The promise of dry, Okanagen powder is a powerful lure to anyone who enjoys skiing or snowboarding. And we certainly do.
And so for this February mini-break we chose to drive 6 hours into the BC Interior, north of Vernon, to experience the famous amazing, light, dry snow that has made Silver Star Mountain Resort a well-known winter holiday destination for locals and savvy foreign tourists alike.
Silver Star didn't disappoint us, with blue sky days and fresh powder falling to make for some epic skiing and boarding conditions.
Located high above British Columbia's Okanagan Valley, Silver Star is a destination that caters to families, and has something for everyone. The Deets: Over 3000 acres of skiable terrain; 115 runs spread over 3 mountain faces; a huge variety of terrain for every ability. Long, perfectly groomed cruisers, steep powder filled chutes on the 'back side' (my son's favorite 'double-blacks'), and a skookum TELUS terrain park for the tricksters.
Favorite runs [in order from green to double-black]: Bergerstrasse, Far Out, Whiskey Jack, Gopher Glades, Spruce Meadows, Sunny Ridge, Gowabunga, Free Fall & Three Wise Men.
Themed after an early 1900's mining town, with colourful, unique architecture, the charming main street is made up of bars, restaurants and shops, and is pedestrian-friendly. There are parking lots nearby for day visitors and quick stops, and the village is conveniently ski-in, ski-out for those staying on the mountain.
We rented a house with friends, and while we ate most meals at home, we did enjoy a quick pub-style lunch at the Bulldog Cafe, some baked treats at Bugaboos, and took a fire-side break on the mountain at Paradise Camp, at the top of the Powder Gulch Chair. [ttm tip: Order the hot chocolate & a cinnamon bun, and sit by the fire.]
Silver Star is also world-renowned for its Nordic Trail system, where many national nordic ski teams come to train. There is access to over 100 kms of Nordic trails groomed daily, including the stunning Sovereign Lakes area. Other winter activities include; snowshoeing, tubing, skating, snowmobiling, horse-drawn sleigh rides, hot-tubbing, and gazing at the night sky (minimal light pollution = great star-gazing).
Of the three interior mountain resorts we've visited - Silver Star, Big White and Sun Peaks - we'd have to say that Silver Star Mountain Resort is our favorite. Its great snow quality, terrain diversity, quirky charm, and great personal service have ensured a return visit - and hopefully very soon.
[TTM Tip: If you or your children need lessons or a technique tweak, the Snowsports School is fantastic. The lessons & rentals were reasonably priced, and the instructors were great and enthusiastic teachers.]
Claudia Laroye, the travelling mom, is passionate about family travel and about educating children through the travel experience. Her blog offers a modern mom's guide of 'how to' travel tips and information, as well as destination advice for the new or experienced traveller. She contributes to Tourism Vancouver's InsideVancouver.ca, Vancouver Mom, Canadian print publications, and other travel sites on the web.