Ultimate Mountain Guide: British Columbia’s 22 Best Ski Resorts

Are you looking for the best ski resorts in BC? Read on for our extensive guide for the best skiing and snowboarding in British Columbia.

I started skiing shortly after I could walk. In fact, I don’t recall a time when I didn’t ski—it predates my long-term memories. And my entire ski experience has pretty much been in my home province of British Columbia.

I’ve travelled the globe in search of adventure, but I could count on one hand the number of ski resorts I’ve experienced outside of BC. That’s because the skiing and snowboarding in BC is just that good.

From the Coast Range to the Kootenay-Rockies; the Cariboos, the Monashees and beyond, let’s take a look at the 22 best ski resorts in BC:

Mount Washington Alpine Resort

  • Lifts: 8
  • Vertical: 505 m
  • Runs: 81

The view from atop the Eagle Express on Mount Washington Alpine Resort is worth the price of admission alone. From this mile-high perch on central Vancouver Island, you can gaze over the Salish Sea to the Sunshine Coast in one direction and the boundless peaks of Strathcona Provincial Park in another. And we haven’t even gotten to the skiing. Intermediates will find picture-perfect groomers like the Coaster and Linton’s Loop, while advanced skiers and riders can traverse west and do hot laps on the Boomerang Chair. Of course, beginners can hone their skills on the Hawk Six-Pack or the four magic carpets as well.

Whistler Blackcomb

  • Lifts: 26
  • Vertical: 1,530 m
  • Runs: 240

Welcome to BC’s Big Kahuna. Famous the world-round, Whistler Blackcomb is a skiing superlative brought to life. The largest ski resort in North America, these twin mountains offer runs as long as 11 kilometres, Olympic-level groomers, 16 bowls, three glaciers and even some bootpack-access in-bounds backcountry. Advanced skiers and riders can get their fill on the Blackcomb Glacier or the Flute Bowl on Whistler, if you’re willing to earn your turns; the terrain parks, particularly on Blackcomb, are the stuff of legend; and the ride up Whistler’s Peak Express is almost as exciting as the runs down. You don’t even have to choose a hill—they’re joined at the hip via the record-setting Peak2Peak Gondola. Ski one in the morning, the other in the afternoon!

Grouse Mountain

  • Lifts: 5
  • Vertical: 365 m
  • Runs: 33

Families love Grouse Mountain. As the closest ski hill to Vancouver, visitors can arrive at the base of the Skyride Gondola in as little as 15 minutes from downtown—and it’s even accessible via public transit. The view from The Cut, one of the Lower Mainland’s most iconic runs, is breathtaking; a panorama over the cityscape below. The Olympic Express Chair accesses the most challenging terrain; the Screaming Eagle is more of a crowd pleaser. But Grouse offers much more than skiing: a full-service lodge with fine-dining and events, a skating pond, snowshoe trails, the Eye of the Wind experience, ziplines and more. It’s Vancouver’s quintessential family activity centre, year-round.

Cypress Mountain

  • Lifts: 6
  • Vertical: 610 m
  • Runs: 53

Renowned for being the location of the freestyle skiing events in the 2010 Winter Olympic Games, Cypress Mountain is the largest of Vancouver’s three North Shore hills. The trio of peaks—Strachan, Hollyburn and Black—are just 30 minutes from downtown. If you’re looking for powder, head to the Raven Ridge Quad or the Sky Chair. Carvers will love runs like Horizon, Maelle Ricker’s Gold (named for a local Olympian) or the Crazy Raven. And it’s ultra-popular with the freestyle set, thanks to the three dedicated terrain parks, as well as having the North Shore’s most extensive night-skiing options.

Mount Seymour

  • Lifts: 5
  • Vertical: 330 m
  • Runs: 40

There is a lot of fun to be had in Mount Seymour’s 200 acres. A family-first environment, North Shore locals flock to this hill for its laidback vibe—where a brown-bag lunch is still commonplace and prices are kept reasonable. On a powder day, keep watch for the Brockton Chairlift’s opening and head there ASAP to do fast laps on its short but entertaining runs. Newbies will love the mellow terrain off the Lodge Chairlift. Or you can mix it up on the Mystery Peak Express, a quad chair that accesses the longest groomers on the hill as well as some hidden powder stashes in the trees alongside. Tip: take the shuttle from the base as the parking lot fills up quickly.

Sasquatch Mountain Resort

  • Lifts: 4
  • Vertical: 395 m
  • Runs: 35

Tucked away in a snowy bowl in the Fraser Valley, Sasquatch Mountain Resort is a gem. When the snow blows in, it’s renowned for powdery glades. Head to the Skyline Double for billowy turns and black-diamond terrain. The Sasquatch Triple leads to long blue groomers and easy greens. Best of all? Keep an eye out for the weekday lift specials—Men’s Days, Ladies’ Days, First Responder Days… the deals keep going and with near-zero crowds during the Mon-Fri schedule, it may be the area’s best-kept secret.

Manning Park Resort

  • Lifts: 4
  • Vertical: 432 m
  • Runs: 34

At the edge of the wet coast and the start of the Cascade Range sits E.C. Manning Provincial Park—a sprawling mountainous expanse of backcountry wonders. And also home to Manning Park Resort, a family-friendly hill renowned for dry snow and fun events. Rent a cabin onsite and enjoy a wintery getaway; it offers one of the closest “snow vacations” to Vancouver. The Orange Chair heads to the peak and accesses some powdery tree skiing and mellow groomers; the Blue Chair satisfies carvers with a selection of groomed runs and one fast black-diamond that zips below the lift. Close out the season with the famous Slush Cup and Dummy Downhill; the latter sees contestants crafting “skiing dummies” and racing them downslope. (Plus, 2019/20 will bring a new quad chair!)

Apex Mountain Resort

  • Lifts: 4
  • Vertical: 610 m
  • Runs: 79

Apex Mountain Resort is tucked away in the dry South Okanagan, not far from the town of Penticton. Book a relatively inexpensive room in the small ski-in village, which gives you immediate access to the Quicksilver Chair or the Stocks Chair. Board the former to ski bowls, glades, trees and the wild backside. Or hit up the Stocks for rolling groomers that’ll have your carves dialed-in. The terrain park has its own T-bar and the in-bounds area gives way to some 5,000 hectares of backcountry terrain for experienced tourers. But maybe the most important stat of all is this one: the average lift lineup is just two minutes long.

Baldy Mt. Ski Resort

  • Lifts: 3
  • Vertical: 397 m
  • Runs: 35

Baldy Mt. Ski Resort is all about fun. This classic ski hill near Osoyoos was closed for a number of years but recently re-opened and locals are loving it. Situated in a near-desert climate, the snow is some of the driest in the province. So when you drop into a fall line from the Eagle Chair and ski the Rock Star, Shaft or Maverick on a powder day—it’ll be epic. The chair also access some easy greens, or head to the Sugarlump Chair for a selection of curvy groomers. There’s a terrain park too, as well as a collection of rustic cabins in the Mt. Baldy Village—some of which are for rent.

Silver Star Mountain Resort

  • Lifts: 10
  • Vertical: 760 m
  • Runs: 132

Located near Vernon, Silver Star Mountain Resort offers a big mountain experience with a laidback vibe. For starters, the mid-mountain village is one of the province’s nicest—restaurants, bars, cafes, retail and spas are located just a few steps from the ski racks. But you’re not here to shop… Hop the new gondola to the summit and ski fall-line on a selection of steeps or carve fast turns on the groomers off the Comet Express. The backside of the mountain awaits experts. With more black and double-black terrain than you can shake a ski pole at, it’s no wonder Silver Star has groomed so many pro skiers over the years.

Big White Ski Resort

  • Lifts: 15
  • Vertical: 777 m
  • Runs: 119

One of the Okanagan’s most popular ski resorts, Big White Ski Resort is renowned for huge dumps of fluffy powder throughout the season. Plus, it offers a lovely ski-in village with accommodation, shopping and dining just steps from the trails. If you’re looking for the steep stuff, head to the Cliff Chair and dare to stay upright on runs like the namesake Cliff or Pegasus. Tree skiers will want to head to the Gem Lake Express and ski through the Sun Rype Bowl into a selection of glades. Or pile your group aboard the Snow Ghost Express Six-Pack and carve the spiderweb of groomers that roll down from the Emerald Forest to the Ridge Day Lodge. 

Sun Peaks

  • Lifts: 13
  • Vertical: 882 m
  • Runs: 135+

Located about 45 minutes from Kamloops, Sun Peaks stands unassumingly as Canada’s second-largest ski resort. Three big mountains make up this winter wonderland—Morrisey, Tod and Sundance—and terrain ranges from the in-bounds backcountry of Gil’s, a legendary ski touring locale opened up for general use a few years ago, to entertaining greens like The Sticks and 5 Mile—the latter being an eight-kilometre-long thigh-burner perfect for finishing your day. Make sure to carve Munro Ridge to the Burfield Chair to experience one of the longest chairlift rides in the province; a classic triple-chair that ascends nearly 800 vertical metres. And stay right in village—Sun Peaks offers a delightful on-slope getaway with peripheral activities that range from dogsledding to snow-Segway.

Kicking Horse Mountain Resort

  • Lifts: 5
  • Vertical: 1,359 m
  • Runs: 129

Welcome to the Big Show. Kicking Horse Mountain Resort, in Golden, is where real skiers and riders come to play. Fully 60 per cent of the terrain is black or double-black diamond. The Golden Eagle Express offers a near-1,400 metres of vertical drop from just one lift. And the hill has a staggering 85 in-bounds chutes and five alpine bowls. One of the beauties of Kicking Horse, though, is that groups with mixed abilities can easily ski together, as many black-diamonds are accessed off easy green cat-tracks. But if you’re here to shred, Super Bowl and Feuz Bowl await—or even bootpack up Terminator Peak for a backcountry-like experience.

Panorama Mountain Resort

  • Lifts: 10
  • Vertical: 1,300 m
  • Runs: 129

Situated in the snowy Purcell Mountains, near Invermere, crowds are rarely an issue at Panorama Mountain Resort. What will be an issue is deciding where to ski or ride first—do you warm up your legs on Madison’s Mile? Or should you head right over to Taynton Bowl, an area so rich with billowy powder it was once reserved for heli-skiing? (Note: you’ll need the skills to tackle double-blacks like Spectre, The Monster, Jekyll & Hyde and Get Out!) If something more mellow is on the menu, ride the Summit Quad to the Summit Hut for a coffee, then ski the cruisy Get Me Down to the Roller Coaster, which will take you right to the base of the Champagne Express to start your upslope journey once again.

Kimberley Alpine Resort

  • Lifts: 5
  • Vertical: 751 m
  • Runs: 68

Northstar Mountain, Tamarack Ridge, Vimy Ridge and The Black Forest. These are the four mountain faces that comprise Kimberley Alpine Resort, located near the town of the same name. If tree skiing is your thing, ride the Easter Chair to the Black Forest and you’ll discover trails for days, each filled with light Kootenay powder. Tamarack also offers a hefty serving of black diamonds, whereas Northstar is where carvers go to cruise gorgeous groomers. And Vimy Ridge is the best way to do hot laps on the Easter Chair, while newbies can ski out on the green runs that meander to the mountain base.

Revelstoke Mountain Resort

  • Lifts: 5
  • Vertical: 1,713 m
  • Runs: 75

That vertical is not a typo. This brute, near the old railway town of Revelstoke, offers the highest vertical drop of any ski resort on the continent. The lengthiest run on Revelstoke Mountain Resort is a staggering 15.2 kilometres long. And 47.5 per cent of the terrain is advanced. Yeah—if you came to get serious, you’ve arrived in the right place. If you want to experience all this vertical glory first-hand, ride the Revelation to the Stoke Chair and then either cruise The Last Spike or drop into the Separate Reality Bowl and ski out through the glades below. You’re just getting started. The Ripper chair accesses the billowy North Bowl and its plethora of tree skiing. And the South Bowl is a traverse from the Stoke Chair that offers pow-slashing runs like Jalapeno and Hot Sauce.

Whitewater Ski Resort

  • Lifts: 4
  • Vertical: 623 m
  • Runs: 82

Twelve metres of snowfall. That’s 40 feet, folks! Located near the character town of Nelson, Whitewater Ski Resort is where powder hounds congregate. Ride the Glory Ridge Chair and you’ll find a nice mix of tree skiing and mellow groomers—or hit up the backside for some steep-and-deep fun. The Summit has some long, beautiful black diamonds as well as curvy groomers like Gold Rush and Bonanza. And newbies can head for Silver King, which has lovely greens and blues to hone skills from novice to intermediate and beyond. And of course, nearby Nelson is a legendary Kootenay town with rich history and character in spades.

Fernie Alpine Resort

  • Lifts: 10
  • Vertical: 1,082 m
  • Runs: 142+

Looking for powder? You found it. Home to five bowls, Fernie Alpine Resort sees an average of 9.1 metres of annual snowfall. Because of the makeup of the mountain, it’s renowned for its powdery stashes and face-shots galore. Cedar Bowl offers a mix of mellow powder turns and steeper routes; Currie Bowl has several steep and aggressive routes; Siberia and Timber bowls offer lovely tree skiing; and Lizard Bowl is a wide-open paradise of turns that funnels you to the Great Bear Express for fast laps on deep days. An expansive selection of kid’s trails and a small but charming village round out the package here in BC’s southeast.

Red Mountain Resort

  • Lifts: 7
  • Vertical: 890 m
  • Runs: 110

Red Mountain Resort, in Rossland, does things its own way. In the face of massive conglomerates gobbling up alpine resorts, Red announced a crowdfunding campaign a couple of years ago dubbed “Fight the Man. Own the mountain.” Yes—contributors actually own a piece of Red! And only a truly epic hill could inspire such loyalty. With three peaks—Red, Granite and the newest addition, Grey—you can choose your own adventure, from billowy glades, to wide open bowls, to steeps and chutes and mellow groomers. A new addition this year is the Josie Hotel, Red’s first-ever ski-in accommodation—a big step up from the classic off-grid cabins that still speckle the trees as a throwback to days of yore.

Powder King

  • Lifts: 3
  • Vertical: 366 m
  • Runs: 37

Located in the Pine Pass of BC’s Northern Rockies, Powder King is aptly named. Roughly 12 metres of dry snow falls on its slopes every year. Yet because of its remote location, almost 200 kilometres north of Prince George, few people know about its epic terrain. Yeah, it only has three lifts and less than 400 metres of vertical—but visitors can expect fresh tracks in the glades all day long. And if you’re really looking for stashes of pow to slash, head up on a Thursday. Lifts only spin Thursday to Monday, so early birds can enjoy two days of built-up snow by playing hooky at week’s end.

Purden Ski Village

  • Lifts: 3
  • Vertical: 335 m
  • Runs: 26

Sitting just a 45-minute drive east of Prince George is central BC’s largest ski resort—Purden Ski Village. You can be forgiven if you’ve never heard of it. But on these slopes, you’ll discover dry powder, legendary tree skiing and, well, no other people. Just as legendary as the dry Cariboo pow is the fact that you’ll be lapping lifts with zero lines. Plus, throughout most of the season Purden is open only Friday to Sunday, so come Friday morning you can expect four days of built up powder in its treed glades. This mountain is so unpretentious you’re as likely to see a snowmobile in the parking lot as an SUV. Welcome to Purden—a throwback hill.

Shames Mountain

  • Lifts: 3
  • Vertical: 488 m
  • Runs: 28

The northwest of BC gets serious snow—combine coastal precipitation with frigid temps, and it’s no wonder why Shames Mountain, near Terrace, receives an average of 12 metres of snowfall annually. But it’s not just the snowfall that sets Shames apart. It’s owned in a co-op structure and functions as Western Canada’s first non-profit community service ski cooperative. So it should come as no surprise that fun and a community vibe is forefront at Shames. But it’s also a serious hill. Turn right off the Red T-Bar and bountiful glades await, delivering face shots all the way to the mountain base. Or bootpack to the summit to ski the steeps of Deliverance and Eye Candy. And if you tire of the in-bounds terrain, a world of premium touring awaits.

Hudson Bay Mountain

  • Lifts: 4
  • Vertical: 533 m
  • Runs: 38

Smithers is BC’s forgotten mountain town—while the hip ‘burgs of the Kootenays steal all the attention, Smithers quietly offers all the character and recreation, with fewer people and an even more laidback vibe, in the province’s northwest. And if you live in Smithers, you ski at Hudson Bay Mountain—located just a half-hour drive from town. Powder-seekers stick to the Skyline Triple Chair and lap Holy Smoke, Cold Smoke, Which Way and Snowbound; carvers head over to the Panorama T-Bar to do laps on groomers like Turkey Shoots and Cinderella. And don’t miss the Seven Sisters Glades—118 hectares of ungroomed pow-pow just waiting for your fat skis.

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