Kelowna's Local Ski Hills

local Kelowna ski resorts

No blog about the Okanagan winter lifestyle would be complete if it didn’t give the local Kelowna Ski hills their due.

The top two mountains within a short drive from Shelter Bay are Big White Ski Resort and SilverStar Mountain Resort. While both are a relatively short drive, Big White is known by most Kelowna residents as their “local mountain”, so that’s where we’ll start.

Big White is listed as being Canada’s largest totally ski-in and ski-out villages. This alone is enough to make the ski-resort world class…but add in their spectacular backdrops and endless kilometers of groomed and powder runs, and the mountain reported 750cm of dry powder snow every year and Big White boasts international attraction.

Voted the number two ski resort in all of Canada by readers of Conde Nast’s Traveler Magazine, Big White is only one in a handful of Canadian family owned and operated resorts in Canada. (See the full list here in the CN traveler top ski resorts in Canada). That’s quite an accomplishment given Conde Nast’s print readership of over 5-million and 16-million unique digital users, who in the past also recognized Big White as having the best snow in all of North America!

While Big White may be considered the “local’s mountain”, SilverStar is right up there for top spot with its 3,200 plus acres of skiable terrain spread over four mountain faces and 132 runs! Started in 1958, SilverStar is one of Canadas oldest ski resorts with a rich history that has seen the hill evolve into a world class resort without losing its hometown appeal.

The biggest little difference at SilverStar is their small-town feel. If you’re after the perfect family ski trip or just need to get away from the hustle and bustle, SilverStar offers room to breathe and uncrowded lift-lines, but the biggest attraction is still their downhome attitude where they believe everyone, no matter where you’re from, should be made to feel “like a local.”

So whether you are after that hometown-local familiarity or the international resort experience, you have options, and they are just a short drive from Shelter Bay, the perfect place for your home base Okanagan winter lifestyle.

There’s no Shoeing Like Snowshoeing in Kelowna...

snowshoeing in the Kelowna region

It’s been said that Kelowna is the perfect place to spend your summer, but while summer living beside the lake may be a preference of many, Kelowna’s dry winter conditions make it a close second choice.

While the seasonal debate continues, we think that Kelowna’s mild winter months are perfect for those who enjoy getting out into the surrounding snowy mountain wonderlands.

If skiing or boarding are among your favourites, the local Kelowna mountains offer a wide range of challenging runs. From beginner to advanced, Kelowna’s ski hills are world famous, but one of the area’s best kept secrets is the growing number of people experiencing the peaceful and energetic exercise, snowshoeing, as it is quickly growing into a favourite pastime.

Much like their counterparts the cross-country skiers, snowshoers have discovered this is the perfect way to connect the great outdoors with keeping fit over the winter months.

Whether its cross-country, snowshoeing or speeding down the slopes that has you enjoying the fresh air this winter, Shelter Bay is perfectly situated within a short drive to the best Kelowna has to offer. And for those interested in snowshoeing, Shelter Bay is close to some great options.

1. The Telemark Nordic Club

Snowshoe Trails https://telemarknordic.com

Just a 24-minute drive from Shelter Bay is one of Kelowna’s premier snowshoe and cross- country ski areas.

The Telemark Nordic Club offers nearly 50 KM of snowshoe trails! They have seasonal passes, day passes and equipment rentals for you to come and experience their five main area trails designed for all abilities. Trails are 2, 4, 8, 10 & 15 km long so you can pick your time, trek or challenge…and what we love best is Telemark’s exclusive 7km of snowshoe trails that are K9 dog friendly… now you can bring out your best friend (and some other humans as well). Their newest trail “Ridgeview” features spectacular views of the lake and West Kelowna, so it’s worth doing on a clear day but they’re open for night snowshoeing…just bring along your headlamp!

Click the link to download their trail map here: All Ski Trails except K9 (Printable PDF) but you can also stop at the lodge and grab a printout.

If you’re interested in learning more about snowshoeing, here’s an article worth reading by JP Squire on preparation and where to find great tours and trails in the Okanagan Valley Snowshoeing 101.

Click the link to connect right to Telemark Nordic’s “Maps” and download their free digital maps (cross-country and snowshoeing)

2. Big White Snowshoeing

There are a lot of great snowshoeing spots throughout Kelowna but another one of our favorites is Big White Ski Resort. Home to light fluffy snow and a worldwide family favorite, the mountain is only an hour drive from Shelter Bay.

With more than 2,700 acres, Big White offers incredible winter activities, a picturesque ski-in ski-out village that has everything you need within a short walk. And, if snowshoeing is your thing, they have over 25 KM of Nordic trails to explore plus day passes and snowshoe rentals available. Check out their Nordic Map link to see Big White’s snowshoe wilderness trails, you’ll be glad you did!

3. Myra Canyon

If you’re looking for more of a wild-on-your-own-getaway-from-it-all sort of snowshoe experience, then check out the Myra Canyon trestles on the Kettle Valley Railway. It is a fairly easy example of a beautiful, unmaintained and quiet, untouched snowshoe trail. If you want to do more research on this amazing trek, check out https://bcparks.ca/explore/parkpgs/myra/ on BC Parks website and https://www.tourismkelowna.com/listing/myra-bellevue-provincial-park/1601/ on Tourism Kelowna’s website.

While the historic trail may get busy in the summer months, you can often have it all to yourself in the winter. One note is that even though this relatively flat , with a reported 2% grade, it is a long one-way trip at 12 KMs, so it’s recommended to organize a ride at the end.

Wherever you decide to snowshoe on groomed runs or go off the beaten path Kelowna’s winter wonderland has incredible snowshoeing to offer, Shelter Bay makes for the perfect home base, close to everything you need and just far enough away from the hustle and bustle of downtown to feel like you’re living a full time vacation.