Photos courtesy of Big White Ski Resort
Ski, Savor and Stay at Big White Ski Resort
by Megan Hill

There’s no such thing as a bad view at British Columbia’s Big White Ski Resort, located near Kelowna. From just about any vantage point, whether you’re on the slopes or in your hotel or condo room, the views extend across the rumpled Okanagan Highlands, where Big White is the tallest mountain.

Though the Okanagan Valley is perhaps known more its wine than its skiing, Big White is British Columbia’s third largest ski area, with 16 lifts hauling visitors up its slopes. Still, it feels gloriously uncrowded, with relatively few visitors zipping down its more than 2,700 acres of skiable terrain.

More than half (56 percent) of the ski runs here fall in the “intermediate” category, so the resort feels accessible for the casual participant. Big White is also home to the largest swath of night skiing in Western Canada, with 38 acres open after dark.

The central village is home to 18 restaurants, bars and cafes that range from quick take-away options to sit-down steakhouses. The Clocktower Coffee Co., located inside the main Village Centre Mall building, offers hearty to-go breakfasts and lunches with options like biscuit breakfast sandwiches with brie and pancetta, and toasted sandwiches with beef brisket or roasted vegetables.

On the more upscale side, there’s Kettle Valley Steakhouse. Massive appetites might opt for the 50-ounce Tomahawk steak, or something less gigantic but equally thoughtful in its sourcing and preparation. The menu centers on organic, sustainable products and sources only Ocean Wise seafood. Eat in the restaurant or book a horse-drawn sleigh dinner, which the steakhouse caters in a quaint cabin down the mountain.

Several venues offer après ski activities like live music, though always ending at a time that is respectful of those who plan to rise early.

Big White will keep you busy with other activities like dog sledding, ice skating, snowmobiling (including kids’ snowmobiles), tubing, snowshoeing, and fat biking. There’s also a 60-foot, man-made ice tower if you’re curious about trying out the exhilarating sport of ice climbing. An expert-level route will also challenge experienced climbers. Or, take a break from the mountain altogether and enjoy a tour through the region’s wine country.

The resort is easily accessible from Kelowna International Airport, which connects to Vancouver and Seattle.

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