In 2011 we decided to come to Canada for a gap year and never left. We rented out our house in Melbourne and off we went and found house to rent in Deep Cove in North Vancouver and soon fell in love with the location and lifestyle. We live minutes from the beach and its 20 minutes from my front door to sitting on the chairlift on Mt Seymour which makes it an ideal location for all seasons.

Vancouverites love their local mountains and and are a year round playground for their outdoorsy lifestyles from hiking in summer to skiing and boarding, snowshoeing, tubing and tobogganing in the winter months.

The north shore mountains of Vancouver boast three ski hills to choose from.

Grouse Mountain

Grouse Mountain is the most popular of the three resorts as it is closest to downtown
Vancouver. You can catch public transport from downtown to Grouse mountain in 45 minutes which makes it ideal for the locals. Grouse is accesed by Cable Car which gives amazing views of Vancouver (on clear days) and has the best day lodge out of the three mountains with bars and restaurants boasting those superb views. They have an outdoor ice skating rink and Santa’s Workshop during Christmas. It can be a bit of a zoo trying to get down at the end of the day as there are sometimes a 2-3 cable car wait to get back down.

The runs are shorter but you can find some fun in the trees.  Great all year round resort and tourist attraction.

  • Night Skiing
  • Terrain Park
  • Ice Rink
  • Restaurant & Bar
  • Snowshoeing
  • Grizzly Bears (Summer Months)

Cypress Bowl

Cypress is the more famous of the three mountains due to the Olympics in 2010 and in my opinion has the best skiing.  The day lodge is modern and has great bar and restaurant facilities however its a bit more tricky to get to. You drive to West Vancouver and to the top of the mountain and park so a vehicle with snow tyres is a must and parking on weekends can be a bit of a Gong Show.
The runs are longer and a little more challenging.
  • Night Skiing
  • Terrain Park
  • Restaurant & Bar
  • Snowshoeing
  • Tube Park
  • Tobogganing

Mt Seymour

Mt Seymour is more of a family resort is the cheapest of the three resorts.  The facilities aren’t as great as the others but the snow is usually better.  They don’t have snow making facilities but they get more natural snow than the others as the weather seems to get stuck in the mountains and dump.  You drive to North Vancouver and to the top of the mountain and park, so like Cypress, parking on weekends is brutal.  Our motto for skiing weekends is “Go Early or Go Home” altough you can get parking later in the day after ski lessons have finished.
The runs are short but they make it fun with some creative snow grooming.
  • Night Skiing
  • Terrain Park
  • Restaurant & Bar
  • Tobogganing
  • Tube Park
  • Snowshoeing

For me the north shore mountains are a godsend.  I quite often nip up and ski for an hour or so after dropping the kids off at school in the morning and then back at my desk by 11am.  Myself and a group of dads from my daughters school get together on Wednesday evenings and head up to Mt Seymour and ski until 9:30pm, then its off to the pub for a quiet beer afterwards.  We ski as a family on most weekends and Whistler is only an hour and a half away for those weekend getaways.

When in Vancouver, why not check out the local ski hills for yourself.