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A How-To Guide to Vancouver Skiing

A skier descends a powdery white mountain lined with snow-topped trees

A How-To Guide to Vancouver Skiing

Vancouver is a West Coast, laidback, enviro-minded city set between ocean and mountains, ideal for kayaking, sailing, hiking, and biking. But did you know it has three top-notch ski areas as well? There aren’t many major cities in the world with great skiing and snowboarding within 30 minutes of downtown.

Here’s what you need to know to about where to ski in Vancouver and how to plan next skiing or snowboarding vacation.

Cypress Mountain

The big one

If you’re an advanced skier or boarder, you’ll want to hit the slopes of CypressExternal Link Title in West Vancouver, especially on a clear day. Dual-mountain Cypress has the most terrain, vertical drop, and lifts of the three local options: 600 acres, 2,000 feet of vertical, and 53 runsExternal Link Title. In addition to killer views of the Lower Mainland and Howe Sound islandsExternal Link Title, the mountain has extensive snow shoeing trailsExternal Link Title, plus super-fun guided snowshoe toursExternal Link Title (that include chocolate fondue!), and tubingExternal Link Title. In addition, Cypress offers the area’s best (fairly hilly) cross-country skiingExternal Link Title — plus dinner and live music on weekends at the cozy, historic Hollyburn LodgeExternal Link Title.

Night skiing, which starts at 2 pm, is especially magical here with the snow sparkling like sugar, frosted hemlocks illuminated under a big moon, and the city lights twinkling far below. If you’re looking for a true West Coast moment, try shredding down at sunset. Epic!

Tip: Consider getting a Gold Medal CardExternal Link Title, which gets you your first trail ticket free, then 20% off on other activities. Cypress also offers daily deal coupons. In general, buy lift tickets online in advance or from a site such as LiftopiaExternal Link Title to save as much as 30 percent.

1-day itinerary: Arrive early (by 8:30 am) to get a parking spot close to the lodge, then grab a casual breakfast to-go at the downstairs Gold Medal Café. Ski or board, catching a tasty lunch at Cypress Creek, which offers a surprising array of dishes and cuisine (gourmet salads, hand-crafted pizza, chicken burgers, fresh fruit). Pause for a selfie on Black Mountain, with ocean and islands in the backdrop. Aprés ski, relax in the Crazy Raven Bar & Grill by the fireplace over a glass of BC wine or craft beer.

Head down the mountain for dinner at one of downtown’s trendy spots in GastownExternal Link Title, followed by live music or old-style bowling.External Link Title Or, reverse the itinerary: enjoy the city in the AM, stopping for an Asian noodle bowl lunch at stand-out Marutama RamenExternal Link Title. Then ski for a half-day, savoring the sunset from the slopes and a hearty late dinner at Crazy Raven Bar & Grill afterwards. Wrap with a soak in your Jacuzzi-with-a-view at the Pan Pacific HotelExternal Link Title.

Grouse Mountain

Easy access and year-round fun

A peak-top mini village on the North Shore accessible via the Skyride tramExternal Link Title, GrouseExternal Link Title is a year-round playground with gorgeous city views. In winter, you can ski, snowboardExternal Link Title, snowshoeExternal Link Title, ice skate on an outdoor pond, and join the postcard-perfect Christmas festivitiesExternal Link Title over the holidays. Other seasonal activities include ziplining, hiking, paragliding, live daily entertainment and shows, real grizzly bears on display, mountain disc golf, and a bird’s eye tour of the giant wind turbineExternal Link Title. There are restaurantsExternal Link Title and a high-def cinemaExternal Link Title. You could, and should spend an entire day here. Grouse has 26 runs and four chair lifts, plus the best terrain parksExternal Link Title of the three hills. It’s the most accessible Vancouver ski resort because you park and ride the tram, so no snow tires needed. Taking the bus to the bottom is also an option and there's even a shuttleExternal Link Title.


Tip: Ski at nightExternal Link Title for lower rates, plus incredible city panoramas. Or, if you plan to go up three times or more, it's probably a good idea to grab an annual passExternal Link Title.


1-day itinerary: Arrive early and plan to spend the entire day on Grouse, starting with a quick breakfast at the top at the Grouse Grind Coffee BarExternal Link Title. Grab lunch at Lupins CaféExternal Link Title, then keep skiing til you drop. Enjoy dinner overlooking the glittering city lights at Attitudes BistroExternal Link Title, followed by a movie at the The Theatre in the SkyExternal Link Title. Get a hot chocolate and watch the ice skatersExternal Link Title gliding around the rink. Relax over drinks back at Attitudes, and finally, glide down the tram. Look out for shooting stars!

Mt. Seymour

Ideal for beginners and young families

In North Vancouver, SeymourExternal Link Title is pretty and intimate, easy to get a handle on for beginners, and home to lots of fun green and blue runsExternal Link Title. It boasts lovely views, generally gets the most snow of the three local hills, and has Metro Vancouver’s best snow tubingExternal Link Title and tobogganExternal Link Title parks. Seymour has 40 runs and three chairs over 200 acres, with 1,803 feet of verticalExternal Link Title. Terrific snowshoeingExternal Link Title is also a pro; free on the adjacent park trails, which are great for biking and hiking in the summer. Arrive via car or shuttle busExternal Link Title.


Tip: Make sure your rental car has good winter tires if you’re skiing at Seymour. If not, detour to Grouse or take the shuttle bus.


1-day itinerary: Pick up an early breakfast, plus snack for your pocket, at Bean Around the World CoffeesExternal Link Title en route to the base for a solid half-day of skiing. When your legs are ready for a break, head down to the alpine-style Enquist Lodge for a leisurely lunch. Regulars recommend the hickory-smoked burger on toasted bread with a spring mix-Balsamic salad or fish ‘n chips. Return to Vancouver, perhaps to catch a game at Rogers ArenaExternal Link Title or play at The RoundhouseExternal Link Title. Enjoy dinner at one of the hip restaurants on Main Street, like Burdock & Co.External Link Title or Nomad, or MaenamExternal Link Title on West 4th Avenue, Vancouver Magazine’s Restaurant of the YearExternal Link Title. Book ahead!


When you visit, don’t stop with just skiing. After your day(s) of downhill, get to know Vancouver’s distinctive neighborhoodsExternal Link Title and sample the West Coast-inspired, multicultural dining scene that Condé Nast Traveler calls one of the best in the worldExternal Link Title.

Plan your winter playground vacation at Destination Vancouver's website.