Big White Ski Resort is located 56km (35 mi.) outside of Kelowna in the Okanagan. It’s the third-largest resort in British Columbia, so there are plenty of runs to keep you busy on the mountain. But there’s so much more to this region, including quality wineries, adventure activities and, well, kangaroos. Here are 10 things to do near Big White to make your holiday unforgettable.
Visit a winery
The Okanagan Valley wine region is the second largest in Canada, and vineyards are located all around Okanagan Lake. More than 60 grape varieties are grown in the area, including icewines and German varieties. Mission Hill Winery must be on your list, with its panoramic lake views, European-style buildings, and Terrace Restaurant. Summerhill Pyramid Winery is another top choice, where you can sample ice wine or their ‘cult favourite white’, Ehrenfelser.
Have a spa day
After pounding the powder at Big White, a spa day will definitely be needed. Fortunately, there are two options near the mountain village, so you don’t have to go far to relax and rejuvenate. Elevation Village Spa has two locations at Big White, and offers massages, body treatments, facials, and manicures and pedicures. There’s also Mountain Massage, which will come to you with their portable table.
Elevation Village Spa, Big White Road, Kelowna, BC, Canada +1 250 491 7799
Go hot-air ballooning
For an unique experience, why not see Big White from the sky in a hot-air balloon? Okanagan Ballooning is a family-owned business that has been flying in Kelowna for over 20 years. Take in the Okanagan Valley from above and enjoy views of the lake, mountains, wineries, and farms.
Okanagan Ballooning, 848 Leon Avenue, Kelowna, BC, Canada +1 250 712 0342
Enjoy a drink
Big White has some of the best après-ski bars, so it’s only natural to have a drink after a day on the slopes. The most popular place is the award-winning Snowshoe Sam’s Pub. Ski Canada Magazine awarded it number-one ski bar, while Good Skiing and Snowboard Guide voted the pub the best après-ski spot in North America. Sessions Taphouse is another option, home to the mountain’s largest deck.
Snowshoe Sam’s Pub, 5375 Big White Road, Kelowna, BC, Canada +1 250 765 5959
Say ‘G’Day’ to a kangaroo
Kangaroo Creek Farm has been operating in Kelowna for 20 years, and offers a hands-on experience for families and big kids alike. There are kangaroos, wallaroos, wallabies, sugar gliders, emus, chickens and even capybaras roaming around the farm. Although they’re closed for a few months in winter, if you visit Big White on the edge of the season, check them out. You might even get to hold a joey.
Kangaroo Creek Farm, 3193 Hill Road, Lake Country, BC, Canada +1 250 766 4823
Watch a hockey game
Big White Ski Resort has a great package that offers tickets and transportation to a Kelowna Rockets ice hockey game. They organise everything, so all you have to do is board the bus at the Village Centre Mall and bring your cheering voice (pompoms optional). It’s a great night out and a way to see the NHL stars of tomorrow in action.
Stay at Idabel Lake Resort
Make a note to stay a weekend at Idabel Lake Resort before, during, or after your Big White experience. There are suites and cozy wooden cottages available, as well as many activities. Visitors can try ice fishing, snowmobiling and cross-country skiing at the resort.
Idabel Lake Resort, 800 Idabel Lake Road, Kelowna, BC, Canada +1 250 765 9511
Go on an ATV Tour
Keep the adrenaline pumping off the mountain and go on an Okanagan ATV Tour. Choose from a two-, four- or eight-hour ATV tour around the Okanagan Valley. Training is provided before the tour, and there are plenty of photo-ops along the way of the lake and open-valley plains.
Okanagan ATV Tours, 5463 McDougald Road, Peachland, BC, Canada +1 250 717 0733
Visit Nordic Ski and Snowshoe Club
Yes, you can snowshoe on Big White. But Kelowna’s Nordic Ski and Snowshoe Club has been operating since 1977, and offers 75km (47 mi.) of snowshoeing trails and 75km of cross-country skiing tracks. Dogs are welcome on all the snowshoe trails and a third of the cross-country skiing trails. For an inexpensive fee, try something different and visit the Nordic Club.
Feast on farm-to-table food
Kelowna is known for its high concentration of farm-to-table restaurants, particularly at the local wineries. Within the township, RauDZ offers a locally focused dinner menu, only Okanagan wines, and a communal dining atmosphere. KRAFTY kitchen + bar is a casual restaurant focused on the best Canadian ingredients. Home to Kelowna’s only duck-fat fryer, they proclaim to serve ‘good food brought to you by people who honestly give a duck fat’.
RauDZ, 1560 Water Street, Kelowna, BC, Canada +1 250 868 8805
KRAFTY kitchen + bar, 281 Lawrence Avenue, Kelowna, BC, Canada +1 250 868 7228