Looking for a ski resort that’s the perfect mix of convenient, memorable and magical? Look no further than Big White Ski Resort in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada. Big White is considered Canada’s favourite family resort, and with good reason – it’s ALL about family here. With something always going on in this incredible resort, here’s our guide to making the most of each hour of the day as a family.
8am: WAKE UP IN PARADISE
Get to Big White by flying direct to Vancouver, followed by a 45-minute connecting flight to Kelowna and a 55-minute shuttle up to the mountain. Big White is Canada’s largest ski-in ski-out resort village, making for some great accommodation options for families looking to get comfortable in a snowy home-away-from-home.
Top picks include Sundance Resort, just above the Bullet Express chairlift, which features a heated outdoor pool, waterslide, hot tubs, kids’ room, movie theatre and a gym. Copper Kettle Lodge has luxe units with stone fireplaces, granite benchtops and private hot tubs, while Trappers Crossing has modern multi-level townhouses that offer ski-to/ski-from access from Perfection Run, as well as easy access to the village centre just across the road.
For the ultimate parenting hack, order your groceries online at Vacation Foods before you arrive on the mountain, and have them delivered directly to your condo.
8.45am: HAVE THE INSTRUCTORS PICK THE KIDS UP
Parenting hack number two, coming right up! Big White has an award winning ski school, and instructors will come and pick the kids up from your accommodation for their lesson.
While the children are enjoying the Kids Centre (they may never want to leave), grown-ups can explore the mountain. Sign up for adult lessons, join a complimentary Snow Host tour at 10.30am daily to get the local down-low on the best runs, or hop on a chairlift and see where the runs take you. With 118 trails across the mountain and a green run from the top of every chairlift, it’s easy to explore a whole lot of terrain regardless of ability level. And did we mention Big White gets more than 7m of natural snowfall each season?
When it’s time to have lunch with the family, head to any one of the resort’s 18 on-mountain eateries. A favourite is Globe Cafe & Tapas Bar for Tabletop S’mores. Think graham crackers, a chocolate ganache and homemade giant marshmallows delivered to the table with your own personal tabletop fire pit.
2pm: FUN TIMES IN HAPPY VALLEY
Work off the sugar rush at Happy Valley, which is paradise for kids. Accessible throughout the day and night thanks to the complimentary Lara’s Gondola, it’s a hub of activities including dogsledding, tubing, snowmobiling (there are also kid-sized mini snowmobiles), snowshoeing and ice skating/little hockey games on Canada’s highest outdoor skating rink. There’s even an ice-climbing tower, where all ages can strap crampons to their boots and attempt to ring the bell at the top.
5pm: GO NIGHT-SKIING – OR HORSE SLEIGH RIDING
Five nights a week, the lights come on and the lifts start spinning for night skiing at Big White. With access to 2,569m of terrain, it is Western Canada’s largest night skiing area, with the longest vertical drop in North America. When it’s time to settle in under the starry winter sky, opt for a magical experience with the on-mountain horse sleigh rides at night. Cosy up under a blanket and enjoy hot chocolate while gliding through snow-covered forest trails. You can even take the entire family to a gourmet dinner in a cabin in the middle of the woods for a unique dining experience.
7pm: CARNIVAL NIGHT AND FIREWORKS
Big White hosts a huge range of free activities throughout the week for families – including a family games night, ningo night, [should this be bingo?] free hot chocolate nights and twice-weekly carnival nights, along with fireworks every Saturday evening. It’s the perfect end to a perfect day … until you wake up and do it all over again!