The 5 Best Ski Resorts near Kelowna UPDATED 2018/19

Kelowna is a gem of a city in Canada for skiers and boarders alike – out of the way from the hustle and bustle of Vancouver and easy access to a number of amazing ski resorts in British Columbia. During the winter months, it's no surprise that visitors and locals flock to the snowfields! Having lived here most of my life, I've skied them all and put together a list of top resorts near Kelowna based on travel time from the city. 

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5. Sun Peaks Resort (2.5 hrs) Go to resort

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View of the Village and Sundance Mountain from Home Run

The Good

  • Second largest amount of skiable terrain in Canada
  • Toddlers 5 and under ski for free
  • Good university student discounts
  • Lots of unique aprés-ski activities

The Bad

  • Over 2 hours away from Kelowna
  • Generally less snowfall than Big White and Silver Star

Sun Peaks prides itself on being Canada’s second largest ski resort with 4,270 ac of skiable terrain. Even though it’s over two hours and a half hours away from Kelowna (so it's more of a "Kamloops" resort), it is definitely worth a mention. The word we would use to describe Sun Peaks would be ‘dependable’. This is the place to go if you want to just ski and relax. There are no crowds, a good variety of terrain, a solid amount of snow and a fun town. On the flip side, it’s not the biggest, it doesn’t have the most snow and the village isn’t going to ‘wow’ you. It has a good balance of everything you’d want in a ski resort and won’t disappoint (but perhaps won’t impress either)!

If there is one thing you must try while you’re down there, it is Canadian winter fishing. Elevated Fishing Adventures takes visitors on a guided tour around the mountain lakes surrounding Sun Peaks and sets you up at a fishing spot to do battle with wild Rainbow Trouts under the ice pack.

There’s also dog sledding if you’re not into fish!

To get the best deals on season’s passes purchasers need to buy before June 30. These prices earn visitors savings of up to over $400 CAD (£226 GBP). To catch the Fall Buy prices, guests must purchase season’s passes before October 9 to receive savings of up to over $300 CAD (£170 GBP).

Learn more about Sun Peaks 

4. Revelstoke Mountain Resort (2.5 hrs) Go to resort

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Cruising down Sunshine Trail

The Good:

  • Most vertical drop in North America (5,620 ft)
  • Highest amount of annual snowfall in the area (368 in)
  • Lift, Cat, Helicopter and Backcountry skiing offered
  • Toddlers 5 and under ski for free
  • Good university student discounts
  • Good kids programme and center

The Bad:

  • Mainly intermediate and advanced runs
  • Over 2 hours away from Kelowna

There is a lot going for Revelstoke – the most vertical drop in North America, the record holder of the biggest dump of snow in a single winter in Canada and the amazing terrain. No wonder it’s played host to the Freeride World Tour and serves as the venue for qualifying events! But what really sets Revelstoke apart is all the cat, heli and backcountry skiing that’s accessible straight from the resort village! We’ve tried it first hand and it was an absolute blast!

Cat skiing in the Monashees

Après-ski activities are plentiful with snowshoeing, tubing, dogsledding all available on tap. If you want to get a bird’s eye view of the resort you’ve just carved up, then it’s time to go paragliding! You can get the best view of the mountain range and Columbia river by flying through with trained professionals. The restaurants at Revelstoke are nothing short of amazing either. Hungry skiers can enjoy wok type snacks and appetisers at Rockford Wok, fresh pizzas from Mackenzie Common Tavern and even homemade gelato from La Baguette.

Mackenzie Common – ‘The Mac’

Guests wishing to save some money can purchase season’s passes before October 1 to save up to $200 CAD (£113 GBP). Families, students and seniors can also save some extra cash at Revelstoke Mountain. Seniors purchasing season’s passes before October 1 can save over $600 CAD (£339 GBP).

Learn more about Revelstoke 

3. Apex Mountain Ski Resort (1.5 hrs) Go to resort

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On Quickdraw to the top!

The Good

  • Cheapest Season’s Pass Rate
  • Cheapest Day Pass Rate
  • Children 7 and under ski for free
  • No crowds!

The Bad

  • Mainly Advanced Terrain
  • About 100cm less snow than Big White and Silver Star
  • Much smaller than Silver Star and Big White

Apex is the perfect mountain for skiers who want a challenge not to mention the cheapest! It’s a smaller resort with 1,112 ac of skiable terrain supported by two chairlifts and a T-Bar but the mountain is set out well and to navigate. The resort is frequented by advanced local skiers who want the hit the mountain and hit it hard – doing laps of Quickdraw chairlift which takes you to the peak. There are a fair number of beginner runs from mid-mountain to the base but are outnumbered by the black diamond trails through trees and chutes!

That said, there are plenty of amenities for families, with day care services, a tube park and ice skating rink. Apex village, while much smaller than the village at Big White and Silver Star, is well stocked with restaurants, shops, bars and activities. The most noteworthy aprés-ski spot is the Gunbarrel Saloon Restaurant. This bar offers good food, drinks and a variety of fun aprés-ski events. Don’t miss the annual Brewski held in February which brings together live entertainment, appetisers and tastings provided by local breweries and distilleries. They also hold the Vertical and Vintages Wine Festival in early March.

Season’s passes are quite a bit cheaper at Apex than at Big White and Silver Star. Purchases must be made before October 1 to get the best deals. Buying before this date will rack up savings of over $200 CAD (£113 GBP). More savings are available to families purchasing together. University students can enjoy 50% off the season’s pass rate paying only $499 CAD (£282 GBP) for the whole season. Best student deal on offer for resorts in the area!

Learn more about Apex

2. Silver Star Mountain Resort (1.25 hrs) Go to resort

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Traversing through Silver Star

The Good:

  • Putnam Creek Lift (Huge Vertical and great snow!)
  • Toddlers 5 and under ski for free
  • Largest groomed cross-country area in Canada

The Bad:

  • Slightly less annual snowfall than Big White

Silver Star is home to Canada’s largest area of cross country terrain and the third largest ski area in British Columbia behind Whistler Blackcomb and Sun Peaks. We’re talking 60 mi of cross country terrain which stretches to the nearby Sovereign Lake Nordic Centre in bright blue-bird skies. If you’re up for the journey, make sure you buy the Dual Mountain Pass and off you go! The majority of terrain is perfect for intermediate skiers and advanced skiers though there aren’t too many runs for beginners.

After you got your fill of the snow, it’s time to soak in the fun après ski activities. The resort has a gorgeous ski-in ski-out village packed with shops and restaurants and supports a number of activities and events! Check out Fat Biking where you can ride bikes designed for snow down the slopes and the Winter Carnival Ice Sculpture Competition every February as part of the Vernon Winter Carnival.

The trade-off is that Silver Star tends to be a bit warmer and generally receives slightly less snowfall than Big White but if Nordic skiing is your thing, Silver Star is a must go.

Purchase a season's pass before October 15 to get the best savings. Guests who purchase before this date will save over $400 CAD (£226 GBP). Family discounts are also available. If this deadline is missed visitors can also enjoy the Last Chance Rate before October 31 to save over $300 CAD (£170 GBP).

Learn more about Silver Star

1. Big White Ski Resort (1 hr) Go to resort

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Even the trees are white!

The Good

  • Largest Night Skiing area in Western Canada
  • Closest Ski Resort to Kelowna
  • Toddlers 5 and under ski for free
  • $10 USD (£7 GBP) Friday Night Skiing
  • Good university student discounts

The Bad

  • Often low visibility
  • Often crowded

Everything about Big White is big. It is a big resort boasting 2,765 ac of patrolled mountain terrain with big air, reaching summit elevation of 7,608 ft and a big ski-in ski-out village. Averaging a respectable 300 in of annual snowfall, locals know it as one of the best spots for powder skiing with a variety of terrain for skiers of all levels.

Snow ghosts!

This is a very family friendly resort with an excellent ski school and daycare programs. You can even buy a Pet Pass and bring your dog all over the mountain with you! Cross country skiers can enjoy over 15 mi of Nordic terrain as well. For visitors who just can’t get enough powder and just want to go hard into the evening, Big White offers night skiing for $25 CAD (£14 GBP). On Friday nights this price drops to just $10 CAD (£6 GBP)! At 38 ac, it is the ‘biggest’ night skiing area in all of Western Canada!

In the process of escaping the kids…

We haven’t even mentioned the endless number of fun on mountain activities such as tubing, skating, snow shoeing and sleigh rides. The two things that you should definitely check out is dog sledding and Big White’s giant ice wall climb.

Big White also offers a wide variety of aprés-ski activities as well. For a warm cup of joe, stop by The Bean Scene which serves locally roasted coffee. You can also drink, dine, and party at Snowshoe Sam’s which has won a wide variety of awards for being the place to be after dark.

A very fun ski town

While Big White lives up to its name-sake of being ‘big’ it also lives up to being really white. Visibility is often minimal and on those days, the locals refer to the mountain as the ‘Big White Out’. It is also sometimes prone to ‘big’ crowds but that’s a small price to pay for everything the resort has to offer!

If buying a season’s pass, be sure to grab it before October 15 to get the Early Bird Rate and save up to over $600 CAD (£339 GBP). Guests can also acquire Pre Season Rates before November 23 to save up to over $500 CAD (£283 GBP).

Learn more about Big White 

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