Personal travel manager Kim Mason shares her top ten reasons why ski fanatics should make the trip to Canada’s ‘Big White’ ski resort this year.
While it may seem like a gimmick to say that a resort has something for the whole family, it’s a statement that has validity when talking about the Big White ski resort. Located about an hour from Kelowna Airport, Big White is rated as the largest ski in ski out resort in Canada.
Here are ten reasons why Big White should be on your snow covered list this year.
1) The Mountain Hosts
What better way to learn about the mountain and the natural environment than through the locals. With Local knowledge, the guides take you to the best places for the conditions of the day, show you the secret runs that only the locals go to, and share the secrets of the mountain and local area. The tours depart at 10:30am and are catered to each individual’s ability. The hosts are not permitted to take guests on black runs, but they can point out the best runs and how to get there. No tour is ever the same as each host has different and secret runs to share! As a bonus for taking a guided tour, you receive a gift voucher for a beer and appetiser at the Loose Moose Lounge in Happy Valley between 4-6pm. The nachos are hard to pass by and big enough to share between 2-3 adults!
2) It is all about the kids.
It is hard to go past Tot Town and Ski School for the little ones. As the name suggests, Tot Town caters to the younger ones aged 0-3. The two year olds in group also have the option of one hour private ski tuition each day. Tot Town also offers a list of babysitters from the current working staff for evening babysitting. Rates are negotiated direct with each babysitter but as a guide the common accepted rate is around $15 per hour. For the small children, navigating the snow can be tiring so there are also sleds you can borrow from Tot Town, free of charge. A security deposit is all that is required. They are available on a first come first served basis and definitely go quick!
Ski School is from 8:30am to 3:15pm and caters for all abilities. Ski Rental is available and kids are given helmets for free as part of a safety initiative. An added safety bonus is the GPS locators that all Ski Students receive at the start of each session. At the end of the day, each parent receives a link to log in and see what there kids have been up to with statistics including speed, distance, elevation and runs completed.
Big White hosts some amazing dining options for families and couples alike. One of the highlights would have to be a lunch time meal at The Woods. This is located in the main part of the village and sees guests take a seat around a fire to enjoy a drink and relaxing meal. If the weather is not so enticing, then head inside for mouthwatering dining as well. For the kids, there is The Bullwheel. Order the ‘make your own pizza’ and watch the kids don a chef’s hat and prepare their own meals at the table.
4) Apre Ski Activities
The Big White isn’t just about the downhill slope action. Take the family for an action packed night of tubing, ice wall climbing or ice-skating. If you are looking for something a little more adventurous, there is cross country skiing, snow shoeing and snowmobiles. So the kids are not left out, they can try the Mini Z’s for kids from 5 years of age to race around on too. For the more sedate activities there are evening sleigh rides, ice hockey games in Kelowna, or maybe just enjoy the hot chocolate around the ice skating rink at night.
Whatever your style of accommodation there is an option available for you. If you’re basing your decision on location, the best choice would be the Stonebridge as it is directly on the village run and a short walk to the Clock Tower/Tot Town and Ski School. However, the sister property Stonegate which is located through a tunnel on the Hummingbird run offers much more. Stonegate offers great apartments all with their own hot tubs on the balcony, it is set apart from the other accommodation choices with a theatre with nightly movies, indoor/outdoor swimming pools, two communal spas and a fantastic kids room, pool room and lounge area. Definitely a resort within a resort!
6) The Ski Terrain
The weather isn’t an issue with ski terrain to match almost all weather situations. For the days of low cloud, head to the Black Forest but when the sun is shining Gem Lake is definitely the pick.
7) Food delivery.
If you chose to stay in an apartment, Big White has the facilities to have your food in the kitchen cupboards and the drinks chilling in the fridge for your arrival. If you’re coming for Christmas, a Christmas Tree can also be arranged for your apartment with beautiful decorations.
While it is a ski resort there are still shopping options for the die hard shopping enthusiast. There are great souvenirs to choose from as well as clothing and ski equipment. Depending on your time of travel you can find fantastic bargains on otherwise expensive items.
Each night the kid’s centre has activities and dinner options for the kids, but it is the resort activities that are enticing! The Cruze the Blues challenge is one for the serious skier/boarder who is willing to ski down every single blue run (one of the most arduous runs) at Big White over a two day period. If you manage to complete the challenge there is a celebratory party at Loose Moose Lodge and all entrants receive a t-shirt to commemorate their participation.
10) Terrain parks
Big White, definitely knows how to get people involved in this part of the sport! The parks are graded from Beginner, Medium and Advance with all different style tricks to try from boxes, rails and jumps as well as the boarder cross tracks.