I have a confession to make: Part of me doesn’t want to write this story.
Have you ever been to a secret travel spot so good, so special, that you didn’t want to share it with anyone? My family stumbled upon such a place. In my mind, it’s the ultimate family ski destination.
But to keep it to myself would be selfish. So, here goes…
If you’re looking for a welcoming, quaint ski resort, nestled in the shoulder of a large mountain, with abundant champagne powder in a true ski in-ski out village, consider SilverStar Resort in Canada. You’ll find a lovely, family-friendly environment, affordable lift tickets and lessons for you and your kids.
I know what you’re thinking. Canada? Isn’t that like…really far away? And expensive?
Not as much as you think. Sure, you’ll have to pay for airfare. It’s about a three-hour Alaska Airlines flight up to Seattle, and a short connecting flight to Kelowna, B.C. Then it’s about an hour drive to the resort.
Lodging varies, but we’ve found it to be reasonable. We usually rent a three-bedroom condo with a balcony and a private hot tub at the SnowBird Lodge. It’s right by the Gondola; my eight-year-old snaps into her rentals, throws on her jacket and skis herself to ski school.
Part of British Columbia’s Monashee Mountain range, SilverStar is a mountain resort unlike any other. You’ll love the access to amazing terrain with 132 runs and four mountain faces. The mountain is great for beginners in skiing and snowboarding, boasting beautiful, wide open trails and short jaunts through the trees. But there are lots of challenging runs for more advanced adventurers—especially down the back mountain. With yearly snowfall totals up to 23 feet, there’s always lots of powder. One thing you won’t find? Lines at the lifts or crowds on the mountain.
If Cross Country is more your speed, you’re in luck. This is Canada’s largest daily groomed cross country network with over 65 miles of Nordic trails through the enchanting forests. When you need to a break, cozy up in one of five warming huts.
The colorful mid-mountain village looks like it was taken from the pages of a storybook. It’s cozy and charming, with cute little shops and lots of delicious places to eat and drink. Our favorites include the fireside Den Bar & Bistro (check out rib night on Tuesdays and live music.) We also love the Red Antler, with farm-to-table Canadian cuisine and a huge selection of beers on tap. 1609 Restaurant has lovely second-story views, tasty food, local wine and craft beers. For a local favorite, try the fish and chips at Long John’s Pub. Bugaboos is a favorite for breakfast.
If your little ones need a break from ski lessons (kids group lessons are offered on the daily, with a morning class from 9:30-11:30 and afternoons 12:30-3:30) there’s lots more to keep them occupied. (In case you were wondering, there’s also a daycare on the mountain.) SilverStar offers a fun tubing experience at Tube Town, where you can slide, spin and swerve down multiple lanes (a must-do for all kids and kids at heart.)
Don’t forget to lace up your skates and glide across Brewer’s Pond, the natural skating rink, or try something new like snowshoeing or fat biking. They even offer kid’s mini snowmobiles. You’ll also find Pinheads, the world’s only ski in/ski out bowling alley.
If you’re looking for something more tranquil, enjoy an magical dinner tour. You’ll take a snowcat to dine at Paradise Camp, or venture deep into the forest on a horse-drawn sleigh ride for dinner at the Wild Horseman’s Cabin. If rest and relaxation is your desire, take pampering to the next level at Elevate Spa, a full-service Aveda day spa.
When it really comes down to it, SilverStar is a mountain of family escapes. Although it takes a little more effort to get there, it’s truly the gold standard in destinations for families seeking a winter getaway. Whether you ski the family favorite “Peanut Trail” with your kids, embark on an adventurous sleigh ride, or simply savor a hot chocolate and swirling snowflakes by the fire, SilverStar will always burn bright as a treasured family memory.