Big White Ski Resort is one of the best skiing resorts in Canada and a great choice for your next family ski vacation. Big White Resort is the perfect spot for a winter wonderland holiday in Canada, even if you don’t ski or snowboard there is something at Big White for everyone in the family!
After we travelled the world for 1 year with our kids we decided to move to Kelowna, British Columbia to spend more time in the mountains skiing and snowboarding during the winter. We’ve come to love Big White mountain for our family weekends at the ski hill.
We go out every weekend and sometimes even sneak out during the week! We’ve even been highlighted as People of Big White Ski Resort (we are the Fiorante Family).
We get asked all the time about the information for families, kids, and multi-generational ski holidays that people are planning at Big White ski hill. So I’ve put together all the information about Big White that I think, from being a local, is useful for anyone who is going to plan a trip to Big White Ski Resort.
What You'll Find in This Post
- Where is Big White Ski Resort located?
- Big White Ski Resort Accommodation
- Big White Ski Resort Map
- Other Things to Do At Big White Resort
- When to Visit Big White?
- Big White Resort Travel Tips
Where is Big White Ski Resort located?
Big White is located in the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia, Canada. The closest airport is in Kelowna, BC (YLW)
If you are arriving from the airport you can rent a car at the airport (YLW), or there is an airport shuttle that you can pre-book in advance that can take you out to Big White.
Big White to Kelowna takes approximately 45 min – 1 hour to drive there. Take Highway 33 until the Big White Resort road turn off. The highway is all a single lane highway and very well maintained during the winter for good driving conditions usually.
Big White Ski Resort Accommodation
Sometimes the biggest decision on a ski vacation is the accommodations on where to stay at Big White that will suit your family. The good thing with Big White is there a large range of selection and options to choose from.
Accommodations all range in prices depending on the size, number of people, and whether it is hotel-style, condo, or full house rental.
You can either use booking sites like Booking.com, VRBO to book accommodations at Big White. Search using Big White, British Columbia as your location criteria and use the map feature. You can also use Big White’s central reservation to book certain places.
The best advice I can provide is to know what area you want to stay in and then search the listing around that map area. Or if you are strickly by budget or price you can search the entire mountain.
There are 3 general areas to stay at Big White, so depending on what you are looking for this can help narrow down your search.
- This is the main Village Center (Purple circle) and where the majority of the mountain facilities are including most of the restaurants, cafes, kids club, ski lessons, main lodge, carnival nights, ski & snowboard rental and daycare.
- Most often these are the most expensive places to rent from due to the close proximity and easy ski-in and ski-out accommodations.
Happy Valley / Lower Area
- Happy Valley (Blue circle) is the area located below the Village Centre and around Happy Valley. You will need to take Lara’s Gondola to get up to the Village Centre.
- Located in this area is the skating rink, nordic trails, ice climbing wall, tub park, horse sleigh rides, fireworks, nordic & skate rentals, restaurants, cafeteria, magic carpet beginner-level skiing, and toddler snow play area.
- Usually, the Big White accommodations in this area can be ski-in but sometimes not ski-out. They may say ski-out but you will have to take Lara’s gondola back up to the main village area (sometimes). So ask for clarification onto which run or chairlift you can ski-out to (there are some that can take you to the Plaza/Ridge/Snow Ghost chair area)
- This is a great area for families where the kids are still learning, want to skate, and tube park.
- Note: You will still have to go up to the ski lessons area in the Village Center even though you may come back down for the magic carpet area.
Snow Pine Estates
- Snow Pines (Red Circle) area is located a little further away from the main Village and Happy Valley but can offer some options for ski-in and ski-out.
- These options can sometimes be cheaper pricing because they are further away from the village.
- This area is ideal for any families that can all ski/board since it’s ski-in and ski-out access is from a green run (Serwa’s).
- To get to the village or Happy Valley area you will either have to drive or take the shuttle bus services if you are not skiing and in the evening. You can also walk on a path that is lit through the ski hill.
Big White Booking Tips
- Ski In – When you can ski to your accommodation at the end of your ski day to get back from a ski run.
- Ski Out – When you can ski from your accommodation at the beginning of your day to get to a chair lift.
- Book your accommodations as early as possible to ensure you get a place that is perfect for your ski vacation.
- Clearly read and understand your cancellation policy and dates to cancel by if need be.
- There are no accommodations over in the Gem Lake area, this parking area is usually used for people who drive out for the day from Kelowna. There is a small warming hut with restrooms and food at the bottom of Gem Lake Express chairlift.
Big White Ski Resort Map
Big White has a wide range of terrain for any skiing and snowboarding levels, which makes it perfect for any family, group of friends or multi-generational family trips! Whether you are a beginner or advance you will find your favourite run on Big White Moutain.
Look into ski lessons for any age at the Ski/Board School. The magic carpet is located down in Happy Valley and they will get you comfortable on your skis/board until you can turn, slide and stop. Then head over to the Plaza chair for some easy green runs to get used to the chairlift and longer runs.
Our favourite easy green runs are Hummingbird and Woodcutter both off the Plaza chair!
Some great green runs on the hill to get your legs warmed up and ease into the mountain is Serwa’s (Ridge Rocket) or Highway 44 (Bullet) or Millie’s Mile (Black Forest). There is always a green run from every chair on the hill.
You can then try out the blues runs for levelling up your ability. The Black Forest is a great area for intermediate skiing and boarding. There is some great terrain with a mix of easy tree skiing and blue runs.
We also love the Alpine T-bar if there is some fresh powder and go play in Enchanted Forest for some epic runs and find the snow ghosts!
Some of our favourite intermediate runs are – Serwa’s, Cougar Alley, Herbert’s Hallow, Sleepy Hallow, Kangaroo, Ogopogo Trail and Born-to-Run.
If you are looking for a challenge head on over to the Cliff Chair for some double black diamond skiing and boarding. Or you can head over to Gem Lake for some challenging terrain with some ungroomed blacks and longer runs with some amazing tree skiing.
You can warm up by starting out with Paradise, Powder Gulch and Easter Chutes (which is one of our favourite spots with some fresh pow).
Other Things to Do At Big White Resort
Not a skier or snowboarder but still want to have some fun out at Big White? You’re in luck because there are tons of other activities and things to do at Big White. Here are just a few ideas:
- Tube Park
- Skating Rink to play hockey or skating
- Cafes & Restaurants to enjoy apres ski (even if you don’t ski you can always take part in apres ski!)
- Nordic Skiing
- Horse-drawn carriage rides
- Dog Sledding
- Fireworks & Carnivals
- Ice Climbing wall
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What kid doesn’t like hot chocolate, fire pits for roasting marshmallows and fireworks? 🎇 . It’s the perfect way to warm up after a long day on the ski slopes ⛷🏂 . One thing we love the most about staying out at Big White Ski resort is that every Saturday they have a fireworks display by the skating rink ⛸🏒 . @skibigwhite #fireworks #skibigwhite #winterfun #winterfireworks #skiresortlife #familyskitrip #passportkids #familytravel #kidstravel #ftb100 #tinytravels #familytrip #familytraveltribe #havekidswilltravel #tmom #lpkids #travelwithkids #kidswhotravel #fearlessfamtrav #suitcasetribe #takeyourkidseverywhere #holidayswithkids #travelwithkids #worldtravelwithkids
When to Visit Big White?
The best time to visit Big White for the ski season is from December to April. It really just depends on the type of skiing or snowboarding you want to experience.
Christmas week, February break (Canada Family Day), March break (last 2 weeks), and Easter are usually much busier times to visit Big White. During this time you will have fewer choices for accommodations, longer queues for chairlifts and more expensive tickets. But, sometimes with kids and holiday breaks, there is nothing you can do about it.
Big White Ski Resort Weather
January and February are usually cooler temperature months for skiing. But, can offer the best champagne powder days and most accumulation of snow.
December is the beginning of the season, which is great for groomed runs (unless they get lots of snow) and usually less busy.
March and April are great spring skiing conditions where is warms up to sometimes plus temperatures with sun beams down on you. There is no need to get up early for spring skiing, wait for the slopes to warm up and avoid the icy conditions.
All have their pros and cons during the season, just be prepared clothing wise with the appropriate outdoor ski gear, especially goggles are key for a good experience on the ski hill and these are the best ski socks that we love!
Big White Resort Travel Tips
Before you Arrive at Big White
- If you can, purchase your food and drinks in Kelowna before heading out to Big White. There is a small grocery store and liquor store there but it can be expensive since you are paying for convenience. Some local stores like Costco, Superstore or Walmart are some big box stores that offer better prices on food in Kelowna. The shops at Big White are great for items you forgot last minute or if you run out of basics like bread or milk.
- If you rent a car, all the vehicles should have the required winter tires needed to drive during the winter months (Oct 1 – Apri 30) in British Columbia, Canada.
- If you are staying for more than a week at Big White ski resort, I would consider purchasing a Big White Season Pass at the beginning of the season to get early bird pricing. We know of families that come for Australia and New Zealand for their summer break and ski for 2 weeks and up to a month. Look into this cost and see if this will work for you.
- If you can, try to book ski lessons in advance, especially during peak season.
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The ski season has officially kicked off! First day on the slopes after a year off from travelling around the world. One thing we missed so much was snowboarding & skiing in the mountains. It was also one reason why we decided to move closer to the mountains. Time to rip it up on the slopes, but first a few lessons at @skibigwhite kids centre to get the legs warmed up. #SkiBigWhite
- Sign up for Big White’s email newsletter, this will give you some great info on daily weather conditions, Big White snow forecast, webcam access, sales, promos and discounts. You can sign up on their website.
- You can check out more information on the latest ticket prices, opening dates and current events on the Big White Ski Resort website.
- Lift ticket prices change based on the time of the year for peak season or low season, so be sure to plan and check out their prices and dates for this.
- If you are a local to Kelowna, Vancouver, Lower Mainland, Victoria, Edmonton or Calgary there are options for you to purchase a Biggie Card and get discounts on ticket prices. These need to be purchased in advance.
- If you are travelling internationally, don’t forget to have travel insurance! We use World Nomads, which includes skiing and snowboarding in their activities. You can read our full review of World Nomads here.
- Look for flight deals and set up price alerts with Skyscanner or Google flights. The major airlines that fly to Kelowna are Air Canada and WestJet.
While You are at Big White
- Lara’s Gondola is FREE to ride and runs from usually 8am – 10pm
- There is a Big White FREE bus shuttle that can take you around various spots on Big White. Look for designated bus stops that come approximately every 15 minutes that can shuttle you from different areas on the ski hill. This is a great way to get around if you are not skiing.
- Ask any of the Snow Hosts on the hill, usually hanging out at the top of the chairlifts by the maps, for some ideas on which ski runs to take!
- Always carry a trail map with you, these can be picked up at any ticketing window.
We hope you have found out some useful tips and information about visiting what we think is the best ski resort in Canada for kids! We are fortunate to now call this our home ski hill and we love how many great memories that we can have as a family together here.
If you decide to have a family ski trip in Big White, I am sure you will have some great memories and lots of fun skiing or boarding on the slopes.
Is there anything else you need to know about booking a trip to Big White? If so, leave it in the comments below so I can answer and share it with everyone else.