The Vancouver Olympics Ski Trip
Resorts: 3 • Miles: 200 • Days: 6 • Hours: 5
Ski Roadtrip Overview
Best Time: December to April
For Skill Level: Expert
British Columbia has the second most ski resorts/areas in Canada behind Quebec. Earlier this year, we ranked British Columbia the best Canadian province for expert skiers. In this ski trip, we visit three iconic and popular ski resorts on the western side of the province.
Vancouver held the 2010 Winter Olympics, and Cypress Mountain held its freestyle skiing and snowboarding events. Whistler Blackcomb hosted the game’s downhill skiing such the Slaloms, Super G, and Super Combined events. Both of these Olympic ski resorts will be visited during this trip.
This trip obviously is completely within Canada. If you are a Canadian citizen, then move along – there is nothing else to be concerned about here. However, if you are American, you will of course also have to have a valid US passport to enter Canada.
The Vancouver airport has all major rental car companies available (Thrift, Avis, Hertz, Enterprise, Budget, etc). It would be good to check with your auto insurance company as well to double-check the logistics of you driving a rental car in another country.
We suggest that you schedule this vehicle as far in advance as you can. Do NOT expect to just show up at the rental kiosk in Vancouver and be able to find a vehicle. Lately, these rental counters typically have zero inventory for unscheduled rentals.
As mentioned, you’re going to need a 4WD vehicle. Expect snow-covered roads—especially leading into, and out of—the ski resorts as they are very high up and get massive amounts of snow during winter.
Fly into Vancouver, BC. This is one of the largest airports in Canada, and is serviced by all major airlines. The airport in right in the heart of the city along the Strait of Georgia.
The next location is 20 miles away (~.75 hours).
If your flight into Vancouver is not too late (or even if it is), you’ll probably want to make the hour trip up to Grouse Mountain right away. This allows you to hit the slopes early immediately instead of making the trip early in the morning.
North Vancouver, BC
Grouse Mountain does not have any ski-in, ski-out options, so staying in an outside venue is your only option.
Regardless, your first and second night’s stay should probably be between the first two ski resorts we’ll be visiting: Cypress and Grouse Mountains. In the North or West Vancouver suburbs, you’ll find countless Airbnb and hotel options.
This will be the easiest of all slopes you’ll visit on this trip. It’s Difficulty Score (our own metric) puts it about average. It still has a 1,200 ft vertical drop and about 92% of its ~200 skiable acres are rated for intermediate and expert skiers.
The next location is 17 miles away (~.5 hours).
Cypress Mountain is only 30 minutes away from Grouse Mountain, so you’ll be able to use the same lodging option for the second day of skiing as well.
North Vancouver, BC
Cypress Mountain was the site of the freestyle skiing and snowboarding for the 2010 Winter Olympics. Expect some difficult terrain, but it’ll be fun. This mountain has about 800 feet on Grouse’s vertical drop, and about 3x the number of trails.
The next location is 80 miles away (~1.5 hours).
The trip from Cypress Mountain to Whistler Blackcomb takes about 1.5 hours. In this trip’s itinerary, we provide an extra day in Whistler because of it.
Whistler Blackcomb was another site used during the 2010 Winter Olympics. This resort is also one of the most difficult ski areas in North America according to our calculations. Whistler has is arguably the best terrain in North America with over 5,000 feet of vertical drop spread over more than 8,000 skiable acres.
The Whistler slopes are on the northern face of Whistler Mountain, and Blackcomb’s sit on the north face of Phalanx Mountain, below Blackcomb Peak. While these are two different mountains, all you need is one lift ticket to access both.
If you have a free half day, we highly suggest taking the Peak 2 Peak Gondola, which is the world’s highest lift of its kind.
The next location is 85 miles away (~2.25 hours).
In a little over 2 hours, you’ll be back in Vancouver for your flight home. If you have a flight out in the early morning, it may be best to spend an extra night in a hotel.
When it’s time to head home, drop your rental car off at Vancouver International Airport, and board your plane. It’s likely been a ski trip for the ages, and one that you’ll remember for a very, very long time.