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.
This article contains information about the following topics:
(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 November 21, 2020, only Grouse Mountain and Cypress are open (although both with just limited runs and lifts in operation). Grouse reports 77 cm of snow at the chalet level and 85 cm at its peak. Cypress hasn’t started reporting its snow amounts yet, even though it is open for skiing. Mt. Seymour hopes to open on December 1 and it reports 75 cm of snow at its base and 95 cm at its summit.
Last spring, of March 17, 2020, all Lower Mainland ski hills ceased operations due to concerns about the COVID-19 virus outbreak. Whistler announced its closure first, on March 14, followed the day after by Cypress. Grouse announced it was also suspending operations on March 16.
For further details about the respective ski hill closures, click each of the above resorts’ names.
Below were the ski conditions at the various mountains as of March 13, 2020 (so just a few days before their closings).
- Cypress Mountain – the resort had 385 cm of snow remaining at the base. 0 cm of snow had fallen the day before, and it was cloudy in the morning of the above date. 26 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 in the previous two days, and 28 cm over the previous week. The plateau by the lodge had 300 cm of snow still remaining and there was 385 cm at the summit. As of 9 am on March 13, it was cloudy and -4 degrees.
- Mt. Seymour – the mountain reported cloudy skies with unlimited visibility. There was 395 cm of snow at the peak and 302 cm at the base (so up about 5 cm and down about 8 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 was open again. Roads up to the resort were still partially blocked though, with single lane alternating traffic due to the landslide a few weeks before that had 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 March 13, 2020, there was 250 cm of snow at the base of the ski hill and 337 cm at alpine levels. The resort also reported that it was snowing with around -5 degree temperatures.
- Whistler-Blackcomb – the mountain reported 258 cm of snow at the base (so about 4 cm less than a couple of days before). 2 cm of snow had fallen in the previous 24 hours, 2 cm in the past 2 days and 14 cm over the previous 7 days. As of the above time and date, it was cloudy and -13 degrees at alpine levels and cloudy and -2 degrees 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 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 was 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.
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!
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)
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