Skiing in Big White
Big White packs every type of ski terrain into a compact ski area. Challenging tree skiing, kilometres of pristine corduroy pistes and five powder bowls, make up the 2,765 acre ski area. Big White’s attractive mix of gladed and open terrain offers every type of skiing for every level of skier.
Big White Ski Area Overview
Big White’s predominantly west-facing slopes are snow certain: the absence of snow-making facilities, other than for the TELUS terrain park, is testament to the resort’s reliable snowfall record. For cross-country enthusiasts the Nordic ski trails, running through pretty pine forests, measure a total 25kms.
Temperatures are rarely as cold as those associated with ski resorts in the Canadian Rockies and the area is blessed with more sunny days than coastal ski resorts such as Whistler. Like most Canadian ski resorts Big White closes in early April, whatever the conditions, when thoughts turn to mountain biking and golf.
Discover the Big White ski area with a complimentary orientation tour from a Big White Snow Host. Tours meet near the Village Centre Mall at 9:30am and 1:30pm daily (001 250 491 6111). Ask the hosts to show you the Big White ‘snow ghosts’, a local phenomenon created when the area’s light and dry snow falls and settles on the trees high up in the ski area freezing to form a stunning forest of frozen spectres.
Intermountain shuttle buses run a day trip every Tuesday and Thursday between Big White and the nearby ski resort of Silver Star, a popular choice for local snowboarders. Departures are at 7am, returning at 4pm.
Beginner Skiing in Big White
Big White’s beginner terrain is popular with beginners because unlike many resorts, beginners can ski from summit to base on green runs.
Absolute beginners should head to Happy Valley, below the main resort, where two Magic Carpets take away the pain of getting on and off ski lifts. Nearer the resort the easy greens of Hummingbird and Woodcutter are the ideal slopes for first tentative turns. Beyond the nursery slopes, every lift offers the option of an easy (green) run so beginners wanting to get a few miles under their ski belts can fully explore the ski area.
The terrain off the T-Bar near the summit of the resort is popular with beginners because it is above tree line and provides tremendous views of the valley below.
Intermediate Skiing in Big White
Big White is an ideal destination for intermediate skiers and boarders with plenty of long well-groomed runs for cruising while the off-piste terrain is a good learning ground for wannabe powder hounds.
Big White prides itself on well-groomed pistes and the velvet corduroy on offer is ideal for intermediates. Cross the entire ski area to reach gladed runs above Gem Lake, longer and often quieter than the trails directly above the resort. The Gem Lake lift offers the largest single-lift vertical drop in the area: the 710 metres long Kalina’s Rainbow ends at the Westridge Warming Hut, where you can stop for a restorative coffee and chocolate bar.
Follow-up with a few runs down the blue trails of Snowy, Blue Ribbon and Blue Sapphire before taking on the challenge of the diamond black trails. Join the monthly ‘Cruz the Blues’ event during which skiers are challenged to ski all of Big White’s intermediate runs during two days.
Advanced & Expert Skiing in Big White
Big White has an outstanding array of expert runs. The Cliff area on the east side from Big White Peak offers a number of short but sweet options for expert skiers.
The Cliff is an entirely ungroomed section of the ski area. Expert skiers can pick a line, any line, down the curving bowl reached from the top of the Cliff chair. The gradient is double diamond black from top to bottom and there are few trees or natural obstacles to interrupt your descent.
Once you’ve exhausted the options at the Cliff head to Gem Lake, at the far side of Big White, to reach the ski area’s longest trails. The Playground trail from the top of the Gem Lake Express is the only double diamond black away from the Cliff area. The ungroomed Sun-Rype bowl is another option, though conditions can be testing and the snow a little crusty when it lives up to its name.
Off-piste enthusiasts will enjoy skiing in the fine, dry powder that falls on the Monashee mountains and nicknamed ‘Hero Snow’ by the locals.
Boarding & Freestyle in Big White
Snowboarders will get the same amount of exhilaration as skiers out of Big White’s numerous powder bowls. Big White’s 15-acre TELUS Snowpark is also a big draw, though the terrain park at nearby Silver Star is bigger.
Designed with progression in mind the park has a series of increasingly more challenging features from “small” through to “x-large” including a Boarder and Skier Cross track, a 44ft half-pipe and an Olympic-sized Super Pipe. The park has its own access lift and is floodlit for night-time sessions on the snow.
Mountain Restaurants in Big White
Lunch on the mountain isn’t a feature of Big White skiing – there aren’t any restaurants at altitude.
Big White offers cafeterias in the Ridge Day Lodge and Happy Valley Day lodge. The food is standard ski lodge fare. However, the bulk of the more upscale dining options are located in the village core. Menus tend to be weighted towards traditional Canadian fare – local beef and seafood.