Big White is a purpose built ski resort in British Columbia and has more accommodation than any other resort in the state except Whistler. The whole village is ski in/ski out and there are some 2,765 acres of skiable terrain. The summit of Big White Mountain is at 7,608’ with a vertical drop of 2,549’ and the area receives around 300 inches of snowfall annually. The resort is less than an hour’s drive from Kelowna airport.
Despite its’ size, Big White is relatively quiet on the slopes except at weekends. There are 118 “designated” trails and a further 27 unnamed trails. 18% of the trails are green, while 56% are intermediate or blue, and the remaining 26% of trails are black. There is a variety of different lifts including an eight passenger high speed gondola, and one children’s and one adult’s magic carpet, which between them are capable of taking 28,000 people per hour uphill. There is also now a tubing carpet lift which opened this season.
Near the top of the mountain there are trees everywhere and they usually stay white all winter. Locally, they are known as “snow ghosts”. They can be fun to ski through on clear days, but are almost invisible in a white-out. In fact, one problem can be that overall visibility may be poor at the top on some days because of snow, fog, or clouds.
What Is The Accommodation Like?
The resort is rather spread out but has a family-friendly centre which is free of traffic. Condos and apartments are built attractively, mostly of stone and wood. The village centre has a choice of 18 restaurants, delis and cafés, and there is also a liquor store and a small grocery store.
Chateau Big White is a full service 3-star hotel which is near the ski school and only a minute’s walk to the lift. It has its’ own restaurant and lounge, and features an outdoor hot tub. There is heated underground car parking and a European day spa. The One Bedroom hotel room sleeps up to four and features a kitchenette, gas fireplace and TV.
What is described as a Superior Kitchenette/Loft is similar but has two single beds in the loft and a double sleeper sofa in the lounge. There is also One Bedroom Plus which sleeps up to 10 and has a full sized kitchen and two bathrooms.
Chateau Big White has some great deals on for the 2017 spring season, such as pay for 6 nights and get 1 free, pay for 8 nights and get 2 free, and pay for 11 nights and get 3 free.
Trappers Crossing is 4-star premium condos that are a minute from the lift and are just opposite the village centre and Hummingbird green run. There is heated car parking, ski lockers, and a café and a tapas bar on site. One Bedroom sleeps up to four and has a fully equipped kitchen, TV, gas fireplace, washer/dryer, and a private balcony with hot tub. Two Bedroom sleeps 6 and Three Bedroom sleeps 8 and both are similarly equipped but have 2 bathrooms. You can also get deals here for spring 2017.
Stonebridge Lodge is a collection of three separate buildings housing 75 executive suites and is located in the village centre next to the Bullet Express chairlift. Accommodation is similar to Trappers Crossing and features One Bedroom which sleeps 4, Two Bedroom sleeping 4-5, and Two Bedroom with Den sleeping 6. All include a fully equipped kitchen, LCD TV, gas fireplace, and balcony with private hot tub, while the two larger suites both have 2 bathrooms. There is underground heated car parking, and an on-site restaurant.
Just a short distance from the village centre is Southpoint 24. Here is what one reviewer said about it: “All of the rooms are decorated and appointed perfectly to help you relax. TV’s, Stereo, Video Games, DVD’s, CD’s, Appliances, Steam Shower, Washer and Dryer, you name it, it’s there!”
“The BBQ sizzled up beautiful steaks, the hot tub relaxed and warmed us after a full day on the mountain, and the music and movie selections went perfect with our apres ski beverage(s).”
What’s The Apres Ski Scene Like?
At Snowshoe Sam’s there is a DJ and live entertainment on the ground floor. The same applies to Blarney Stone Irish Tavern which is in The Inn At Big White, The Globe, and Sessions Taphouse.
At Snowshoe Sam’s there are rave reviews of the “melt in the mouth steaks” in the upstairs restaurant, and the Kettle Valley Steakhouse at Happy Valley also has good reviews. The 6 Degrees Bistro is tapas-style and has a “brilliant seven course taster menu” according to one reviewer, but it is far from cheap. In the main square in the village is The Woods which has a patio with a firepit.
All of the best restaurants include a selection of the finest local Okanagan wines since this is a great wine-producing area. Indeed, there are over 130 vineyards in the valley. You can book some interesting wine tours visiting the local vineyards for wine tasting.
What About Other Non-Ski Activities?
There is a very large tubing park – the Mega Snow Coaster – and you can go ice skating on an Olympic size outdoor ice rink. You can go dog sledding, sleigh riding, or take a snowmobile tour. You can also go snowshoeing through the 25 km or so of Nordic trails. In addition, there is a 60’ high ice climbing wall for those who are feeling brave enough. There is also a Sno-Limo which is a cross between a dog sled and a chair on skis so that anyone who doesn’t ski can still join in the fun on the mountain.
In addition, there are a variety of free mountain tours, and there is also a free shuttle into Kelowna so that you can go shopping for groceries and other mementos of a great holiday if you have not hired a car. In fact, it is almost not worth the expense of hiring a car in Big White because most of the time you will be on the mountain and everything else that you will need is close to hand.
In short, Big White is a great idea for your spring 2017 holiday.