What makes a ski hill family-friendly? Is it the easier runs, the kid-oriented lessons, the daycare programs, the restaurants which understand kids can be picky eaters? A family ski holiday is never a cheap endeavour so you want to ensure the experience is enjoyable for everyone in the family. We’ve put together a list of family friendly ski hills around BC. Here’s to a winter with buckets of fresh snow. Now get out there and have some family fun!
Located 56km outside of Kelowna, Big White offers 15 lifts, 118 designated trails (18% of those are beginner…perfect for the little ones), and cross-country trails. As for accommodation, families can pick from 3 village hotels, 25 condo/town home complexes, and 244 vacation homes & luxury cabins. And don’t worry about satisfying the dietary needs of your picky eaters. With 23 restaurants, cafes & delis – ranging from cafeterias to fine dining – everyone is bound to find something they enjoy.
Parents love that Big White offers lessons for kids, broken down by age group, as well as parent & child combo lessons. And once the kids’ lessons are over, don’t worry about trying to juggle your own ski-wishes with watching your offspring. The Tot Town Daycare keeps the kids busy and entertained. Depending on your family’s needs you can book either a half-day or full-day spot, as well as hourly care. You can also book the Daycare Plus which provides a full day of care plus either a 1 hour or 2 hour skiing lesson.
The award-winning Kids’ Centre at Big White is scheduled for an expansion. The increased space will provide the 3-4 year olds with much needed room to play & get ready for lessons. The older kids (aged 5 – 7 years) will then have their own area in the Kids’ Centre. If you’ve experienced congestion in the Kids’ Centre in the past rest assured the new design will provide additional exits onto the snow for the kids and more space for parents who are registering their kids.
If you hurry you can get their season’s pass for a discount.
The drive is easy to Cypress Mountain which is an instant point in the family-friendly category for Cypress. There are also no accommodation costs as all of us across the Lower Mainland can easily visit for the day. Just 30 minutes outside of downtown Vancouver, Cypress Mountain has 53 ski runs (13% of which are beginner level) and 6 chair lifts (2 of which are high speed). The longest run on the mountain is 4.1 km. If downhill skiing doesn’t excite you check out the 19kms of groomed nordic trails with 2 warming huts. You can also give snowshoeing a whirl if that’s of interest to your family.
The Raven Rider Kids Camps are available for kids aged 7 – 12 years and the level of their skiing doesn’t matter. The Raven Rider camps are full day and very popular. Another great activity for the kids is the Snow Tube Park. And don’t worry about the long-haul back up the mountain, Cypress has the ability to tow 200 tubers. Please note that children must be at least 48 inches tall to ride the tubes.
To help save money pre-purchase your lift tickets online. Also the earlier you buy, the more you save. Another money saver (which is always good for families) is the FREE paved parking lot at the base of the mountain. Want to go skiing on your birthday? Just show your ID at the ticket window for a FREE lift ticket on your special day (please note, we don’t know whether this program is available during COVID restrictions).
Located at the top of Capilano Road, visiting Grouse Mountain is ridiculously easy for Vancouverites. With 26 runs (and 14 of those are night runs) plus 4 chairlifts, 2 terrain parks, 10km of snowshoe trains, everyone in the family will love spending the day at Grouse Mountain. And if you haven’t skied The Cut, you haven’t seen Vancouver at its best!
There are no accommodation options at the top of Grouse Mountain, but considering it is 15 minutes from downtown Vancouver there is no need to find a hotel on the mountaintop. All the other services you expect to find: rentals, restaurants, indoor facilities, etc are easily accessible at Grouse. There are also half-day ski lessons available for kids aged 3 – 6 years (Ski Wee & Wee Riders) as well as Zone Camps (half or full day programs) for kids aged 5 – 18 years.
In case the great skiing and spectacular views weren’t enough, every year Grouse Mountain runs the Peak of Christmas from the end of November until school returns in January. The Peak of Christmas is included in your lift ticket. From gingerbread house displays, to Reindeer Ranger talks, from a beautiful Christmas light walk to visits with Santa, the Peak of Christmas provides loads of family-friendly entertainment. Santa is also available for visits & photos. And if everyone is tired after a day of skiing you can either rent some skates and twirl around on the outdoor pond, or curl up with a warm drink and enjoy a holiday movie inside the lodge.
With 40 trails spread over 200 acres of downhill ski & snowboard terrain, North Vancouver’s Mount Seymour can accommodate all levels of skiers. 40% of the runs are allocated for novice skiers. For the kids there is a Tots Area Wonder Carpet, 4 snow tubing lanes, and 8 toboggan runs. Ski lessons for kids as young as 3 are available. The Tot Private Lessons are an hour in length and are perfect for getting your little one comfortable on the slopes. The older kids (aged 4-7 years) take part in the Bear Cub classes. The 3 Bear Cub levels (beginners, adventurers & snowboarders) are broken up based on the skill level of the little skiers. Mount Seymour also offers both 1/2 day and full day camps for kids aged 7 – 14 years.
The Snow Tube park guarantees loads of fun for the family. Slide down the hill on a specially-designed tube, and get hauled back up on Seymour’s custom tube tow. The Enquist Lodge is new to the Snow Tube Park. Inside you will find a warm seating area, a fireplace, and Harold’s Cafe. Be sure to visit the Toboggan Park which is open to all ages and doesn’t have a height restriction. You can bring your own toboggan or magic carpet but if you don’t have one (or can’t find it) magic carpets are available for purchase for only $10 + tax.
Located 22km outside of Vernon, SilverStar Mountain Resort is the 3rd largest ski area in BC. With 132 marked runs (the longest being 8km) and 15% of those runs are for beginners means everyone in the family will have a great time on the mountain. Thanks to their 11 lifts, SilverStar can move an astounding 14,000 skiers per hour up the mountainside. If flying downhill isn’t your thing, don’t worry there are 105km of nordic trails and 2 certified biathlon ranges. At the end of the day, when everyone is tired of skiing, keep the little ones going with a ride on the big inner tubes or skating around the ice rink. As for keeping the hunger pangs at bay, there are 18 food & beverage outlets ready to feed the masses. Whether you are looking for accommodation in a hotel, lodge or townhouse you will be able to find it at SilverStar.
SilverStar offers lessons & day camps to keep the kids busy while the adults enjoy some time on the mountain. There are a number of options in terms of daycare & lessons – whether you are looking for full-day, half-day or just a few hours. You can also book lessons without the requirement of daycare. SilverStar offers additional kid-activities such as: the Breakfast Club, Afternoon Adventure Activity, After School Club, and Kids Night Out.
We love Sun Peaks! With the hotels right on the slopes, the great instructors, and the oodles of dining venues, our family can’t get enough of Sun Peaks Resort! Located 57km north of Kamloops, Sun Peaks Resort is about a 4 hour drive from downtown Vancouver. The mountain is the 2nd largest in Canada! Their 135 runs (including 16 gladed areas) have 10% allocated to novice skiers and the longest run is 8km. There are 12 lifts capable of moving 12,000 riders per hour.
You know a resort is family-friendly when they have a section of their website dedicated to the littlest members of the family. The Kids at Sun Peaks site covers topic such as kids menus, kids activities, kids lessons, and child minding. Everything you need to know at the click of a button. The venue has a multitude of options to assist with your childcare needs. Whether you are looking for private or group lessons, lesson & child-minding combo, or just a full-day of daycare, Sun Peaks can meet your needs.
The restaurants are plentiful at Sun Peaks Resort. Everyone enjoys the freshly-made pizza from Mountain High Pizza. We’ve also enjoyed meals at the Voyageur Bistro, Oya Restaurant, and Cahilty Creek Bar & Grill. Accommodation opens abound! Everything from hotel to quaint cabins. Looking for non-skiing entertainment? You can pick from dog sled tours, horse drawn sleigh rides, ice skating, snowmobile tours, the tube park and guided ice fishing.
It’s hard to beat the #1 ski destination in North America, if not the world. Whistler Blackcomb is big, big, big! You want it, they’ve got it!
Looking for lessons & child care? Guaranteed Whistler will be able to meet your needs. They have lessons, camps, daycare, half-day, full-day, and combo options available for families. As for the lessons, you can pick from daily lessons, week-long camps, and season long programs. Hot lunch and snacks are included with the lessons. Is everyone in your family in need of a lesson? Why not sign up for a family private lesson? You can ski together all day or split your time with your guide. The choice is yours.
In addition to the amazing skiing, families will enjoy the Bubly Tube Park with 7 lanes which range from the kids’ lane (gentler slope) to the longer faster lanes that the older kids (and parents) enjoy. Set aside some time to explore the Magic Castle on Blackcomb and the Tree Fort on Whistler. Both attractions are great for families of little kids who are tuckered out after a day on the mountain. The adventure play areas are outdoor spots for the little ones to go exploring, hang out & just play. The FREE Sunday night Fire and Ice Show always delights families. Watch fire spinners and fireworks combine with Whistler’s best skiers and riders.