A Quick Guide to Skiing near Vancouver

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Aug 15, 2016

by KARLA COURTNEY, Writer and Family Travel Specialist

How does a post-ski cocktail in one of the world’s most beautiful capitals sound? Whistler, about a two-hour drive away, is divine but you don’t need to travel that far (or pay a small fortune) because there’s great skiing in Vancouver. Here are our tips for enjoying the snow and the city...

Cypress Mountain

This is the highest of the North Shore Mountains and there’s something for every interest and skill level, with 53 downhill runs, more than 19 kilometres of cross-country ski trails and 11 kilometres of snowshoe trails, plus the fun Snow Tube Park, where you can head down the slopes atop an air-filled tube.

For après-ski: Head to Salmon House on The Hill for a taste of West Coast Canadian cuisine, the staple of which is Pacific salmon, and a wine list with an emphasis on local, British Columbian varieties. You’ll also enjoy fantastic views of Vancouver’s city centre. It’s about a 20-minute drive from Cypress Mountain.

Location: West Vancouver
Distance from Downtown Vancouver: 30 minutes’ drive
Rental gear: Yes
Lessons: Yes, including private and group lessons for everyone over the age of three, with ski and snowboard options
Night skiing: Yes
Great for: Families, experienced skiers and snowboarders, plus cross-country skiers

Grouse Mountain

In addition to 26 ski and snowboard runs, there’s ice skating, zipline (like a flying fox) tours and a unique outdoor light installation, with a shimmering tunnel that’s lovely to snowshoe through at night.

For après-ski: You’re only about a half-hour drive from one of Vancouver’s hippest restaurants, L’Abattoir, which also happens to be an excellent place for cocktails. Do yourself a favour and try the baked Pacific oysters with whipped garlic butter and truffle. For your tipple, let the bartenders wow you with their recommendations.

Or you could head to one of the city’s best seafood restaurants, Blue Water Cafe, which is about the same distance from Grouse. It’s rumoured to be George Clooney’s favourite spot when he is in town. 

Location: North Vancouver
Distance from Downtown Vancouver: 20 minutes’ drive
Rental gear: Yes
Lessons: Yes, including private and group classes for everyone over the age of three, with ski and snowboard options
Night skiing: Yes
Great for: A mix of winter activities, families and experienced skiers and snowboarders

SEE ALSO: 3 of the Best Hotels in Downtown Vancouver

Mount Seymour

With 40 per cent of the runs suited to beginners, there’s plenty of variety for the inexperienced. There’s also snowshoeing, tubing and tobogganing.

For après-ski: Head to Queens Cross for a low-key pub meal with a good selection of craft beers on tap. It’s a 30-minute drive from the slopes. Or, if you’re up for a pre-ski meal, The Tomahawk (also a 30-minute drive) has been one of Vancouver’s favourite breakfast spots since it opened in 1926.

Location: North Vancouver
Distance from Downtown Vancouver: 30 minutes
Rental gear: Yes
Lessons: Yes, including private and group lessons for everyone over the age of three, with ski and snowboard options
Night skiing: Yes
Great for: Families and beginner-to-intermediate skiers and snowboarders

SEE ALSO: The Five Best Places to See the Northern Lights