British Columbia may have some of the best skiing and snowboarding in North America, but that’s not all there is to do here in winter. As the weather gets colder, bundle up and try something a little different this holiday season. Here are a couple of snowy day activities that guarantee a great time!
If you’re looking for some winter-time thrills, snowmobiling is the way to go. Head out to Whistler for a fast, adrenaline-filled ride across the pristine backcountry. There are a number of snowmobile tours offered at every level. Beginners might want to opt for ‘The Cruiser’ offered by The Adventure Group Whistler. This popular two hour tour lets you get familiar with snowmobiling and takes you on an exciting journey through old forests and backcountry trails at Cougar Mountain. For more experienced riders, ‘The Night Rider’ tour is a great option. Cruise up to over 6000 ft in moonlight and explore the beauty of Fitzsimmons Creek Valley.
One of the oldest forms of winter travel, dog sledding remains a popular winter sport and is an incredible way to experience some of BC’s breathtaking landscapes. For an exhilarating ride, head out to Sun Peaks Resort, a four hour drive from Vancouver. They offer two dog sledding tours, ‘Born to Run’ and ‘Bark at the Moon’. While both tours are guided, you are given the option to drive the sled if you choose to. ‘Born to Run’ is a 1.5 hour long ride which will have you zipping through the rugged Canadian wilderness while ‘Bark at the Moon’ is an enchanting 45 minute evening ride through the forests of Sun Peaks. You’ll also get a chance to meet the exuberant Alaskan Huskies that make it all happen!
Winter Snow Camping
If camping out in the snow appeals to you, you’re in luck – BC is becoming known as a go-to winter camping destination and places like Garibaldi Provincial Park near Vancouver, Manning Park in Okanagan, and Strathcona Provincial Park in Vancouver Island are all popular choices. For first timers, Canada West Mountain School in Vancouver offers a unique Winter Snow Camping course to help get you started. You’ll get to spend two days in the mountains learning and applying winter camping skills such as survival skills, avalanche safety skills, route finding as well as igloo and snow cave construction.
For an unforgettable winter experience, try out the Skeleton Slide at the Whistler Sliding Centre this December. In this ultimate winter sliding sport, you ride a small sled down a frozen track headfirst, lying face down. The two hour long skeleton tour begins with an orientation, which includes helmet fittings, track etiquette, safety guidelines and a mock run and staff is on hand to assist you on and off the sled. You’ll get to take two runs and expect to reach speeds of 90 – 100 km/hr. Ideal for speed enthusiasts and daredevils!
Snow shoeing is one winter activity even the faint of hearts can enjoy. It’s also extremely easy to pick up – just strap on a pair of snow shoes and start walking! Head out to Mount Seymour in North Vancouver, for a variety of trails at every level – beginner, athlete and nature lover. Named the #1 resort for SnowShoeing in North America in 2012 by Snowshoe Magazine, Mount Seymour has picturesque trails you can explore on your own as well as a number of guided tours. Beginners should take the ‘Discovery Tour’. This two hour long, drop in program runs every Saturday and Sunday at 1 pm and is a good introduction to the basics of snowshoeing. Another fun tour to check out is ‘Chocolate Fondue’. This 2.5 hour long night-time tour culminates in a trip to a snow lounge where you get to enjoy some delicious chocolate fondue. All tours include a snowshoe guide, snowshoe rental, trail pass and hot cider.