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 January 17, 2021, all five of the Lower Mainland ski hills are currently open. Below are the ski conditions at the various mountains as of the morning of that date.
North Shore Mountains
- Grouse Mountain – the skill hill had 7 cm of new snowfall in the past 24 hours and just the same 7 cm over the previous week. The plateau by the lodge had 224 cm of snow still remaining and there was 296 cm at the summit. As of 10 am on January 17, 2021, it was a mix of sun and cloud and +2 degrees. (TIP: If you book a hotel stay through StayVancouverHotels.com you can get a free ski pass for Grouse! Or, buy a one-day ski pass for a weekday in January and save 21%.)
- Mt. Seymour – the mountain reported cloudy skies with sunny breaks and limited visibility. 39 of the mountain’s 41 runs were in operation with most having soft-packed conditions. There was 353 cm of snow at the peak and 222 cm at the base. 6 cm of snow had fallen in the previous 24 hours. The tobogganing run, snowshoeing trails and tubing park have been open (but with the tubing happening only on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays).
- Cypress Mountain – the resort reported that it was cloudy and +2 degree with a base depth of 170 cm and 312 cm remaining at the mid-mountain level. 7 cm of snow had fallen in the past 24 hours and 21 cm in the past week. Total snowfall for the season has been 340 cm. During the Christmas season the resort experienced full parking lots and long waits to access the ski hill. Now that the holiday season is over, that hopefully won’t be a problem for much longer.
Other Lower Mainland Ski Hills
- Sasquatch Mountain – the resort reported around 0 degree temperatures with cloudy skies and a chance of snow in the forecast. 7 cm of snow had fallen in the past 24 hours. No cumulative snowfall data is currently available. There was, however, 289 cm of snow at alpine levels. The ski runs are open, as is the tube park (but only on weekends). However, the tube park appears to be sold out for almost the entire month of January (or at least we couldn’t find many available times the last time we looked).
- Whistler-Blackcomb – the mountain reported 233 cm of snow at the base (which was down 4 cm from just a couple of days before). 0 cm of new snow had fallen in the previous 24 hours and 56 cm in the previous 7 days. 660 cm has fallen so far for the season. As of the above date, it was cloudy and -4 degrees with a chance of snow in the forecast at higher levels. It was also +1 and cloudy in the Village.
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 2020/2021
If you bought a one-day adult ski ticket online for December 30th, 2020, below is what you would have paid (before discounts like advanced purchases or special memberships).
As you’ll see, Mount Seymour was the most affordable with Sasquatch and Grouse close behind. However, most prices are based on demand so these relations may change depending on the day. This is in comparison to last year where Sasquatch was by far the most affordable, especially on weekdays early in the week. As would be expected, Whistler is by far the most expensive of them all.
- Sasquatch Mountain – $79
- Mt. Seymour – $69
- Grouse Mountain – $75
- Cypress Mountain – $96
- Whistler-Blackcomb – $161
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.
Who Owns the Mountains?
As of a year or so ago, 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.
(Note: The above information is subject to change and may be different at the current time.)
Past and Typical Ski Conditions
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 2020). It’s also usually the last to close (although they all ceased operations within a couple of days in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic).
Of the five ski hills, Whistler-Blackcomb has the longest season, with Blackcomb staying open most years well into May (although in 2021 it’s scheduled to close prior to Whistler). 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!
2017/18 Season Stats
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)
2019/20 Season Stats
Total snowfall and season-closing dates for the various ski hills during the 2019/20 season were the following:
- Cypress Mountain: 690 cm (March 15, 2020)
- Grouse Mountain: 692 cm (March 16, 2020)
- Mt. Seymour: 831 cm (March 16, 2020)
- Whistler-Blackcomb: 834 cm (March 14, 2020)
- Sasquatch Mountain: 724 cm (March 16, 2020)
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