CANADIAN SKI & SNOWBOARD VACATIONS

BIG WHITE SKI RESORT, british columbia

Aerial view of Big White Ski Resort's snow-bound village - Credit Big White Ski Resort
Aerial view of Big White Ski Resort’s snow-bound village – Credit Big White Ski Resort

If you’re looking for a Canada ski resort that ticks all the boxes for family friendly, terrain for all abilities, and ski-in, ski-out, then look no further than Big White Ski Resort. Located in the Okanagan region of British Columbia, this ski resort has plenty to offer for your next dream ski holiday.

With 119 runs, 16 lifts and the famed “snow ghosts” (snow laden trees that create spectacular silhouettes), Big White ski resort will capture your snow heart and have you returning for more.

A mere 45 minutes from Kelowna International Airport, Big White ski resort is easy to get to so you can spend more time on that dry light powder snow and less time in transit.

WHY BIG WHITE ski resort?

At 7606 feet or 2319 metres above sea level at the peak and 5757 feet (1755 m) at the village, Big White Ski Resort is British Columbia’s highest winter village. This means lighter, drier ski-in, ski-out powder, especially if you stay at the centrally located Stonebridge Lodge Resort.

Advanced skiers and boarders can hit The Cliff ski area, intermediates will love the wide groomed runs of the front side and kids have so much terrain to play, on skis and off. Hit the TELUS Terrain Park or the FIS level skier cross course; and if trees are more your thing, then welcome to some of the best gladed skiing going.

The beauty of the Big White trail map is that there is a green run option at the top of every lift. So your party of different level skiers and boarders can ride the chair together, hit their terrain of choice and meet up at the bottom.

The whole family will love the ice climbing, dog sledding, ice skating, horse drawn sleigh rides, tubing, snow mobiles and fat biking also on offer.

FUN FACT

One of Big White’s favourite green runs —  Serwa’s is named in honour of the Serwa family. Cliff Serwa a local Kelowna resident was a co-founder of Big White in 1963.

His grand-daughter, Kelsey Serwa is a Canadian freestyle skier was a member of the Canadian national ski cross team. She won a gold medal at the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang and a silver medal at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. She is the 2011 FIS World Champion and two times Winter X Games champion.

Ski Vacation Packages Canada

About big white

The Snow

Champagne Powder ski holiday at Big White Ski Resort, BC. Canada:
Big White powder ski holiday at Big White Ski Resort, BC. Canada: Photo Credit: Gavin Crawford

 

The Okanagan Valley where Big White sits has a unique micro climate that mean consistent snowfalls; on average around 24 feet (7.5 metres) of dry natural ‘champagne powder’. Snow so dry you can hardly pack a snowball with flakes that resemble tissue paper falling from the sky.

 

It’s cold enough in winter to keep the snow light and fluffy, yet perfect for skiing, riding the chairs, cross country skiing and other winter activities.

 

Contact us for all your Big White vacation needs.

THE VILLAGE

BIG WHITE VILLAGE

Big White ski resort
Big White village. Photo: Big White ski resort

Big White Ski Resort’s village sits part way up the front of the mountain so the entire village is snow bound. A series of snow-ways (bridges and tunnels), allows skiers and boarders full access from top to bottom with safe ski-in, ski-out accommodation mountain wide. 

Lara’s 8-seater gondola terminates in the village centre, provides passenger uplift and download access between the mid-mountain main village and Happy Valley, where the Adventure Park is situated and main day car park. Here you will find every conceivable snow based activity — ice skating, tubing, snow mobiling, sleigh rides, ice climbing wall, dog sledding, Nordic and snowshoe trails and more.

 

The Village Centre Mall with its iconic clocktower is the centerpiece of the village and home to all you need including Central Mountain Check-in, Ski School, Rentals, Ticket Office, cafes, and apparel stores. Nearby is the Kids Ski School, supermarket, liquor store, medical centre, gastro family friendly pubs, and restaurants.  

Being a snow-bound pedestrian and ski through village, it’s safe for the kids, no cars, and easy to access everything.

DISTANCE

It takes approximately 5 minutes to walk (in ski boots) from one end of the village core to the other.

 

OUR ADVICE

Big White is seriously good, and a resort you should include your ski vacation planning. The snow is reliable, the terrain varied, there’s no crowds and it’s easy to navigate around the mountain and the village. Contact us for all your Big White vacation needs.

WHERE TO STAY

Stonebridge Lodge at Big White ski resort

Most of the lodging on offer is located in the mid-mountain area near the village centre. From luxury condos including Stonebridge Lodge, Stonegate Resort, Sundance. Mid-range options include Towering Pines, Trappers Crossing, and Copper Kettle to older hotel style accommodation at White Crystal Inn, Chateau Big White, Inn at Big White and for value accommodation the Whitefoot Lodge. 

Beyond the village, there are three other distinct accommodation precincts.

Happy Valley is home to a great selection of condos and townhouses with good ski in options — the Edge, Southpoint, The Timbers, Snowbird Lodge. To access the ski runs, you can either take the ski way to the Ridge Rocket, or the Gondola up to the village.

The Upper Village enjoys views of the distant Monashee Mountains and has an excellent variety of ski-in, ski-out condo and townhouse accommodation; but be warned the higher the location, the bigger the hill from the village centre. The resort does offer a complimentary bus shuttle.

Snowpines Estate is some 15 minutes’ walk (at least) from the village centre. It is a community of its own with many large homes owned by locals, quite a lot of staff accommodation. Some streets are ski-in, ski-out access, but it is a fair way from the village, accessed by a well-lit snow pathway. The free shuttle also services this area.

TOP 5 REASONS TO VISIT BIG WHITE

Big White Ski Sign Guide

#1. The Snow. The resort receives over 26.5 feet (750cm) of light, dry, fluffy powder annually. Come and ski or ride in the world-famous ‘snow ghosts’ – the frosty, snow-caked trees.

 

#2. Canada’s Largest Totally Ski-in/Ski-out Resort Village. You can ski in and ski out right from many different accommodation options while still being in the heart of the Big White village. 

 

#3. It’s family friendly. Cruise down the immaculately groomed runs, knowing that your children are being introduced to the exciting world of mountain fun at the Kids Centre

 

#4. The Terrain Park. The TELUS Terrain Park provides skiers and boarders with a magnificent playground of jumps, boxes, skier cross, and pipes – all things freestyle. 

 

#5. A White Christmas. Big White Ski Resort put BIG into a white Christmas, with a sack full of snow activities and festive fun for all the family. If you are dreaming of a white Christmas, then Big White is the place.

 

Contact us for all your Big White vacation needs.

RESORT FACTS

Snowboarder gets fresh tracks through the snow ghosts at Big White Ski Resort

DESIGNATED TRAILS:

#Trails Beginner Intermediate Advanced Extreme
119 18%  54% 22% 6%

ANNUAL SNOWFALL:

Big White Ski Resort  24.5 ft 750 cm

TERRAIN:

Resort Area 7355 ac 3053 ha
Patrolled Area 2765 ac 1147 ha
Alpine Glades 1525 ac 618 ha

VERTICAL DROP:

2550 ft / 777 m Longest Run: 4.5 miles / 7.2 km

 

Summit Elevation 7606 ft / 2319 m
Village Centre 5757 ft / 1755 m
Westridge Base – Gem Lake 4950 ft / 1508 m

NUMBER OF LIFTS & UPHILL CAPACITY:

Big White Ski Resort 15 28,700 people per hour

NORDIC SKIING:

Big White offers 16 miles (25 km) of incredible combined Nordic and Wilderness trails perfect for Canadian cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.  8.7 miles (14 km) of trails groomed daily with state-of-the-art grooming equipment for both skate and classic technique.

 

NIGHT SKIING: 

Ski under bright lights in the largest night skiing area in Western Canada. With a night lift capacity of over 5000 people per hour, the Plaza Chair and the Bullet High Speed Chairs whisk skiers to the top of the longest vertical drop 1955 feet (596 m) of all night skiing areas in North America! On Thursday to Saturday nights, also ride in TELUS Terrain Park.

 

WINTER HOURS OF OPERATION: 

Big White is usually open from late November to mid-April each year. 8.45 am – 3.30 pm Note: These times are provided by the ski resort and can vary based on external conditions, day of the week, school, and public holidays. Contact us for all your Big White vacation needs.

GETTING THERE

The clocktower is an easy landmark in the centre of Big White Village
The clocktower is an easy landmark in the centre of Big White Village

Big White Ski Resort is 39 miles (62.5km) from Kelowna. From Vancouver by road, the resort is 280 miles (450km) from Vancouver.

 

FLY:

Kelowna International Airport (YLW) enjoys many direct North American connections such as Vancouver, Los Angeles, Toronto, Calgary,  Seattle, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Cancun, Puerto Vallarta, Cabo San Lucas.

 

For our Australian guests Air Canada offers direct flights from Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane to Vancouver (YVR) the major entry gateway to Kelowna (YLW).  Qantas, too, flies directly from Sydney-Vancouver during the busy periods of the northern winter.

 

Vancouver is also a major hub for numerous North American and international destinations. Air Canada, WestJet, Alaska Airlines, and their code share partners ensure straightforward connections from the USA, UK, Australia and Asia.

 

Some commercial services have been impacted by COVID-19 and airline flight and border restrictions. Best to check with your airline of choice for currently flight schedules.

 

The resort’s airport shuttle service meets all flights from Kelowna. It usually takes just 50 minutes door to door. If you are flying into Kelowna, shuttles must be reserved 72 hours prior to arrival, as they do not meet all flights. Remember to let them know if children need a booster or car seat.

 

DRIVE:

Driving to Big White Ski Resort from Vancouver, weather depending, takes just over five hours – meaning you can leave in the morning and still get in some afternoon and night skiing.

 

If you are considering a road trip to take in other ski resorts and the spectacular alpine scenery; Whistler is only 6.5 hours away via Highway 99, some 297 miles (479 km), SilverStar is  just 1.75 hours away. a mere 77 miles (124 km) and Sun Peaks (via Kelowna) is 3.5 hours by road, 169 miles (273 km). Our team can arrange inter-resort shuttles.

 

For the latest information about road conditions, closures, travel advisories and webcams, please visit the Drive BC.

 

SNOW HOW TIP:
Winter tyres or chains are mandatory from October 1 to April 30 each year. Winter tyres can be requested for rental cars also. Look for the snowflake symbol on the tyre. Driveaway are our preferred car rental company, purely based on positive past experiences,  and offering a fleet of vehicles with winter tyres.

 

GETTING AROUND BIG WHITE:

The resort operates a regular loop shuttle around the resort, daily from 7:00am – 11:00pm, with a scheduled shuttle service every 30 minutes, starting from the Village Centre Mall. 

 

TAXI:

There is no taxi company in the resort, however Kelowna Cabs operate from Kelowna and will drive to Big White.

 

BIKES:

Explore Big White’s backcountry terrain on a fat bike. Yet another way for skiers and non-skiers alike to enjoy and explore the mountain.

 

OTHER TRANSPORT:

Big White operate a coach service to Kelowna for shopping twice a week. Contact us for all your Big White transport needs.

TRAIL MAP

Big White Ski Resort trail map

Things to do at big white

TERRAIN PARKS

Big White terrain park
Terrain parks at Big White

Big White Ski Resort has done extensive work on their terrain park over the last 10 years, partnering with TELUS to develop one of the top ski and snowboard parks in the country with full progression from small to extra large features. TELUS Park also boasts a standard 12-foot (3.6m) half pipe and a full-time snowcross course to help strengthen basic skills in skiing and snowboarding.

 

The park plays host to events that showcase the Olympic disciplines, such as ski and snowboard slopestyle, snowboard cross and ski cross, halfpipe and international World Cup para-snowboard cross and banked slalom. Contact us for all your Big White vacation needs.

SNOWSPORTS SCHOOL

Big White kids instructors
Big White kids program.

Big White’s Snowsports School has a well-earned reputation across British Columbia, Canada as one of the best.  The resort attracts more than its share of the highest qualified Level 4 CSIA Instructors. Big White’s terrain offers the perfect classroom for all levels of ability — for skiers, boarders and Nordic skiers. If you are a beginner, the purpose built Happy Valley Adventure Playground, is the ideal venue to conquer the first skills. Big White Ski Resort also has a broad variety of improvement lessons and programs.

 

COVID-19 Policy: The resorts’ products, programs and prices may change or vary for the upcoming 2020/21 season as they continue to act in accordance with the instructions of the BC Ministry of Health and other Government officials.

 

Never Ever Days Designed to give first timers a fun, safe, and encouraging experience with pros who specialize in teaching adults for the very first time.
Ladies Day Every Wednesday, is Ladies Day. Join other ladies of similar ability for a 2-hour morning group lesson to build confidence and improve your skills, followed by a gourmet lunch at Happy Valley at Noon with wine tasting, and prizes. You can choose between skiing, snowboarding, cross country skiing, and snowshoeing group lessons.
First Tracks For those keen to get the fresh power stashes or carve up the corduroy, enjoy an early morning 90 minute session with your snow-pro. Get the jump on everyone else and have 30 minutes of exclusive access to the Ridge Rocket Express Chair – which won’t start spinning for the public until 8:30am – so you can experience true “First Tracks” in untouched powder or perfectly-groomed corduroy. Plus, you and your instructor will debrief over breakfast and coffee in the Village Centre Mall before continuing on your day while most skiers and riders are still getting out of bed.
Instructor Training Program Big White Ski Resort hosts a number of Instructor Qualification or Improvement courses throughout the season. The CSIA Level 1 course is a skier’s first step into the world of instructing. These include: SnowSkool, Nothin’ But Snow and, Snow Rehab. With EA you get a full internship working with children in the Big White Kids’ Centre, coaching to Level 1 and beyond, and practical, hands on experience of the world of instructing.
Masters Ski Weeks for the over 50’s The Big White Masters’ Week is a five day ski improvement program designed for the over 50’s. Furthermore, the Masters’ Week is really for passionate skiers; of any ability; keen to improve, living life to the full; active and invigorated. By learning good technique from the experts, you can be adventurous, and confidently ski within your limits, without risking injury. Imagine this – think après ski socializing on and off snow, whilst improving your skiing skills, in a relaxed and oh so friendly atmosphere.
Snowsports Training Camps The Big White Ski & Board School offers specialized training programs in both a race and/or freestyle environments for aspiring athletes. Race training starts from introducing gate training, through to developing technically sound turning skills, acquiring the ability to interpret line in a race course, and incrementally adding more advanced skills that raise the competency level of the participating athletes in clear and demonstrable ways. The focus on developing the entire skillset of the athletes is an excellent foundation for improved participation at inter-school competitions or domestic club racing. The freestyle focused camps are geared to developing an interest and proficiency in the main disciplines of moguls, slope-style, ski/boarder cross and big mountain skiing.

KIDS PROGRAMS

The Big White Kids Centre is the ultimate playground for tots from 18 months through to teenagers. Your kids will be up and going on skis or snowboards in no time, and as safety is just as important as fun, the Kids Centre provides complimentary ski helmets to all children in its care. The Tot Town Daycare Centre caters for children aged 18 months to 5 years, ideal for kids who do not wish to ski, or ski just part of the day.

Kids Cubs: Ages 3-4 The Ski Cubs program gives children a positive ski experience by building their self-confidence with encouraging instructors in a fun setting.
Snow Riders: Ages 5 -7 Choose between skiing, boarding, or both! Instructors guide 5-7 year olds through five levels of adventure and fun!
Ridge Runners: Ridge Runners is an exclusive group for kids age 8-12 in the Kids’ Centre. Kids can choose between skiing and boarding, as well having the option of full day group lessons in addition to morning or afternoon sessions. Each discipline has six bespoke ability levels and our expert instructors will ensure that their students are progressing to the best of their abilities in a fun, safe and stimulating environment.

Big White Tot Town – Day Care Centre – Voted “Best Place to be Abandoned by Your Parents” by Ski Canada Magazine, the Tot Town Daycare is ideal for the pre-ski child, or for the child who does not wish to ski the whole day. Enrolment available for children aged 18 months to 5 years old.

 

SNOW HOW TIP:
Making advance reservations during Holiday periods is a must to guarantee your preferred lesson type/time. Flaik is a tracking solution for skiers and riders that allows participants to track their day to see what runs they were on and how much vertical they tackled. All children in the Kids Centre are issued a Flaik. If you’ve taken part in ski school — your kids can re-live their lesson, earn badges, rate your instructor. Contact us for all your Big White snow school needs.

RENTALS

We often recommend bringing your own boots, but save the stress of travelling with your own skis and boards. At Big White Ski Resort, you have a great choice of rental gear — providing the latest technology; and the best in boot-fitters we know at Dizzy’s. If you’re after skis, snowboards or snowblades, you’ll find everything you need in our Big White Rental Shop, conveniently situated in the Village Centre Mall in the heart of Big White

SNOW HOW TIP:
Children under the age of 13 will receive a complimentary helmet when renting a full set of equipment from the Rental Shop.

RETAIL THERAPY

SHOP 

Big White merchandise You’re here for the skiing, right? Shopaholics can still feed their need with a good range of Big White merchandise, leading ski brands, alpine tech savvy equipment and Big White branded memorabilia and souvenirs.

All the retail stores are within a hop, step and jump of each other in the village centre. Far & Wide as the name implies is jam packed with local artisan and indigenous pieces, the perfect gift for those left at home.

 

Retail stores with apparel and equipment for skiers and snowboarders, après ski gear, gifts and souvenirs
Equipment hire and rentals – skis, snowboards, snowshoes, Nordic gear, helmets, clothing, snow bikes
Boot fitter – expert team guarantee comfort & fit
Kids gear, candy store and artisan souvenirs
Repairs and tuning open daily

FUN FACT
If you’ve walked around Big White Ski Resort, you’ve probably seen dozens of Big White toques — the colourful hats with their huge white pom-poms. Since they hit the shelves back in December 2013, Big White toques have become the most recognizable accessory on the resort with over 40,000 sold.

 

The Market at Big White is your full service, on-mountain local grocery, deli and liquor store in the heart of the village. The store is comprehensively stocked and in addition to groceries, fruit and vegetables and certain delicatessen lines, they also stock wine, beer and spirits, and home deliver. Pre-order online. The store is not as large as the major supermarkets in Kelowna and you may wish to pick up special items you need on your way to the resort, passing through Kelowna.

 

Big White Beer and Wine is a stand-alone liquor store in the Village Centre Mall. They offer ‘the best of B.C’ from local wineries, distilleries and up-and-coming craft breweries, sourced from the 100 + wineries of the Okanagan and Similkameen valleys, along with 30 craft beers and ciders, and a selection of local artisanal spirits. Contact us for all your Big White vacation needs.

THINGS TO DO

ON MOUNTAIN

Big White ski resort and hidden cabins
Sleigh rides to hidden cabins at Big White ski resort
Dog Sled Tours Before heading out on your exhilarating dog sled adventure at Big White, you will learn everything you need to know about dog sled tours in Canada. All sleds are guided. Guests may be given the option to drive the sled, daylight and safety permitting.
Big White Snow Host Complimentary Tours Look for the Snow Hosts in yellow jackets each morning in the Village Centre 10:15am. They will show you the best ski and snowboarding spots on Big White with a Complimentary Mountain Tour. This tour will open your eyes to the locals’ favourite ski and snowboard runs, providing you with the ins and outs of Big White Resort. The hosts are also positioned at the top of the Bullet, Black Forest and Snow Ghost Chairlift each morning to provide up to the minute info on grooming, where to find the powder stashes and general safety.
First Tracks Hit the slopes ahead of the rest. An early start is worth the effort. Starting at 8am as you revel in 30 minutes of EXCLUSIVE access with your dedicated ski instructor. Start at the Ridge Rocket Express Chair – which won’t start spinning for the public until 8:30am – so you can experience true “First Tracks” in untouched powder or perfectly-groomed corduroy. Then, from 8:30am the next hour is all about getting first tracks on run after run, as you skip the line queue. This is a bucket list item you must tick off. The experience wraps up with breakfast with your ski instructor in the Village Centre Mall.

OFF MOUNTAIN

ice climbing Big White
Big White ice climbing tower.
Ice Hockey Tour This is a must-do evening activity! Experience the excitement of the Kelowna Rockets WHL hockey team in action. Known for their exciting, gritty, Canadian hockey style, Rockets games are a fun time for all. Witness the stars of tomorrow fighting for a spot in the NHL. Big White concierge organizes everything — game day tickets, and transportation to Prospera Place indoor ice arena in Kelowna.  These games sell out, book early.

 

SNOW HOW TIP:
Locals always call it “hockey” never “ice hockey”.

Happy Valley Adventure Centre For the young and young at heart, this is the place to be. A huge range of activities at your fingertips – ice skating on Canada’s highest skating rink, tubing, sleigh rides, dog sledding and more.
Craft Brewery behind the scenes tour Elevation 57 Brewing Company is a new addition to Sessions Taphouse and Grill. Elevation 57 beer is brewed at the highest elevation in Canada; 5757 feet above sea level. It uses naturally sourced water from Rhonda Lake which is located near the base of the Cliff.

 

The lake is 6600 feet above sea level, filled with clean mountain water, and so is the beer! Sessions now sells growlers, cans, and specialty bottles, while featuring all of their brews on tap upstairs at the pub. Tours are a great way to get a behind the scenes look at the operation.

Ice Climbing Big White Ski Resort installed a 60ft (18.3m) Ice Tower in 2010. It is situated in Happy Valley, in the Adventure Park. Visitors to Big White can climb the tower. Each side of the tower is graduated depending on climbing experience, a beginner side and the remaining three more challenging. An instructor supervises each climb and is there to assist guests enjoy the challenge.
Half Day Wine Tour Ski the morning, then spend the afternoon exploring the Okanagan Valley’s exceptional wine growing region. Savour a long lunch at Quails Gate, explore the architectural masterpiece of Mission Hill Family Estate and learn about the indigenous wine growing operation, Indigenous World Winery.
Contact us to discuss your lodging needs.

APRÈS SKI

smores Big White
S’mores at the Globe at Big White

Because Big White’s Main Street is actually a ski run, guests can ski to the doorstep of a variety of pubs, cafes and restaurants throughout the village. Big White boasts more than 20 different après ski options, and of course, you can always après ski in your own home away from home.

 

Enjoy the snow bar outside The Woods, live music at Snowshoe Sams; sip on a Caesar at the Bullwheel Gastro pub as you watch skiers’ whizz by. You’ll find sensational local produce and exceptional award winning local wines from the Okanagan Valley, at 6 Degrees Bistro, conveniently located at Stonebridge Lodge.

 

Join in the nightly fun at Big White’s Irish Tavern, The Blarney Stone — the place to be on St Patricks Day. Feed the men meat, as the saying goes — The Kettle Valley Steakhouse is the place. Try the tomahawk chop — a seriously huge cut of the best beef from Alberta. The resort is seriously family-friendly — at Happy Valley at the lower level of the resort, toast marshmallows around the bonfire whilst the kids ice skate, or enjoy a sleigh ride to a login cabin for dinner. The resort hosts a few fun aprés events during the season.

 

Big Reds at Big White, showcases the burgeoning wine industry in the nearby Okanagan Valley. More than 200 vineyards are dotted along Lake Okanagan, producing international award winning wines, such as Mission Hill Family Estate, partner with local restaurants for Wine Lovers Wednesday at the Globe Tapas Café and 6 Degrees Bistro.

 

SNOW HOW TIP:
A visit to Big White is not complete until you’ve experienced a Gunbarrel Coffee served flamed though the barrel of a gun. Contact us with all your vacation and après booking questions.

Ski Vacation Packages Canada

Contact us for all your Big White vacation needs.