To learn how much snow is on each of the mountains, see our article about Vancouver Ski Hills & Snow Conditions. To learn about the different hills in general, and how they compare, continue reading.
WHAT’S OPEN AND WHAT’S HAPPENING
The first day of the ski season at Whistler is November 25th in 2021. First days for other resorts in the Lower Mainland are to be determined.
Grouse Mountain is scheduled to be closed from October 18th until November 5th for maintenance work. During that two-week period access to the resort isn’t possible.
Final day of the ski season at Grouse Mountain was May 2nd. The last day of skiing at both Cypress and Seymour was April 11th. The ski season ended at Sasquatch Mountain on April 5th.
Final dates for Whistler and Blackcomb were supposed to be April 18th and May 24th respectively. Both mountains closed prematurely, however, on March 30th. This was due to new restrictions imposed by the BC government the day before.
See below to learn about each of the region’s ski hills including their end-of-season snow conditions.
Vancouver Ski Resorts in 2021
This article features information about all five of the Lower Mainland’s ski hills, plus a sixth mountain located just a three-hour drive away. Details provided include resort locations as well as descriptions of each venue’s facilities, terrain and typical snow.
Information in this article includes the following topics:
The Lower Mainland Has 5 Ski Hills
There aren’t many major cities in the world where there are great ski hills just thirty minutes away. Vancouver has not one, but three local ski mountains to choose from: Grouse, Cypress, and Seymour.
Right at the edge of the city, rising out from the ocean, are these three winter playgrounds set in the stunning North Shore Mountains.
Further afield (and much larger and even more famous) is Whistler Blackcomb, arguably one of the finest ski resorts on the planet. People come from all around the world to ski Whistler’s slopes.
In the opposite direction, up at the edge of the Fraser Valley, is Sasquatch Mountain Resort (which until 2017 was called Hemlock).
And finally, even further away is Manning Park. Manning is a three-hour drive from Vancouver, so definitely not a Vancouverite’s first choice for skiing, but convenient for people living (or visiting) in the farther reaches of the Fraser Valley (like past Chilliwack).
Manning Park Resort is also a good place to ski for people wanting an overnight trip, or something different from the local hills that’s closer than the Okanagan.
How is Each Ski Hill Different?
The Lower Mainland’s various ski hills are all great in their own special ways. Some are larger and others smaller. Some are also more modern, less modern, either more or less crowded, cheaper, more expensive, better for beginners, better for expert skiers and with differing average quantities and qualities of snow.
See below for details about each location. Or, to learn about the ski conditions, see our article about Vancouver Ski Hills & Snow Conditions.
Snow Conditions Comparison Overview
Below is a snapshot of the various snow reports as of each hill’s final day of the season.
- Grouse: As of May 2nd, the resort’s final day of the ski season, total snowfall for the season was 915 cm. 387 cm remained at the peak and 285 cm at the lodge-level base. No new snow had fallen over the past 7 days.
- Cypress: The resort had 1123 cm of snow on April 11th which was its final day for the 2020/21 season.
- Seymour: Snowfall for the season as of April 11th (it’s final day of the season) was 963 cm with no fresh snow in the previous 24 hours and 403 cm (or close to 13.5 feet) remaining at the base.
- Sasquatch: The resort’s final day of the 2020/21 ski season was April 5th. As of that date, the resort reported no new snow in the previous 48 hours and total snowfall of over 13 metres for the season. There was 467 cm of snow at alpine levels.
- Whistler: The first day of the 2021/22 season is scheduled for November 25th. The resort’s final day of the 2020/21 season was March 29th. On its final day of operations the ski hill reported a base depth of 293 cm. 15 cm of new snow had fallen in the previous 48 hours and 33 cm over the previous seven days.
Cypress Bowl Ski Resort
Cypress Mountain has the most lifts, most terrain and most vertical drop of the three closest ski hills to Vancouver, plus tickets start at only about $50 per adult if you have a Gold Medal Card. The resort has 53 runs, 6 chairs, 600 acres (240 hectares) of terrain and 610 metres in vertical drop.
Cypress isn’t a huge ski hill, but it’s still pretty big and the largest and most advanced of Vancouver’s three most central hills. In addition to downhill skiing, the resort also has great cross-country (Nordic) skiing and a tubing park.
Over the past 6 years Cypress has averaged about 35 feet of snow per year, with amounts ranging from just over 27 feet at mid-mountain in 2006/07 up to over 45 feet in 2010/11.
Click Cypress Mountain for more information on this ski hill.
Grouse Mountain Ski Resort
Grouse Mountain is the most accessible of Vancouver’s three local hills (so you don’t normally require winter tires and you can take public transit). Grouse also offers the best deal for season’s tickets (the famous Y2Play Pass) if you buy in the spring before, and the best year-round activities.
The ski hill at Grouse Mountain has 212 acres of skiable terrain, 33 daytime ski and snowboard runs, 15 night skiing runs, 5 terrain parks, 4 chairs, a vertical drop of 365 metres and 9 kilometres of snowshoeing trails. The resort also gets an average of 9.7 metres (or just under 32 feet) of snow per year.
The resort has been operating since 1926, has large-scale snow-making capabilities and it’s particularly popular with families, youth and international visitors.
What makes Grouse different from all the other ski hills is the fact that you have to take a tram up to its base. The parking lot is at the bottom of the mountain and instead of driving to the top you take a ride on the Skyride tram for about 8 or so minutes. The scenery from the Skyride is stunning and the trip means you rarely need winter tires to access the slopes, which makes Grouse the region’s most accessible mountain.
Note: In October of 2021 Grouse Mountain announced that skiers must provide proof of being doubly vaccinated in order to access the resort during the 2021/22 ski season. It was the first of the Lower Mainland’s resorts to announce such a policy.
Click Grouse Mountain for more information.
Mt. Seymour Ski Resort
Seymour has 40 runs, 3 chairs, 200 acres of terrain and 330 m in vertical drop. It’s the only one of the three local mountains that doesn’t have its own artificial snow-making capabilities, which means it struggles in warm dry winters, but is great most years.
Mt. Seymour features free snowshoeing trails (in the provincial park section) and a great (but not free) tubing park. The resort has 4 tubing lanes and 8 sledding runs.
Other features of Mt. Seymour include its four terrain parks, all of which have lighting at night, and lots of free parking. The resort has 5 lifts including a high speed quad and 2 double chairs, and 40% of its runs are marked as Green for novices, 40% Blue for intermediate skiers, and 20% Black for advanced and expert skiers.
The longest run at Mt. Seymour is 1.6 km, the summit elevation is 1265 metres (or close to 4200 feet), and the average annual snowfall is close to 10 metres (or over 33 feet).
Whistler-Blackcomb Ski Resort
Whistler-Blackcomb is the world-class ski resort that co-hosted the Olympic Games with Vancouver in 2010. It’s about a 2-hour drive from Vancouver (plus or minus depending on where you are coming from and the traffic), so more of a trek than other skill hills, but worth the drive as it is in a class of its own.
The resort is actually made up of two ski hills, although the same ski ticket gives you access to both. Whistler is slightly larger, with over 4750 acres of skiable terrain compared to slightly more than 3,400 on Blackcomb, although Blackcomb beats Whistler by about 250 metres in elevation. Whistler and Blackcomb have similar vertical drops and comparable base elevations.
Between the two mountains the resort has over 200 runs, 8171 acres of terrain, 24 chairs and gondolas, and 1609 metres in vertical drop. It’s also a full little mega-resort village with hundreds of restaurants, types of accommodation and shops.
In a typical year Whistler gets around 11.4 metres of snow or 37.5 feet. 44% of that usually falls in November and March which are typically the resort’s two snowiest months.
Sasquatch Mountain Ski Resort
Known as Hemlock Valley Resort until 2016, Sasquatch Mountain is a ski hill located in the Fraser Valley not far from Harrison Hot Springs. It’s not the region’s most modern ski hill, but not the smallest either, and if expansion plans proceed it could one day be one of if not the biggest!
Sasquatch Mountain Resort is a ski hill with wide open terrain, 3 chair lifts and about three dozen runs of which some 45% are classified as Black Diamond. Complementing its skiing and snowboarding facilities, the resort has 13 km of snowshoeing trails and a brand new 8-lane tubing park. The Fraser Valley’s only ski hill, it’s also one of the most affordable snow-sport resorts in the Lower Mainland.
In total, Sasquatch Mountain has 335 metres in vertical drop, which is similar to other ski hills, and around 200 acres of skiable terrain.
Click Sasquatch Mountain Resort to learn more.
Manning Park Ski Resort
Manning Park is a smaller ski resort that isn’t actually in the Lower Mainland, although it does serve eastern parts of the region. The ski hill is a 3-hour drive from Vancouver, when traffic is good from the city through the Fraser Valley.
The resort has over 30 km (18 miles) of groomed cross-country ski trails, a great little alpine hill with a couple of chairs, and a tubing park. Because it’s further into the interior and away from the ocean, the temperatures are colder at Manning Park than at ski hills closer to Vancouver and the coast, which means the snow is usually better.
To learn more see the Manning Park website.
Other articles that might be of interest include the following:
- Vancouver Winter Activities
- Lower Mainland Outdoor Recreation
- Vancouver Ski Swaps
- Vancouver’s December, January and February Calendars
- Cypress Ski Hill
- Snowshoeing at Cypress
- Grouse Mountain in Winter
- Manning Park Ski Hill
- Sasquatch Mountain Ski Resort
- Mt. Seymour Ski Resort