of a lift ticket or season pass.
The terrain expansion has 1,600 feet of vertical drop, previously only accessible by hiking and ski touring. This intermediate to advanced area will be considered in-bounds terrain and be swept by the Red Mountain Ski Patrol. www.redresort.com
Revelstoke Mountain Resort
Revelstoke Mountain Resort and Backcountry Access avalanche bags are partnering to create Avalanche Ranch—a beacon park located at the top of Revelation Gondola. This park will have a beacon tester and will be open to the public free of charge. It will also serve as the location for Avalanche Safety Training Courses.
In addition to Avalanche Ranch, there will be a dedicated B.C.A area in the retail area where the latest backcountry safety equipment can be purchased and tested. It will also have an airbag refilling station. www.revelstokemountainresort.com
Silver Star Mountain Resort
Silver Star is the only Canadian ski resort in the Powder Alliance (www.powderalliance.com). As such, My1Pass season pass-holders at Silver Star will now receive three free ski days at each Powder Alliance partner resort, including Stevens Pass, Schweitzer, Mt. Hood Skibowl, Crested Butte, Timberline and seven other resorts in the western U.S.
Updated land surveys for Silver Star calculate the resort’s skiable terrain at 3,269 acres, making it the third largest ski area in B.C.
Silver Star will be adding new trails beginning with a scenic loop at the Alder Point lookout. The expansion will also include a new warming hut. (Read more about Silver Star on page 8.) www.skisilverstar.com
Already the second largest ski area in B.C., Sun Peaks Resort will now be the second largest in Canada, growing to over 4,200 acres of in-bound skiing this winter.
A 45-minute drive from the town of Kamloops, Sun Peaks is a favorite with both winter and summer recreationalists. Plans include laying out more than 500 acres of new, challenging terrain as part of the resort’s longstanding development plan.
The new ski areas will increase the amount of accessible terrain available for advanced skiers and riders and offer more off-piste opportunities for intermediate skiers in a safe and avalanche-controlled area.
Look for new expert runs in the West Morrisey area. www.sunpeaksresort.com
Whitewater Ski Resort is situated along Canada’s Powder Highway, just a short drive from the city of Nelson.
Thanks to dependable dry-snow accumulation that totals over 40 feet a season, blanketing 2,044 vertical feet of uncrowded slopes of family-friendly groomers, remarkable steeps, top-of-the-line tree-skiing and endless backcountry, this might be one of the only resorts in the world where you still have friends on a powder day.
Some come for the legendary skiing, others for the legendary menus. Whitewater serves up proper Kootenay hospitality with its internationally acclaimed culinary offerings, which have inspired three national best-selling cookbooks. www.skiwhitewater.com
Located less than a five-hour drive from Seattle, Whistler Blackcomb offers world-class skiing and après activities in our own Northwest backyard.
As has been the case for many years, Skiing Magazine’s annual reader poll once again voted Whistler Blackcomb as the No. 1 overall best ski resort in North America. The resort also received top marks in the terrain variety, off-hill activity and après categories.
New this year for snow enthusiasts is the $6 million investment to replace the Whistler Village Gondola cabins. The new “Diamond” level walk-in cabins feature a more comfortable ride for up to eight passengers each.
There have also been improvements to lift terminals throughout the resort.
Lift tickets, EDGE cards and season passes will all include a Radio-Frequency Identification chip, which will automatically register and open access gates hands-free, so that you can ride lifts without hassle. www.whistlerblackcomb.com