You’ve Booked a Trip to Big White, Canada – Now What - MountainWatch Travel

You’ve Booked a Trip to Big White, Canada – Now What

What You Need to Know Before You Visit Canada’s Favourite Family Resort

Big White Ski Resort, located in the heart of super, natural British Columbia, Canada, is every powder lover’s favourite destination – the fact it was voted Canada’s Favourite Family Resort is a bonus!

Home to world-famous dry, fluffy “Okanagan Champagne Powder,” Canada’s largest totally ski-in, ski-out Village, and BC’s second largest lifting system, Big White Ski Resort has been beloved by Australian skiers and snowboarders for decades. With  750cm of snowfall annually, a balmy average daytime temperature of -5C, 16 lifts and 119 runs of varying difficulty, Big White is a resort your family will want to keep coming back to again and again. 

So, you’ve booked your flights, your skis are tuned up, and the family is pumped… now what? We’ve put together a quick guide to help you and yours plan for the ski holiday of a lifetime!

Okanagan Champagne Powder – Photo: Geoff Holman

Getting There

Once you arrive in Vancouver, the Kelowna International Airport is just a quick, 45-minute flight. If you’re planning on renting a car, Big White is just a short and scenic 55-minute drive from the Kelowna airport. Once you arrive, there is plenty of free parking around the resort depending on who you book your accommodation through. If you are booking through Big White Central Reservations, you can also request a ride on the airport shuttle – and as Big White is completely ski-in, ski-out, you’ll have no need for a car once you arrive!

Check-In & Check It Out

Once you’re all checked in, be sure to check out the Village and all it has to offer! The Village Centre Mall is home to Big White’s Rental Shop, Repair Shop, Real Estate Office, Ticket Desk, Concierge, and an array of retail outlets – including Altitude, where you can find Big White’s famous snowball pom-pom toque!

In the Village, you’ll find Lara’s Gondola. Hop on (for FREE) and make your way down to Happy Valley – home to the Adventure Park, where you’ll find the Beginner Magic Carpet area, Canada’s Highest Elevation Skating Rink, snowshoe and cross-country ski trails, dog sledding, horse-drawn sleigh rides, snowmobiling, tubing, fat biking and more!

Lift Tickets & Chairlifts

Big White’s motto “Locals Never Need to Pay Full Price” expands well out of the local area and across the Pacific Ocean! All season long, you can save 25% off of the Ticket Window price on lift tickets if you book online and at least two days in advance of your intended days to ski. If you’re planning on skiing or snowboarding more than 10 days during your stay, an Early Bird Season Pass is the way to go! (Early Bird pricing is only available until October 16.) 

Your lift tickets can be picked up at the Ticket Desk in the Village Centre Mall or at one of the outdoor kiosks on the mountain. Or, you can talk to your travel agent and have them ready to go in your check-in package. Once you have your ticket, you can wake up and head straight to the lift – no waiting in line!

Big White boasts British Columbia’s second largest lifting system, with the capacity to shuttle 28,700 skiers up the mountain per hour. With 16 lifts, including three magic carpets, a gondola and a tubing carpet, and a green run from the top of every lift, you can explore the whole mountain as a family without worrying about getting down the mountain safely depending on ability!

Family Fun at Big White

Lessons & Getting To Know The Mountain

Big White’s world-class Ski & Board School is located in the heart of the Village. The school offers beginner lessons for those new to the sport, or for those who need a little refresher. Coming with kids? Big White has full-day group lessons for children aged 5-12, and half-day for 3 and 4 year olds. Be part of the process with the Teach Your Tot program, plus, have peace of mind knowing your child won’t get lost on the mountain with the FLAIK real-time tracking devices supplied to each child during their lessons. 

For the teens and adults, Big White has private and group lessons available, as well as a First Tracks program that will have you on the mountain 45 minutes before the rest of the resort to access untouched powder and groomers!

You can also sign up for a free mountain tour with one of Big White’s snow hosts. These knowledgeable skiers have tips on where to ski based on your ability, and give you a local’s perspective of the mountain – plus answer any of your questions about where to eat, what to do and what to see.  

Another fun way to learn about the mountain is through Big White’s regularly scheduled Moose Cruz. This family friendly scavenger hunt that’ll have you scouring the green and blue runs around the mountain for clues – and you can win prizes! Be sure to check out Big White’s Events Calendar to see if there’s a Moose Cruz scheduled during your stay.

If you’re 50+, don’t miss out on the Masters’ Week programs. Big White offers three scheduled sessions specifically designed for 50+ skiers, with lessons, refreshments, and plenty of good times. 

Peace of mind knowing your child won’t get lost on the mountain with the FLAIK real-time tracking devices.

Fueling Up

Whatever your palate or budget, there are plenty of places to fuel up around the mountain. Big White is home to nearly 20 on-mountain bars, restaurants and cafes, including The Woods and its vibrant outdoor patio with bonfires, The Bullwheel Gastro Family Pub which is home to not one, not two, but three Happy Hours – not to mention its kid-favourite pink donuts! There are plenty of gluten-free and vegan options at Globe Cafe and Tea Bar Cafe. Craving sushi at 2,300 metres above sea level? Find Sasquatch Sushi in the Stonebridge Lodge. Have a hankering for Mexican? Cantina del Centro serves up delicious tacos and margaritas at the Inn at Big White, not to mention its unrivaled mountain views from the patio. Pizza? Underground Pizza is your go-to!

Fine dining, plus the famous Gunbarrel Coffee can be found at Gunbarrel Grill, and Black Diamond Bar & Grill will grill up your steak to perfection. Snowshoe Sam’s is renowned for its busy nightlight, live music and DJs, not to mention its delicious pub food.

Enjoy a true Canadian culinary experience at the BeaverTails trailer at Gem Lake, or fish and chips at the Broken Anchor food truck near the Ridge Day Lodge. 

If you’re planning on cooking for yourself, The Market is a fully equipped grocery store, deli and liquor store. Or, you can have your fridge and cupboards stocked before you arrive with Vacation Food Services!

Whatever your palate or budget, there are plenty of places to fuel up around the mountain.

After Hours

As mentioned earlier, the Happy Valley Adventure Park is chock-full of after-hours activities (or if you need to give your ski legs a break!). Rent a pair of skates from the Happy Valley Day Lodge and take a spin on Canada’s Highest Elevation Skating Rink, which is completely free to the public. Whiz through the back country on a dog sled adventure – or up the horsepower with a snowmobile tour! Jingle around on a horse-drawn sleigh, and, if you’re feeling up for it, take that sleigh all the way through the woods to a picturesque warming hut where you’ll be served up a gourmet meal. 

Your kids will definitely want to check out the 5-lane tube park – open 7 days a week. And if your trip lands on a Saturday, don’t miss out on the weekly Saturday Night Fireworks in Happy Valley. 

Canada’s Highest Elevation Skating Rink

So there it is! Not everything you need to know, but enough to get you started planning your epic ski holiday to Big White Ski Resort.
Have additional questions? Don’t hesitate to reach out to our friendly staff!

HAVE ANY QUESTIONS? Speak to one of our ski travel specialists today!