Family ski trips can be tricky, because you never know if the snow conditions will be good or if all the work and money spent getting your family to the mountain will be enjoyable or just leave you feeling like you created a whole lot of stress and work for yourself. Too bad there isn’t a mountain that can guarantee perfect snow…. well HELLO Big White Ski Resort! I’ve snowboarded on plenty of big mountains from Whistler to Mammoth and many times at our local LA mountain Big Bear and I can’t remember the snow ever feeling quite like this. BIg White’s tagline is “It’s the Snow” and it truly is the incredible snow. They like to call it champagne powder and for very good reason. I felt like I was in a Big White snow globe!
United Airlines has just opened up their direct flight from LAX to Kelowna, BC and it’s only a 2 hour 40 minute flight, then about another hour to get up to the ski resort. Not bad when compared to flying up to Whistler (3.5 hours) and taking another 2 hours to get up to the mountain. We stayed right on the mountain in a ski in ski out two bedroom suite at the Stonebridge Suites. It was beyond beautiful and most of them come with a private hot tub right on the balcony.
The Village Center
This the hub of the mountain where you will find the gondola, the kids ski school and daycare center, equipment rental, restuarants and a few retail shops. The check in process to rent equipment was quick and painless, you can rent snowboards, helmets, boots, ski’s poles, and even snowshoes.
This mountain is massive, it has 118 runs and 16 chair lifts. My first day on the mountain we participated in “Ladies Day” a program they do every Wednesday that is just for ladies which includes a lift ticket, professional lesson with an instructor who gave us some pointers and professional tips and a delicious lunch. The second day we spent the morning with two amazing ski hosts that gave us a real in depth tour of the mountain.
Kids Centre, Ski School and Daycare:
The kids center is a one stop shop for your little ones. They have a variety of lessons for all different levels of experience. They handle all the rental equipment right there on site and all the kids can wait inside before their lesson. Each child is given the Flaik GPS system so Mom and dad can check in on where they are on the mountain and also see everywhere they went at the end of the day. The child center has a fully operating kitchen so the kids are fed lunch right there. They also can accomodate any allergies or special diet restrictions such as vegetarian or gluten free.
Kids Shopping: Don’t worry if you forgot to pack something Moms, because they have an entire kids store with everything from snowpants to funky helmet hats.
The Gondola connects the Village Center with the Happy Valley Lodge and Adventure Park. The Adventure park is where the beginners and kids magic carpet is also located. If you want to take a break from the slopes you can go ice skating, hit up the tubing park, rent a snowmobile or climb the incredible ice tower, like I did! This was one of the hardest things I’ve done and I’ve done A LOT. I wanted to quit halfway up but luckily I had my snow mamas, Luxury Travel Mom ,Travelling Mom and The Go To Mom cheering me on and I made it to the top! I highly recommend you challenge yourself and spend the $20 to do this, the sense of accomplishment is priceless.
Down in Happy Valley there are a few dining options. Moose Lodge has a super kid-friendly atmosphere for and they host nightly activities for the kids. It’s the perfect place for families to unwind after a long day on the slopes! Kettle Valley Steakhouse & Wine Bar is also located in Moose Lodge and features incredible menu of reserve beef, game, seafood and wine from the Okanagan wineries. Here I tried Ice Wine for the first time and I highly recommend ordering the the Apple Bomb for dessert!
On our last night we were treated to dinner at the chefs table at Carvers which serves North American cuisine with Indo-Canadian fusion. The chef is pictured here with his sister and Mother who all work in the family business. It was like being guests in their own home with a view right into their kitchen. He paired each course with a wine selection and the entire meal was delicious. I normally don’t care for lamb and I loved this lamb! This is definitely a hidden gem at Big White.
The MUST See and Drink
If ice climbing is not for you, that’s okay, but you must stop by the Gunbarrel Grill for their famous Gunbarrel Coffee. It is an incredible show that they put on for you right at your table and you won’t be disappointed. They wheel over a cart with glassware, booze, a fire burning stove, and a shot gun! The drink itself consists of coffee, Brandy, Creme de Cacao and Grand Marnier. You can substitute with decaf coffee or hot chocolate if you prefer. Now, I dont want to spoil the fun so my pictures will have to give you the basic idea but I’ve never seen or heard of anything like it. It’s sure to warm you up!
I can’t really say enough about my experience at Big White, I felt like I was at some secret ski resort and village where everyone was family. The mountain was never packed, no line for chair lifts, and no fighting to find a seat to sit at lunch. The people were all very helpful and friendly as if you were guests in their very own home. It’s really quite magical and the perfect place for a family ski trip, I cannot wait to get my family up there!
Disclosure: This was a press trip and all my travel expenses were paid. I share this with you because we love to travel and it is truly an amazing ski destination that I would go back to in a heartbeat. All my savvy thoughts and sassy opinions are my own.