Monashee Powder Adventures
TOP ELEVATION: 7,700 feet
VERTICAL DROP: 4,800 feet
ANNUAL SNOWFALL: 700 inches
SKIABLE ACREAGE: 7,300 acres
INFO & RESERVATIONS: 888-353-8877
TOP ELEVATION: 6,280 feet
VERTICAL DROP: 2,500 feet
ANNUAL SNOWFALL: 240 inches
SKIABLE ACREAGE: 1,440 acres
TERRAIN: 20% green 50% blue 20% black 10% double black
LIFTS: 2 detachable quads, 1 fixed-grip quad, 2 doubles, 3 surface lifts
INFO & RESERVATIONS: 250-542-0224, 800-663-4431
TOP ELEVATION: 7,606 feet
VERTICAL DROP: 2,550 feet
ANNUAL SNOWFALL: 294 inches
SKIABLE ACREAGE: 2,150 acres
TERRAIN: 18% green 30% blue 26% black 26% double black
LIFTS: 4 detachable quads, 1 fixed-grip quad, 1 triple, 1 double, 2 surface lifts
INFO & RESERVATIONS: 800-663-2772
Fly into Kelowna; from there the three areas are within a 90-mile radius. Air Canada (800-776-3000) flies to Kelowna from 46 U.S. cities. Canadian Airlines (800-426-7000) flies from most major cities. And Horizon Air (800-547-9308) flies from points West and throughout California.
Monashee Powder Adventures offers 3-, 4-, and 7-day packages for C$350 a day-meals, accommodations, skiing, and hair-raising snowmobile rides included. (Price is less in low season.) Lift tickets at Big White range from C$45 for adults to C$24 for kids; free for 5 and unders. The area also offers a 5-night, 4-day package including lifts and lodging, starting at C$262. At Silver Star, a ticket costs C$47 for adults and gets cheaper as you get younger. Under 5 and over 70 ski free. Skican (800-363-3009) sells week-long packages to Silver Star or Big White, starting at US$770. They include airfare from nearly a dozen Eastern cities, airport transfers, lodging, and lift tickets.
Big White has two youth hostels and 16 condo groups and inns. Nearly all accommodations are ski-in/ski-out and within an easy walk of the village. The slopeside White Crystal Inn at Big White (C$144 nightly with breakfast) is where Sara stayed. At Silver Star, colorful Victorian-style condos cover a lift-served knoll close to the base village. Sara stayed at the Delta Silver Star Club Resort, which offers comfortable standard-fare ski-hotel suites. The Silver Lode Inn (C$99-C$216) is a Swiss-style hotel in the village. The Lord Aberdeen has two-bedroom suites for C$180-C$245, which are ideal for families.
FOOD & DRINK
Big White: Downstairs at Snowshoe Sam's is great for lunch, beer, and watching curling on the big screen. Upstairs is fancier, serving salmon, hearty steaks, and gunbarrel coffee (a flaming after-dinner drink poured down the barrel of a rifle). Silver Star: Sara recommends the Szechuan stir fry at Clementine's. A local favorite is the Thursday night buffet at the Silver Lode Inn, where a chef named Isidore carves the veal and roast beef. For breakfast, Bugaboos Bakery and Café is a must for fresh croissants, pastries, and steaming lattes.
When passing Lake Okanagan, keep an eye out for B.C.'s version of the Loch Ness mon-ster, a 100-foot lake lizard named Ogopogo. This mythic beast is rumored to thrive in the lake's trenchlike depths, surfacing occasion-ally to titillate locals and tourists alike.
At Silver Star, watch out for Dag Aabye, an aging Norwegian stunt skier famed for his high-speed ski chases in James Bond movies. He can be found working at the general store in the village or on the slopes, where he skis in a Lycra bodysuit.
Serious road-trippers might consider interior B.C.'s other beyond-Whistler options. Sun Peaks, Apex, Fernie, and Red Mountain-also beneficiaries of the region's ultradry snow-are all within a half-day's drive.