The 5 Best Ski Resorts near Kelowna UPDATED 2018/19

Kelowna is a gem of a city for skiers and boarders alike – away from the hustle and bustle of Vancouver and easy access to ski resorts in British Columbia. Having lived here most of my life, I've skied them all and put together a list of top resorts near Kelowna based on travel time from the city.

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5. Sun Peaks Resort (2.5 hrs) Go to resort

Trail Map View Sun Peaks Packages

Pros

  • Second largest amount of skiable terrain in Canada
  • Toddlers 5 and under ski for free
  • Good university student discounts
  • Lots of unique aprés-ski activities

Cons

  • Over 2 hours away from Kelowna
  • Generally less snowfall than Big White and Silver Star
Known for: Family-friendly, not as crowded as Whistler
view of the village and sundance mountain from home run Sun Peaks
View of the Village and Sundance Mountain from Home Run

Sun Peaks prides itself on being Canada’s second largest ski resort with 4,270 ac of skiable terrain. Even though it’s over two hours and a half hours away from Kelowna (so it's more of a "Kamloops" resort), it is definitely worth a mention. The word we would use to describe Sun Peaks would be ‘dependable’. This is the place to go if you want to just ski and relax. There are no crowds, a good variety of terrain, a solid amount of snow and a fun town. On the flip side, it’s not the biggest, it doesn’t have the most snow and the village isn’t going to ‘wow’ you. It has a good balance of everything you’d want in a ski resort and won’t disappoint (but perhaps won’t impress either)!

If there is one thing you must try while you’re down there, it is Canadian winter fishing. Elevated Fishing Adventures takes visitors on a guided tour around the mountain lakes surrounding Sun Peaks and sets you up at a fishing spot to do battle with wild Rainbow Trouts under the ice pack.

dog sledding Sun Peaks
There’s also dog sledding if you’re not into fish!

To get the best deals on season’s passes purchasers need to buy before June 30. These prices earn visitors savings of up to over $400 CAD ($304 USD). To catch the Fall Buy prices, guests must purchase season’s passes before October 9 to receive savings of up to over $300 CAD ($228 USD).

4. Revelstoke Mountain Resort (2.5 hrs) Go to resort

Trail Map View Revelstoke Mountain Resort Packages

Pros

  • Highest amount of annual snowfall in the area
  • Lift, Cat, Helicopter and Backcountry skiing offered
  • Good kids program and center

Cons

  • Mainly intermediate and advanced runs
  • Over 2 hours away from Kelowna
Known for: Most vertical drop in North America (5,620 ft)
Sunshine trail Revelstoke Mountain Resort
Cruising down Sunshine Trail

There is a lot going for Revelstoke – the most vertical drop in North America, the record holder of the biggest dump of snow in a single winter in Canada and the amazing terrain. No wonder it’s played host to the Freeride World Tour and serves as the venue for qualifying events! But what really sets Revelstoke apart is all the cat, heli and backcountry skiing that’s accessible straight from the resort village! We’ve tried it first hand and it was an absolute blast!

Cat skiing Monashees
Cat skiing in the Monashees

Après-ski activities are plentiful with snowshoeing, tubing, dogsledding all available on tap. If you want to get a bird’s eye view of the resort you’ve just carved up, then it’s time to go paragliding! You can get the best view of the mountain range and Columbia river by flying through with trained professionals. The restaurants at Revelstoke are nothing short of amazing either. Hungry skiers can enjoy wok type snacks and appetizers at Rockford Wok, fresh pizzas from Mackenzie Common Tavern and even homemade gelato from La Baguette.

Mackenzie Common The Mac Revelstoke
Mackenzie Common – ‘The Mac’

Guests wishing to save some money can purchase season’s passes before October 1 to save up to $200 CAD ($152 USD). Families, students and seniors can also save some extra cash at Revelstoke Mountain. Seniors purchasing season’s passes before October 1 can save over $600 CAD ($455 USD).

3. Apex Mountain Ski Resort (1.5 hrs) Go to resort

Trail Map View Apex Mountain Resort Packages

Pros

  • Cheapest Season’s Pass Rate
  • Cheapest Day Pass Rate
  • Children 7 and under ski for free
  • No crowds!

Cons

  • Mainly Advanced Terrain
  • About 100cm less snow than Big White and Silver Star
  • Much smaller than Silver Star and Big White
Known for: Being affordable!
Quickdraw chairlift Apex Mountain Ski Resort
On Quickdraw to the top!

Apex is the perfect mountain for skiers who want a challenge not to mention the cheapest! It’s a smaller resort with 1,112 ac of skiable terrain supported by two chairlifts and a T-Bar but the mountain is set out well and to navigate. The resort is frequented by advanced local skiers who want the hit the mountain and hit it hard – doing laps of Quickdraw chairlift which takes you to the peak. There are a fair number of beginner runs from mid-mountain to the base but are outnumbered by the black diamond trails through trees and chutes!

That said, there are plenty of amenities for families, with day care services, a tube park and ice skating rink. Apex village, while much smaller than the village at Big White and Silver Star, is well stocked with restaurants, shops, bars and activities. The most noteworthy aprés-ski spot is the Gunbarrel Saloon Restaurant. This bar offers good food, drinks and a variety of fun aprés-ski events. Don’t miss the annual Brewski held in February which brings together live entertainment, appetizers and tastings provided by local breweries and distilleries. They also hold the Vertical and Vintages Wine Festival in early March.

Season’s passes are quite a bit cheaper at Apex than at Big White and Silver Star. Purchases must be made before October 1 to get the best deals. Buying before this date will rack up savings of over $200 CAD ($152 USD). More savings are available to families purchasing together. University students can enjoy 50% off the season’s pass rate paying only $499 CAD ($379 USD) for the whole season. Best student deal on offer for resorts in the area!

2. Silver Star Mountain Resort (1.25 hrs) Go to resort

Trail Map View Silver Star Packages

Pros

  • Putnam Creek Lift (Huge Vertical and great snow!)
  • Toddlers 5 and under ski for free
  • Largest groomed cross-country area in Canada

Cons

  • Slightly less annual snowfall than Big White
Known for: Family-friendly, a variety of terrain to suit all abilities
traversing through Silver Star Mountain Resort
Traversing through Silver Star

Silver Star is home to Canada’s largest area of cross country terrain and the third largest ski area in British Columbia behind Whistler Blackcomb and Sun Peaks. We’re talking 60 mi of cross country terrain which stretches to the nearby Sovereign Lake Nordic Centre in bright blue-bird skies. If you’re up for the journey, make sure you buy the Dual Mountain Pass and off you go! The majority of terrain is perfect for intermediate skiers and advanced skiers though there aren’t too many runs for beginners.

After you got your fill of the snow, it’s time to soak in the fun après ski activities. The resort has a gorgeous ski-in ski-out village packed with shops and restaurants and supports a number of activities and events! Check out Fat Biking where you can ride bikes designed for snow down the slopes and the Winter Carnival Ice Sculpture Competition every February as part of the Vernon Winter Carnival.

The trade-off is that Silver Star tends to be a bit warmer and generally receives slightly less snowfall than Big White but if Nordic skiing is your thing, Silver Star is a must go.

Purchase a season's pass before October 15 to get the best savings. Guests who purchase before this date will save over $400 CAD ($304 USD). Family discounts are also available. If this deadline is missed visitors can also enjoy the Last Chance Rate before October 31 to save over $300 CAD ($228 USD).

1. Big White Ski Resort (1 hr) Go to resort

Trail Map View Big White Packages

Pros

  • Largest Night Skiing area in Western Canada
  • Toddlers 5 and under ski for free
  • $10 Friday Night Skiing
  • Good university student discounts

Cons

  • Often low visibility
  • Often crowded
Known for: Closest ski resort to Kelowna, great powder
skiing powder trees Big White
Even the trees are white!

Everything about Big White is big. It is a big resort boasting 2,765 ac of patrolled mountain terrain with big air, reaching summit elevation of 7,608 ft and a big ski-in ski-out village. Averaging a respectable 300 in of annual snowfall, locals know it as one of the best spots for powder skiing with a variety of terrain for skiers of all levels.

skiing snow ghosts Big White
Snow ghosts!

This is a very family friendly resort with an excellent ski school and daycare programs. You can even buy a Pet Pass and bring your dog all over the mountain with you! Cross country skiers can enjoy over 15 mi of Nordic terrain as well. For visitors who just can’t get enough powder and just want to go hard into the evening, Big White offers night skiing for $25 CAD ($19 USD). On Friday nights this price drops to just $10 CAD ($7 USD)! At 38 ac, it is the ‘biggest’ night skiing area in all of Western Canada!

Big White kids center
In the process of escaping the kids…

We haven’t even mentioned the endless number of fun on mountain activities such as tubing, skating, snow shoeing and sleigh rides. The two things that you should definitely check out is dog sledding and Big White’s giant ice wall climb.

Big White also offers a wide variety of aprés-ski activities as well. For a warm cup of joe, stop by The Bean Scene which serves locally roasted coffee. You can also drink, dine, and party at Snowshoe Sam’s which has won a wide variety of awards for being the place to be after dark.

Big White ski in ski out village
A very fun ski town

While Big White lives up to its name-sake of being ‘big’ it also lives up to being really white. Visibility is often minimal and on those days, the locals refer to the mountain as the ‘Big White Out’. It is also sometimes prone to ‘big’ crowds but that’s a small price to pay for everything the resort has to offer!

If buying a season’s pass, be sure to grab it before October 15 to get the Early Bird Rate and save up to over $600 CAD ($447 USD). Guests can also acquire Pre Season Rates before November 23 to save up to over $500 CAD ($373 USD).

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