6 Winter Experiences That Are So Incredibly Canadian
There may be no ski experience more authentic than those found on Canada’s west coast. Vast old-growth forests, thick blankets of fresh-fallen snow, and welcoming locals all add up to experiences that are equal parts charming and unforgettable—and better yet, they’re surrounded by unique chances for adventure that you won’t want to miss.
Skip the lines at your usual resort this year and forge a new path at one of British Columbia’s best ski destinations. Here’s a breakdown of the top six activities at Fernie Alpine Resort, Panorama Mountain Resort, and Whistler Blackcomb that you won’t find anywhere else in the world.
Ski Whistler Blackcomb’s Peak to Creek
It would be ludicrous to even attempt to list the countless unbeatable ski and snowboard runs available at Whistler Blackcomb. Between the Saudan Couloir—one of the steepest inbound runs in the world—the monumental powder bowl of Blackcomb Glacier, and Ruby Bowl’s 2,000 vertical feet of continuous steeps, there are simply too many good options to dig into.
Even so, you’d be doing yourself a disservice if you didn’t seek out Whistler Mountain’s legendary Peak to Creek run. At seven miles long, this seemingly endless blue run is a true journey from the peak of Whistler all the way through to Creekside Village. Take your time and enjoy the uniquely Canadian views of snow-capped mountains, glaciers, and frozen lakes thousands of feet below—there’ll be plenty of hot cocoa left when you make it to the bottom.
Cool off in an ice bar
At first glance, you might think you know exactly what to expect from Fernie’s famous Lizard Creek Lodge: exquisite food and drink served by charming staff, all nestled within a cabin-chic aesthetic that would be at home in any mountain town. You might be surprised, though, because this restaurant hides a frosty secret that puts a delightful spin on letting the cold in.
Behind a door thick enough for even the deepest freezer is Fernie’s own Ice Bar, a unique vodka tasting experience that’s cool in more ways than one. Don a heavy parka and enjoy a frost-rimmed vodka cocktail, all served in glasses fashioned out of the very same ice as the surrounding walls. You won’t find a more authentic way to chill out in the extended snowscape of Canada’s true north strong and free.
Fly high with Panorama’s heli-fondue
Maybe you came to Panorama for its premier ski slopes, to enjoy some tunes at High Notes Music Festival, or even to skate the world-record-setting skating loop at Lake Windermere Whiteway. If you don’t have the time to experience it all, there’s one thing that must be on your bucket list: Panorama’s Heli-fondue experience. This one-of-a-kind thrill begins with a sky-bound tour of Panorama Mountain Village and ends with cheese and chocolate fondue at the Summit Hut. If the view doesn’t satiate your appetite for adventure, the food certainly will. You might want to save a little room for poutine when you’re back in the village, though, eh?
Whistler’s heli-skiing adventure
Maybe your ideal mountain experience is less about visiting the lodge and more about finding a pristine, untouched snowpack in which to carve some fresh tracks. At Whistler, you’ve got huge bowls and thousands of acres of inbound terrain; plus, you’re never more than a quick helicopter ride away from the crisp backcountry that made you crave B.C.’s outdoors in the first place. With 173 glaciers and 475 runs, Whistler Heli-Skiing can unlock an area more than 50 times the size of the already daunting Whistler Blackcomb run selection. Just don’t try to see it all in one day.
Become an honorary Canadian in Fernie
Called the friendliest place on Earth by Great Outdoors, Fernie’s tremendous outdoor activities are matched only by its warm and welcoming local culture. If you find yourself in need of a break from one of the mountain’s five incredible bowls, take the time to enjoy a local beer and sit down with any of the locals for a chat that will ring warmly familiar to anyone with Canadian friends. And be sure to ask them about the mythical “GRIZ”—a legendary figure who, if the fable holds true, is responsible for Fernie’s remarkable annual average snowfall of up to 37 feet of pristine powder.
Dine out at Snowlicious Mobile Kitchen
One of the countless small pleasures of skiing is that when your rumbling stomach signals the need for a little fuel before the next chairlift ride, you’re never more than a finished run away from great food and drink. But what if that fuel was available on the slopes? Enter Panorama’s Snowlicious Mobile Kitchen. This upgraded snow groomer can be found at six different locations on the mountain, depending on the snow conditions. It serves a delicious selection of food, wine, beer, hot apple cider, and other snacks—a tasty convenience that’s the first of its kind in Canada.
Six unique experiences, six adventures for a lifetime. Whether it’s slopes, sights, or stories you’re after, there’s no place on Earth like Western Canada’s mountains.