The West Coast of Canada is home to some of the best mountains to ski, snowboard, and snowshoe in the world, like Big White, Sun Peaks and Whistler Blackcomb, which have only gotten better since the 2010 Olympics. But Vancouver’s local mountains–Grouse, Seymour and Cypress–are also top notch resorts convenient for those in the area. During the Olympics, some of the events even took place at the three, so when you are planning to hit the slopes in BC, don’t overlook these great, Vancouver-area slopes.
Grouse is regarded as the “Peak of Vancouver” because it is the best perch from which to look over the city and its skyline. The only way up the mountain is the gondola, so if you can’t or don’t own a car to drive up it makes it very convenient, unlike the other mountains. Overall Grouse is the most accessible but the consequence of that is it usually has the longest lineups. For a 5-minute trail down, it could be a 45-minute wait in line for the chairlift. The weather is also very inconsistent and unpredictable compared to the others. Still, Grouse hosts the most and enjoyable events out of the three. One of the bigger events is the “24 hours of Winter”. You spend all night on the mountain from 8:30 pm – 10:30 am the next day. There is a DJ, movies, ziplining, competitions and snowshoe trails–open to all that attend. I recommend Grouse to someone who doesn’t always have a ride to get to the further out hills but still wants to enjoy the snow and events.
Out of the three, Seymour is my favourite, especially when I want to work on new tricks in the park. In terms of size though, it is the smallest mountain with the least amount of trails but it still has its benefits especially for park rats who spend the majority of their time in the terrain parks. The SBC Resort Guide ranked Seymour’s terrain parks as number two in Western Canada in 2013, behind only Whistler Blackcomb. There are four parks in the winter and a fifth in the spring when there is more snow. Each with a good variety of obstacles ranging from small to large. They have many sponsors that keep their park fresh and a crew who make sure it’s in the best of shape. Each sponsor has their own feature in the park. Some of their sponsors include Rockstar, Thirtytwo, Dragon and Stance what are all big companies with a foot in the snowboard industry. There is also a pro team that features people like Jake Kuzyk and Dania Assaly because of how good Seymour’s terrain parks are.
The last local mountain is Cypress. It’s the biggest resort of the three because it is technically two mountains: Mt. Strachan and Black Mountain. It has the longest trail at 4 km, while Seymour’s longest is 2 km and Grouse’s is 1 km. It has the most chairlifts and there is more variety of green and blue runs. You can have a blue with is populated with trees and ones without. Some disadvantages are that the black diamond runs are not at the difficulty level that they should be and are closer to a hard blue trail; and that the mountain usually only has three or four terrain parks open, while the website advertises six. The parks are also not as well-maintained or groomed as Seymour but they’re still top-notch nonetheless. The resort also has the highest elevation and usually gets the most snow. A person who enjoys cruising along greens, blues, tree runs and is a powder hunter will enjoy and get the most out of this resort.
I’ve snowboarded each of the local mountains in all sorts of conditions and times during the season. Overall, compared to mountains outside of the west coast, Vancouver has some of the best ski resorts because of how close we are to the ocean. This brings in weather that is the perfect temperature for snow. These mountains really are the peak for ski resorts of their size.
Buttered up Boards is a Snowboarding column, written by King Mad and Simon Snow. Have any questions or comments? Ask King Mad and Simon Snow by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Your questions or comments may be used in future columns but your identity will always be kept confidential.