British Columbia’s Family Paradise: Silver Star Mountain Resort

I love these trees -- called Snow Ghosts -- at Silver Star, BC. I also loved the downhill and cross-country skiing and all the free extras!

I love these trees — called Snow Ghosts — at Silver Star, BC. I also loved the downhill and cross-country skiing and all the included extras!

brave ski mom logoThe invitation to Silver Star Mountain Resort promised Paradise.

How could I pass on that?

Especially when paradise is offered at a resort I keep hearing about.

I first heard of Silver Star in 2011 from a BC mom. She couldn’t say enough good things about this big resort, with the tiny Victorian village.

tiny victorian village silver star bc

Silver Star’s tiny Victorian village.

The following year, another Canadian mom  brought up Silver Star.  “You have to go there,” she said. “It’s the best for families.”

With that, I put Silver Star on my “must ski” list.

Now, I want to put it on yours.

silver star bc at night

Value Paradise

Lots of resorts go out of their way to cater to families. It’s good business, bringing up the next generation on skiing and snowboarding. It’s also lots of fun.

And while many, many resorts do a great job of attracting families, Silver Star Mountain Resort offers something unique: an all-inclusive ski pass with tremendous value.

This pass is the best deal – ever. As all parents knows, skiing is expensive and when you’re on vacation, the costs add up. It’s not just the skiing, but also the other activities. While tubing, for example, is always tempting, I find it hard to shell out an additional $15-$25 for tubing, when I’ve just paid for a lift ticket.

silver star bc tubing

The tubing hill at Silver Star Mountain Resort.

At Silver Star, you don’t have to make this choice. A full day Silver Star lift alpine lift ticket gives you everything: unlimited alpine and nordic skiing, tubing, ice skating and snowshoeing.

If your kids want to ski all morning and tube all afternoon. They can.

Or if they ski all day and decide to skate all night, then can.

It doesn’t cost a single, additional cent. It also means that no one is disappointed and everyone has the freedom to adventure as they choose.

hockey at silver star bc

Need a break from skiing? Free hockey and skating at Silver Star!

Skiing Paradise

Of course, all this value is great, but the skiing and riding needs to be good, too.

With 3,065 acres of skiable terrain and a 2500 foot (760 meter) vertical drop, Silver Star is a good size mountain, with patrolled terrain for all, as well as extensive unpatrolled backcountry shots and heli skiing available nearby.

With seven lifts, most of the mountain is accessible by express quads and a six-pack. The village lies at mid mountain, with the Attridge and Vance Creek areas rising above it, and the bulk of the mountain falling below.

attridge vance creek bunny slope silver star bc

The Attridge and Vance Creek areas rise above the mid-mountain Village at Silver Star.

All Levels Off Of One Chair

Looking for one lift where beginners will be just as happy as advanced skiers?

Take the Comet Express to the top of Vance Creek. This is the heart of the mountain and from here, the terrain gets progressively harder moving from gentle green teaching terrain at skier’s left to steep, advanced fall line skiing with glades and powder shots on the far skier’s right.

In the middle, you’ll find a huge variety of blue runs and tree shots, as well as the Rockstar Terrain Park, complete with an airbag for practicing jumps. The runs here, like Big and Little Dipper are mostly groomed with fun swells and rises, guaranteed to make you feel like an Olympian.

silver star terrain park bc

Rip and Roar

What if you’ve got a family of rippers looking for really challenging terrain?

Head over to the Backside. Also known as Putnam Creek, this area of the mountain is mostly black and double black, bordered on one side by Aunt Gladys, a long green run and on the other side by blue Eldorado, the longest trail on the mountain.

backside silver star bc

A Backside intermediate run at Silver Star, BC.

Several steep, winch-groomed intermediate runs, such as Gypsy Queen, are also in this area, but mostly Putnam Creek is where you come for challenges on runs such as the double fall line, double black Aabye Road and steep, groomed Bon Diablo.

backside steep terrain silver star bc

And a Backside double black steep run at Silver Star BC.

Powder and Trees

If it’s powder you seek, the word from the locals is that Attridge is your destination.

Visible above the village, the runs aren’t long, but the terrain is steep and it’s just far enough off the beaten path that the “secret stashes,” while not really secret, are pretty well-preserved.

silver star bc in the sun

The sun goes down early in December in British Columbia. When I visited, there was a golden hour when the sun fell beneath the cloud layer.

Finally, the glades at Silver Star are exquisite. Nicely thinned forests of fir and hemlock, with wide spacing between them, are fun for novice tree skiers and experts alike. The Silver Woods Express serves a number of fun glades, with endless lines, including Robin’s Hood and Baker’s Acres.

And then, there’s the Nordic skiing.

Paradise Times Two   

Before I arrived in British Columbia, I didn’t know that Silver Star had Nordic skiing. Reputed to be one of the top three Nordic facilities in the world, numerous national teams from the Canadians to the Norwegians train here, and over 80 medals were won during the Vancouver Olympics by Nordic athletes with ties to Silver Star.

silver star bc nordic trail map

Plenty of trails, and plenty of room, for everyone on the Nordic trails at Silver Star, BC.

I went out one morning for a short ski with Guy Paulson, the Nordic manager and recent inductee to the Canadian Ski Instructors Alliance (CSIA) Hall of Fame. Guy makes it look oh, so easy, and on these trails, with amazing views of the mountains and forest, the experience was sublime.

Trails are groomed for classic and skate skiing, with snowshoe only trails weaving through the forest. Skiers of all ages are welcome and with the all-inclusive ski pass, Silver Star is a great place to dip a toe into another discipline and then, if you like it, jump right in!

guy paulson and braveskimom silver star nordic bc

Me, with Canadian Hall of Famer Guy Paulson, cross-country skiing at Silver Star, BC.

When You Go…  

silver star bc christmas treeSilver Star Mountain Resort definitely lived up to its advance billing, and then some.

In addition to all of the snowsports activities available, the unique, colorful village has everything you need from a small general store to ski rentals and lessons to fine dining, within a very short walk of lodging.

One lodge, the Firelight, is especially family-friendly. It’s adjacent to the skating pond and tubing, and has a bowling alley on it’s lower level (not on the pass, you’ll have to pay separately for this one). Another property, the fantastically comfortable Snowbird Lodge sits at the opposite end of the village and is ski-in/ski-out. Condo-style rooms, with up to 3 bedrooms are available, with full-size, private hot tubs on the decks. Other amenities include a 24 seat private theatre, a family lounge and kids’ play area, and exercise facilities. It’s another excellent choice for families.

snowbird lodge silver star bc

The dining and kitchen area of a one bedroom condo at the Snowbird Lodge. Imagine a living room, with fireplace, an en suite bedroom and bathroom and a hot tub on the deck.

For a special night out, Silver Star offers several unique dining experiences, including sleigh ride, snow cat, snowshoe, snowmobile and cross-country ski dinner tours.

I was with a group that did the snow cat dinner tour. Meeting in the village, we boarded the cat for a 30 minute ride up and over the ski slopes to the Paradise cabin for a three-course à la carte gourmet dinner. Dinner lived up to all expectations and it was a memorable, fun experience perfect for an extended family, group of friends or a romantic dinner for two.

silver star village and snowcat

Although its dark when you go to dinner, this is the snowcat you take to Paradise!

Put all this together with the fact that Silver Star is easy to access, with entry from the US via nearby Kelowna International Airport and you’ve pretty much found winter paradise.

And from what I heard, the fun doesn’t stop when the snow melts. Come back in the summer for cross-country and downhill biking, wineries and more.

Enjoy!

For more information on skiing at Silver Star Mountain Resort, and other ski resorts in British Columbia, visit SkiItToBelieveIt.com

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view of Okanagan Valley from silver star, bc

A view of the Okanagan Valley from the top of Silver Star Mountain Resort, BC.

© 2014, Kristen Lummis. All rights reserved. Any use or publication of content, including photos, requires express permission.

Comments

  1. says

    Wow! Between your great write up of it and all the snow they are getting, I might have to pack up my girls and head to the Great White North! Silver Star sounds amazing!

  2. says

    I think you would love it David! Plus, easy flights from LAX and the value is tremendous. Plus, the US dollar is currently about 5 cents stronger than the Canadian dollar. That’s another 5% discount! Do it!

  3. Christina Roy says

    Silver Star also has an outstanding ski/boarding program for any individual with either a physical or mental challenge. There are no costs to access Silver Star Adaptive Snow Sports (SSASS) because it is run entirely by trained volunteers.

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