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Big White

Big White Ski Resort Guide

Big White, Canada

Rated: 3/5 (from 6 ratings)

Ski Area Highlights
Recommended ForIntermediates, Snowboarders and Apres-Ski.
Highest Lift2,290m
Resort Height1,760m
 Nearest AirportsKelowna and Penticton
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Big White

The highest (and second largest) resort in British Columbia is known to local's as the 'Friendly Giant'. 55km from the regional airport in the town of Kelowna, this is the largest resort in the interior of British Columbia, with full-service facilities on site.

Summary

The Canadian ski resort of Big White is at an altitude of 1,760m.

Big White has direct access to 112 marked pistes, served by a total of 13 ski lifts.

The ski resort itself is at 1,760m, so skiing or boarding back to the resort is usually possible. With ski lifts as high as 2,290m, snow cover is generally reliable.

Snow and Weather

When will it snow in Big White?

The next notable snow forecast is 8cm, expected on 7 October.

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Snow this week

Snow Forecast by day for Big White
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Ski Area Stats

Big White Ski Area

Piste and Lift Stats
Black Pistes
Expert Trails
33
Red Pistes
Intermediate Runs
64
Blue Pistes
Easy Trails
21
Cross Country
Total Length
25km
Ski Lifts
Number of Lifts
13

Altitudes

Big White Ski Area Heights

Lift Heights and Resort Altitude
Highest Lift2,290m
Resort Altitude (Big White)1,760m
Lowest Piste1,510m
Max Vertical780m

Ratings & Suitability

Ratings for Big White
Expert Skiers
Intermediate Skiers
Snowboarding
Snow
Apres-Ski

Big White Overview

The highest (and second largest) resort in British Columbia, Big White is known to locals as the 'Friendly Giant'. Somewhat overshadowed in size and international reputation by its famous neighbour Whistler, Big White has been quietly growing in size and fame so that it now attracts discerning skiers and 'boarders worldwide. Its twin track approach of offering the highest quality facilities and at the same time a terrain mix that has reached cult status is reminiscent of Crested Butte next to Aspen in Colorado. Rapidly expanding, Big White keeps adding new lodging to its extensive accommodation base, all slopeside and to its quota of high speed lifts.

A major natural asset is the abundant powder snowfall which averages more than 7.5 metres (24 feet) annually - this snow is said to fall regularly throughout the season,, rather than being confined to huge one-off dumps, so the two thirds of patrolled terrain that is left ungroomed has fresh powder more frequently than most. This factor underlies Big Whites reputation with advanced skiers and 'boarders despite the fact that only just over a quarter of the terrain is graded advanced. The big snowfalls are also responsible for the creation of 'snow ghosts' a common feature in Japanese resorts but less well known elsewhere in the world. Heavy snowfalls literally cover up threes and the action of wind and freezing temperatures can transform them in to weird shapes creating a magical and surreal environment in which to ski or 'board.

 Notable Ski Runs

The most difficult run is the 'Prudance Bowl'.

Skiing

With more than a hundred named trails, Big White lives up to the 'big' bit of its name. These cover roughly a third of the patrolled terrain, but much of the 'off piste' is also skiable. The resort doers have a reputation for cloudy weather (the 'White' part of its name, not just the snow) but the presence of a large number of gladed runs means you can often ski below the clouds when this is the case. Crowds are rare, especially mid-week. At weekends the resort is popular with locals from Kelowna but the steeper sections are rarely busy.

Intermediates have almost two thirds of the mountain graded at their standard including long fast cruisers of up to 7.2km (four and a half miles) long and fun bumps and gladed runs. The toughest terrain is in the double-black diamond Back Bowl which features dramatic cliffs hiding chutes with pitches of more than 45 degrees in some cases. Free tours of the mountain are offered by Snow Hosts. Night skiing and boarding is offered from 5pm to 8pm from Tuesday to Saturday, from Mid December to end of March with access through the Plaza chair, the Bullet Chair and Telus Terrain Park.

Big White's lift pass is good at neighbouring Silver Star Mountain Resort, under the same ownership and located 130km (81 miles) away at Vernon.

The Big White ski school offers lessons for all ability levels including a wide variety of group and private lessons right up to ski instructor training. Bumps clinics and special tuition to help you make the most of carving skis are also on the itinerary, and cross country tuition is also available.

Night skiing in the resort is also available, the most extensive in Western Canada.

Big White offers good sking, particularly, for Expert and Intermediate skiers.

Snowboarding

The snow park offers over 1,000 acres of natural free riding terrain and is groomed regularly. The park features a super pipe.

Beginners have a quad chair served beginner area and a dedicated 'boarding school. A wide range of rentals are available. Adult Snowboard Camps are organised regularly throughout the season. These include two full days of learning or refining your riding technique. The package includes 8 hours of lessons, video analysis, and an après-ski event on the last day.

Location and Map

Where is Big White?

This ski resort is in Kootenay Boundary E, Kootenay Boundary, Canada.

Map

Tap Show Map in Full Screen for Full-Screen, or see J2Ski's Resort map, showing Hotels and Ski Shops.

How to get there

 By Air

The nearest airport to Big White is Kelowna, 59 minutes drive away.

Penticton airport is also within three hours drive.

Kelowna is just one hours drive away, in good driving conditions, so you can be on the piste quickly.

Infrastructure

Ski Lift Capacity

The 13 ski lifts are able to uplift 234,000 skiers and snowboarders every hour.

Snow Making

Snow-making is available, on 1km of ski runs, with 2 snow cannons.

Season Dates

When is Big White open?

 Open from : 26 November 2020.

Usual opening is early December, and usual closing is Early April.

NOTE:- Ski area, lift and piste opening is subject to Current Snow Conditions.

COVID-19 / Coronavirus

We don't yet have specific details of the COVID-19 precautions being taken in Big White, but they are likely to include most of the following :-

  • Face masks required on lifts, and in shops.
  • Social distancing in public areas.
  • Reduced lift capacity.
  • Extensive disinfection / sanitization.

French Ski Resort COVID-19 Measures describes further measures that may also be applied.

Visit the Big White Tourist Office for the latest.

Talking about Big White

Mentions in recent J2Ski News Items and Snow Reports from our users...

Aprés Ski

Big White boasts Snowshoe Sams, which has been voted the best après ski bar in Canada. Friendly and casual it includes pool tables, dance floor and restaurant/lounge. The Raakel's in Das Hofbrauhaus (open to 1am every night except Sunday) and Happy Valley are two other popular bars.

Apart from eating, drinking and dancing, ice skating is available until 1.30pm most days on the open-air rink in the centre of the resort village and moonlit snowmobile tours are another possibility on certain nights.

Big White