Big White

Ski Resort in Canada

Introduction

Big White Ski Resort, or simply Big White, is a ski resort located 56 km (35 mi) southeast of Kelowna in the Southern Interior of British Columbia.

Big White is located in the Okanagan Valley region of British Columbia, in Canada. The mountain summit is at 2,319 m (7,608 ft) with a vertical drop of 777 m (2,549 ft), served by 16 lifts. The mountain receives 750 cm of annual snowfall. It has 2,765 acres (11 km²) of patrolled area of a total of 7,355 acres (30 km²) skiable. With 38 acres of night skiing, Big White has western Canada's largest resort night skiing area. It has a central village which comprises accommodation, eateries, bars and shops. The village is 1,755 m (5,758 ft) above sea level. Big White Mountain is one of the highest peaks in the southern Monashees, with over 100 marked runs.

A purpose built ski village in the heart of Canada's British Columbia province, Big White is a totally ski-in/ski-out wintersports destination. In addition to the doorstep skiing all facilities of the modern resort are within walking distance. As with many North American ski resorts the vertical drops are relatively short, but the efficient lift system gets you up the mountain quickly.

Big White is located in the Monashee mountain range in Canada's Okanagan. This area of lakes and rolling hills is famous locally for mild temperatures, ice wine and champagne powder. Snowfall is plentiful with historical records showing an average of 24 feet (7 metres) each winter.

Big White ski resort is ideal for families because it’s so easy to get around, and there are lots of family friendly activities and facilities such as the award winning Kid’s Centre.

This fabulous, picture-perfect, snow-sure resort benefits from extensive piste variety, immaculately groomed runs and this season will see the unveiling of Big White’s new, innovative 6 passenger chair lift, the ‘Snow Ghost Express’. So, Big White will now have 16 lifts, with an awesome uphill capacity of over 28,000 skiers per hour!


Big White info card

Resort Altitude1509m
Highest Lift2318m
Total Piste105km
Longest Run7km
Uphill Capacity28000
Total Lifts15
Gondolas/Cable cars1
Chairlifts10
Drag Lifts1
Snow Parks2


Skiing in Big White

On ski holidays in Big White there is plenty of off-piste terrain to explore as well as the fantastic TELUS terrain-park with its 500ft long super-pipe, rails, jumps and boarder-cross course.

Ski holidays in Big White are a fantastic choice for family ski holidays. Big White’s ski school has an excellent reputation and offers a variety of lessons for both adults and children, including beginner programmes, cross country and performance skiing.

During ski holidays in Big White beginners will appreciate the great nursery slopes and the numerous long, easy runs to practise their new-found skills on.

Family and intermediate skiers are particularly well catered for during ski holidays in Big White. There are miles of immaculately groomed blue and green runs all over the mountain with a few easy black runs for the more experienced intermediate skiers.

For experts enjoying ski holidays in Big White there are plenty of opportunities to hurtle down thrilling black runs, with some seriously challenging black-diamond runs in the award-winning Cliff area of the mountain.

Big White has won numerous awards and accolades over the years, including Best Powder, Best Family Skiing and Best Grooming in 2006. Ski holidays in Big White are a superb choice for skiers and boarders of all abilities.

Ski Big White - Beginners

Absolute novices can ride the magic carpet down at Happy Valley. One pro of this area is that beginners can learn in peace in a dedicated novice area free of any hoons, and there are other activities to do there if a rest from skiing is required. The only minor downside is that the area is not near the main village and a gondola ride is required to get down there.

The next progression is a couple of gentle runs off the Plaza chair that conveniently drop down from the mid-mountain village, or the run down to Happy Valley. These too are largely just frequented by beginners.

Most of the other chair lifts have green runs that can be tackled by confident beginners who want to explore. These are a little steeper (e.g. Millie’s Mile is rather steep for a green run) and cross more challenging runs. The mega Ogo Slow run down to the Gem Lake chair requires mega stamina, and should not be attempted on a low-vis day, and don’t even think about going up the T-bar during the Big White Out or you may get too friendly with a snow ghost!

Big White Skiing - Intermediates

Big White is heaven on sticks or a snowboard for intermediates with 54% of trails being rated as blue, which includes lots of cruisers, some steep groomed runs, and nicely spaced glades. Big White caters perfectly to both low-end and strong intermediate riders, and scores full marks from us. The terrain for high end intermediates is perhaps a fraction better at Sun Peaks, but Big White is far superior to Silver Star where they don’t do enough grooming.

For the Family/Kids

Big White is an award winner when it comes to catering for the family (they score a best ski resort in Canada award from us for family friendliness). The dedicated beginners’ area is perfect, and lots of chairs have runs for differing levels so the family can remain in the near vicinity of each other.

Lots of beginners’ runs go straight past the Big White accommodations, which can be useful for keeping an eye on older children. The Hummingbird and Easy Street runs go straight past various lodges, and lots of green runs also go past accommodation in the heart of the village.

Night skiing is a great option for the family with a very large illuminated area of 15 hectares.

Terrain Park and Pipe

Big White has a large terrain park with three lanes of different sized jumps, rails and boxes for different abilities. The terrain park also has a standard half pipe depending on the amount of snow available, as well as a skier/boarder cross course which is super fun.

Advanced Skiing Big White

The statistic of 22% black terrain possibly underestimates the amount of Big White skiing for advanced riders because there are lots of off-piste nooks and crannies and trees to play amongst. Big White ski resort has numerous black ungroomed runs that quickly transform into moguls to exhaust your quads. “Shakey Knees” is very aptly named.

The Gem Lake area is the best spot for advanced riders to hang out, and there tends to be more powder here. Sun Rype bowl is a fun playground for powder hounds, especially on days of good visibility and after a big dump. Nothing’s particularly steep, but there’s lot of fun in amongst the snow ghosts such as between Black Bear and the chair lift, and there are fun little trees below the Falcon Chair that lead down to the Gem Lake Express.

Snowboard and Ski Big White for Experts

Big White only has a limited amount of terrain for experts, which is within the alpine bowl serviced by the Cliff chair lift. The degree of challenge is often dependent on the snow conditions, and if there are lots of death cookies, it may be best avoided.

The main degree of challenge lies in the entrance into the bowl and the size of the cornice or the number of exposed rocks. There is usually a relatively easy entrance in via the Camel’s Back run where you can traverse across into the trees for fresh dry powder. There might be a short herringbone to get to the chair lift.

Access to the bowl is also relatively easy via the Cliff run, or right next to the Cliff chair lift. Conversely the Parachute bowl on the skiers’ left has much more challenging entries which include cornices, chutes, rock bands and little cliffs (depending on the amount of snow cover).

Most of the bowl is considered in-bounds and is managed by ski patrol, however the bowl is quite steep and at risk of avalanching. Appropriate avalanche gear and precautions are recommended.

The Playground is also considered a double black run, but this trail is a waste of time unless there’s lots of snow cover or you have no respect for the base on your skis or snowboard.

Sidecountry

Big White has a little bit of side-country to the skiers’ right of Kalina’s Rainbow which drops down to the Moonlight run. Other popular sidecountry is a hike to the skiers’ left along the reasonably flat ridge from the Cliff chair, with lines that head down to the chair lift.


Big White Snow

“It’s the Snow” is the motto of Big White and whilst it’s very good, I’m not sure if this is the strength they should be bragging about? Big White receives 7.5 metres of snowfall annually on average, with a tendency for consistent regular snowfalls, rather than big dumps. This is a decent amount of snowfall, but it’s slightly less than the average for a BC ski resort.

With regards to snow quality, visitors from Eastern Canada would be in heaven and definitely think that “it’s the snow” at Big White. The snow is reasonably dry and also far superior to the coastal powder at Whistler Blackcomb.

Big White Canada is also proud of their snow ghosts. Whilst these are visually impressive, the snow ghosts are really just indicative of moist and windy weather conditions that aren’t conducive to supreme powder conditions.

Big White ski resort needs a decent snow base to get started. Summer grooming has meant this isn’t such an issue on the groomed piste, but some of the other trails and the off-piste require plenty of snow cover. For example, the Falcon chair offers some of the best terrain on the hill, but it’s often the last to open due to inadequate snow.


Big White Weather

I don’t mind not getting a suntan or if I can’t see too well whilst I’m skiing if it’s dumping with snow, but at Big White it’s more often just foggy weather that creates visibility problems. Some harsh people unaffectionately call the ski resort “Big White Out” due to the common foggy conditions.

When the “Big White Out” hits, head for tree lined runs or glades where the visibility is generally OK. Nevertheless if you’re lucky enough to own multiple pairs of goggles, you might want to pack the ones suitable for flat light.

Due to its location, the temperatures are fairly reasonable. It’s warmer than the Rockies area, but colder than Whistler, and it feels quite nippy when you add the wind-chill factor, particularly over on the western side (e.g. Gem Lake chair) of the resort where it's often windy.


Big White Crowds

Big White is definitely not crowded like some of the big European ski resorts, Whistler, or the high profile Colorado ski resorts that get smashed with the crowds. However compared to some other BC ski resorts such as Revelstoke Ski Resort, Kicking Horse, or Whitewater, Big White has relatively high skier traffic, particularly on weekends (population of the Kelowna district is 180,000).

On weekdays there’s more skier traffic on the east side of the mountain, as many destination visitors like to ski here. The Gem Lake area is popular with the locals, so the crowds even up somewhat on weekends. Lift queues are rarely a problem, and generally you only have to wait a maximum of a couple of minutes to get on a chair.


Facilities & Activities

For such a large ski resort, the village is surprisingly on the small side and there are only a handful of shops and about 15 dining and drinking establishments. However the facilities are more than adequate to cover most ski holiday needs. The well developed amenities include day lodges, equipment rentals, child care, and a great ski school with a very strong kids’ program.

Evening entertainment is also provided for the kids and there are an abundance of family activities. These include ice skating, ice climbing, ice hockey, mega tubing, and mini snowmobiles for the kids. The resort also has regular family events such as carnival nights and fireworks.

Other Big White activities include cross country skiing, snow-shoeing, dog sledding, snowmobiling, or day spas for the ultimate in relaxation.

Transportation - Get In

Big White is located in the British Columbia interior, Canada. The Big White ski resort is situated on Big White Mountain, on the edge of the Monashee Mountains, 56km (35 miles) from Kelowna, the largest city in the Okanagan Valley. Or from Kelowna to the base of the Gem Lake chair lift, it’s only 45km (30 miles).

Big White ski resort is 450km east of Vancouver (5.5 hour drive) and 650km west by road from Calgary (8.5 hour drive). The address for Big White is 5315 Big White Road, Kelowna.


By plane

Most travellers access Big White ski resort by flying into Kelowna airport, which is 14km from central Kelowna and 59km from Big White (a 50-60 minute drive).

Various airlines operate regular flights to Kelowna from Vancouver, Calgary, Seattle, Las Vegas and Los Angeles (with United). You can use one of our flight search aggregators to compare flight routes and prices.

Shuttles from Kelowna to Big White

There are regular shuttles from the airport at Kelowna to Big White.

For a little more money you get the convenience of travelling in style and not having to wait for others with a private limo service.


By car

Once at Big White you won’t need a car, but if Big White isn’t your only destination, getting a rental car at the airport is another option. A large number of car rentals are available from Kelowna Airport. From Kelowna, the drive is east/southeast on highway 97, then onto highway 33 and left onto Big White Road.

The drive up Big White Road is reasonably easy for a ski resort. At times the road is snow covered and you’ll need to exercise caution, but it’s a wide road that’s not particularly windy or steep.

Most Big White accommodation offers dedicated parking. For day trippers the main parking is at the Happy Valley parking lot, and there’s a little parking near the Ridge Day Lodge and at the base of the Black Forest Express. Advanced riders tend to park down at Gem Lake, which cuts about 8km off the drive up from Kelowna.

Transportation - Get Around

Once at Big White you can’t really use your car much because parking up anywhere near the mid-mountain car-free village is very limited. It’s not only a pedestrian village but also ski-through, with the Easy Street green run passing through the village. The snow here is generally very packed down so it’s easy to walk along.

The Big White Road goes up the mountain from the base up to the village, with various small roads that lead off to the accommodations. These roads can be used to walk about although they’re a little dark in the evening. There is also a walking path between Happy Valley at the base and the mid-mountain village, and for those staying in private vacation rentals across at the Snow Pines Estates, there’s a walking path that heads across to the village. These cross a couple of ski runs and the many foot prints in the snow mar the otherwise perfect grooming of the slopes! You’ll definitely want good snow boots for these trails.

Big White has a free shuttle bus that stops at major points around the resort and runs from 7-11am and 4-10pm. Maps and timetables are available via central reservations.

A quick mode of transport between Happy Valley and the mid-mountain village is the Lara Gondola, which is free for pedestrians.

Accommodation & Hotels

Ski Area

Big White skiing and snowboarding is across a variety of terrain including groomed runs, bumps, glades, tight trees, a great terrain park, and a steep powder bowl. In general, Big White BC is nirvana for intermediates and it’s very good for beginners. Of the 1,147 hectares of skiable terrain at Big White, an amazing 367 hectares (32%) is groomed. Big White also has lots of terrain to suit advanced riders, and a few challenging slopes for experts.

The zone below the mid-mountain village at the Big White ski resort consists of green runs. To the east and above the village are blue and green trails, whilst tucked over the back is an alpine bowl that serves up double black diamond runs. West of the village are lots of blue runs, with more blacks than blues as you move further northwest towards the Gem Lake chair lift.


Big White Beginner Skiing

Big White's beginner terrain is popular with beginners because unlike many resorts, beginners can ski from summit to base on green runs.

Absolute beginners should head to Happy Valley, below the main resort, where two Magic Carpets take away the pain of getting on and off ski lifts. Nearer the resort the easy greens of Hummingbird and Woodcutter are the ideal slopes for first tentative turns. Beyond the nursery slopes, every lift offers the option of an easy (green) run so beginners wanting to get a few miles under their ski belts can fully explore the ski area.

The terrain off the T-Bar near the summit of the resort is popular with beginners because it is above tree line and provides tremendous views of the valley below.


Big White Intermediate Skiing

Big White is an ideal destination for intermediate skiers and boarders with plenty of long well-groomed runs for cruising while the off-piste terrain is a good learning ground for wannabe powder hounds.

Big White prides itself on well-groomed pistes and the velvet corduroy on offer is ideal for intermediates. Cross the entire ski area to reach gladed runs above Gem Lake, longer and often quieter than the trails directly above the resort. The Gem Lake lift offers the largest single-lift vertical drop in the area: the 710 metres long Kalina's Rainbow ends at the Westridge Warming Hut, where you can stop for a restorative coffee and chocolate bar.

Follow-up with a few runs down the blue trails of Snowy, Blue Ribbon and Blue Sapphire before taking on the challenge of the diamond black trails. Join the monthly 'Cruz the Blues' event during which skiers are challenged to ski all of Big White's intermediate runs during two days.


Big White Expert Skiing

Big White has an outstanding array of expert runs. The Cliff area on the east side from Big White Peak offers a number of short but sweet options for expert skiers.

The Cliff is an entirely ungroomed section of the ski area. Expert skiers can pick a line, any line, down the curving bowl reached from the top of the Cliff chair. The gradient is double diamond black from top to bottom and there are few trees or natural obstacles to interrupt your descent.

Once you've exhausted the options at the Cliff head to Gem Lake, at the far side of Big White, to reach the ski area's longest trails. The Playground trail from the top of the Gem Lake Express is the only double diamond black away from the Cliff area. The ungroomed Sun-Rype bowl is another option, though conditions can be testing and the snow a little crusty when it lives up to its name.

Off-piste enthusiasts will enjoy skiing in the fine, dry powder that falls on the Monashee mountains and nicknamed 'Hero Snow' by the locals.


Big White Snowboarding

Snowboarders will get the same amount of exhilaration as skiers out of Big White’s numerous powder bowls. Big White’s 15-acre TELUS Snowpark is also a big draw, though the terrain park at nearby Silver Star is bigger.

Designed with progression in mind the park has a series of increasingly more challenging features from "small" through to "x-large" including a Boarder and Skier Cross track, a 44ft half-pipe and an Olympic-sized Super Pipe. The park has its own access lift and is floodlit for night-time sessions on the snow.

Ski lifts & pass


Big White Ski Lifts

The lift infrastructure at Big White is pretty good and it continues to develop. The ski resort has 16 lifts including a high-speed 6-pack chair and four high-speed quads. There is also a gondola for transportation between Happy Valley and the mid-mountain village.

The Gem Lake Express is particularly impressive, offering speedy access to 711 metres of vertical skiing. If only it had some nice Perspex hoods for protection from the elements!

The Powder chair is a let down of Big White and unfortunately it’s required to travel to and from Gem Lake. The chair is very slow and the powder rewards not necessarily worth it. It seemed to stop every time we got on it and subsequently it sometimes developed queues. Thankfully it’s set to be replaced in the near future.

Night skiing at Big White is pretty remarkable with a large area that incorporates not just green bunny runs but also some long blue runs.


Big White Ski Lift Passes

Lift passes can be bought at four points: the Village Centre Mall, the Happy Valley Day Lodge, the Ridge Day Lodge and the Gem Lake Warming Hut (001 250 491 6121). Children aged 5 and under ski for free and there are discounts for children aged 6 to 12 years old, teenagers up to 18 years and seniors over 65 years. The lift pass also includes a day's skiing in Silver Star.


1-Day

Day Lift TicketWindow Price | Peak SeasonOnline Pre-Purchase | Peak SeasonOnline Reload | Peak Season
Adult
(19 - 64)
$95 | $105$95 | $105$90 | $100
Youth
(13 - 18)
$80 | $89$80 | $89$75 | $84
Child
(6 - 12)
$54 | $62$54 | $62$49 | $57
Senior
(65+)
$80 | $89$80 | $89$75 | $84
Student
(19+)
$80 | $89N/AN/A
Tots
(5 & Under)
FREE


2-Day

2 Day Lift TicketWindow Price | Peak SeasonOnline Pre-Purchase | Peak SeasonOnline Reload | Peak Season
Adult
(19 - 64)
$180 | $198$180 | $198$175 | $193
Youth
(13 - 18)
$152 | $167$152 | $167$147 | $162
Child
(6 - 12)
$101 | $114$101 | $114$96 | $109
Senior
(65+)
$152 | $167$152 | $167$147 | $162
Student
(19+)
$152 | $167N/AN/A
Tots
(5 & Under)
FREE


3-Day

3 Day Lift TicketWindow Price | Peak SeasonOnline Pre-Purchase | Peak SeasonOnline Reload | Peak Season
Adult
(19 - 64)
$265 | $291$265 | $291$260 | $286
Youth
(13 - 18)
$224 | $245$224 | $245$219 | $240
Child
(6 - 12)
$148 | $166$148 | $166$143 | $161
Senior
(65+)
$224 | $245$224 | $245$219 | $240
Student
(19+)
$224 | $245N/AN/A
Tots
(5 & Under)
FREE


Afternoon & Night

Other Lift TicketsAfternoon 12:30pm - 3:30pm | Peak SeasonAfternoon & Night 12:30pm - 8:00pm | Peak SeasonNight 3:30pm - 8:00pm | Peak SeasonBeginner Ticket | Peak Season
Adult
(19 - 64)
$73 | $83$95 | $105$25 | $35$25
Youth
(13 - 18)
$62 | $71$80 | $89$25 | $35$25
Child
(6 - 12)
$42 | $50$54 | $62$25 | $35$15
Senior
(65+)
$62 | $71$80 | $89$25 | $35$25
Student
(19+)
$62 | $71$80 | $89$25 | $35$25
Tots
(5 & Under)
FREE

Facilities & Services

The Big White mid-mountain village is somewhat compact and home to most of the ski resort facilities and services. Many of these are contained within an enormous day lodge building (Village Centre Mall). The well developed amenities at Big White include on-mountain eateries, ski and snowboard rentals, child care, and a ski school with a fantastic kids’ program.


Big White Ski Rentals

The Big White equipment rentals for adults are housed in the Village Centre Mall building, whilst for kids the equipment rentals are incorporated within the Big White Kids Centre across the way. The rental shops provide a decent range of skis and snowboards; both standard and high performance. The Big White ski rentals shop also hires out cross-country skiing equipment, snowblades, snowshoes and helmets. The equipment rental rates are about average for a western Canadian ski resort.


Facilities for Children

Big White ski resort has one of the best kids’ programs in Canada, and has first class evening entertainment. Activities available include ice skating, hockey, tubing, fireworks and live entertainment. There are also regular family events such as carnival nights.

Tot Town Day Care is for kids aged 18 months to 5 years and includes both indoor and outdoor activities. A daycare plus program is also provided which combines day care with skiing for young children who can’t ski the whole day (and need a nice nap!). Children ages 2-3 can have a 1 hour private ski lesson, whilst 4-5 year olds can have a 2 hour group lesson. Rates for Big White child care are pretty average for a Canada ski resort.

If you want a night out on the town, the day care centre can hook you up with babysitters who will come to your accommodation.


Big White Ski School

Big White offers a large variety of ski school programs including private and group lessons, special improvement programs, terrain park lessons and race camps. The Big White ski school programs are all very reasonably priced.

In line with being a great family resort, the ski school is well developed and very experienced at providing children’s lessons. Kids group ski lessons are provided for ages 4 and up, and snowboard lessons for ages 7 and up. These are either in a half day or full day format, and arts and crafts activities are incorporated in the morning and at lunch time.

The ski school base is in the centre of the village which makes for easy access, or the Big White ski school provides a “pick-up” service where one of the instructors will come and pick up the kids from your accommodation.


Eating On Mountain

There are a few on-mountain eateries at Big White for grabbing a snack or lunch between runs.

There’s the Ridge Day Lodge at the bottom of the Ridge Rocket chair lift that has self-service dining with the usual ski resort cafeteria fare.

The Westridge Warming Hut is located at the bottom of Gem Lake. It’s much more than just a warming hut; it’s more of a small day lodge. They sell coffees, basic lunches and snacks, but it’s not self-service so on peak weekends queues to buy something can develop.

At the bottom of the Lara Gondola is the Happy Valley Day Lodge which has a very family friendly cafeteria.

Considering the Big White village is ski-in ski-out, there are plenty of options for lunch or a snack at any of the eateries. The village mall offers a yummy bakery and a coffee shop, and there are more formal Big White restaurants as well.

Even though lunch is pretty inexpensive in most places, you might also find yourself at home eating the previous night’s leftovers.

Activities & Things to do

Besides Heliskiing, Night Skiing, and Nordic Skiing, there is tons of stuff to do at Big White, even if you are not into skiing and riding. The 60 foot ice tower does not only look impressive but is even more fun to climb up. Located in Happy Valley Adventure Park you can get the help of trained constructers and make it to a fun family activity!


Family Activities

Family centric activities are largely located down at Happy Valley, at the base of the Lara Gondola.

The Mega Snow Coaster is a must-do activity for families or anyone who wants a bit of a giggle. The tubing park has multiple lanes. One side has steep single lanes for those who want to go fast, whilst the other side of the park has double lanes for those that want to ride in pairs or a group. The Mega Snow Coaster is mega fun!

Other activities at Happy Valley include mini snowmobiles for the kids, ice-skating on a large rink, horse drawn sleigh rides, and dog sledding tours.

For those who are a little more adventurous there is ice-climbing on a big tower. You can do just one climb if you wish, which includes equipment rental, tuition and a staff member to belay you.

In addition to all these activities, Big White organises special family events, carnivals and fireworks.


Cross Country Skiing

Big White Happy Valley is also the start of the 25km Nordic skiing trails, and you can also snow-shoe on these trails. You can DIY snowshoe or take a daytime or evening tour.


Snowmobiling

Big White Snowmobile tours for the big kids (you have to be 19 years or older to drive a big snowmobile) are available at Big White, which includes helmets and warm clothing. Tour durations are 1, 2, 3 or 4 hours and they also have Wiener Roast tours on Friday and Saturday evenings.


Ice Hockey

You can get into the Canadian culture by taking in an ice hockey match in Kelowna to see the Kelowna Rockets. The resort organizes a bus and tickets to the game.


Relaxation

For a bit of R&R, there are a couple of Big White day spas including Beyond Wrapture (at Chateau Big White) and Elevation Village Spa, offering massage and other treatments.

Restaurants & Nightlife


Après-Ski and Nightlife

Nightlife is full on in Big White. The bars and nightclubs give you enough choices. Moose Lounge is definitely worth checking out. It is opened from 11am every morning and offers daily drink specials as well as an appetizer menu for après ski. Moreover, it offers live entertainment every afternoon.

Snowshoe Sam´s was recently voted #1 Ski Bar by a Canadian Magazine and of course there are plenty of reasons for it! Not only it convinces with a neat pub atmosphere, meals, and beer, there´s also never a shortage of DJ's and live bands.

When it comes to mountain nightlife, the Sessions Taphouse & Grill nails it by bringing in artists you won’t see anywhere else on the mountain as well as Dj’s and bands from the biggest festivals.


Dining and Restaurants

For such a large ski resort there are surprisingly not that many restaurants in Big White, which is possibly indicative of the family nature of Big White and that many folks stay at their condo for the night and cook-in. There are about 15 establishments for dining in the evening and they are all quite good, but most of them are cut from the same mould. Most of the Big White restaurants are bars and grills serving up North American cuisine, with the main variation being the degree of casualness or family friendliness.

A notable exception to the bar and grill arrangement is the very fabulous Globe Café and Tapas Bar, which provides uniquely creative cuisine, particularly for après ski and dinner when they serve up a large range of interesting tapas to share with friends. This upscale Big White restaurant has lovely décor and ambience, and is a must-do! The Globe is located at Trappers Crossing, which is a half a minute walk from the end of the village.

At the other end of the village is the 6 Degrees Bistro in Stonebridge Lodge. This fine dining restaurant incorporates Italian and Mediterranean fare, which can be accompanied by a range of Okanagan wine.

The Gunbarrel Grill is located upstairs from Snowshoe Sam’s Pub and is somewhat typical of the Big White restaurants, serving burgers, pastas, steaks, and other meat dishes. It’s a little upscale but still reasonably casual, there’s a kids menu, and the décor and many western artifacts make it all rather fun.

The Black Diamond Bar and Grill offers a similar evening dining experience although it’s possibly a little more upmarket.

Happy Valley is where a lot of the family entertainment is held, so the Moose Lounge and Bistro at Happy Valley day lodge is well attended. They serve up drinks and simple fare. It has live music and is very family friendly.

For lazy nights in, "The Underground" pizzeria at the bakery delivers yummy pizzas, or you can take out or dine in whilst partaking in a cold beer.


On Mountain Dining

With numerous on-mountain restaurants, cafes, delis, pubs and nightclubs, there is no shortage of places to relax or refill your energy level - actually, you’re spoiled with choices. Enjoy luxurious lunches or just sit for a drink to warm your soul.

The Happy Valley Cafeteria is best known for their wraps, burgers, salads, and indulging deserts. Pay it a visit for a fast, yet fulfilling meal and hot and cold beverages. The Moonlight Bistro, located at the Gem Lake convinces with fresh baked goods, homemade soups and yummy sandwiches. The Bean Scene coffee bar serves coffee specialties, teas, hot chocolate, and delicious home made food for a quick pick-me-up during a long day on the slopes. Everything, even the bread, is prepared fresh in the bakery. Some vegan options are also available.

The Black Diamond Bar & Grill with its splendid panorama of the Monashee Mountains and the excellent food is a favorite among locals and visitors. You should come here if you are either craving a perfect steak or seafood. Conveniently located in Chateau Big White, you definitely have to schedule a stop here.

If you are craving baked goods like cinnamon buns, muffins and fresh baked sweet & savory dishes, Frosted Snowflake will hit your spot. Sk8ers Bistro, located downstairs in the Happy Valley Day Lodge, serves ice cream desserts, yummy Belgium waffles, delicious hot and fresh pizza by the slice, grilled paninis and warm beverages.

Globe Cafe & Tapas Bar is the place to enjoy fast healthy breakfasts, a delicious lunch, come for après ski or meet for dinner enjoying the extensive menu of globally inspired mouth-watering tapas dishes for the whole family. Located in Base of the Ridge Rocket, the Ridge Rocket Cafe also serves hearty breakfasts, homemade soups, baked goods as well as burgers, fries and hot dogs.


Daytime Restaurants/Grills

Considering the ski-through nature of the village, it is easy to schuss in to grab some daytime fare. Some of the Big White restaurants/grills are open for breakfast, and most are open for lunch with a simple menu on offer.

Once again the Globe Café is a standout for day time fare. They offer breakfast, simple Panini lunches and have the best coffee in town.

Beano’s at the day lodge in the village also does great coffee and snacks, although the coffee making seems to occur at a snail’s pace.

Downstairs in the day lodge is the Big White Bakery where you can get plenty of dough for your dough. They have yummy breads, rolls, pastries and naughty cakes, and it’s all super cheap.


Bars & Restaurants list

  • 6° Bistro (Slope-side in Stonebridge Lodge),  +1 250 491-1716Tu-Su lunch noon-3PM, dinner from 6PMFeatures regular wine tastings and events. Menu has an Italian and Mediterranean theme for the 2012-13 season. Reservations recommended.
  • Kettle Valley Steakhouse and Wine BarRide the gondola to Happy Valley for delectable cuisine, relaxed surroundings, and a stylish wine bar offering Okanagan wines.
  • Swiss Bear (in the Chateau Big White in the heart of the Big White village). Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. European cuisine and delicious fondues.
  • Frank's Chinese Laundry Restaurant (in the Whitefoot Lodge). Chinese dining with a lunchtime buffet.
  • The Copper Kettle Grill (slope side in the White Crystal Inn). Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
  • The Underground Pizzeria (in the lower level of the Village Centre Mall). Pizza for eat-in or take-out. Delivery is also available.
  • Ridge Rocket Café (at the base of the Ridge Rocket and Plaza chairs). Serving hearty breakfasts, daily homemade soups, fresh salads & baked goods, burgers and fries.
  • Gem Lake Café (at the Westridge Warming Hut). Coffee, fresh sandwiches and baked goods.
  • Raakel's Ridge PubRaakel's Ridge Pub and Coltino's Ristorante. Ski in/ski out location at Big White Ski Resort.
  • Snowshoe Sam'sSam's has great pub atmosphere. Meals, après ski, games, DJ entertainment and live bands. The dining room is located upstairs and features a big stone fireplace, superb food and the famous 'Gunbarrel Coffee' show.
  • Loose Moose Café and Bar (at the Happy Valley Day Lodge). A fun atmosphere for the whole family. During the day the Loose Moose is the café which offers a variety of coffees, and pastries. In the evening, it's a family friendly restaurant that offers a full kids menu and nightly entertainment.
  • Snow Ghost Lounge (in the White Crystal Inn). Live entertainment on weekends.
  • Powder Keg Lounge (at the Inn at Big White). Featuring East Indian delicacies, this bar has an inviting and friendly atmosphere.

Shopping

Big White shopping is somewhat limited. This isn’t a bustling village like Whistler Ski Resort with a huge array of shopping, or even like Sun Peaks where you can stroll through the village and browse through various ski shops and art galleries. There are only a handful of Big White shops. These will cover off any basic requirements and a little bit of souvenir shopping, but they won’t keep a shopper-aholic entertained for very long.


Big White Ski Shops

Ski Dazzle is a large ski shop located in the day lodge, offering lots of variety with respect to ski apparel and accessories such as helmets, goggles and gloves. They have lots of reasonably upscale outerwear brands including Spyder, Obermeyer, and Descente, as well as loads of thermals and mid layers, some emblazoned with the Big White logo. Ski Dazzle also sells lots of Big White logo clothing and a raft of other souvenirs.

Ski hardwear can be found at the Dizzie’s Big White ski shop across from the village day lodge. Don’t be fooled by all the retro boots they have on display. These are definitely just for decoration and they are very reputable boot fitters for modern ski boots! The ski-in ski-out location also makes it a great place to buy some new boots because it’s easy to pop in to get any necessary adjustments. Dizzie’s also sells a variety of ski accessories and lots of performance skis including fat skis.

The Village Rider is a snowboard shop located downstairs in the village centre mall (day lodge). It’s somewhat cramped but the shop is jam packed with lots of goodies including an array of snowboards, boots, bindings, and lots of snowboard clothing and street wear.

The Mountain Gear Specialist is a small Big White ski shop located upstairs from the supermarket. The name would suggest it specializes in mountain equipment and clothing but this isn’t the case and it severely disappoints. They just sell poor quality snow clothing, lots of beanies and some Big White souvenirs.

Big White Kids is a pint-sized store located on the mezzanine level of the day lodge. This shop has lots of snow outfits for little people, helmets, and some of the cutest hats and gloves. It’s a shame these accessories are just for kids and they don’t come in sizes to fit me!


General Shopping Big White

Like many other Canadian resorts, Big White does the souvenir trade very well. The shop have great local and Canadian keepsakes that are actually worth buying, and plenty of Big White memorabilia. Ski Dazzle has a large range of souvenirs and there’s a small shop near the supermarket that specializes in souvenirs and customized Big White T-shirts.

Upstairs from Ski Dazzle is Envy, a ladies boutique that sells jewellery, bags, pretty clothing, and all things girlie. The shops just seems a little incongruent with a ski resort because it sells flimsy dresses and clothing that you could never wear at the snow, but I guess some girls just like to shop!

Down Under is a souvenir and gift shop located downstairs in the day lodge. They sell various Big White logo souvenirs including glasses and magnets, but they mostly sell general gifts, snazzy teapots, Asian knick-knacks, and other eclectic trinkets.

If you need some decent retail therapy you’ll need to head down to Kelowna. On some days the resort has a shopping bus that takes shoppers for the day to Orchard Park shopping mall in Kelowna. Enquire at the activities desk.


Grocery Shopping

The Market is a medium sized grocery store located in the Whitefoot Lodge in the village. They have a good variety of groceries, a deli with meat and cheese, and some fresh produce such as fruit and vegies. They run on a ski hill currency and it’s rather expensive, so if you can stock up on supplies in Kelowna you’ll save a few pennies. There are lots of supermarkets in Kelowna, some on the road out to Big White (e.g. Cooper’s Foods, MarketPlace IGA). Alternatively there is a grocery delivery service where you can pre-order your groceries.

The Market also sells alcoholic beverages including beers, wine (BC and Australia) and spirits. The prices for alcohol seem reasonable.

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