Drive time from Calgary: Approximately eight hours
What started as a community hill in 1958 has grown into one of B.C. largest resorts, with 3,282 acres of terrain split between the steeper runs on the shady backside, and the groomers and sun-dappled glades on the front face. Don’t let its location close to Kelowna fool you into thinking it’s crowded, either — you can expect to ski on to almost every lift.
The cheerful mountain village (modelled after a colourful Victorian-era town) and its family-friendly reputation are a big draw for SilverStar, located a 25-minute drive northeast of Vernon. Families soon discover it also has challenging terrain, along with the other activities beloved by kids such as tubing, ice skating and junior snowmobiles to try out.
Start the day with a warm-up on the easy cruiser, Far Out, ending up in Trinity Trees and its rollicking woods with plenty of powder stashes. Then you can head up the gondola, traverse over to Attridge Mountain, and do laps on the leisurely Alpine Meadows chair to get to less-skied, powder-filled runs like Ridgeback and Attridge Face.
To mix up your winter fun, ride the gondola to SilverStar’s summit, clip into cross-country skis, and proceed to glide your way back to the base on the resort’s extensive network of Nordic trails. You’ll cross downhill runs on the upper mountain, and pass snowshoers and fat-bikers when you reach the multi-use paths near the village. The experience will convince you that, nowadays, mountain resorts truly are for all winter sport enthusiasts — not just downhill riders.
For a unique on-mountain experience, rent one of the resort’s Victorian-style homes. Some, such as Alpenglow Whole House, can sleep multiple families. It’s tempting to do all your après in the private hot tub, but the rustic vibe at Long John’s Pub is worth an order of nachos and a pitcher of beer for the plus-19 crowd.
Even if you do land accommodations with a private hot tub, you’ll still want to treat your tired muscles with a proper massage. Don’t hesitate to book an appointment at Elevate Spa, an Aveda Concept spa in the Silver Star village, that offers full RMT services as well as the ever-popular hot-stone massages during the winter season.