An Expert Guide to Ski and Snowboard Resorts Near Vancouver, British Columbia

Searching for the best ski and snowboard destinations for your trip to Vancouver? Read on to see the top spots for winter fun throughout British Columbia.

A view of the lift at the top of Cypress Mountain through snow-covered trees.

Cypress Mountain. Photo by Vincentas Liskauskas

Searching for the best ski and snowboard destinations for your trip to Vancouver? Read on to see the top spots for winter fun throughout British Columbia.

As a lifelong Seattle resident, British Columbia has always been my skiing Mecca. Ever since middle school, I’ve made regular pilgrimages to the coast mountains for their limitless vertical drop, deep snow, and knockout views. Being a proud Washington State resident, I have a special place in my heart for the Cascades, but the coast range of BC is a step above the mountains in my backyard.

Something I have a hard time impressing upon people who are visiting British Columbia for the first time is that it’s very big and incredibly rugged—don’t expect to be able to see it all in one go. And while once-in-a-lifetime trips to Revelstoke and Sun Peaks are incredible, these interior BC destinations are too remote to access easily from metro Vancouver or the lower mainland. But don’t worry, there is a lifetime’s worth of world-class skiing and snowboarding minutes from that Gastown eatery you’ve been waiting to try.

Between Vancouver’s SkyTrain light rail system and an extensive network of private shuttle buses and public transportation, accessing most of these resorts without renting a car is also dead simple. Be sure to check the latest travel restrictions, transit time tables, and lift ticket availability though, as policies can change overnight these days. So while I’m still bitter that the train up to Whistler isn’t running anymore, the plethora of shuttles available more than makes up for the train’s absence.

Now, let’s get into the specifics! In no particular order, here are my top choices for skiing and snowboarding for Vancouver visitors.

Grouse Mountain

Someone jumps off a ramp at the terrain park.

Grouse Mountain. Photo by Spencer Watson

Just across the Lions Gate Bridge from Coal Harbor and the West End lies North Vancouver, a bit removed from the hustle and bustle of Vancouver proper. Surrounded by the North Shore Mountains, North Vancouver is a great home base for all your outdoor adventures from mountain biking in the summer to drizzly fall walks across the Capilano suspension bridge. But once the snow begins to fall, all the locals will point you to the Grouse Mountain Skyride.

Just fifteen minutes drive from the heart of downtown, the Skyride whisks skiers and snowboarders from near sea level up to the snowy wonderland waiting above. Even if you don’t plan on skiing or snowboarding once you embark on this breathtaking aerial tram ride, a trip up the Skyride is a no-brainer for anyone visiting Vancouver. Atop the tram, skiers and snowboarders have their choice of terrain, all with stunning views of Vancouver below.

For everyone else, the top tram station provides access to fine dining, movie theaters, skating rinks, and even grizzly bear viewing (when they’re not hibernating).

With a wide range of trails from child-friendly slopes to progressively-designed terrain parks, Grouse Mountain has a nook or cranny to make anyone happy. This easily-accessible resort has everything you need for a picturesque winter getaway, and it’s so close that some residents even bike there!

Cypress Mountain

An image of the chairlift at Cypress Mountain on a blue-sky day.

Cypress Mountain. Photo by Abraham R

This North-Shore gem is a thirty-minute drive from Vancouver, but once you’re on the slopes, you’ll swear you could reach out across Burrard Inlet and touch the city. Skiing and snowboarding with a panoramic view of the Salish Sea, Bowen Island, and the rest of the lower mainland spread out in front of you is an experience you won’t soon forget.

With dramatic fjords and islands all around you, riding Cypress feels like riding in Norway or Alaska. But with such great access from Vancouver, it’s easy to spend the morning exploring Stanley Park or Granville Island and then head up for an afternoon of carving turns at Cypress. Night skiing at Cypress is also a local favorite, and watching the sun set over the Strait of Georgia with the lights of the city beneath you is an incredible end to a day in Vancouver.

Cypress Mountain is also on the way to Whistler-Blackcomb, so if you need a pit stop on your drive up the Sea-to-Sky highway, Cypress is a great spot for a half-day of turns to break up your travels.

The views and accessibility are incredible, but Cypress also boasts a wide range of trees, corduroy, steeps, and bumps; if you can name it, Cypress has acres and acres of it. The varied terrain and ample snow are why Cypress was chosen to host the snowboarding and freestyle skiing competitions at the 2010 Olympics, and the breathtaking views didn’t hurt either.

Sure, Cypress Mountain has the backdrop for the most devoted Instagram influencers, but it also boasts the snow conditions and geography to back up its reputation as the go-to resort for skiing in Vancouver’s backyard.

Whistler-Blackcomb

The red Peak 2 Peak tram at Whistler-Blackcomb.

The Peak 2 Peak gondola. Photo by Sierra M.

There’s a reason Whistler-Blackcomb is the obvious skiing and snowboarding destination for trips to British Columbia: huge vertical, limitless terrain, and all the accommodations and amenities you could dream of. Anyone searching for a snowy vacation destination can find exactly what they want at Whistler-Blackcomb, from the most hard-core ski bum to families looking to hit the slopes for the very first time.

Thanks to road improvement work done for the Vancouver Olympics, the hour-and-a-half drive on the Sea-to-Sky highway from Vancouver to Whistler is easier than ever before. Plenty of Whistler-Blackcomb vacationers head for the hills without spending time in the lower mainland, but with such easy access between Vancouver and Whistler Village, there’s no reason you shouldn’t explore both.

If you’re driving in from Vancouver, the Creekside base is a few minutes closer to the city, and thanks to the Peak-2-Peak gondola, offers instant access to every inch of snow available on both Whistler and Blackcomb mountains. If you want the classic ski village experience, complete with nightlife, shopping-lined promenades, and world-class dining, Whistler Village is the place to be.

The mountains offer unforgettable terrain for everyone: rugged glaciers in the alpine, crisply maintained terrain parks, and endless corduroy groomers with breathtaking views. Whistler and Blackcomb, two distinct mountains, are each large enough for a lifetime of exploration on their own. But thanks to Whistler-Blackcomb’s hard work at integrating the two mountains into one cohesive resort, it’s easy to spend a few runs on one mountain before hopping over to the other for the afternoon. Regardless of which mountain you find yourself on, the panoramic views, expansive geography, and convenient connectivity of the resort and village are world-renowned for a reason.

If your legs are still up for it, end the day with a run down “Peak-to-Creek”. At nearly a mile in vertical drop, P2C is the longest ski run in North America. Seven miles from Whistler Peak to Creekside base, this winding route will test even the strongest of quads.

Mount Baker

Mt Baker ski area.

Mount Baker Ski Area. Photo by Daniel Bynum

It may seem odd to go skiing or snowboarding south of the border on a trip to Canada, but I can’t tell you how many British Columbians have admitted to me that Mount Baker is one of their favorite spots for a day of riding. Accessed by a two-hour drive that crosses the border into Washington State, Mount Baker ski area is nestled between its namesake stratovolcano and a classic North Cascades massif, Mount Shuksan.

While the views on a bluebird day are indescribable, a mid-winter trip to Mt. Baker will likely result in a snowstorm so fierce you can’t see the chair in front of you. In the 1998/1999 season, Mt. Baker Ski Area broke the record for most snowfall in a single year anywhere on earth, and that season wasn’t a fluke: they average over 640 inches of snow per season.

Surprisingly though, the locals don’t let the world records go to their heads. Anyone who has ridden Mt. Baker will tell you the down-to-earth, no-frills culture is exactly why its devotees love coming back. Famously, the legendary Mt. Baker Banked Slalom race awards the winner a duct tape trophy and a Carhartt jacket—it’s a tradition unlike any other.

A glance at the trail map might scare you into thinking that Baker’s terrain is nothing but “CLIFF ZONE DO NOT ENTER” signs. But don’t worry, while the topography is tricky to understand at first, the area offers a wide range of groomers, glades, chutes, and everything in between. When the avalanche danger is manageable, the sidecountry and backcountry open up a whole other world of possibilities.

It’s no wonder why the Skuksan arm is a favorite of ski and snowboard film crews, it has playful, surfy yet steep terrain, panoramic vistas, and near-certain waist-deep powder. In short, Mt. Baker is all about endless snow and incredible geography; don’t expect ritzy accommodations and nightlife unless you bring your own with a camper van or RV.

Mount Seymour

The top of the chairlift peaks out at Mount Seymour at dusk.

Mount Seymour. Photo by Lukas Mann

Similar to Cypress and Grouse, Mount Seymour is an easily accessible ski area just half an hour from downtown Vancouver. With plenty of snow and terrain for everyone from beginners to seasoned shredders, Seymour is a low-stress, sure-fire fun machine. Locals keep returning for the easy access to terrain parks and powder, but visitors to Vancouver will remember Mt Seymour for its incredible views of the city, laid-back atmosphere, and the playful nature of its runs.

Seymour may not have the near-vertical couloirs that Whistler-Blackcomb is famous for, but with lots of challenging, gladed terrain and numerous terrain parks, the topography on offer can prove challenging for even the most seasoned expert. A great option for families seeking ski and snowboard lessons for the little ones, Seymour’s convenience is second to none. This is your spot if you want to pack in a full day of turns and still catch the Canucks game in person.

Now that you’re up to speed on the best snow spots near Vancouver, start planning your trip! With tons of convenient flights, excellent hotels, and a bustling metropolis ready to be explored, this winter sports destination can’t be beaten.

If you need some new powder skis to handle the coast range’s deepest days or a pair of boots wide enough to keep your feet from screaming after day one of your trip, the Ski Experts here on Curated are ready to help you at any time. Every Expert will walk you through the decision-making process to ensure that when your new gear is delivered to your front door, it’s the exact right setup for how you ride. Reach out today, and we’ll work together to make sure you’re all set for wherever you’re headed next!

Ski Expert Zachary Simon
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Zachary Simon
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Growing up in Seattle, I learned to telemark ski on leather boots, three pin bindings and the skinniest, straightest skis you could imagine. But hey, it was the gear we already had in the basement, and it got me out on the backcountry! Over the years, I slowly modernized my gear (Plastic boots! Bind...

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