Hasn’t the weather been crazy this winter? We’ve had weeks of snow here in Seattle, which is very unusual. In fact, the kids have 5 snow days to make up this summer (and this doesn’t include the late starts and early releases due to weather!). So, you can imagine that when our mid-winter break arrived amid the many unexpected snow days, we were less thrilled about the prospect of spending vacation playing in more snow!
As you may expect from these photos, Big White sure did prove us wrong! And I can’t say enough wonderful things about the six days we spent in this winter wonderland.
Located in the Canadian Okanagen, Big White is a mere 6-8 hour drive from Seattle (depending on road conditions and border crossing lines). Unlike the Cascade Mountains, which have more wet conditions, Big White is located in the Canadian Rockies and is renowned for dry, powder-like snow…and lots of it!
The Village Centre Mall hosts a coffee shop, ski rentals, ticket kiosks, and is central to the village.
Adult lunch break at The Woods (kids are probably welcome too)
Fireworks every Saturday night at the Happy Valley Lodge throughout the season.Hot cocoa break at the Village Centre Mall
Hot tubing in our condo after a day on the slopes…well deserved!
Having visited Big White last year, we planned an extended stay this time. Caravaning north with Kirsty‘s family, we arrived at our condo in the heart of the village. The true “ski in, ski out” nature of the village is one of the things I enjoy the most, especially traveling with kids. From our condo, we ski down to multiple lifts that can take us to the top of the mountain. Most afternoons, we skied to our condo for lunch. And nothing makes potty breaks more easy than skiing to your front door (mind you, you still have to remove all of those layers…and your skis).
The village at Big White is also low-key and not a “scene”…although I’m sure there’s much of it I haven’t experienced after bed time! If you’re looking for fancy 5-star restaurants, boutique shopping, luxury spas, and celebrity sightings, then Big White may not be for you. However, both the Village Center Mall, which is located central in the village, and the Happy Valley lodge, a quick and fun gondola ride down to the base of the mountain, host numerous family activities throughout the week. For example, when we arrived Tuesday evening, it was bingo night at Happy Valley. And on our last night there, a kids’ carnival, complete with popcorn and games is hosted every Saturday evening…with a fireworks grand finale at 8:15 pm. A truly spectacular send off to close out our trip to Big White!
The Kids’ Centre houses the ski school and is located in the center of the village.
Romie loved her instructor. Caroline is from Denmark.
While the kids are at ski school, adults get to adventure!
The ski school at Big White is another winner and a really important consideration when we began planning our family ski trip. While my kids have been on skis for several years, lessons each season advance their skills and, most importantly, give them confidence on the mountain.
The instructors are enthusiastic, patient (oh, so patient!) and competent, providing a thorough assessment at the end of each day. The instructors makes the mountain fun; after lessons, my kids were eager to take me on “Bumpy Alley” and through the Dragon’s Mouth (note: not as fun on a snowboard). My son, being the most advanced skier, was taken all over the mountain and couldn’t wait to share his adventures with us at the end of each day. Also, we could fact-check his endless bragging because the kids wear a device that allows you to see their progress and map their days (Jack’s stories did check out). Two full days of ski school allowed us to traverse the entire mountain as a family. Often times with Jack leading the way.
Above the Powder Chair, which can take you the Gem Lake Warming Lodge (1 of 4 lodges)
Our personal mountain guide.
What’s with the snow, you may ask? Not being a die-hard skier myself and having spent much of my mountain experience in the Pacific Northwest, I didn’t truly understand what a difference snow can make for your skiing experience until visiting Big White. Big White snow is FUN. Powder-like snow doesn’t make that scratchy noise on your board when your going down the mountain (you know, the one that makes you clench your teeth in fear of falling and skidding down a sheet of ice). Powder doesn’t hurt (as much) to fall in. Most importantly, powder makes you feel like you’re floating down the mountain, eager to return up the chair lift for another run!
Last year we were spoiled in Big White with fresh snow fall every night and beautiful, blue skies to ski under during the day. However, the temperatures hovered around zero degrees Fahrenheit. This year it was much warmer…and we had fresh snow while skiing. Inches upon inches of it! Again, this is dry snow so we weren’t wet. However, we didn’t get to enjoy as many spectacular views of the Okanagan valley below from the chair lift.
The entire family had so much fun in the snow our entire trip! The skiing is spectacular and the numerous other events hosted in Big White are a blast as well. We enjoyed tubbing, which was a fan favorite after last year’s excursion. Ice skating, ice climbing, snow mobiling, and sleigh rides are also offered at the Happy Valley Lodge. Big White also hosts a nordic center for cross-country and snow shoeing enthusiasts.
The kids’ feedback: “BEST VACATION of the year.” My work here is done. And the adults agree too.
If you are considering a trip to Big White, please email, message or dm me on social media with questions. The central booking agents helped us find a gem of a condo this year (we were a bit late to book in October, so schedule early!). Also, be sure to check-in on Instagram as I’ve saved a ‘Big White’ stories tab complete with lots of fun video footage from our trip!
Thank you for reading. And, thank you for patiently waiting for posts (it’s been awhile). Happy Friday! ~Jenn
A huge ‘Thank You’ to Big White ski resort for partnering with me on this post. Their hospitality and generosity continues to impress me and our family is so grateful. As always, all opinions expressed on this blog are my own.