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For the skier or snowboarder who craves accessibility and simplicity there's nothing better than flying into hassle-free Kelowna International Airport. The nearby ski resorts (Big White and Silver Star are 45 minutes from Kelowna and Sun Peaks is 45 minutes from Kamloops airport) epitomize the bygone, laid-back ski resort experience. Big White and Sun Peaks resorts are perfect for families, offering incredible ski in, ski out accommodations and great outdoor activities like cross-country skiing, dog sledding and snowshoeing. There's also plenty of stand-out expert terrain for expert skiers and snowboarders at Silver Star and Sun Peaks. Formerly accessed via helicopter only, the Dark Side of Silver Star is the Okanagan's haven for adrenaline-seekers. Black and double-black diamond runs make up more than 90 percent of its 3,000-plus acres.
New during the 2014/15 ski season, Sun Peaks added 500 acres to their terrain, and the resort boasts 4,200-plus acres and holds the title of second largest ski resort in British Columbia and in Canada. The new addition of terrain, off of Tod Mountain and West Morrisey, is most welcomed by advanced to expert skiers who enjoy lift-accessed, sidecountry-style skiing.
Scroll down to learn more about the Okanagan ski resorts.
Those on the hunt for a relaxed Canada family ski destination and the country's largest ski in, ski out village will find that Big White ski resort is just what they've been looking for. Located just 35 miles southeast of Kelowna, Big White boasts sunny weather, tons of dry powder and surprisingly mild temperatures—where the average is 24 degrees. Big White's lodging and dining options will accommodate every budget and preference and about 17,000 guests. As a premier family destination, Big White has a nice range of restaurants, events and activities. With 118 marked runs, nearly 2,800 acres of terrain, 16 lifts and 25 feet of snowfall annually, there's plenty of room to spread out and discover your ideal terrain, which includes picture-perfect groomers, wide-open bowls and well-spaced glades. Freestyle-enthusiasts will appreciate Big White's award-winning Telus Terrain Park.
Silver Star Mountain resort, located a quick 45-minute drive from Kelowna, may boast 115 trails spread over more than 3,000 acres of skiing these days, but it originated in the 1960s as a locals' ski hill. Despite its massive terrain offerings, Silver Star ski resort maintains its casual, local vibe—making it an ideal destination for those who value a laid-back experience and friendly locals. Every type of terrain is well-represented at Silver Star including groomed cruisers, steep powder-filled chutes on its famous back side and a progressive Rockstar Terrain Park. Silver Star is also a renowned cross-country skiing destination; in fact many national teams—including Canada and the U.S.—train on the area's 65-plus miles of trails. Everyone, especially families, will love perusing the idyllic and colorful resort village. Lodging options are conveniently situated along the slopes, and the quaint ski town boasts plenty of bars, shops and restaurants.
With 4,200-plus acres of actual skiable terrain spread across three mountains, Sun Peaks ranks as British Columbia and Canada's second largest ski area. Adventurous skiers and snowboarders will be pleased with the addition of 500 acres of former sidecountry terrain to the resort's boundary. Experiencing the world-class glades of West Morrisey or the high-alpine lines of Tod Mountain's Gil area has never been easier, safer or more enjoyable. The unique 360-degrees of terrain cradle the award-winning village and includes two alpine bowls, 126 named runs, 14 designated gladed areas and the Rockstar Energy Terrain Park, all blanketed with consistent, world famous, Okanagan powder. Built with convenience in mind, Sun Peaks ski resort offers more than 40 shops and eateries which line the ski-through village. Sun Peaks not only provides guests with a huge amount of terrain, but tons of family-friendly, non-ski activities, like dog sledding, snowmobiling or a "snowshoe'n's'mores" tour. The resort is a scenic and easy 45-minute drive from Kamloops airport, making it easy to get to yet still a world apart.