And how do the five ski hills compare overall? Which ski resort is the most expensive? Which mountain gets the most snow? Which Vancouver ski hill has the most runs, lifts and terrain? And which resorts are locally-owned? Continue reading and you’ll find out.
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(Note: Exact details may vary. Information given is accurate to the best of our ability and understanding as of the latest updates.)
Comparing Lower Mainland Ski Hills and Ski Conditions
The Lower Mainland is home to five major ski hills. Within Metro Vancouver there is Grouse Mountain, Cypress and Mt. Seymour. All three are on Vancouver’s North shore. Less than a 2-hour drive up the Sea to Sky Highway is Whistler-Blackcomb. A couple of hours in the other direction, in the Fraser Valley, there is Sasquatch Mountain.
All five ski hills are great for different reasons. A couple of the resorts are larger, others are more affordable, some have more challenging terrain, most but not all offer night skiing, and some are better for beginners and young families. Most offer extra activities ranging from tubing to sledding, snowshoeing, skating and even movies. Also, depending on where you live, some are closer and more accessible than others. Between the five, there is something for everyone.
2020 Ski Conditions
As of the morning of February 21, 2020, all three North Shore hills and Whistler report sunny skies, with the potential for snow over the weekend.
Below were the ski conditions at the various mountains as of February 21, 2020.
- Cypress Mountain – the resort had 318 cm of snow remaining at the base. 0 cm of snow had fallen the day before, and it was sunny in the morning of the above date. 27 cm of snow had also fallen over the previous 7 days.
- Grouse Mountain – the skill hill had 0 cm of new snowfall in the past 24 hours, 0 cm also in the previous two days, and 25 cm over the past week. The plateau by the lodge had 238 cm of snow still remaining and there was 312 cm at the summit. As of 9 am of February 21, it was sunny and +1 degrees.
- Mt. Seymour – the mountain reported sunny skies with unlimited visibility. There was 350 cm of snow at the peak and 238 cm at the base (so down about 5 cm and 2 cm respectively from just a few days before). 0 cm of snow had fallen in the previous 24 hours. The tobogganing run, tubing park and snowshoeing trails were all open.
- Sasquatch Mountain – the ski hill is now open! Roads up to the resort are partially blocked, with single lane alternating traffic due to a landslide that has washed out the road up to the resort. The incident happened at around 9:30 pm on the last day of January after the region received over 100 mm of rain. As of February 21, 2020, there was 186 cm of snow at the base of the ski hill and 283 cm at alpine levels. The resort also reported that it was sunny with around 0 degree temperatures.
- Whistler-Blackcomb – the mountain reported 238 cm of snow at the base (so about 4 cm less than a couple of days before). 0 cm of snow had fallen in the previous 24 hours, 0 cm in the past 2 days and 5 cm over the previous 7 days. As of the above time and date, it was sunny and -5 degrees at alpine levels and sunny and -3 degrees in the village.
Ski Hill Deals
The Lower Mainland’s various ski hills are offering different kinds of deals both now and in the near future. Below are some examples:
- Cypress – as of December, 2019, Sky Cards are still on sale and with those you can choose a 1, 2 or 3 day ski and snowboard option in the 2019/20 season (with some restrictions). These passes include lift tickets for the number of days selected as well as discounts on other activities and rentals. For the 3-day Sky Card it costs $199 for an adult, $139 for youth and seniors and $90 for children. There’s also a Holiday Gift Pack on sale. It costs $109 (plus tax) and includes a Sky Card, logo mug and a $25 Cypress Bucks card.
- Grouse Mountain – 3-day Plus Passes are now on sale. They include 3 days of skiing and you can add additional days for a reduced rate. Costs for this pass (not including taxes) are $175 for adults, $125 for seniors and youth and $69 for children.
- Mt. Seymour – starting January 20th, 2020 women can ski at night for just $15 during the weekly Monday night Shred for the Cause events.
How Vancouver’s Ski Hills Compare
Below is a snapshot of how the five Lower Mainland ski hills compare in a number of categories.
Ticket Prices at the Gate in 2019
If you bought a one-day adult ski ticket on January 14th, 2019, below is what you would have paid (before discounts like advanced purchases or special memberships).
As you’ll see, Sasquatch is the most affordable, especially if skiing on a weekday early in the week. Of the North Shore mountains, Cypress is the most expensive. Whistler, meanwhile, as would be expected, is by far the most expensive of them all.
- Sasquatch Mountain – $48 (Mondays to Wednesdays) or $64 (Thursdays to Sundays)
- Mt. Seymour – $64
- Grouse Mountain – $69
- Cypress Mountain – $79 at the gate (and the same on the day online)
- Whistler-Blackcomb – $169 online (which is up to 25% less than at the gate)
Numbers of Ski runs and Lifts
Below is a snapshot of the number of runs and lifts at each of the ski hills serving Metro Vancouver.
- Whistler-Blackcomb – 200 runs and 2 dozen chairs and gondolas (with over 1600 metres of vertical drop and close to 8200 acres of terrain)
- Cypress Mountain – 53 runs and 6 chairs (with 600 acres of terrain and 610 metres in vertical drop).
- Grouse Mountain – 33 runs and 4 chairs (with a vertical drop of 365 metres and 212 acres of terrain)
- Mt. Seymour – 40 runs and 3 chairs (with 330 metres of vertical drop and 200 acres of terrain)
- Sasquatch Mountain – 35 runs and 3 chairs (with 335 metres in vertical drop and close to 300 acres of terrain).
Amounts of snow in the 2018/19 Season
As of January 25, 2019, the ski hills have the following current snow bases and snowfalls to date for the season:
- Whistler-Blackcomb – 258 cm base and 719 cm so far for the season. Total snowfall last year was 1229 cm.
- Cypress Mountain – 255 cm base and 429 cm for the season. Total snowfall in the 2017/18 season was 1168 cm (which was above average).
- Grouse Mountain – 165 cm base and 292 cm for the season. Total snowfall of 1072 cm last year was above average.
- Mt. Seymour – 154 cm base and 268 cm for the season. Total snowfall for 2017/18 was 1023 cm (which was about average).
- Sasquatch Mountain – 92 cm base, (224 cm alpine base), and 484 cm for the season. Snowfall last season was 1309 cm.
As you’ll see, of the three North Shore mountains, Cypress has clearly had the best season so far with respect to snowfall. Grouse and Seymour are pretty similar, Sasquatch has been struggling a bit and Whistler is having a good season with respect to snow (although apparently not actually as good as hoped with respect to attendance numbers).
Who Owns the Mountains?
Two out of the Lower Mainland’s five ski hills are locally-owned and managed. The three largest ones, however, are all owned by multinational corporations.
Located in a provincial park, Mount Seymour has been owned and operated by the Wood family since the mid-1980s. Sasquatch Mountain is the Lower Mainland’s other locally-owned ski resort. It’s run by Berezan Hospitality which is a family-owned business based in Langley.
Grouse Mountain used to be a family-owned business until a couple of years ago. Now it’s owned by GM Resorts Limited which is a partnership between a group of Canadian investors and a Chinese investment company.
Cypress Mountain is located in a provincial park but the resort itself is owned by Boyne Resorts which is a major American ski resort company based in Michigan.
Whistler-Blackcomb, meanwhile, is owned by Vail Resorts which is an American company based in Colorado.
Past and Typical Ski Conditions
2017/18 was an exceptional ski season for Vancouver-area ski hills. Over the course of the winter there was lots of snow, less rain than usual and not as many days with above-zero temperatures as some years. 2018/19 hasn’t been as good so far, but that could change (and hopefully for the better).
Ski conditions on the different mountains tend to be fairly similar. Whistler and Sasquatch tend to get slightly drier and better quality snow. Mt. Seymour and Sasquatch Mountain, meanwhile, don’t rely on artificial snow-making equipment like the others do, which can be good or bad depending on the season. In years with especially cold weather and lots of precipitation, it usually means they have nicer (i.e., more natural) snow.
Of the three North Shore mountains, in some years Cypress gets the most snow and in other years it’s Mt. Seymour. Almost every year though Grouse Mountain is the first of the three to open (except for 2018) and last to close.
Of the five ski hills, Whistler-Blackcomb has the longest season, with Blackcomb staying open most years well into May. Late-in-the-season snow conditions are rarely ideal, but the warm temperatures and spring sunshine make up for it!
Whistler-Blackcomb usually gets an extra metre or more of snow each year than Cypress, Grouse or Seymour. In 2017/18, however, Sasquatch got the most for the season at just over 13 metres total!
Total snowfall and season-closing dates for the various ski hills during the 2017/18 season were the following:
- Cypress Mountain: 1168 cm (April 15, 2018)
- Grouse Mountain: 1072 cm (May 6, 2018)
- Mt. Seymour: 1023 cm (April 15, 2018)
- Whistler-Blackcomb: 1229 cm (April 22 for Whistler and May 21 for Blackcomb)
- Sasquatch Mountain: 1309 cm (April 3, 2018).
To learn more about Vancouver’s different ski hills click Lower Mainland Ski Hills.
For information about specific resorts, click any of the above links (of ski hill names in blue).
Other articles that might be of interest include the following:
- Vancouver Winter Activities
- Vancouver’s December, January, February and March calendars
- Lower Mainland Festivals & Events
- Vancouver’s Top 100 Places