At the Big White Ski Resort there is more to do than ski and snowboard which is especially useful to know when you're not a skiing Canadian like myself.
Instead of hitting the slopes there are snowshoe excursions, ice wall climbing, sledding with inflatable tubes, ice skating, sleigh rides, dog sledding, and, even more importantly, delicious restaurants and bars full of beer and locally produced wine.
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Big White Skis Big
With a ridiculous 750 cm (24.5 ft.) of annual snowfall, it doesn't take much imagination to realize how Big White received its name. But until I hit the slopes, I had no idea it was British Columbia's third largest ski resort.
To be honest, it skis much larger, too, as the 16 lifts are so spread out that crowds are non-existent and the terrain varies wildly from beginner to extreme.
It's also home to a mid-mountain, ski-in, ski-out village that makes it easy to leave the car parked and simply enjoy a winter getaway in British Columbia's scenic Okanagan Valley.
Big White's ski season lasts from late November until mid April. Adult day tickets cost $84.00, but deals are available for multiple day tickets. Contact 1-800-663-2772.
The ice climbing tower at Big White brings another exhilarating winter activity to the ski-in, ski-out village, but most people find it somewhat exhausting, too.
The 60ft tall tower provides a massive challenge for first time and seasoned climbers, as various routes have been created to reach its summit. IF climbing isn't challenge enough, race a friend up the wall and be the first to ring the summit bell.
The climbing wall, located at the base of the Village Gondola in Happy Valley, is staffed by trained climbers that make climbing safe and assist with learning proper techniques to use.
Climbing rates begin at $25.00 for adults. Contact 250-491-6101 for more details.
Candle Creek Dog Sled Tours are earning a solid reputation not just for it's 6 unqiue trips in the backcountry near Big White, British Columbia, but also for its ethical treatment of sled dogs.
IN fact, the owners helped draft the legislation for the new Sled Dog Code of Practice that insures the dogs are treated properly.
Tours are limited to a single sled, which creates a more intimate experience. Visitors walk away thrilled with the activity that allows for both a thrilling experience in nature and hands-on learning with the dogs.
Candle Creek Dog Sled Tours operates 6 unique backcountry adventures from Big White's Happy Valley village. Tours run tuesdays-sunday. Rates begin at $200.00 for two people. Contact 250-491-6111 for details.
There are few drink experiences quite like a Gunbarrel Coffee at Big White's Gunbarrel Grill and don't mistake it for a morning cup of Joe.
A Gunbarrel Coffee is equal part entertainment and drink. And it's almost impossible to put it into perspective, but the key ingredients are caramelized sugar, fresh-brewed coffee, brandy and crème de cacao. It's all heated on an open flame and garnished with Gran Marnier, poured from a flaming shotgun barrel.
The Gunbarrel Grill is open Monday through Friday from 3PM-10PM, and 11AM-10PM on weekends. Contact 250-765-1416 for details.
Despite its healthy-sounding name, the Sante Bar and Grille dishes up some of the best pub fair at Big White. Because it's possible to go from the slopes the fireside table in under 60-seconds, it's hard to pinpoint if it its a better lunch or apres ski venue.
The speciality dish is authentic Quebecois poutine, but Sante takes the traditional cheese curds, gravy and french fry dish to new levels with 9 variations on this timeless ski resort classic. From a spicy mexican to savoury butter chicken, this is unlike any poutine you've eaten.
The Sante Bar and Grille is open 7 days per week. Contact 250-491-8122 for details.
With five lanes built across the slopes in Happy Valley, the Mega Snow Coaster Tube Park in Happy Valley is an absolute riot for children and children at heart.
Looking up at the lanes, it's hard to imagine just how thrilling a tube ride can be; however, the two right hand lands are steep enough to make even the most adrenalin-fuelled traveller scream in delight.
Ticket prices begin at $19.00; however, the $52.00 5-day pass is ideal for children during a week-long ski-in, ski-out holiday at Big White. Contact 250-491-6101 for more details.