Here’s what’s new at BC Ski Resorts this year
There is so much happening at BC Ski Resorts in 2024 and oh yeah there is a great deal of ‘Super, Natural’ snow as well. From snowy peaks to cozy retreats, here are many reasons WHY YOU SHOULD VISIT BC MOUNTAINS THIS WINTER!
With plentiful snow, alpine terrain for all abilities, and excellent off-slope amenities, there are many reasons to explore BC’s resorts and backcountry this season.
Here are five great reasons to visit BC ski resorts this winter:
- Ride hydro-powered chairlifts. Big White Ski Resort recently partnered with Protect Our Winters Canada (POW) to make sustainability a priority—80 to 100 per cent of lifts are powered by renewable hydro (rather than fossil fuels).
- Carbon-neutral heliskiing. Voted the World’s Best Heliskiing Operation at the 2023 World Ski Awards, Northern Escape is also one of the planet’s few carbon-neutral heliskiing companies (and it’s celebrating 20 years in business this season).
- Cat ski inbounds at BC resorts. Panorama has added a second snowcat to increase capacity in rugged Taynton Bowl, and RED Mountain Resort’s popular cat-skiing on Mt. Kirkup returns this season after a prolonged pandemic pause.
- Sun Peaks Resort Downhill and Nordic skiing on the same pass. Access to the cross-country trail network at Sun Peaks Resort is now included with full-day and half-day alpine lift tickets, so it’s easy to discover why BC’s second-largest resort has evolved into a favourite Nordic destination.
- New Park Pass Alert: Take a day off from skiing at Whistler Blackcomb and try snowmobiling, frosty ziplining, snowshoeing, and the multimedia Vallea Lumina experience with The Adventure Group’s new winter Park Pass.
Chills & Thrills: BC Ski Festivals and Events to Warm Your Winter Heart
There’s nothing quite like a ski (or après-ski) party at BC resorts! Plan your ski trip around one of these hallmark events.
- Western Canada’s largest winter carnival runs in Vernon and nearby SilverStar Mountain Resort Feb. 2-11, 2024. The festival kicks off with a Balloon Glow in Polson Park on Feb. 3, when hot air balloons light up the evening sky, and carries on with the BC Snow Sculpture Competition (Feb. 2-4) and the Fat Shoe Duathlon, a Fat Bike/Snowshoe race at Sovereign Lake Nordic Centre.
- Watch the planet’s best freeskiers and snowboard freeriders tackle the steep, ungroomed, big mountain terrain at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort during the Freeride World Tour, taking place Feb. 14-20, 2024.
- Panorama Mountain Resort is the place to be this Family Day weekend (Feb. 16-19, 2024) with Family Day fireworks and a nighttime Lantern Ski through the forest following a trail of lit lanterns to the Pentagon Hut.
- If Darwinism had a snowboard equivalent, it would be the Natural Selection Tour, happening at Revelstoke Mountain Resort March 10-17, 2024. Riders battle over two days of head-to-head competition in the backcountry and at the resort, which winnows down the playing field so the best snowboarders advance.
- Break out your sunglasses and sunscreen for the Whistler World Ski & Snowboard Festival, April 8-14, 2024, where revelers pay tribute to mountain culture on and off the slopes. Highlights include ski and snowboard competitions, the annual Slush Cup, live music, and après-ski patio parties.
Mountain Mix: Resorts Serving Up Fun On & Off The Slopes
BC resorts are hugely blessed with deep epic powder every ski season—up to 400 inches (1,000+ cms) at Whistler, for example. All that white stuff makes for epic skiing and riding, but it also translates into fun off the slopes, from snowshoeing and fat biking to snowmobiling and dog sledding.
- Discover North America’s most expansive network of cross-country ski trails at SilverStar Mountain Resort , where 105-kilometers of paths groomed for skate and Nordic skiing connect the resort’s snowy summit with neighbouring Sovereign Lake Nordic Centre. Many of the trails, including the resort’s multi-use snowshoeing and fat biking paths also welcome dogs on leash, and everything is accessible using SilverStar’s MY1PASS. This all-inclusive ticket lets guests downhill ski or snowboard, cross-country ski, night ski, snowshoe, fat bike, ice skate on Brewer’s Pond, or tube down the tracks at Tube Town. After an active day, ski right into a slopeside, dog-friendly condo and relax those quads in a private hot tub or book a massage at Elevate Spa.
- If skiers and riders ever get tired of shredding Whistler Blackcomb’s 8,000+ acres of bowls, glades, groomers, and glaciers, they can stow the planks and try out The Adventure Group’s new winter Park Pass model. Choose a base activity such as Winter Superfly Ziplines, then add on additional activities including snowmobiling, snowshoeing, and the multimedia Vallea Lumina experience, at a discounted rate. Other off-slope activities at Whistler include dog sledding through an old-growth forest in the Callaghan Valley, plunging into the hydrotherapy circuit at Scandinave Spa, or watching the weekly Fire & Ice Show where skiers pull tricks through a burning ring of fire in Skiers Plaza.
- New glading, better snowmaking and a second passenger snowcat to shuttle guests to Taynton Bowl for backcountry-like riding headline Panorama Mountain Resort’s on-slope upgrades. There’s plenty to do off the mountain, too, from the usual winter sports suspects (ice skating, snowshoeing, and Nordic schussing), to more adrenaline-fuelled activities. Try tandem paragliding from the top of the resort for panoramic views of the Purcell and Rocky Mountain ranges, or join a snowmobile tour into the backcountry with Toby Creek Adventures and zoom past a frozen waterfall on the way to historic Paradise Mine and Paradise Cabin, where hot chocolate awaits. Back at the resort, don’t forget to soak in the expansive heated outdoor pools under the stars.
- Sun Peaks Resort, BC’s second-largest ski area, is including access to its popular Nordic trail network on full-day and half-day alpine lift tickets this season, so flatland dabblers can follow-up their downhill fun by gliding along the 30+ kilometres of groomed cross-country trails. The adventures continue off the slopes, with backcountry dog sledding tours, guided ice fishing trips, or axe-throwing lessons for lumberjack wannabes.
Sip, Ski & Celebrate: Ski Companies Marking a Mountain Milestone
Ever since British Columbia’s first ski race was held from the top of RED Mountain way back in 1896, people have been strapping planks to their booted feet in BC’s mountains. This season we celebrate anniversaries and milestones, and herald these companies’ contributions to mountain culture.
- Big White Ski Resort turns 60 . What began as one T-bar and a dream in 1963 has grown into a powder playground that spans over 2,700 acres of varied terrain accessed by 16 chairlifts. In the last six decades, Big White Resort has consistently been named one of Canada’s best family resorts thanks to its soft snow, beginner learning areas, car-free pedestrian village, and off-slope activities like mini snowmobiles for kids. Most recently, it was named second in North America for snowboarding in USA Today’s Reader’s Choice 2023 vote. In order to ensure it remains a fan favourite for the next 60 years, Big White recently partnered with Protect Our Winters Canada (POW) to make sustainability a priority—80 to 100 per cent of lifts are powered by renewable hydro, the resort uses reusable, re-loadable passes to cut down on plastic use, and Big White is building a new water treatment facility to produce clean effluent that can be used for irrigation and snowmaking, among other green initiatives.
- Northern Escape Heliskiing turns 20. What do you need to be named the World’s Best Heliskiing Operation not once, but twice? A deep, light, reliable snowpack that consistently covers exciting big mountain topography: alpine bowls, enormous glaciers, steep chutes, and hero tree skiing. These conditions and terrain come together in Terrace, located in Northern BC near the Alaskan panhandle. Not only is Northern Escape Heliskiing the best, it’s one of a handful of carbon-neutral heliskiing operations. The company partners with Synergy Enterprises to offset the sport’s carbon footprint. To celebrate 20 years of face shots and pillow drops, Northern Escape is offering 20 per cent off a selection of its early season packages, which include helicopter rides, snowcat skiing backup (in case of inclement weather that grounds the chopper), boutique lodging, gourmet meals, avalanche safety equipment and training, certified guides, and lodge transfers.
- Kicking Horse Mountain Resort’s resident grizzly bear, “Boo” turns 20. Most resorts don’t have an apex predator sharing real estate with skiers, but for the past 20 years, Gortex-clad riders have been zipping past the fenced-off 20-acre refuge of Boo—a grizzly bear orphaned when his mom was shot by a poacher. Though Boo will be hibernating for most of the ski season, visitors can still celebrate the epic terrain that he calls home. Since opening in 2000, Kicking Horse Mountain Resort has been heralded as a must-stop on BC’s famed Powder Highway. Averaging 24 feet of snow each season that’s spread across 3,500 acres of alpine bowls and chutes, and one of the biggest vertical drops in North America at 4,314 feet, Kicking Horse is the place to come for big mountain inspiration. In fact, it’s the only North American stop on the Freeride World Tour (Feb. 14-20, 2024), and advanced skiers and riders can check out the gnarly terrain themselves in the resort’s Fuez Bowl and Rudi’s Bowl.
by Terry Lankstead with notes from Destination BC