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  • A Beginner’s Guide to Big White Ski Resort + Plus Activities That Aren’t Skiing

    July 01, 2022 13 min read

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    A Beginner’s Guide to Big White Ski Resort + Plus Activities That Aren’t Skiing

    Things to do at Big White Ski Resort, Canada

    Information for First-Time Visitors to Big White Ski Resort 2022/23

    2022/2023 Winter Season Hours of Operation

    Winter Season Opening Day, November 24, 2022

    Closing Day Monday, April 10, 2023

    A Guide to Big White Ski Resort in Canada

    Around 60 kilometres from Kelowna, in the heart of the Canadian Rockies, is Big White, a skier's paradise. Guests can ride cutting-edge quad chairlifts to an elevation of 2319 m. With an annual snowfall of 24.5 feet (7.5 metres), Big White is one of the largest ski areas in British Columbia. Big White features 105 kilometres of slopes available for downhill skiing and snowboarding. There are twelve lifts to transport the guests between 1,508 and 2,285 metres in altitude, where you'll find the winter sports area. Deep powder bowls, wide-open glades, and excellent fall-line cruising are just a few examples of the varied terrain available. All of this complements the car-free, mid-mountain village and the ski-in, ski-out accessibility of many of the resort's lodging options.

    Big White Ski Resort, Canada

    A perfect winter would have dry, light champagne powder and mild temperatures. Sunny days and a mild average temperature of -5 degrees Celsius are another one of Big White's special gifts. Skiing and snowboarding pros aren't the only ones who can enjoy Big White's powder paradise. Even those who don't like the winter will fall in love with the quaint mountain town. When the conditions are right (which is quite often), you can enjoy the sunshine while gazing down upon a sea of clouds that has descended upon the valley below. This atmospheric phenomenon is known as an inversion.

    You’ve heard about Big White’s legendary Okanagan Champagne Powder, impeccable groomers, long list of adventure activities and the family-friendly atmosphere – and figured it’s time to check it out for yourself. Here's your guide to the best winter activities and things to do to enjoy your trip to Big White.

    Getting to Big White Ski Resort

    Getting to Big White Ski Resort

    If you're a local to Kelowna, you can take one of the many express buses to Big White at one of the many convenient locations; no reservations are required. Hiring a car or own a set of wheels? The trip will take about 55 minutes, and you should enjoy the scenery and wildlife along the way, but you should check road conditions before you leave and not attempt the trip unless you have snow tires or chains. Please contact Central Reservations if you wish to use the parking lot in the Village. When you pick up a rental car in Kelowna, BC, head east on Highway 33 for half an hour before taking the final 20-minute drive up Big White Road's winding switchbacks to the ski resort of Big White. There are no gas stations at higher altitudes, so make sure to refuel before you ascend. Free parking is available all over the resort. Park in Happy Valley, enjoy a free ride up to the Village Centre on Lara’s Gondola or grab a coffee and snack from one of the several dining options available.

    Flying to Big White Ski Resort - Getting to Big White Ski Resort from Australia

    Getting to Big White Ski Resort from the opposite side of the Pacific has never been easier, thanks to the introduction of a direct Air Canada flight from Auckland to Vancouver. You won't have to waste too much time in Vancouver waiting for your connecting flight to Kelowna International Airport, and once you’re there, hop on the Big White airport shuttle for the scenic one-hour journey to the resort. To get to Big White’s lodgings on the mountain, they will pick you up at the airport and drive you directly there. There is no need for a car once you reach the mountaintop at Canada's largest ski-in/ski-out resort village. If you're coming from Kelowna and plan on renting a car, there is plenty of free parking available at the resort.

    Big White Ski Resort Life Tickets

    For the duration of the entire season, if you buy your lift tickets to Big White at least two days in advance online, you can save 25%. Your QR code will allow you to quickly and easily pick up your lift ticket at any of the resort's many contactless ticket pick-up boxes.

    What To Pack

    While you can expect daytime temperatures to average around -5 degrees Celsius throughout the winter season at Big White, you should still bring a wide range of clothing in your luggage in preparation for the much colder nighttime and alpine conditions. After a day on the slopes, you'll want to change into sweat-wicking thermals, warm wool socks, and other cosy clothing. If you want to try any of Big White’s exciting adventures, such as tubing, ice climbing, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, horse-drawn sleigh rides, or dog-sledding, you'll need to bundle up, especially when the temperature drops. If you miss packing gear, you can access Big White’s Rental Office, which can be found in the heart of the Village Centre.

    Guide to Big White Ski Resort in Canada

    Get a Free Guided Tour

    Enjoy one of Big White’s free mountain tours and get to know Big White. Big White’s Snow Hosts get together every day at 10:15 a.m. in front of Dizzy's, which is across from the Village Centre Mall. Be sure to book your free mountain tour online at Big White at least a day in advance. You won't be able to miss them because they'll be wearing fluorescent yellow jackets. They will spend two hours briefing you on lifts, restaurants, lodges, and mountain etiquette, as well as the best runs for your ability.

    Take Ski & Snowboarding Lessons

    While it may be tempting to skip the lesson in favour of just getting out there or having a friend show you the ropes, Big White’s world-class instructors strongly recommend that all first-timers take advantage of their services. To learn the ropes and make some mistakes in a less pressured setting, they'll lead you to Big White’s designated beginner areas. When you're ready to graduate from the magic carpets and ride in a chair, they'll see to it that you do so without incident so that you can make it down the run and try it again on your own. If you haven't been on skis or snowboard in a while, a refresher course is a good idea. Children's classes begin at 9:45 am and 3:15 pm, while those for adults begin at 10 am and 1 pm.

    Skiing at Big White Ski Resort in Canada

    What You Need to Know to Start Skiing Big White

    Eat well, drink plenty of water, and pack some snacks before heading out for a day of skiing or snowboarding. Be aware of your environment and the weather. Consider your physical condition before heading out for a day of skiing or riding. Take a minimum of ten minutes to get acclimated before heading out on the slopes.

    Après at Big White Ski Resort

    Take a break from skiing and warm up at one of the mountain's many bars and restaurants that serve après ski fare. Enjoy a pint of Elevation 57 beer, brewed right on the mountain, while sitting on the outdoor patio of Sessions Taphouse & Grill and watching the last skiers and snowboarders of the day tear down Perfection Run. Get a taste of Mexican in the mountains with a margarita and tacos on the epic patio at Cantina Del Centro. You can watch the sun go down behind the Monashee Mountains from the comfort of the Bullwheel Gastro Pub's patio during any of their three Happy Hours. Ski up to the front door of The Woods, where you can relax with a cold beer or a hot cocktail while enjoying the waning daylight.

    After Hours Activities at Big White

    Are you taking the kids? The Happy Valley Adventure Centre is where it's at, so don't miss out on the fun. There is a wide variety of family-friendly things to do in the area besides skiing and snowboarding, such as tubing and dog-sledding tours. You could also take a trip to Canada's Highest Skating Rink. Skate rentals can be found at the Happy Valley Lodge, and ice skating is free for all visitors to Big White. Saturday nights are always the best because that's when the Big White’s fireworks show takes place. In order to keep up with the daily goings-on at Big White Ski Resort, be sure to peruse Big White’s weekly events calendar.

    Activities at Big White Ski Resort, Canada

    Things to do at Big White Ski Resort that aren’t Skiing

    While you’re probably heading to Big White to go skiing or snowboarding, there is a range of other activities to enjoy, including hikes, tours, and more. Here’s a guide to a range of non-skiing-related activities.

    Explore the Charming Village of Big White

    Big White Village is a picturesque mountain community with a grand clock tower that rises above the surrounding trees, much like the villages you might imagine to be found in a fairy tale. Big White Village in the Okanagan is like stepping into a completely different world, with fluffy snow blanketing the rooftops and log cabins dotting the landscape.

    Go on a Snowshoeing Expedition

    Snowshoeing is a great cardiovascular workout on the snow. Anyone looking to get some exercise in the winter outdoors should try this enjoyable activity. We recommend Big White’s Interpretive Tour or Family Adventure Tour for first-timers to snowshoeing. Big White’s professional snowshoe guides will lead you on either excursion and provide interesting information about the local flora and fauna. Snowshoes can be rented from the rentals department in the Village Centre Mall, and then you can take Lara's Gondola up into the Happy Valley wilderness to begin your own self-guided adventure. These snow-covered backcountry paths are a serene and picturesque place to get away from it all.

    Snowshoe at Big White Ski Resort

    Have an adrenaline-fueled Adventure

    How often do you get behind the wheel of a snowmobile and tear through the snow? You can do that on an Outback Snowmobile Tour, which can be tailored to riders of any experience level, from those new to snowmobiling to those looking to hone their skills in the powder. A thrilling way to experience the backcountry of British Columbia is on a snowmobile tour.

    Another option is to take a dog sled tour which is a great way to see the wilderness up close and personal. Candle Creek Kennels is a professional dog sledding company, and Big White’s concierge service can help you book a tour with them. You can learn a lot about Canadian history on a dog sledding tour, and the dogs are super friendly, so it's a win-win!

    Take on the Ice Climbing Tower

    Big White’s 60-foot ice tower in the Happy Valley Adventure Park is a breathtaking feat of nature and engineering that is not for the faint of heart. With all the gear you need, Big White’s enthusiastic ice-climbing tower staff will help you every step of the way. This experience will put your body and mind to the test while also providing you with a once-in-a-lifetime photo opportunity. This massive ice cube is a sight to behold, as it is made out of four telephone poles and has a thickness of three feet of ice. The man-made Ice Tower has lowered the entry barrier to ice climbing, which is a challenging but rewarding sport.

    Enjoy Big White’s Events & Carnival Night

    On Thursdays and Saturdays, Big White hosts the world-famous Family Channel Carnival Night, but the mountain is packed with fun activities for all ages every night of the week. You can enjoy food, games, jumping castles and firework displays .

    Enjoy Live Music and Rock Out

    In addition to its Family Apres Ski atmosphere and $10 Feature Menu at The Moose Lounge, Happy Valley Day Lodge also features live entertainment daily from 4 to 6 p.m. As well as Globe Cafe & Tapas Bar in the Upper Village and Sessions Taphouse (a bar in downtown Spokane), there are a range of bars and venues that feature live music for you to dance the night away. Be sure to check out the event calendar at Globe Cafe & Tapas Bar for live music and other events, like Wine Wednesdays.

    Ice-Skate on the Highest Outdoor Rink in Canada

    Ice-Skate on the Highest Outdoor Rink in Canada

    You can go for a leisurely skate with your friends or special someone, or take kids to learn the basics of ice skating in Big White's rink. Skate in awe, surrounded by snow-dusted trees and picturesque mountains at Canada's highest outdoor rink. Afterwards, Happy Valley Day Lodge is the go-to spot to grab a snack and warm up with a hot chocolate.

    Try Fat Biking

    There are now designated trails for wide-tire fat-bike riders to enjoy the outdoors. Skiers and non-skiers alike can now enjoy the beautiful backcountry on fat bikes, and outdoor enthusiasts will love the new routes.

    Have a Blast at The Tube Park

    The brightly lit lanes of Big White's Tube Park can be seen just across the bridge from the ice skating rink in Happy Valley Adventure Park. Without having to lace up skis or snowboards, you can get a taste of the snow by taking a fast ride down the smooth, groomed lanes. Fly down the thrilling tube park with the wind in your face. There is no need for special training or gear, just a hunger for adventure and the thrill of the unknown. Thrill-seekers can still go for a thrilling ride down the slopes after the lifts have stopped operating, thanks to the Tube Park's five specially groomed lanes. To ensure that everyone has a good time, the capacity of tube lifts has increased to carry up to 50 riders per hour.

    Tubing at Big White Ski Resort

    Enjoy a Horse-Drawn Sleigh Ride

    Enjoy one of Big White's picturesque non-skiing activities, and book a horse-drawn sleigh ride. Experience the magic of Big White's winter landscape while riding in a traditional horse-drawn sleigh. Wrap up warm in a blanket and let the horses pull you through the snowy forest on a sleigh ride. All ages are welcome, making this the ideal outing for families. Snuggle up with some hot cocoa and a blanket as you make your way through the snow-covered woods to a cosy cabin. If you love animals, meeting the horses is an added bonus. You can also book a horse-drawn sleigh ride dinner – where the sleigh will take you to a picturesque warming hut in the woods for a delicious meal.

    10 Things to do Near Canada's Big White Ski Resort

    The Big White Ski Resort in the Okanagan is situated 56 km (35 mi) from Kelowna. There are plenty of slopes to keep you occupied at this resort (the third largest in British Columbia), but there's a lot more to do in this area than just skiing or snowboarding. How about seeing some kangaroos or enjoying an excellent winery? We've compiled a list of 10 must-dos in and around Big White to guarantee an unforgettable vacation.

    Go on a Winery Tour

    Vineyards can be found all over the area around Okanagan Lake, making the Okanagan Valley the second largest wine region in Canada. Over sixty grape varieties, including icewines and German varieties, are cultivated there. There are breathtaking lake views, European-style buildings, and the Terrace Restaurant at Mission Hill Winery, so it's no wonder that it should be on your to-do list. Try the ice wine or the ‘cult favourite white’ Ehrenfelser at Summerhill Pyramid Winery, which is another excellent option.

    Spend the Day at the Spa

    After a day of skiing or snowboarding on Big White's powder, a day at the spa is in order. You won't have to go far to find a place to unwind and recharge thanks to the fact that there are two possibilities close to the mountain village. Two locations of the Elevation Village Spa can be found at Big White, providing guests with the opportunity to relax and rejuvenate with a massage, body treatment, facial, or manicure and pedicure. Mountain Massage is another option; they bring their own portable table to you.

    Snow Hot Air Balloon at Big White Ski Resort in Canada

    Take to the Sky With Hot Air Ballooning

    Seeing Big White from a hot-air balloon is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Okanagan Ballooning has been in operation for over 20 years in Kelowna and is run by a local family. View the Okanagan Valley and its lake, mountains, wineries, and farms from above. This is definitely a picture-perfect way to take in the whole of Big White.

    Have a Drink

    Big White is known for its excellent après-ski scene, so it's only natural to unwind with a drink after a day on the slopes. Snowshoe Sam's Pub, a local institution and winner of multiple awards, is where most people congregate. When it comes to après-skiing in North America, this pub has been voted the best by both Good Skiing and Snowboard Guide and Ski Canada Magazine. Another option is Sessions Taphouse, which features the largest deck on the entire mountain.

    Apres and Nightlife at Big White Ski Resort

    Meet a Local Kangaroo

    The Kangaroo Creek Farm in Kelowna has been open for 20 years, and in that time, it has become a popular destination for families and adults looking for an interactive learning experience. Farm animals include capybaras, kangaroos, wallaroos, wallabies, sugar gliders, emus, chickens, and more. Even though they are closed for several months during the winter, they are worth checking out if you are in Big White at the end of the season. It's possible that you'll be able to cuddle a joey.

    Take in a Hockey Game

    Tickets to a Kelowna Rockets game, as well as transportation there and back, are included in a fantastic package offered by Big White Ski Resort. Nothing is left to chance; all you have to do is hop on the bus at the Village Centre Mall and get ready for the action. It's a fun way to spend the evening and catch a glimpse of the NHL's future stars.

    ATV Tours - Fun for the Whole Family!

    Get your heart racing with an off-road adventure in the Okanagan Valley. The Okanagan Valley can be explored on an all-terrain vehicle for two, four, or eight hours. You'll get some instruction before you go, and there will be plenty of chances to snap pictures of the lake and open valley plains.

    Take a trip to the Nordic Ski and Snowshoe Club

    As mentioned above, Big White is a great place to go snowshoeing. The Nordic Ski and Snowshoe Club in Kelowna, British Columbia, has been open since 1977 and features 75 kilometres (47 miles) of cross-country skiing trails and 75 kilometres (47 miles) of snowshoe trails. All snowshoe trails and one-third of cross-country skiing trails allow dogs.

    Eat Farm to Table

    Local wineries in Kelowna are home to some of the city's best farm-to-table restaurants. RauDZ is a restaurant in town that serves dinner with a focus on regional ingredients and only serves Okanagan wines. The menu at KRAFTY kitchen + bar features only the freshest and finest local ingredients. They claim to serve "good food brought to you by people who honestly give a duck fat" and have the only duck-fat fryer in Kelowna.

    Enjoy a Very White Christmas

    If you happen to be in Big White during the holiday season, you can expect to have a blast looking for Santa on the slopes and admiring the many beautifully decorated Christmas trees and lights throughout the village. If you time your visit to coincide with the big reveal weekend, you can also catch the Big White Christmas light-up and fireworks display.

    Christmas at Big White Ski Resort

    Where to Stay at Big White Ski Resort

    Central Reservations is the largest booking agent on the mountain, giving you more options for accommodation, meaning you can find your perfect holiday home away from home.

    Toll Free: Australia: 0011-800-2449-4483

    Email: cenres@bigwhite.com

    Where to stay at Big White Ski Resort in Canada

    Big White Ski Resort has everything you could want for a vacation, whether it's a thrilling snow adventure, a peaceful retreat, or anything in between. This fantastic ski resort meets the needs of all skiers and non-skiers alike. Now have you booked already?!

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