I’m going to let you in on a secret, it’s called SilverStar Mountain Resort. With 3,282 acres of varied terrain covered in champagne powder, it’s the 3rd largest ski area in British Columbia, but I’ll bet you’ve never heard of it. Big skiing, with none of the crowds found at US ski resorts, SilverStar Mountain Resort is a laid back family-friendly ski resort that will please even the most aggressive skier.
On the mountain
They call it champagne powder, and it’s straight from heaven. There are no snow-making machines at SilverStar Mountain Resort, they don’t need them. With a wide range of greens and blues on the front of the mountain, blacks and double blacks on the backside, every level of skier or rider can find their happy place. All with no lift lines. Well, actually one time I did have to wait 4 minutes to get on a lift, I heard some locals complain. I guess that was rush hour. 34 miles of groomed Nordic trails, and 10 miles of snowshoeing and fat bike riding trails add some variety to a ski day – if you can pull yourself away from the powder.
My kids had a blast at the Tube Town area, where a tubing hill, skating rink (both included in the price of your child’s lift ticket), and Pinheads Bowling Alley are centrally located. When your kids are done skiing for the day, they can burn more energy tubing, skating, or bowling while you get a cocktail at Pinheads.
Great food and drinks
The resort restaurants are “authentic Canadian” which means fresh and local foods – their Elk Burger is the top-seller at the Red Antler restaurant in the village. This is BC’s premier grape-growing region, so there’s no shortage of fabulous local wines. For an incredible dining experience, book a CAT ride to Paradise Camp. Bugaboos has the best coffee and delectable pastries, made fresh daily. If you’re like me you’ll find an excuse to go there a few times.
I stayed at the Snowbird Lodge, which is not only ski-in ski-out, but also just steps away from the village. They have up to 3-bedroom suites with full kitchens – great for skiing families. Comfortable and convenient. Call Butcher Boys and they’ll have groceries delivered before your arrival.
If you’re a ski lodge mom
Maybe you’re not a skier, but your family is. There is a day spa in the village, plus a fitness centre and yoga classes. The village is small, but has some nice shops and an art gallery. During the summer the Okanagan Valley is BC’s premier grape-growing region – that means lots of wine tasting! Add a day-trip (or two) to tour local wineries and taste craft spirits at Okanagan Spirits Distillery.
Off the mountain
The mountain roads are well-maintained and easy to drive. The city of Vernon sits at the foot of the mountain, about 35 minutes from SilverStar Mountain Resort and is home to some great restaurants. Eatology has wonderful breakfast skillets, baked goods and coffee. Stop by Station BBQ for authentic, slow-smoked, Southern barbeque – in Canada. Really. They serve up some incredible comfort food, with homemade rubs and sauces. Always start with the candied bacon appetizer. Afterward stop by Ratio Coffee & Pastry in the same building for a quick hit of caffeine and pastry of the day.
Getting to SilverStar Ski Resort
Getting to SilverStar is easier than you might think. Located just over an hour from Kewlona International Airport, there are a couple of carriers that have direct flights from the US. My Alaska Airlines flight from Seattle took about an hour, I barely had time to get into my book and it was time to land.
March is a perfect time to visit, with beautiful Spring skiing conditions, no crowds and excellent deals on accommodations.
So, what are you waiting for? The champagne powder is calling!
I was a guest of Tourism Vernon and SilverStar Mountain Resort, and took one for the team as I skied, sipped and savored my way through Vernon and Silver Star. I don’t think I’ve ever eaten more bacon, including a strip on a donut made at Ratio Coffee and Pastry. The experiences and opinions are all my own.