Even the black diamond runs are green this season on the local mountains as a lack of snow has left the chair lifts motionless and lodge doors closed. Fortunately, I did get a taste of winter earlier this season when I was whisked away to the Okanagan to experience three stunning resorts and discover what “champagne powder” really was.
Okanagan Spring Break Skiing
Over six days I visited Sun Peaks (near Kamloops), Silver Star (near Vernon), and Big White (near Kelowna) and I strapped on my snowboard for the first time in many years. Aside from the groomed slopes, friendly guides, and family activities, I was pleasantly surprised to have enjoyed some of the very best meals I’ve ever tasted in the region, let alone at a ski resort. If you’re thinking about heading on an Okanagan ski trip with the family this spring break, here are a few useful pieces of information to help you make the best of your getaway, based on my recent experience:
About: Sun Peaks is Canada’s second largest ski resort with 4,270 acres of terrain on three mountains. You’ll find light and easy runs, rolling cruisers, alpine bowls, tree skiing and lots of powder. The longest run is called 5 Mile, and it really is 5 miles (8km) long!
Where to Eat: It’s tough to get me to try sushi when I’m inland but OYA Sushi was delightfully delicious and fresh. Also try Voyageur Bistro where you’ll get a healthy helping of Canadian and BC history knowledge served up alongside your wild salmon.
Special Offerings: The guided Breakfast Fresh Tracks was a highlight. Kick off your day on the mountain with exclusive access to exceptional alpine terrain accessed by the Crystal chair until 9:00am, followed by a hearty breakfast at the Sunburst Mid-Mountain Restaurant. There are a lot of events and family programs coming up for spring break so check out their full calendar for details.
About: Silver Star Mountain Resort is BC’s third largest ski area, with 128 runs and over 3,269 acres of terrain. It’s a big mountain with a small town feel in the village with mid-mountain ski-in/ski-out access. It has a great ski school program (I took a refresher/intermediate lesson here with a really fun guide), nicely groomed cruisers, steep powder filled chutes, and back country that one day I’ll explore, when the more lessons pay off.
We met up with a few Vernon tourism partners and producers at the Pinheads bowling alley, a state of the art 4 lane venue with an impressive bistro that provided us with a vibrant spread of local cheeses and meats. It was safe to declare our charcuterie and fruit plates the best bowling alley food I’ve ever had.
Special Offerings: Silver Star is the first resort in Canada to offer an all-inclusive experience with the My1Pass. In addition to unlimited skiing and snowboarding, all Silver Star alpine season passes and day tickets include free upgrades allowing unlimited access to the nordic and snowshoe trails, tubing at the Tube Town Adventure Park, and ice skating. Check out their deals page online for upcoming packages and promotions.
What I loved: Friendly staff, beautiful views, delicious dining in the village. Oh, and my room at the Snowbird Lodge had its own private hot tub on the balcony!
About: Big White is known as Canada’s Family Resort with over 750cm of light, dry, fluffy powder falling annually. It has Canada’s largest fully ski-in/ski-out village and an impressive Ski School. Accommodations range from hotels, luxury apartments, modern mountain vacation homes and themed log cabins.
What I loved: The wide range of activity and dining options. When my group arrived at Big White it was socked in with fog, which didn’t deter quite a few who still took to the slopes. Being unfamiliar with the mountain, and having taken refresher lessons all week, I opted to join the part of the group that was going to check out everything else the resort offers. Ice skating, ice climbing, tubing, snowshoeing, sleigh rides, nordic skiing, are just a few of the other activities — then there’s the wining and dining. Gunbarrel coffee, s’mores, and house wine commissioned at a local Kelowna winery.