Skiing and Snowboarding in Vancouver
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Skiing and Snowboarding
The North Shore Mountains—from Howe Sound in the west to Indian Arm in the east—are made up of dozens of peaks. The most prominent are The Lions, twin granite "ears" visible from around the Lower Mainland. The highest is Brunswick Mountain at 1,788 meters (5,866 feet). Skiing is generally confined to the Cypress Group (Mt. Strachan and Hollyburn Mountain), Grouse Mountain, and Mt. Seymour; all three have excellent downhill and snowboarding facilities. While ski areas and trails are generally well marked, once you ski outside the boundaries you're entering rugged wilderness that can be distinctly unfriendly to humans. All mountain-goers are strongly advised to respect maps and signposts. All mountains also offer a full range of services, including eateries, rentals, and lessons. The ski season generally runs from early December through early spring. Cypress Provincial Park is a major cross-country skiing area.
Downhill Skiing and Snowboarding
While Whistler Resort, a two-hour drive from Vancouver, is the top-ranked ski destination in the region, the North Shore Mountains hold three excellent ski and snowboard areas. All have rentals, lessons, night skiing, and a variety of runs suitable for all skill levels. Grouse Mountain can be reached by TransLink buses. Cypress and Seymour each run shuttle buses from Lonsdale Quay and other North Shore stops.
Cypress Mountain. The newest of three North Shore commercial ski resorts, Cypress Mountain is nonetheless well equipped, and was made even more so with the completion of freestyle skiing and snowboarding venues built for the 2010 Winter Olympics. Facilities include five quad or double chairs, 38 downhill runs, and a vertical drop of 1,750 feet. The resort has a snow-tubing area and snowshoe tours. This is also a major cross-country skiing area. Cypress Bowl Rd., West Vancouver, BC, V7V 3N9. 604/419-7669. www.cypressmountain.com.
Grouse Mountain. Reached by gondola from the upper reaches of North Vancouver, much of the Grouse Mountain ski resort inhabits a slope overlooking the city. Although the views are fine on a clear day, at night (the area is known for its night skiing) they're spectacular. Facilities include two quad chairs, 26 skiing and snowboarding runs, and several all-level freestyle-terrain parks. The vertical drop is 1,210 feet. There's a choice of upscale and casual dining in a handsome stone-and-timber lodge. 6400 Nancy Greene Way, North Vancouver, BC, V7R 4K9. 604/980-9311; 604/986-6262 snow report. www.grousemountain.com.
Mount Seymour. A full-service winter activity area, the Mount Seymour ski resort sprawls over 200 acres accessed from eastern North Vancouver. With three chairs for varying abilities; a beginner's rope tow, equipment rentals, and lessons; and toboggan and tubing runs, it's a popular destination for families. Snowboarding is particularly popular. The eateries aren't fancy. 1700 Mt. Seymour Rd., North Vancouver, BC, V7G 1L3. www.mountseymour.com.
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