On Vancouver’s North Shore, three mountains loom large, each promising high-adrenalin winter experiences, just beyond the city lights.
Cypress Mountain, northwest of the city, has been a favoured local destination for nearly a century. While the mountain’s infrastructure has expanded over the years — to 53 downhill ski runs and four terrain parks — the essentials have remained the same: here, adventurists revel in carve-worthy slopes and the highest verticals on the North Shore. Cross-country skiers and snowshoers share in the rush, too, with nearly 19 kilometres (12 miles) of snowy alpine terrain; snowshoers would be wise to sign up for the guided Hollyburn Meadows Tour, a soft-footed excursion that promises insight into the area’s cultural and natural history. cypressmountain.com
North America’s largest aerial tramway ride awaits adventurists at the base of Grouse Mountain, a quick trip that whisks skiers and boarders to a mountaintop complete with a chalet, skating rink, sleigh rides and, when the season’s right, a visit from the man in red himself. Here, adventure options run the gamut with 26 ski and snowboard runs, two terrain parks, 10 kilometres (six miles) of snowshoe trails and illuminated “Light Walk” strolls around Blue Grouse Lake. Following a day’s play, après-ski dining and entertainment options abound with everything from locally sourced menus at the Observatory to lick-your-fingers pub fare from Lupins Café, capped with views of the city below. grousemountain.com
For a classic west coast ski experience, Mt Seymour hits all the right notes. This family-owned mountain — and the North Shore’s first terrain park — is revered by locals. While winter sport junkies revel in its four diverse terrain parks, Mt Seymour’s terrain is not solely for thrill-seekers; thanks to the North Shore’s longest-running Ski & Snowboard School, and excellent beginner and intermediate terrain, the resort is ideal for families and for those eager to begin their snow career. (In particular, Mt Seymour’s Goldie Meadows learning area, featuring the North Shore’s only covered magic carpet, is best for shuttling newbies to the top of the slopes.) Enthusiasts can round out the fun at the toboggan and snow tube parks, or with snowshoe stomps through Mt Seymour’s old-growth-forest setting. mtseymour.ca