This past fall, retailers were swarmed with shoppers gearing up for a long pandemic winter. Winter sports gear and outdoor heaters were at the top of the list—as we all know, the outdoors are where it’s at in the current climate.
In past years, you might’ve planned a winter vacation, either to see family or get some much-needed sun. This year though, we’re all being much more cautious. It’s time to stay local and follow safety guidelines, but we can still have fun in our own backyard!
Our West Coast playground is world-class when it comes to adventuring, and with travel restrictions still in place, this year, it’s locals only. Get out and explore your backyard winter wonderland.
Please note: according to the latest info from the government of BC, events and social gatherings are currently suspended, but outdoor activity is still allowed. Per the latest release: “Ski and snowboard at your local mountains. For example, if you live in Vancouver, you should ski at Cypress, Grouse or Mt. Seymour. ”
North Vancouver Outdoor Options
North Shore locals are blessed when it comes to options for wintertime outdoor fun. If you live in Vancouver, the mountains are still well within reach!
Skiing & Snowboarding
Boasting two fully-equipped local mountains, North Vancouver is perfect for a local ski or snowboard day. Located at either end of the city, Grouse Mountain and Mount Seymour both offer a variety of runs and night skiing. Take in the city views as you shred and carve your way down the slopes. Mount Seymour hosts a special ladies’ night every Monday, offering an excellent opportunity for you to (safely) catch up with the girls in the great outdoors.
Hiking’s popularity soars during the warmer months, and snowshoeing (or winter hiking) is just as popular when the temperatures drop. The North Shore is home to a plethora of powdered trails waiting to be discovered. A quick internet search for hiking trails around the North Shore will put you on the path to your perfect Saturday plans.
Festival of Lights
Take in a special night exploring VanDusen Garden’s famous Festival of Lights. Lit up with over 1 million lights across 10 acres, this winter wonderland is nothing short of magical. This event has been re-imagined for 2020 and now features a one-way path complete with unique light features, holiday music, and themed areas sure to deliver a memorable holiday journey for you and your loved ones.
Note: This annual event is currently postponed until December 8th, but we’ve got fingers crossed that it will return.
If Squamish is where you live and play, you’re in luck: this area is indisputably one of BC’s favourite outdoor playgrounds. The Sea to Sky Gondola may be closed right now, but there are still plenty of other options available!
Don’t limit yourself to the more accessible spots. The powder on alpine peaks surrounding Squamish will beckon to your inner adventurer! Book a local guide company and make fresh tracks on beautiful, untouched snow on one of the many mountains surrounding the town. Can you say bucket list?
If a chopper ride up to the peak isn’t your style, Squamish offers plenty of popular backcountry skiing options accessible by land. Elfin Lakes is a well-known backcountry route revered by locals, as is Little Diamond Head. Consider booking a local guide, or go with a group of friends. Just remember, backcountry adventures require a solid knowledge of avalanche and glacier safety, so get prepared and then enjoy!
Whistler Winter Destinations
A world-famous winter destination, Whistler is home to one of the largest ski resorts in North America, Whistler Blackcomb. Beyond skiing and boarding, this town was made for the snow, offering plenty of exciting activities for you to get your winter on.
A world-class skiing and snowboarding destination, Whistler Blackcomb’s reputation precedes it, and outdoor enthusiasts have nothing but options when it comes to both Whistler and Blackcomb. There is an ongoing debate about which mountain is better but with the Peak 2 Peak gondola available to take you between summits, who needs to decide?
If the slopes aren’t what you crave, hop on a sled and take in some backcountry snowmobiling. The exhilaration of traversing snowy tree-lined trails on a roaring snowmobile is an experience to remember. Reach out to a local guide company and go from there!
If you are looking for something completely different, one of the most unique (and cutest) things you can do is dog sledding. Sit back and relax as you are pulled by a team of jaunty sled dogs. Beautiful and thrilling, most companies will also teach you about the dogs and the history of dog sledding. How very Canadian, eh?