Mountain Alternatives to Downhill Skiing and Snowboarding in Vancouver

Photo credit: Justin Liew | Flickr

Vancouver is known for its close proximity to the mountains, and it’s no secret that Vancouverites love skiing and snowboarding. Though it rarely snows in the city, we have some of the best ski and snowboard facilities on our local mountains, Grouse Mountain, Cypress Mountain, and Mount Seymour. But what if downhill skiing or snowboarding isn’t your cup of tea? Or what if you’d rather try something different? Luckily, the local mountains offer a lot more than just downhill skiing and snowboarding. So if you’d like to try your hand at something different, here are some mountain alternatives to skiing and snowboarding.

Snowshoeing
Snowshoeing is one of the best ways to enjoy the beauty of the mountains away from the noise and activity of the slopes. Snowshoeing allows visitors to experience the beauty and solitude of a natural winter wonderland, taking them through old growth forests and by scenic lakes. Seymour, Cypress, and Grouse all offer trails that range from beginner to advanced. You can take a self-guided tour or join a snowshoe tour with an experienced guide. Grouse Mountain even offers its famous Grind hiking trail as a snowshoeing experience: the Snowshoe Grind. You can train for it with drop-in training nights or clinics. All three mountains have snowshoes available for rental.

Ice Skating
If you’ve ever dreamed about ice-skating in the fresh winter air, Grouse Mountain is the place to go. With an 8,000 square foot ice skating pond, it’s the only outdoor skating pond on the North Shore Mountains. Admission is included with a Grouse Mountain lift ticket, so it’s definitely something to check out if you’re already on the mountain for skiing or snowboarding. Ice skates and helmets are available for rental.

Tubing & Tobogganing
Snow tubing is another great way to fly down the slopes. Cypress and Seymour both have snow tube parks where you can feel the thrill of sliding down the slope in an inflatable tube. Tubing is fun for all ages, though kids must be over 122 cm (48 inches) to participate. Both Cypress and Seymour also offer areas for tobogganing, where there is no height restriction. Inflatable tubes are not allowed in the tobogganing areas, so be sure to bring your own toboggan or sled.

Sleigh Rides
If you’d like to experience the beauty and scenery of the mountains but stay warm and cozy the whole time, a sleigh ride is the way to go. Grouse Mountain offers sleigh rides that will take you through snow-covered forests and around the mountaintop. Weather depending, sleigh rides are available at Grouse all throughout the winter months.

Ziplining
Ziplining isn’t just for the summer! Grouse Mountain now offers zipling year round. The three-line circuit gives a unique perspective of the snowy mountains and forest. The adrenaline-pumping tour is sure to give you a thrill as you rush over the winter wonderland. Ziplining tours are available everyday in the winter starting at 10am.

Cross Country Skiing
Like snowshoeing, cross country skiing allows you to get away from the hustle and bustle of the ski slopes and into the quiet solitude of nature. Hollyburn, Cypress Mountain’s Nordic area, has over 19 km of of groomed and track set cross country ski trails. With a range of terrain, Hollyburn is appropriate for both skate and classic cross country skiers and for beginners to advanced. Cypress offers cross country skiing lessons and clinics, and has rentals available.

What do you think? Would you try any of these or would you rather ski or snowboard? Let us know in the comments below!

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One Response to Mountain Alternatives to Downhill Skiing and Snowboarding in Vancouver

  1. jenny

    funny…since 1975 when I first started cross-country skiing, I always thought it would be included in the category of skiing! ;-) hollyburn is a gem that i hope too many people do not discover ;-)

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