My children surprise me daily, however their behaviour at Grouse Mountain’s Peak of Christmas was truly unexpected. Kids raised on the West Coast of BC are truly snow-deprived. I didn’t realize how much until moments after stepping off Grouse’s SkyRide I looked down to see both my boys rolling around on the ground. They missed the snow! For the duration of our entire visit, I don’t think my kids were upright for more than a few seconds at a time. Whether impersonating penguins sliding on their bellies or literally log rolling through most of the Light Walk, our 5 & 7 year old sons were positively giddy about being in the snow. Thank heavens we brought a change of clothes for the drive home, they were sopping messes!
The night we visited Grouse Mountain was a night most sane people stayed home. The weather was far from perfect – foggy and heavy drizzle. But the yucky weather meant we had the entire mountain almost entirely to ourselves (or at least it sure felt that way). I have to say there is something rather magical about wandering through the stunning Light Walk in thick cloud. The impact of the lights was amplified by the haze. The Light Walk is a new Peak of Christmas experience added by Grouse Mountain this year. The walk takes between 10 – 20 minutes depending on the enthusiasm of your group. We were definitely 20+ minutes what with all the penguin belly-flops our boys were performing. Be sure to bring good snow boots, this is definitely not a walk for sneakers.
Grouse Mountain’s Peak of Christmas really celebrates the magic of the holiday season. From outdoor skating to holiday crafts there are Christmas activities to entertain all ages. Two highlights of the experience are Santa’s Workshop and his reindeer. On our visit, Prancer and Dancer were snuggling together watching the antics of our kids. At 2pm & 4pm daily, visitors are treated to talks by the Park Rangers who share fascinating details about reindeer. Just steps from the reindeer’s home is Santa’s workshop. Inside children can visit with Santa and have their picture taken (for a donation).
If you need to warm up, head on indoors and grab a cup of hot cocoa and visit the gingerbread displays. How people manage to take baked goods and turn them into recognizable architecture confounds me. I did have two favourites: the Hansel & Gretel cottage (possibly because we had just been to the delightful panto production of Hansel & Gretel at The Cultch) and the Vancouver city-scape. When you visit the gingerbread houses, be sure to vote for your favourite. Our 5 year old loves loves loves the colour pink – he, of course, voted for the pink gingerbread house.
A few other events which are opening very soon are the Mountaintop Sleigh Rides and Sliding Zone. You can either haul your own Magic Carpet up the SkyRide, or you can conveniently rent one from the skate rental shop. The new Sliding Zone has designated lanes and groomed terrain perfect for launching face-first down a mountain side. I can hear the squeals of glee already!
The Peak of Christmas runs daily through to January 4th. If you are in possession of an annual local’s pass, Y2Play or Winter Season pass you are in luck as you can access all of the activities for free. There is a special Family Ticket rate of $79.95 available for 2 adults & 2 kids (up to 18 years of age).
Until we can return to the snow at the top of Grouse and once again enjoy the Peak of Christmas, my husband plans to dump the boys in the zamboni scraps at our local ice rink to satisfy their snow-needs. Merry Christmas!