Ski awhile in B.C.'s Interior: Americans save more money and get double-digit snowfall

Steve MacNaull

Imagine this. Champagne powder snow that piles up more than 20 feet deep.

Never-too-cold average daytime temperatures of 23F.

Endless acres of skiable terrain.

This is B.C's interior winter playground, where not only can you tackle or cruise the alpine, but also cross-country ski, skate, ice-climb, go tubing, take a sleigh ride out to a romantic dinner, grab a cosy booth for a pub night with friends, or settle in to relax in a toasty café after a few powdery turns.

You can find it all here in one spot - at all-inclusive winter resorts like Sun Peaks, and SilverStar.

These all-encompassing resorts are all centred around the beautiful Okanagan valley, not only renowned for oodles of snow, but also gorgeous wineries and award-winning wines.

You can easily spend three days (or more!) here, and never get bored. Here's how. 

Silver Star Mountain
Photo: Crai Bower

You could start by heading to SilverStar Mountain Resort with 3,200 acres of skiable terrain and 132 runs serviced by 11 lifts.

All this premium Canadiana at SilverStar Mountain Resort near Vernon, British Columbia can be enjoyed at a discount for skiers and boarders from Washington state.

It all comes down to this: With the exchange rate, the American dollar goes 20 per cent further while you're skiing in B.C's interior, all while enjoying double digit snowfall accumulation.

To illustrate the advantages, the website has a chart showing the all-inclusive, one-day lift ticket may cost $96 Canadian, but that's $77 US.

A night's accommodation, which averages 158 loonies, can be had for 126 greenbacks.

Accomodations SilverStar
Photo: SilverStar Mountain Resort

There are apres skiing advantages, too. A jug of beer ($17 Canadian, but $14 US) and a pile of nachos ($17 Canadian, or $14 US).

While saving money, Washington state skiers and boarders at the end of an action-packed day can relax and settle in to 100 per cent ski-in, ski-out digs. It doesn't matter if its' the smallest studio, or the biggest villa.

Ski-in, ski-out gets everyone hyped, not just Americans.

So does the fact that SilverStar is British Columbia's third largest ski resort behind Whistler Blackcomb north of Vancouver and Sun Peaks near Kamloops.

The terrain is world class with 132 runs dropping 2,500 feet on four mountain faces.

There's something for every skier ability: Fifteen per cent of the runs are beginner, 40 per cent intermediate, 35 per cent expert and 10 per cent extreme.

SilverStar is also easily accessible from Washington. 

The flight from Seattle to Kelowna on Alaska Airlines affiliate Horizon Air is only an hour and then the shuttle from Kelowna airport to SilverStar is just another hour.

Or, depending where you start out from in Washington state, the drive is six to seven hours.

On a long weekend road trip, you could easily break up your time between skiing and visiting several wineries in the Okanagan, sampling some of the region's award-winning vintages and dining at some incredible restaurants run by talented chefs who use the bounty of the valley in their dishes. 

Silver Star Mountain
Photo: SilverStar Mountain Resort

But once you get to SilverStar, really you never have to leave, be it a long weekend or week. 

Your ski pass is good not just for downhill, but also cross-country skiing on 65 miles of groomed trails, 10 miles of trails for both fat biking and snowshoeing, skating and hockey on the frozen pond and four lanes of tubing.

All accommodations, from budget studios to luxury villas, have a kitchen so you can cook for yourself or go out for snacks and meals at the diverse array of restaurants in the village.

The bargains start then, too.

"We want our friends from Washington state to come early season and discover SilverStar," says Jahn-Smith.

"And, of course, they're welcome over the holidays too, and for more deals in March."

If You Go

Find bargains and special at SilverStar.

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