A dozen deliriously fun runs at these BC ski resorts

Whistler Blackcomb
Photographer
Andrew Strain

A dozen deliriously fun runs at these BC ski resorts

Ski and ride some of SnowSeekers’ favourites at Whistler, Red, SilverStar and Fernie

SnowSeekers

You’ve hit the skiing sweepstakes when you touch down in B.C., one of Canada’s most massive ski playgrounds. You’ll be gobsmacked at all of the choices – everything from cruisin’ style groomers to go-for-miles steeps.

With dozens of resorts to keep you busy for a lifetime, here are some of our all-time favourite runs at Whistler Blackcomb, RED Resort, SilverStar and Fernie.

Top Picks for Whistler Blackcomb - Doc Pow

Whistler Blackcomb
Photographer
Andrew Strain

When skiing Whistler Blackcomb, one of the world’s greatest places, you have to make decisions, lots of them – and you want to make wise ones with more than 330 runs to choose from between two mountains.

Having skied Blackcomb most of my life, I feel it’s my mountain and I know it well. As for Whistler, it’s a little less known to me and I still have more discover.

Having said that, my top four runs skew more towards Blackcomb.

1. Spanky’s – It’s steep and deep and comes with an awesome adventure of trying to find it before you hit it up. 

2. Ridge Runner - Groomers are good and this one swings right off from the top of the Crystal Ridge Express Chair. (Hint: Grab a famous waffle from the hut before the run.)

3. Any of 7th heaven! - Oh man, this place is a winter wonderland of epic proportions. You can uncover nooks and crannies all day in this zone that looks directly across at Whistler. The entire area, known as 7th Heaven and serviced by the chair with the same name, is home to blue cruisers. If you cut way left you’ll find some heart-pulsing steeps.

4. On Whistler, you’ve got to run Peak-to-Creek. It’s a legend in its own right. From the very summit of Peak Chair, follow Upper Peak-to-Creek and look out on Garibaldi Provincial Park, home to the Black Tusk, an iconic geographic landmark. Cruise the length of Whistler Mountain, ending up at one of the mountain’s top hot spots, Dusty's. Be sure to order one of the legendary Caesars. I hope the WB house band, the HairFarmers, are playing for you. Guaranteed, it’ll be a rowdy gathering.

Study Whistler Blackcomb's trail map here.

My three runs of fun at SilverStar – Joanne Elves

Silver Star Mountain
Photographer
Dave Heath

Just north of Vernon, B.C. and high in the mountains, the colourful village of SilverStar Mountain Resort sits at the base of more 130 runs spread across four mountain faces. The terrain is almost evenly split between beginner, intermediate and expert. While some say the black and double black runs are not as tough as some other resorts, there are never any complaints on the slopes.

My favourite runs at SilverStar rely on the level of difficulty and the thrill. Here’s what I like to hit up when I'm there. 

  1. The Big Dipper off the Comet Express is a wide open, long blue run. As soon as you get off at the summit the world is suddenly two colours, blue and white. The trees are hidden under a thick hard crust of ice and look like what they are called – snow ghosts. The sky is that deep bluebird blue – picture perfect. The run is groomed the entire length and feeds easily back into the Comet Express. It’s the perfect warm-up run.

  2. Skiing off Attridge takes a bit of effort to get to so many people don’t go there. And that’s what I love about the runs from here. There are at least six black and four blue runs that feel like my own private party. Seriously, I’ve spent hours there lapping my own tracks. They all feed off the short Alpine Meadows Chair.

  3. The backside is where most of the expert runs lie among the trees feeding into narrow gullies down to the Power Gulch Express. With seven metres of snow falling each season, the trees on the cluster of chute trails like Head Wall, Rusty Whistle and Chute 5, are always thigh burners. They are short and steep and just when you think it’s going to get easy, you end up on Nirvana – a long, narrow black run down to the lift. No complaints.

Study SilverStar's trail map here.

Three Faves at Fernie – Joanne Elves

Ah, Fernie. What started out as a mining town has blossomed into a year-round resort town with a fantastic ski resort in the backyard. Only minutes from town, Fernie Alpine Resort is full-service ski resort offering 142 runs blanketed annually by more than 10 metres (30 feet) of snow. The resort caters to family fun but also has some pretty kickass runs. Here are my “go-to” runs.

  1. It’s all about the bowls at Fernie and my first run is usually off the Timber Bowl Express and into Siberia Bowl onto the black run called Morning Glory. The sun is just cresting the mountains and beaming into the bowl – pretty as a picture. The trees are spaced out just perfectly to wake me up.

  2. Cedar Bowl is a favourite for most people who love Fernie and is home to Snake Main and Glades. This is where I I find out if I’m in shape or not. The Snake Ridge has some of the deepest snow at the resort, but to get to it you have to traverse past an entire bowl of blue runs that tempt you to pop in. Don’t be tempted … just drift over a bit further and you are met by steep glades. If it’s a powder day, your thighs will hate you, but it’s worth it.

  3. If Snake Main spits me out, I work my way over to Timber Bowl and stop for a snack at the Lost Boys Café before heading over to Polar Peak, the newest chair at the resort. From the summit of 2,100 metres (7,000 feet), the view above the clouds that usually crowd the valley is spectacular as is the vista of runs leading from this apex. Mama Bear and Papa Bear are challenging double black diamonds, and like any bear – deserve respect. If it’s a cloudy day, I’ll stay up top and mix up the runs on Mama and Papa with easier runs down Polar Coaster. It’s a bit gentler but has the same beautiful views.

Study Fernie's trail map here.

A few advanced adventures at Red Mountain – Amber Hayes

1. If you’re looking for tree options with all-around exciting terrain, Powderfields at RED Mountain never disappoints. Hold your speed from the Granite chair and expect a little push work to get to the drop-in area for Powderfields. If you drop in early to your skier's left, expect moderate cliff bands. A more centred drop-in is the usual go-to, and that will lead you through an expanse of treed glades. The bottom quarter centre left, will give you an amazing widely spaced tree grove that never disappoints. 

2. Looking for a blue groomer? Head to Paradise and swoop the well-groomed ego-friendly pitches concentrated along the lift. This is where you will find the sun and smooth riding. Bonus: you can easily pop in and out of the off-piste in this area without fear of becoming over-committed or lost. Be sure to check out the newly renovated Paradise lodge while you are on that side of the resort for good eats, a warm-up and some sunny deck time. 

Study RED's trail map here.

If You Go

Plan your Whistler Blackcomb ski and stay here.

Check out these Fernie Alpine Resort ski and stay packages

Find ski and stay deals at SilverStar.

Start planning your ski holiday at RED Mountain.

And for more inspiration about skiing and snowboarding in BC, check out our SnowSeekers SkiBC expedition page, full of additional stories and video.

Province
British Columbia