The Snow Report
Riders of all abilities converge in Big White’s Telus terrain park, which is night-lit (go ‘til 8 p.m. if you’d like) and has its own lift, half pipe, and cross course. Meanwhile, traditional downhillers traverse 118 trails that descend 2,550 vertical feet. With 10 percent powder days per season and 294 annual inches of ‘fall, 16 lifts (including a gondola) stay busy.
The scenery is beautiful up here, 280 miles east of Vancouver. It’s fairy-tale white, the landscape spiked with trees that have turned to ghosts for the winter. The resort is compact and easily walkable and its three hotels—the Inn at Big White, White Crystal Inn, and Chateau Big White—are all ski-in/ski-out. There’s an array of condos at your avail, too. About 20 restaurants are within a snowball’s throw, including the new 6 Degrees, cozy and slopeside. Two spas await your aches and sprains, while eight casual pubs massage out mental knots—SnowShoe Sam’s, in particular, is locally revered and Carver’s, a piano bar, is just fun. If it’s wine you crave, come during the Big Reds at Big White festival in early December, when 30 regional winemakers and chefs showcase their fare.
The easy-access rental shop carries a wide range of skis, boards, shoes, helmets and XC gear for all ages. But if you’d rather wear blades, check out Canada’s highest-elevation ice-skating rink, an outdoor, Olympic-hockey-sized playground. Big White’s also got a 60-foot-high ice-climbing wall, sleigh rides, snowmobile and dog-sled tours, snowshoeing, and a tube park beloved by children. Other kid-related amenities include Tot Town Daycare, which Ski Canada magazine called “the best place to be abandoned by your parents.” They’ll try to teach your toddlers to ski, plop them on the Mega Snow Coaster, and more.
If you bite it, a nice-sized ski patrol will see to you: It’s got 13 doctors, 13 nurses, and 120 volunteers—good thing, too, since the nearest hospital is more than 30 miles away. For non-injury needs, a winter army of 1,800–including six Level 4 coaches among the staff at Big White’s ski-and-snowboard school—attends to 560,000 guests every season.
Big White goes big on green too: The mountain’s backside is an ecological reserve, and trail developers work around wildlife corridors to protect animals. Lots of recycling goes on here, geothermal power runs some of the facilities, and all buildings have energy-efficient light bulbs and low-volume fixtures. Water for snowmaking doesn’t come from wells or creeks but from a dug-out catchment that collects snow.
For a riotous spectacle, come on closing day for Dummy Downhill, an event during which homemade contraptions, all intended to be as silly as possible, tear up the tube park.
CONTACT: (800) 663-2772, bigwhite.com
SEASON: Early Dec to mid-April
TICKETS: General: $73, children: $38, ages 65 and older: $62, ages 4 and younger: free