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q u i n t e s s e n t i a l / fa m i ly s k i i n g

Big White kelowna, bc canada

f e at u r e a r t i c l e courtesy of s-magazine

Photo credit: Big White Ski Resort


q u i n t e s s e n t i a l / fa m i ly s k i i n g

S–Magazine

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Family

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g o r d i e

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p h o t o g r a p h s

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S–Magazine


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q u i n t e s s e n t i a l / fa m i ly s k i i n g

At t h i s v e r y m o m e n t someone is laughing at B i g W h i t e . S o m e o n e e l s e i s s k at i n g . Someone is partying. Ice climbing, horse-sleigh riding, tubing, parading, snowmobiling, cotton-candying, big-bear hugging. P l ay i n g .

big white By the numbers Vertical 777 metres Skiable Acreage 7,355 acres Elevation Summit 2,319 meters

Terrain 118 named runs Beginner 18% Intermediate 54% Advanced 22% Expert 6%

Someone else is shopping, eating, drinking. Hot-tubbing, bon-firing, ice wine sipping. Others are getting their groove on. Oh right, did I mention skiing? Big White is a family ski vacation mecca. Its brilliant blend of activities leave nothing to chance. Bad weather, no problem, flip open that fat resort activity rolodex. Kid meltdown? No worries, a gazillion turn-that-frown-upside-down things to do. There’s no question that Big White, with its small village character and intimate size, is all about catering to the the multi-faceted, complex world of family travel, helping manage expectations and interest levels that come with the varied generational interests.

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q u i n t e s s e n t i a l / fa m i ly s k i i n g

The irony i s t h at e v e n though skiing and learning to ski is this resort’s s p e c i a lt y, the après and activity o ff e r i n g s a r e va s t.

Looking for Romance? Try a sleigh ride

If you’ve chosen Big White to romance a new flame, or reignite an existing one, try a romantic horse-drawn sleigh ride (private rides can be arranged) with champagne and chocolate-covered strawberries before dinner at the Kettle Valley Steakhouse. Big White also offers a champagne gondola ride, a nice touch if you’re making your way around the the multi-leveled Village.

Big White has always been a family stop, but the resort has matured significantly in the last two decades since it was just a place to drive to, ski for a while, drive back. On the mountain today, you’ll find 16 lifts that whizz you upwards to access 7,355 acres (the equivalent of 7,000 football fields) of skiable terrain, over 118 designated trails and an annual snowfall of over 20 feet. You’ll find a village with accommodation to suite everything from economy to luxury and 18 on-mountain restaurants, cafés, pubs and nightclubs. You’ll likely be experiencing weather in the minus 5 celcius range. You’ll find a terrain park that is so big that it has its own weather system. You’ll also find creativity for learn to ski programs, no matter the age or skill level. Mom, Dad and Me, a unique learn-to-ski program, allows the more anxious children (around age 3-6) a private lesson with parents in tow. On the opposite end of the age spectrum, “mature” skiers (seniors) have special designated zones on the mountain which that are carefully monitored to ensure speed is kept to a comfortable crawl, ensuring elder skiers, as well as families with small children, the chance to comfortably explore more than just the green runs on the mountain.

Appies: Fancy schmancy or Simple Joe The irony is that even though skiing and learning to ski is this resort’s specialty, the après and activity offerings are vast. The playground mecca headquarters are located at the base of the

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White Spirit Lodge The White Spirit Lodge, located atop a small plateau in the middle of the Big White Resort, is the dream home of Calgarians Sherry and George Schluessel. Inspired to build a family getaway, George calls the 10,000-squarefoot work of art

a “hospitable castle”, with orientation that offers both sunrise and sunset views. The placement of the old growth red cedar log posts, most of them a metre in diameter and distinctively natural, and each with its own random, gnarled character. “While

the structure is massive and awesome, we also strived to create a natural, comforting feeling with the way we used natural materials and oriented things,” Schluessel says. “Yes, it’s massive, but I believe it’s also warm and cozy.”

Opposite page: photo courtesy Big White Resort

Talkin’ ‘bout my generation


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SMILES LAST LONGER AT BIG WHITE. SNOWSHOEING, TUBING, SKATING, DOG-SLEDDING & SO MUCH MORE. ACTIVITIES TO KEEP THE FAMILY GRINNING MORNING TO NIGHT.

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q u i n t e s s e n t i a l / fa m i ly s k i i n g

ski area at the aptly named Happy Valley, which is surrounded by skating rinks (quality outdoor ice!), snow tubing, horsedrawn sleighs, snowmobile rides, snow biking, and a really challenging 60-foot ice-climbing wall towering over it all. And not to be missed: the belgian-waffles-to-die-for kiosk in the lower floor of Happy Valley Lodge. The activities at Big White appeal to most ages, including the oft-neglected parents. The quaint village, which caters primarily to a ski-in crowd, features several dining and nightlife options, from the intimate 6 Degrees Bistro at the base of the Stonebridge Lodge to great burgers at Johnnie Canuck’s to the more extravagant Kettle Valley Steakhouse and Wine Bar. In the morning, Beano’s coffee house is a terrific stop before you hit the slopes, or for more stick-with-you power the

Santé Grille has five different styles of eggs benedict. The skiing is as diverse as the village. From the challenging, albeit short, glades off the Falcon Chair, like Flag Pole and Corkscrew, to the more cruisey runs off the Bullet Express, there is no wind-in-your-face shortage on these hills (speaking of wind in your face, the Black Forest side of the mountain is secluded enough for an escape on windy days). Guests are often surprised at the quality of snow. Said one guest on, “After living in Whistler for 12 years I was a little skeptical of Big White but not anymore, 25 cms of dry OK champagne powder has made me a fan; we had fun all over the mountain, 40 runs wide at the base is no joke either.” Yes, no joke about it, Big White is the real deal, with the snow and smiles to prove it.

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WINTER TASTES BETTER AT BIG WHITE. TASTY TREATS TO WINE TASTING. WARM UP OR CHILL OUT. WE HAVE IT ALL.

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q u i n t e s s e n t i a l / fa m i ly s k i i n g

N a pa o f t h e N o r t h

The only thing better than pairing fine wine and fine powder is fine local wine and champagne powder. B.C.’s wine country, which is growing up faster as Big White Resort, is gaining in popularity locally and abroad. Like California’s Napa Valley, the wine country in B.C. runs north-south (from Osoyoos to Kelowna) in an arid basin that features several distinct growing regions. Some of the notable local wineries – Cedar Creek, Quail’s Gate, (renowned for pinot noirs) Mission Hill (ice wine, a specialty) and Sumac Ridge – are a short drive from the ski resort. Suggest: Start your wine après at Globe for limited-edition local wines paired with artisanal charcuterie and cheeses. From here, it’s 45 minutes to the wineries. Or, to stay on the mountain, plan your trip around the Big Reds at Big White event, where over 30 Okanagan wineries team up with the finest chefs at Big White for a night of sensory delights ($50 per person, bigwhite.com).

W h e n y o u g o, F ly i n t o Kelowna; there are nons t o p s f r o m Va n c o u v e r, C a l g a r y, S e at t l e a n d o t h e r s . bigwhite.com snowsportsculture.com

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q u i n t e s s e n t i a l / fa m i ly s k i i n g

we are canada’s favourite fa m i ly r e s o r t. i t ta k e s m o r e than just amazing snow a n d fa n ta s t i c ski-in ski-out a c c o m m o d at i o n ...but we have those too Experience Big White for yourself! Let the ski Travel Specialist at Ski Max, help plan your perfect winter vacation. Ph: 1300 136 997 or visit www.skimax.com.au

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Big White