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Big White

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Trail Map
Trail Map
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3D Big White - a trail map based upon Google Earth

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Conditions
Average Annual Snowfall: 274" (Tony Crocker)

"Highest ski area in interior B. C., so snow preservation is good. Upper glades protected in storms but frequent whiteouts and closures in peak areas and steep bowls."

Transportation
Transportation
AIR TRANSPORTATION

Fly into Kelowna International Airport (YLW) and take a quick shuttle (55 minutes) to get to the resort. 

 

Airlines

Kelowna International Airport is serviced by major airlines — Air Canada, Air Canada Express, WestJet, Alaska Airlines (Horizon Air) and United Airlines Express. These airlines are partnered with many international carriers and fly non-stop to Kelowna daily from Toronto, Vancouver, Victoria, Kamloops, Calgary, Edmonton, Lethbridge, Red Deer, Seattle and San Francisco. See the airport's airline information page for more information.

 

Airport hosts can be found in the arrivals lounge and are identifiable by their yellow vests. Daily frequent and efficient shuttle service is available between the resort and the airport.

 

Big White and Silver Star are now the closest Western Canadian resorts to Toronto. WestJet offers 6 non-stop flights per week, as well as daily direct flights from Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver! Air Canada has just announced that effective October 29, 2006, all Air Canada and Air Canada Jazz flights in and out of Kelowna will convert to jet service which will eliminate any bag problems and cut flight times from Calgary and Vancouver down to 40 minutes--meaning you could be skiing within an hour and a half of arrival!

LOCAL TRANSPORTATION

Driving Directions:

Big White is 56 km (35 miles) southeast of Kelowna, the largest city in the Okanagan Valley, making it easily accessible.
 
From Kelowna, follow Highway 33 for 32 km (20 mi) until you reach Big White Road. Another 24 km (15 mi) and you will arrive in the main village where the Central Mountain Check-In and hotels are located.
 
 

Big White/Silver Star Day Trip Shuttle Services

Silver Star and Big White are both amazing resorts, so why not explore them both? You do not need a car to take advantage of your dual mountain lift ticket — just jump on the Inter-Mountain Day Trip Shuttle to have the opportunity to ski or snowboard two world-class resorts on one affordable ticket. Subject to availability, shuttle will run every Tuesday and Thursday from Big White to Silver Star and from Silver Star to Big White. To make a booking please contact the activities desk at 250-491-6111 or activities@bigwhite.com

 

Inter-Mountain Day Trip Shuttle

The Inter-Mountain Day Trip Shuttle is not available to transport guests who are moving accommodation. For these guests, our Inter-Mountain Direct Shuttle is available every Wednesday and Saturday or our Inter-Mountain via Kelowna Airport Shuttle is available every day of the week. Choose either Silver Star direct or Silver Star via the Kelowna Airport.

 

Lodging
Lodging
Big White Central Reservations -- Save 10% on lift tickets when purchased with accommodation.
Name Description Maximum Occupancy Price Range

Chateau Big White

 

The hotel features an outdoor hot tub, the Swiss Bear Restaurant & Lounge, free underground parking, and Beyond Wrapture Day Spa. Kitchenette, Loft, One Bedroom and One Bedroom Plus suites. (Plus is the addition of a den creating an extra sleeping area) Rates

Inn at Big White

 

Great access to village amenities. Outdoor pool & hot tub, restaurant & lounge, great views.  One bedroom units Rates
White Crystal Inn Hotel amenities include an outdoor hot tub, sauna, ski storage, the Santé Grille Restaurant & Lounge, conference facilities, and free underground parking and free wireless internet. Standard, Kitchenette and Loft rooms available.  Rates
Condos, Vacation Homes & Cabins     Rates
Urban Retreat Hostel Slopeside backpacker accommodations including large kitchen, laundry facilities and complimentary Internet. N/A Dorm Beds $30/night $180/week 
Private Rooms $75/night $450/week

REAL ESTATE
 
 
DEALS
 
WHAT'S NEW
 
 
ACTIVITIES
 
 
SERVICES

Ski/Board School

Child Care

Concierge

 

 

GOOD, BETTER, BEST
 
 

 

Big White
Description:

If you’re after fantastic snow, don’t look any further than Big White! “It’s the snow” is our motto and we live up to our name with an average 750cm (24.5ft) of Okanagan Champagne Powder falling annually. Our bountiful, dry powder is legendary and was awarded “Best Powder” by Ski Canada Magazine in 2008! Located in the picturesque Okanagan Valley and overlooking the Monashee Mountains, Big White is uniquely blessed with sunny weather, dry powder and a mild average temperature of -5C (23 F). With 118 market runs fanning from the summit, 2,565 acres of skiable terrain, and 16 lifts, there‘s a great selection of terrain for everyone with deep powder bowls, wide-open glades, and great fall-line cruising. Big White Ski Resort is Canada's largest totally ski-in/ski-out resort village with over 15,000 slopeside beds. The on-mountain village caters to 15,000 guests with accommodations ranging from full service hotels to luxury condominiums to budget units. Big White's impressive Kid's Centre facilities are first rate and have received many accolades from both international media and our customers.

Details:
DetailValue
Snow making percent
Lifts-Surface Lifts-Magic carpet2
Lifts-Surface Lifts-Rope tow2
Lifts-Surface Lifts-Poma
Lifts-Surface Lifts-T bar1
Lifts-Surface Lifts-J bar
Lifts-Chair Lifts-Single
Lifts-Chair Lifts-Double5
Lifts-Chair Lifts-Triple
Lifts-Chair Lifts-Quad
Lifts-Chair Lifts-High speed quad5
Lifts-Chair Lifts-Five person
Lifts-Chair Lifts-Six person
Lifts-Chair Lifts-Eight person
Lifts-Gondola1
Lifts-Tram
Lifts-Coggle train
Lifts-Funicular
Lifts-Other
Lifts-Total number of lifts16
Lifts-Total lift capacity28,000/hr.
Trails-1-Beginner18%
Trails-2-Intermediate54%
Trails-3-Advanced22%
Trails-4-Expert only6%
Trails-5-Terrain park2
Trails-6-Half pipe
Trails-Total118
Runs-Steepest run
Runs-Longest run4.5 miles
General-Base elevation1508'
General-Vertical drop2550'
General-Owner
General-Mountain rangeCanadian Rockies
General-Annual skier visits
General-Back country access
General-Total area in bounds2765 acres
General-Snow making coverage
Models:
Model Name/TypeMPNEAN/UPC

Posted

Pros: Small lift lines, good lift network

Cons: pricey meals

A group of us went to Big White in March of this year, during  spring break. Surprisingly, there were very few people! I had been concerned about going at that time because of the possible crowding, but it never was an issue. 

It snowed the afternoon and overnight the day we arrived, with 8" to greet us on our first morning of skiing,. The next two nights received a light dusting of 2-3" overnight. We skiied  all over the mountain, hitting the Cliff first thing in the morning with the fresh snow. it is a fairly steep pitch, serviced with a 2 person chair. No line-ups, up and down. We made our own tracks all morning until 11:30, when it was all tracked out. We moved across the mountain , and hit the Falcon chair next.  A nice steep section of hill with funny little trees to ski through. Again serviced with a 2 person chair (possibly the worlds slowest!),again no waiting! Although I had heard about poor visibility, we experienced very little of it.  We cut our own tracks for most of the afternoon.  We ducked under the ropes off the Gem chair, ( I think its allowed. There is a warning about the cost of rescue, but you're never really far from anything) Nice tight steep trees, with lot of snow! Sweet fun!  The rest of the week we explored all over the hill, finding fresh snow off the Gem chair 2 days later.

 If this was more of a 'Skiers mountain" I'm sure all the snow would be tracked out by 10:30 the first morning. As a 'family resort' it seemed that only the blue runs close to the main lifts got busy and scraped. Anything with a black diamond on it was passed by, and the snow stayed for days. 

The lifts are very well positioned, and you are able to get around quite easily. It doesnt take more than 1 lift to go from one end of the mountain to the other. Its very easy to hook up with people during the day, which is important for people in a group that are all skiing at different  levels. The terrain is varied, and there are a lot of intermediate runs, good to keep some of happy, and enough of the black runs to keep the rest of us occupied.

The village is a little different, not a completely manufactured main street feel like Sun Peaks or Whistler or Tremblant, but more subtle. It took a while to figure out that there is a lot there, because a lot of restaurants and bars are scattered in the hotels, and are not immediately apparent. It really is a ski in/ ski out village. Since the village is sort of uphill ,from every hotel you can walk out and slide downhill to a lift. We stayed at the White Crystal Hotel, quite a nice place. We would start every morning at 8:30 at the Bullet chair, and rip down some warmup runs on beautiful fresh corduroy, until the rest of the mountain woke up, and the we would take of for other , less crowded parts.  It was almost too easy.

The one thing I would say negative about the place , was the food at night was expensive and mediocre for the prices we paid, with a few exceptions. Daytime on the hill food was ok, in line with most resorts. 

Thanks to Josh Foster for the tips and tricks beforehand. They were quite helpful. 

Posted

Pros: Great snow, great lifts, nice enough village at a good elevation

Cons: fog/clouds

If you're an expert who loves steep, then Big White might not be the best spot, but I imagine most people overstate their abilities in their minds.  There's a good chance Big White is plenty challenging.  I remember being on some pretty tough spots in the Powder Chair area.  I think one thing exacerbating BW's reputation as tame is their advertising.  Just the pictures of the happy families make it look a bit lame.  But if you're like me and you don't get out west as often as you'd like and all you want is reliably soft snow, then BW is a good pick.

 

Reasons I think Big White is underrated

- possibly the best snow of any resort in the province

- Good lifts

- No crowds even on Family Day/Presidents Day it really wasn't that bad

- less than an hour from Kelowna airport

- Lots of affordable accommodation at the base  

- the base is at the same elevation as Whistler Roundhouse and the peak elevation that's higher than Whistler Mountain's

- decent number of bars and restaurants

- Lots of tree skiing/boarding

 

Cons

- fog

- not much advanced terrain and nothing that qualifies as extreme

 

 

Lastly, if you assess your ability honestly and decide you're a strong intermediate or lower, then BW is a great choice.  Sure there are some serious white outs there, but if you're like me and you love the trees, then that's no problem because its got great tree skiing.

Posted

Pros: Lots of intermediate terrain, trees, great service, minimal lift lines

Cons: Staying near the village is better than being in the outskirts

Our family has been here twice. We had a short stay in 2014 and a 5 night stay during spring break, mid-March 2016. We really enjoyed the first visit but were really looking forward to spending more time here to explore more of the hill. The weather we experienced was bright sun, temperatures hovering around -5 C. The only thing missing was nightly dumps of powder. It had snowed the day before we arrived and the 300 cm base meant we had lots to play with.

 

If you're looking for a family ski hill it's hard to beat. There's lot of intermediate terrain. There is a pretty large terrain park. There are gladed areas and some short runs specifically for kids who like being in trees. They have kids activities in the village practically every evening along with cotton candy and hot chocolate - all free! We had three families together. One of them were relatively new to skiing (<4 yrs) and we started with mostly green runs. By the 4th day of skiing the kids were doing moguls, small boxes and jumps at the terrain park and black runs. 

 

The hill is laid out in such a way that most places are accessible from wherever you are on the mountain as long as you consult the map. Gem Lake has some of the longest runs. It unfortunately has some of the flattest sections at the end, especially on "Ogo Slow" and the bottom of "Moonlight Run". If you stick to the runs near the Gem Lake Express you'll be OK. The very top has the beautiful "snow ghosts" - small alpine trees completely covered in ice and snow. It was fun dodging in and out of those. This area is usually hardest hit by winds so if it's a nice day out, head here first. You may not get the chance to on a windier day.

 

The Powder Chair is slow and accesses some short runs but on a good day, the snow can be very good there. Snow Ghost & Ridge Rocket express being along side each other means that they're moving 10 people up the hill at a time. The only time we experienced a line up here was when mechanical problems were plaguing the Snow Ghost Express. The runs here are decent but are probably the busiest on the hill. But busy is a relative term. If you compare with Whistler then they are absolutely barren. Our cabin rental was ski-in off of Serwa's run which was nice. But it was removed from the village where most of the action was happening during apres. 

 

The Alpine T-bar was my favourite place. Lots of snow ghosts to ski in and out of. The snow was the best up here and the view was breathtaking. The only downside for some would be having to use a T-bar to get up there. The runs lead easily to the Bullet Express. Both Bullet Express and the Black Forest Express have lots of gladed runs, trees that are widely spaced giving old guys like me lots of room to make the turn, and giving the kids a feel for what tree skiing can be like. 

 

Overall I'd have to say this is one of our favourite places to go for a ski vacation. The only thing missing was that the skating rink was closed in early March both times we visited. I love outdoor skating so that was a big disappointment for me. 

 

P.S. look for the Biggie Card for some savings on lift tickets. Details on their website.

Posted

Pros: Great snow, good lift system, ski-in/out

Cons: Sort of flat, foggy

I have skied Big White a dozen times or so, and the snow has been really nice every time out. I have only gotten one really deep day, but never have had a complain about the snow.

But the terrain really isn't that interesting. It is mostly an intermediate mountain with a couple short steep areas. The trees are nice though.

I think this is a great place for families. Lots of kids everywhere. 

Posted

Pros: Friendly staff; and the fact that people actually live in the village means plenty of services are availlable

Cons: You don't get 750 cm of snow a year without a few days of limited visibility.

My first visit was last spring with my daughter for the Provincial K1 (11/12 year-olds) championships.  We stayed right in the village, and were very impressed from our first contact at how friendly the (mostly Australian it seems) staff were, and how helpful they were in getting us organized. 

We had the classic "Big White Out" on our first day there, but persevered and got in some nice freesking in the fog prior to the race days.  On the two actual race days, I was able to explore the hill between her races, and was impressed by how many lifts there were and how quickly the lines moved.  When she finished her races, we went exploring in some treed areas (we ARE from Red Mountain after all) and managed to get to a semi-remote lift well after closing time.  The patrollers were there and, although somewhat surprised to see us, were very friendly and allowed us to ride up and ski back to the village with them. 

I don't know if it was designed to correspond with the K1 championships, but there was a "carnival" in the main meeting area every night we were there, and that was popular with the very young set.  My daughter and I were busy night-skiing in the terrain park one night and "tubing" the next.

Not quite the extreme skiing we're used to from Red, (not too many places have THAT) but as an overall experience, it was an excellent weekend.  I'm very much looking forward to taking my son there for the K2 provincials this March.