Last season, British Columbia ski mom Tara Laitinen graciously provided insider information on Whistler Blackcomb and Silver Star Mountain Resort. She also did an interview with me about Big White, BC.
Better late than never, I’m excited to share her information packed interview today, complete with family ski vacation planning tips and advice.
Why Big White?
Big White is a magical destination. From the minute that you arrive until to the minute that you leave, being at Big White is pure happiness.
Big White is a unique mountain that has its own community and resort culture. Everyone is welcoming and everyone has the same goal: having fun on the mountain.
We have visited Big White for over eighteen years. We started coming as a couple without kids and continued after having children. The resort is full of fun for all family members, no matter what their age.The snow is AMAZING and there is so much for families to do.
To be honest, each year gets better and better. At Big White, you can find fun for everyone!
What does Big White offer families?
Big White offers equal amounts of terrain for all levels of skiers and snowboarders.
Big White also has the best ski school, bar none. The instructors are extremely friendly and they know how to make each lesson fun in age appropriate ways. Every season my kids learn something new and they have fun doing it. While we’re happy getting our kids to the ski school, the school tries to make it easy on parents and offers a pick up/drop off service.
On top of that, the resort plans activities for kids. From bonfires, to carnivals, to tubing, to pizza parties, there is always something that you can do with the kids to have family fun!
What advice do you have for families visiting Big White?
Check the weather: Big White occasionally gets white out conditions at the top of the mountain. If you are only at Big White for a short time, it is best to check the weather. If you go for five days or longer, it shouldn’t be an issue. When, and if, you do experience the White Out, you’ll know what gives Big White it’s name.
It adds to the experience. Also remember, the white out adds to the experience and it makes the next clear day even more amazing.
Keep your kids warm: It gets cold on White Out days. Take extra measures to ensure that your children’s faces are protected from the wind and that they know how to keep themselves dry. A cold child….is not a happy child.
Plan ahead: Big White is 45 minutes from Kelowna, so it’s important to preplan. If you are preparing meals, travelling with young ones and/or have specific family needs, be prepared to know what you can and cannot get on the mountain. At Big White, there is a small grocery store, grocery delivery and plenty of restaurants. Oh – and if you are driving….GAS UP! There are no gas stations in Big White, so you absolutely need to get gas before driving up! You risk not being able to get back.
Take time for the views: On a clear day, the views from the top of the mountain are incredible. We often surprise the kids with treats and drinks in the treed areas of Black Forest. There is enough terrain that you are not obstructing anyone and you can stop to take in the views (and family selfies!). Life is so fast paced that having the chance to sit, slow down and take it in with the kids is priceless!
Speaking of food, where do you enjoy eating?
There are so many great places to eat! They all offer something special and they are all kid friendly. Big White has all prices ranges and you can get fancy whipping-cream topped hot chocolate almost anywhere!
Where do you like to stay?
There are pros and cons to staying in the village versus Happy Valley.
We prefer to stay in Happy Valley. The tube park and skating rink are in Happy Valley. We spend a lot of our evenings there. It is easy enough to take the Gondola to the Village for the Carnival and ski school. It also cuts down the noise.
Having said that, if you want a quick trip to the ski school in the mornings, the village is closer. It can get noisy at night though…especially late at night when your kids are sleeping.
Anything more to share?
When we are at Big White, I cherish watching my kids smile all day and all night. We are on the mountain all day, with little or no lift lines. We are tubing, skating, watching fireworks or going to the Carnival at night. Our time at Big White is just about the four of us. It is heartwarming and active at the same time.
You have everything that you need at Big White to have an active holiday and you will want your family beside you for every minute of it! Snow + powder + family = fun, fun, fun!
The Brave Ski Mom Adds…
Tara beautifully covers a lot of the timeless aspects of what makes Big White her family’s favorite ski destination.
I’m going to cover what’s new for this season at Big White.
Winter Warm Up, Dec 1-17: Big White Ski Resort heralds the winter season with an exciting series of events. The Winter Warm Up Kick-Off (Dec. 1) will be the first of many festive events followed by the Big White Light Up (Dec. 2), Big White Christmas Market (Dec. 3), Big White Winter Rally (Dec. 8-10), Big Reds at Big White Wine Festival (Dec. 8-9) and the Big White Hockey Tournament (Dec. 16-17).
Also, look for Christmas Theatre productions at various venues throughout the resort.
Custom Chocolates: Big White Ski Resort is the only mountain resort in North America with custom-designed chocolate from the famous Or Noir Laboratories of French chocolatiers Cacao Barry. Big White’s Executive Chef, Rob Walker, has developed two unique varieties of “Big White” chocolate that will be available across the resort.
Elevation 57 Brewing Company and Escape Rooms: Session Taphouse and Grill is expanding in two ways this winter. Elevation 57 Brewing Company will be serving craft beer at the highest elevation in Canada, 5757′. Escape Sessions will have three locked rooms where teams of six will attempt to ‘escape’ by discovering clues and solving puzzles. The escape rooms are suitable for all ages, including families.
Outdoor Movie Screen: Big White has a new inflatable 25′ movie screen for movie nights under the stars, film festivals and major sporting events.
This is just a small sample of what’s new at Big White this winter. For more details on planning a family ski vacation at Big White, visit BigWhite.com.
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