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posted on November 4, 2021

Winter in British Columbia is when the province really shines, and you don’t have to be a double black diamond skier to take advantage of it. From soaring mountain peaks to serene snowshoe trails, exploring BC is a great way to get outside, stay active, and fend off seasonal depression this winter. Many of the most inspiring activities are just a road trip away from Vancouver.

Whether you’re seeking a family-friendly vacation, a romantic getaway, or going solo, BC has something for everyone. Here are our favourite winter getaways BC visitors and locals can discover both on and off the slopes.

Disclaimer: Rates, parking information, and other details are subject to change. All information presented below applies to the 2021-22 season. Before hitting the road make sure to refer directly to the service provider for the most up-to-date information on their fees and operation. 

Best ski resorts in BC

From Whistler to the Powder Highway, BC ski resorts promise world-class thrills for skiing, snowboarding, and cross-country enthusiasts of every skill level. 

Whistler Blackcomb

If you’re after epic ski hills near Vancouver, you can’t go wrong with Whistler Blackcomb. The resort’s reputation as one of the best in the world is well-founded, and it’s one of the most accessible ski mountains Vancouver visitors can check out. Soak up spectacular mountain views, ski with an Olympian, and stroll the vibrant village to make the most of it.

Distance from Vancouver: 1.5 hour

Single day admission: $146 online or $178 same day

Season pass: $1,424

Snow tubing: Yes

Cross-country skiing trails: Yes

Other details: Whistler Blackcomb is open from 8:30am–3pm, with day parking starting at $6 per vehicle. A wide variety of classes are offered for adults, teens, and kids, including group lessons, private lessons, and specialty programs. Rental equipment is available. The resort has over 200 runs and more than 8,000 acres of terrain for all ability levels, and Whistler Village is packed with shops and dining options.

Revelstoke

A haven for intermediate and advanced skiers, Revelstoke Mountain Resort is just one of the renowned stops along BC’s Powder Highway. Holding the record for the biggest snowfall in a Canadian winter and home to the longest vertical descent in North America, this resort is an excellent alternative to Whistler Blackcomb if you’re after world-class facilities with a fraction of the crowds. 

Distance from Vancouver: 7 hours

Single day admission: $139

Season pass: $1,699

Snow tubing: Yes

Cross-country skiing trails: No

Other details: Revelstoke Mountain Resort offers 75 runs, nearly 90% geared toward intermediate and advanced skill levels. For the 2021-22 season, free parking is available at the base. The resort boasts a diverse and in-depth range of lessons including private instruction, group lessons for kids, and camps, with equipment rentals available. There is a restaurant and cafeteria on site, plus plenty of local dining options in Revelstoke.

Big White

Known as Canada’s Favourite Family Resort, Big White is a winner with parents and kids alike. Located on Kelowna’s doorstep “Biggie” has terrain for all skill levels, lessons and camps for kids, and plenty of winter activities. Grown ups can enjoy the magnificent mountain scenery and local Okanagan restaurants for après-ski indulgence.

Distance from Vancouver: 5.5 hours

Single day admission: $124

Season pass: $1,199

Snow tubing: Yes

Cross-country skiing trails: Yes

Other details: Big White Ski Resort is open from 8:45 am–4 pm and has free day parking for the 2021-22 season and 118 runs for all difficulty levels. Private and group lessons are offered for families, adults, teens, and kids, as well as camps, special programs, and equipment rentals. Big White boasts the largest night skiing area in Western Canada, open from Tuesday to Saturday. Dining options are available on the mountain and at base.

Sun Peaks

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Take off to Canada’s second-largest ski area and prepare to be spoiled. Sun Peaks Resort has green runs at all three summits for novices, while advanced skiers can brave Gil’s Area for perfect powder and off-piste thrills. In the village, expect to be charmed by folk music and vintage Canadiana decor. Get cozy on an outdoor patio with a toasty fire pit for the true après-ski experience.

Distance from Vancouver: 4.5 hours

Single day admission: $139

Season pass: $1,549

Snow tubing: Yes

Cross-country skiing trails: Yes

Other details: Sun Peaks Resort is open from 8:30 am–3:30 pm and day parking is free for the 2021-22 season. There are 138 trails across three mountains, mostly intermediate and advanced difficulty. Private and group lessons are available for all ages, as well as equipment rentals. Restaurants, snack bars, and cafés can be found on the mountain, in the village, and in various hotels and lodges.

Kicking Horse

Hailed as the Champagne Powder Capital of Canada, Kicking Horse Mountain Resort is one of the best ski resorts BC has to offer. Renowned for fresh powder and diverse terrain, this rugged mountain paradise offers gentle, groomed trails for beginners and gnarly chutes and plunging verticals for the pros. A mountaintop dinner at Eagle’s Eye Restaurant completes the experience.

Distance from Vancouver: 8.5 hours

Single day admission: starting at $129

Season pass: $1,849

Snow tubing: Yes

Cross-country skiing trails: Yes

Other details: Kicking Horse Mountain Resort has over 120 runs, 40% of them beginner and intermediate difficulty. There is plenty of free parking available. The resort offers lots of “Never Ever” lessons for first-time skiers, as well as camps and private instruction. Ski, snowboard, and fat bike rentals are available. On mountain and village dining can be enjoyed throughout the resort.

Red Mountain

Continue cruising along the Powder Highway to discover Red Mountain Resort. Located in the Kootenay Rockies, this is one of the best places to visit in BC in winter for an authentic ski experience. Hit the slopes for some of BC’s best tree runs, a lack of crowds, and finish the day with après-ski in Rossland, a historic ski town known for friendly locals and laid-back vibes.

Distance from Vancouver: 7 hours

Single day admission: $124

Season pass: $1,229

Snow tubing: No

Cross-country skiing trails: Yes

Other details: Red Mountain Resort is open from 8:30 am4 pm, with free parking available for the 2021-22 season. There are 119 marked trails, about half of them advanced or expert difficulty. Lessons include weekly clubs, camps, and private and group instruction, and equipment rentals are available. Dining at the resort includes laid-back pub fare and coffee on the mountain and at the base.

Fernie Alpine Resort

Blessed with over 30 feet of snowfall each season, Fernie Alpine Resort is another prime stop on BC’s Powder Highway. The resort attracts pros and novices alike with its diverse terrain, spectacular views, and town of spirited, die-hard skiers. Some of the best cross-country skiing BC has can be found here, as well as enchanting night skiing and an excellent beginner’s area.

Distance from Vancouver: 11 hours

Single day admission: $126

Season pass: $1,899

Snow tubing: No

Cross-country skiing trails: Yes

Other details: Fernie Alpine Resort is open from 9 am–4 pm, and free parking is available for the 2021-22 season. There are over 142 runs with an even distribution of difficulty, and a variety of lessons are offered for kids and adults, including camps and private instruction. Equipment rentals are available, and night skiing is offered on select dates from 4 pm–9 pm. The resort offers lots of dining options including pub grub, tapas, and cafés.

Best winter activities in BC

Don’t sweat it if hitting the slopes isn’t your style. From camping to dogsledding and more, BC dominates when it comes to winter fun.

Discover winter hikes and snowshoeing in BC

Snowshoeing and hiking are some of the most accessible and family-friendly winter activities BC visitors and locals enjoy, so why not try a trek of your own? Dress warmly, check the forecast, and come equipped with ice cleats before you venture out. 

  • Hiking Dog Mountain Trail is one of the best things to do in Vancouver in winter and is a comfortable, family-friendly route that rewards hikers with a view of the city from the summit. The trail is free to use and is a 50-minute drive from Vancouver.
  • Rose Valley Regional Park has an easy to moderate extensive trail network with some of the most scenic snowshoeing Kelowna visitors can enjoy near the city. Access to the park is free, and is a four- hour drive from Vancouver.
  • Lighthouse Park is one of the most scenic winter hikes BC offers in West Vancouver, and covers an easy, circular route with views along the shore. It’s only 40 minutes from Vancouver and free to access.
  • Taylor Meadows is some of the most spectacular snowshoeing BC has, featuring views of Black Tusk and a challenging ascent. Access to Garibaldi Provincial Park is free, and is a 1.5-hour drive from Vancouver.

Go winter camping in BC

For diehard lovers of the outdoors, the winter camping BC experience is a rewarding one. Prior camping experience is recommended, or bringing an experienced winter camper along with you. You’ll need a sleeping pad, cook stove, utensils and toiletries, first aid kit, flashlight, warm and weatherproof layers for a safe and comfortable trip, as well as a four-season tent if you’re not staying in a cabin.

  • Gold Creek Campground is located amid rivers and mountains in Golden Ears Provincial Park, which is free of crowds and just as beautiful off-season. It’s a one-hour and 20-minute drive from Vancouver to the park, with a fee of $13 per party per night.
  • Strathcona Provincial Park is perfect for winter photography in the awe-inspiring landscape of Vancouver Island, with snowshoeing available on the Crest Mountain Trail. It’s a four-hour and 45-minute drive from Vancouver to the park and there is no fee for winter camping.
  • E.C. Manning Provincial Park has views of the Cascade Mountains to wake up to, as well as beautiful hiking trails. It’s a two-hour and 20-minute drive from Vancouver to the park, with a fee of $13 per party per night.
  • Brae Island Regional Park is a scenic campground on the Fraser River near the historic site of Fort Langley. It’s a one-hour drive from Vancouver to the park, with RV sites priced between $40-$50 per night.

Have fun dogsledding in BC

Dog lovers, assemble! For a novel winter excursion, dogsledding BC style doesn’t disappoint. Dress warmly, bring ski goggles, and count on your tour provider to provide the core equipment and orient you with the dogs and gear. Soon you’ll be mushing like a pro.

  • Big White Ski Resort teaches guests about harnessing and dog care before taking off on a thrilling expedition through backcountry trails. The resort is 5.5 hours from Vancouver and tours are priced at $269 per sled. 
  • Whistler Blackcomb tours weave through old growth forest and delves into the history of dogsledding during the fur trade, as well as basic commands, harnessing, and sled handling. The resort is just 1.5 hours from Vancouver and tours are priced at $458. 
  • Sun Peaks Resort teaches visitors about dog care and offers guided tours through pine forests and past scenic Little McGillivray Lake. The resort is four hours and 45 minutes from Vancouver and their most popular one hour tour is priced at $225 per person. 

Try ice fishing in BC

Ice fishing is a cherished BC pastime, and all you need is the right gear and a bit of patience. Purchase a freshwater fishing license, dress for the day’s weather, and be sure to check local regulations before you set out. Here are a few of the most serene spots for ice fishing BC has to offer.

  • Logan Lake is a family-oriented urban lake with a remote feel, perfect for catching rainbow trout. The lake is free to use and is a three-hour and 45-minute drive from Vancouver.
  • Walloper Lake hosts a Family Ice Fishing Day and is great for first-timers. The lake is free to use and is a four-hour and 40-minute drive from Vancouver.
  • Mamit Lake is easy to access from the highway and hosts a local fishing derby each year. The lake is free to use and is a four-hour and 40-minute drive from Vancouver.
  • Tunkwa Lake Provincial Park is a great site for rainbow trout, and fishing gear is available to rent in the park. The lake is free to use and is a four-hour drive from Vancouver.

Seek thrills on a snowmobile trip in BC

Snowmobiling culture is strong in BC, with plenty of exhilarating options to experience pristine backcountry beauty. You’ll need a valid driver’s license to ride, as well as the correct clothing and gear before you start your engines. Previous experience and familiarity with the route is recommended, especially in areas with avalanche risks. If you’re a novice looking for guided tours or snowmobile rental BC has you covered with its local sledding businesses.

  • Revelstoke snowmobiling is some of the best in the province with countless options for day tours, rentals, night rides, and multi-day excursions. Getting there is a six-hour drive from Vancouver.
  • Valemount lies at the foot of Mount Robson and is packed with picturesque sledding trails suited to all skill levels. It’s a seven-hour drive from Vancouver, with guided tours and rentals available.
  • Blue River has over 60 km of diverse mountain trails that will appeal to all skill levels. It’s a six-hour drive from Vancouver, with local tours available.
  • Sun Peaks Adventure Tours caters to families and adrenaline junkies alike with two hour and four hour tours. It’s a 4.5-hour drive from Vancouver, with tours starting at $150 per sled.

Ready to get behind the wheel and explore BC for yourself? Turo connects you with local hosts who have everything you need to make your west coast winter adventure a success — from AWD and 4×4 vehicles to power through tough terrain, to add-ons like roof racks for an effortless sojourn on the ski hills.

If you plan on getting your fill of winter action abroad, we’ve got you covered with cross-border destinations to fuel your wanderlust.

Browse cars in BC

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