When talking about Vancouver skiing us locals are a bunch of braggarts.
We’ll tell you it’s the only city in the world where you can walk on the beach and hit the slopes on the same day.
It’s (technically) true.
I’ll show you how to do it here with my guide on skiing in Vancouver.
Vancouver Skiing 101
Ski season on Vancouver’s local mountains generally lasts from late November until early April.
There are three ski hills located on the city’s North Shore. These hat-trick of hills are referred to as the ‘local mountains‘.
If you’re fortunate enough to have a car, all three mountains can be reached from downtown Vancouver in less than forty minutes depending on traffic.
No car? There’s lots of local transit options available.
Vancouver Skiing – Local Mountains
Area: 212 acres | Lifts: 5| Runs: 33 | Elevation: 1,231 ft | Snowfall: 342 in
This Vancouver ski area is tailor made for casual skiers and families who just want a fun couple of runs after a day of seeing our city’s top sights.
I used to go here every week in college because of the night skiing opportunities and low prices. It’s still one of my favourite things to do in Vancouver.
Of all the ski hills near Vancouver, Grouse Mountain has the most spectacular views. Your first bit of business should be to take the Screaming Eagle chairlift and go down ‘The Cut’ for spectacular views of the city and harbour.
Address: 6400 Nancy Greene Way, North Vancouver BC
Runs: Green/Easy (3), Blue/More Difficult (15), Black/Difficult (6), Double/Expert (2).
Hours: 9:00 am to 10:00 pm
How to Get to Grouse Mountain
Grouse Mountain can be reached from downtown in a quick 25 minute drive. Remember that the traffic on the Lions Gate Bridge can get quite busy at rush hour.
For directions, click on our link to Google Maps.
From there you can walk to bay 15 of the Lonsdale Bus Loop and jump aboard the #236 Grouse Mountain bus to the Grouse Mountain Skyride.
Grouse Mountain Lift Tickets
- Adults: $69.00
- Seniors (65+) and Youth (13-18): $49.00
- Children (5-12): $25.00
*Children 4 and under are free
- Adults: $49.00
- Seniors (65+) and Youth (13-18): $40.00
- Children (5-12): $23.00
*Children 4 and under go free
Grouse Mountain is open for night skiing between 4:00 pm and 10:00 pm daily. About half of the runs are open and fully lit, including “The Cut”, the mountain‘s most famous run.
Grouse Mountain Equipment Rentals
From ski and snowboard equipment to snowshoes and a full compliment of jackets and pants, Grouse Mountain has everything you need for a day on the slopes.
To learn more head over to the Grouse Mountain equipment rental page.
Grouse Mountain Activities
Grouse has the highest number of amenities of any of the locals mountains. The mountain has several dining options at a variety of price points.
- Lupins– Fast convenient cafe style options
- Altitudes– Casual dining
- The Observatory– Fine dining
Due to Grouse’s close vicinity to Vancouver, it is also a popular tourist attraction. The mountain offers a wide variety of Summer and Winter activities. Here is a quick list of some of the options:
- Sleigh rides
- Mountain biking
- Lumberjack shows
To check out what’s happening up on Grouse Mountain while you’re in Vancity have a look at Viator’s Grouse Mountain page.
Grouse Mountain Tips
- Buy passes in advance (day before or day of) then get right on the gondola
- Avoid traveling there during rush hour as Lion’s Gate Bridge has horrible traffic!
- Bring your own food as choice is limited and prices are high (though Beavertails is one of Vancouver’s must eats)
- On the gondola stand with your back to the mountain for the city view
- The weather changes quickly so prepare for the worst
- Put your boots on before the gondola and leave your shoes in the car to save time
Area: 600 acres | Lifts: 6| Runs: 53 | Elevation: 4,724 ft | Snowfall: 245 in
Skiing Cypress is a little more complicated than Grouse, as it’s tougher to reach without a vehicle.
However, those willing to make the trek will be rewarded with the most terrain in the area, better snow and a larger vertical drop owing to the mountains higher elevation.
As a result of these factors, Cypress Mountain played host to both the Freestyle Skiing and Snowboarding events in the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. So if you’re on the lookout for terrain park and moguls action, this is the ski hill for you!
If you’re an experienced skier, we’d recommend picking Cypress amongst the local mountains due to the higher availability of black and double black diamond runs.
Furthermore, it’s also the best place for cross country skiing in Vancouver, so why not give it a try?
Address: 6000 Cypress Bowl Road, North Vancouver BC
Runs: Green/Easy (4), Blue/More Difficult (15), Black/Difficult (18), Double/Expert (12).
Hours: 9:00 am to 10:00 pm.
How to Get to Cypress Mountain
Cypress Mountain is a located just 35 minutes from downtown by car. For directions visit our link to Google Maps.
For those without wheels, it is a little more difficult to reach than Grouse, but not impossible. Cypress can be reached by taking Cypress Coach Lines from the Lonsdale Quay Seabus Terminal or West Vancouver’s Park Royal Mall.
A round trip will cost you $25.00.
Cypress Mountain Lift Tickets
- Adult: $79.00
- Seniors (65+)/Youth (13-18): $56.00
- Children (5-12): $36.00
- Toddlers (>5): $8.00
- Adult: $67.00
- Seniors (65+)/Youth (13-18): $51.00
- Children (5-12): $33.00
- Toddlers (>5): $6.00
*Half day rates apply from 2:00 pm until closing at 10:00 pm.
- Adult: $53.00
- Seniors (65+)/Youth (13-18): $41.00
- Children (5-12): $28.00
- Toddlers (>5): $6.00
*Night skiing rates apply from 4:00 pm until closing at 10:00 pm.
Cypress Mountain Equipment Rentals
Cypress Mountain offers a wide variety of skis, snowboards, boots, poles and clothing targeted at all ages and skill levels.
To see what they have to offer and to check out rates visit the Cypress Mountain equipment rentals page.
Cypress Mountain Tips
- Buy your tickets in advance to avoid lines and get skiing quicker
- If taking Cypress Coach Lines the easiest method is to take the Seabus to Lonsdale Quay and take it from there
- Avoid traveling to Cypress during rush hour as Lion’s Gate Bridge has horrible traffic!
- Check your fuel! It’s a 30 km drive back down to the next pump.
- Winter or all season tires are a must for the drive (this is enforced by police!)
- Watch out for speed traps on Highway #1
- Check weather conditions by calling 604-926-5612
Area: 200 acres | Lifts: 5 | Runs: 23 | Elevation: 4,754 ft | Snowfall: 472 in
This intimate mountain doesn’t offer much to hardcore skiers in spite of the fact that it receives the most snowfall out of all of Vancouver’s local mountains.
Mount Seymour is all about casual blue and green runs, making it the preferred option for families or seniors. The views are also spectacular, though for me the standouts are the amazing snowshoeing and tobogganing opportunities.
Locals usually hit up Seymour for its great weekday night-skiing prices (just $30.00 between 5:00 pm and 10:00 pm) which are the best in the city.
Address: 1700 Mount Seymour Road, North Vancouver BC
Runs: Green/Easy (6), Blue/More Difficult (26), Black/Difficult (8).
Hours: 10:00 am to 10:00 pm (weekends open at 9:00 am)
How to Get to Mount Seymour
The most common way to get to Mount Seymour is by car, as the mountain is located just 40 minutes from downtown Vancouver.
Be aware that reaching Seymour requires travel on a mountain highway, so dangerous weather can occur any time. Winter or M&S tires are highly recommended.
For driving directions from downtown consult Google Maps.
Return rates are $15.00 from Rupert Skytrain or $10.00 from Parkgate.
Mount Seymour Lift Tickets
- Adult: $64.00
- Senior (60+)/Youth (13-18): $47.00
- Children (5-12): $26.00
- Toddlers: free
- Adult: $48.00
- Senior (60+)/Youth (13-18): $39.00
- Children (5-12): $23.00
- Toddlers: free
- Adult: $35.00
- Senior (60+)/Youth (13-18): $30.00
- Children (5-12): $19.00
- Toddlers: free
Mount Seymour Equipment Rentals
Mt. Seymour offers a full service rental shop with everything you need.
You can learn more by visiting Mt. Seymour’s equipment rental page.
Mount Seymour Tips
- Buy tickets in advance to avoid line ups
- Get there as early as possible to avoid crowds
- Winter tires are required for the drive
- Go on weekdays if possible to avoid the crowds
- The restaurant is very limited so bring your own food
- Mt. Seymour has some of the best beginner skiing in Vancouver so take advantage of the teaching facilities
- Don’t be afraid to explore some of the best back country in the area.
Vancouver Ski Resorts
As I said, the Vancouver ski hills above are not really resorts.
If you’re looking for a resort or are in town during the shoulder season, the famous Whistler-Blackcomb resort is located just two hours away.
This former 2010 Olympics venue is often open a few weeks earlier than the local hills, and frequently stays open well into June.
Here it is:
Area: 8171 acres | Lifts: 37 | Runs: 200 | Elevation: 7,992 ft | Snowfall: 402 in
Before we discuss the local hills, we’d be remiss to ignore the proverbial elephant in the room, that being the world-class Whistler-Blackcomb ski resort.
If a luxury ski holiday complete with all of the amenities and a world-class après ski experience is what you’re after, then you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better location.
What more needs to be said about skier’s Disneyland?
The largest ski resort in North America and co-host of the 2010 Olympic Games sells over 2 million paid passes a year.
The resort’s two separate mountains (Whistler and Blackcomb) are connected by the Peak 2 Peak Gondola. This presents visitors with one of the most spectacular mountain vistas on earth.
Even better yet, both peaks are included in your lift ticket, meaning you are essentially getting 2 mountains for the price of one!
Since it receives enough yearly snowfall to bury a three story house it’s no wonder this is powder paradise for ski bums. But the village’s world class amenities and restaurants are even enough to make Whistler a trendy holiday destination for those who don’t plan on strapping in.
Runs: Green/Easy (35), Blue/More Difficult (110), Black/Difficult (35), Double/Expert (20).
Hours: 8:30 am to 3:00 pm (3:30 or 4:00 in late season)
How to Get to Whistler-Blackcomb
The best part? It’s only two hours from the city if you follow our Vancouver to Whistler travel guide.
It contains detailed driving instructions, comparisons between shuttle providers and even links to a float plane!
Whistler-Blackcomb Lift Tickets
- Adults: $87.00
- Seniors (65+): $78.00
- Youth (13-18): $74.00
- Children: $44.00
Whistler-Blackcomb Equipment Rentals
Whistler offers a wide variety of rental options for beginner, intermediate and advanced skiers or snowboarders.
All of the top brands are available, including; Rossignol, Dynastar, Volkl, Atomic, Salomon and Burton.
There’s bound to be something for everybody.
In the heart of Winter rentals can go fast, so if you want to secure the best equipment we’d recommend booking in advance.
Plus if you book early, you can save up to 20% on skis and snowboards! So to us, it’s a no-brainer.
To check out what’s available visit the Whistler-Blackcomb page of our friends at Rentskis.
The Whistler area has some 150 hotels, condos, chalets, pensions, b&bs and hostels which provide capacity for over 30,000 visitors.
While this may sound like a lot, the resort is extremely popular and rooms can fill up fast. When coupled with the high cost of many of the rooms, this makes it extremely important to book well ahead of time to secure a room in your price range.
For a complete overview of some of our favourite properties check out our detailed Whistler Accommodation Guide before you make your booking.
Unlike the local mountains, Whistler is much more than just a ski hill. In addition to a wide variety of world-class restaurants, bars and nightclubs, the area is an outdoor recreational paradise.
There is a myriad of Winter and Summer activities on offer for those looking for a break from the slopes. Here’s a quick list of what you can expect to find:
- Snowmobile tours
- RZR tours
- Whitewater rafting
- Mountain biking
- Canoe tours
- Eco tours
- Bungee Jumping
- Fly fishing/Ice fishing
To view what is being offered while you are in town, and to receive discounted tickets visit Viator’s Whistler Things to Do page.
- Book passes and equipment in advance because lines can be huge!
- The best snow/crowd combo is usually in February
- Start as early as possible in the day to avoid crowds
- Take a map because it’s massive and easy to get lost
- Get official merchandise at the top of the mountain as it is scarce in the village
- The glass-bottom gondola is overrated and has longer lines, get a normal ticket!
- The last free parking area is right across from the Olympic village
- If you don’t use up all your days, ask for a refund at Guest Services
- Check out Pique Magazine for events in the village
- Start your après ski at The Longhorn on day one and meet some locals!
Vancouver Skiing FAQ
When is the ski season in Vancouver?
The ski season in Vancouver’s local mountains tends to run from late November until early April, with slight variances by year.
Whistler-Blackcomb, located 2 hours away has a longer season, often running from early November into early June.
How far are the closest ski hills to Vancouver?
Vancouver is located just 25 minutes from Grouse Mountain, 35 minutes from Cypress Mountain and 40 minutes from Seymour Mountain.
The famed Whistler-Blackcomb resort is located 2 hours North on the Sea to Sky Highway.
Can you get from Downtown Vancouver to Grouse Mountain using transit?
The #236 Grouse Mountain bus terminates at the base of the Grouse Mountain gondola.
Simply take a Seabus from Waterfront Station to Lonsdale Quay in North Vancouver and walk to bay 15 at the Lonsdale Bus Loop.
Pay your fare and stay aboard till the terminus stop.
One More Run, Eh?
Any other questions about Vancouver skiing or your trip to Canada? Don’t be afraid to hit me up on our Facebook page or in the comments below.
I’ll give you custom advice so you can dedicate more time to the slopes.
Let it snow 🙂