Vancouver’s North Shore Mountains are located across from downtown Vancouver, separated by Coal Harbour and connected by the Lions Gate Bridge and the Ironworkers Bridges. Looking north from downtown, follow the ‘ABC rule’ and you’ll soon discover three popular mountain resort destinations: Cypress Mountain (Host Mountain to the 2010 Winter Olympics), Grouse Mountain, and Mount Seymour. All within a 30 minute drive from downtown, each offers a unique experience—whether you’re gearing up for a day on the slopes, getting your steps in via a snowshoe hike, or just taking in the breathtaking views while enjoying a rewarding round of après.
There are various ways to get to the local mountains from downtown Vancouver. After a 40 minute drive, you can access the top of Cypress Mountain, with limited public transit options available. Instead, a shuttle is available for $25 from the Vancouver Art Gallery (Howe and Georgia St) and the West End (NW corner of Davie and Thurlow St). The journey to Grouse Mountain takes approximately 25 minutes by car and is accessible by catching the SeaBus from Waterfront Station to Lonsdale Quay and hopping on bus #236 directly to Grouse Mountain. Accessing Mount Seymour from downtown Vancouver takes 45 minutes, with limited public transit. A shuttle bus is available for $15, with pickup locations including Rupert Skytrain Station (East Vancouver) and Parkgate Community Centre (North Vancouver). Private transfers are also available through the Concierge team.
Cypress Mountain, located in West Vancouver, was once host to the 2010 Winter Olympics, holding the coveted freestyle skiing and snowboarding events. Boasting the most lifts and terrain of the North Shore Mountains, with 53 downhill winter skiing and riding runs accessed by six chair lifts, a magic carpet surface lift, and 19 km of track set cross country skiing trails, it’s a not-to-miss mountain. Cypress also offers skiing or snowboarding lessons, as well as a full rental shop located on the lower level of the Cypress Creek Lodge, carrying the latest in top performance gear. Those looking for a soft adventure activity, opt for a snowshoe tour around the historic Hollyburn Lodge and learn from the informative guides leading the tour, or go sliding at the six chute snow tubing park, complete with an easily accessible tow lift.
Known in the summer months for its Grouse Grind—a grueling 2.9 km hike straight up the mountain, rightfully nicknamed Mother Nature’s Stairmaster—Grouse Mountain is a year-round destination offering a wide variety of winter activities for all abilities. The adventure begins at the base, where the Grouse Mountain Skyride gondola will transport you up the side of the mountain, offering spectacular views looking back to Vancouver and the surrounding area. After admiring the wilderness views, you will arrive at the Alpine Station to begin your day on the mountain. With 33 ski and snowboard runs, 15 night runs, six terrain parks, and four chairlifts, skiing on Grouse Mountain offers phenomenal views and is ideal for both the beginner and advanced skier. ‘The Cut’ was named a top 100 run in the world by CNN Travel, and although Vancouver offers a temperate climate, there’s always plenty of snow to go around with a state-of-the-art snow making machine. Grouse Mountain also features 10 km of snowshoe trails located just a short distance from the Peak Chalet, with four different trails for all levels of experience. For beginner and intermediate snowshoers, explore the Blue Grouse Loop or the trails on Dam Mountain that circle Dam Mountain and Thunderbird Ridge. Family activities include an outdoor ice skating rink, the Eye of the Wind, a large wind turbine that offers an observation area suspended in the air, or Theatre in the Sky, a high-definition electronic cinema showing a number of wildlife related movies. When you’re ready to warm up, cozy up fireside and enjoy a glass of wine après-ski at The Observatory or Altitudes Bistro.
The final of the North Shore Mountains is Mount Seymour, a family owned and operated ski hill located in Mount Seymour Provincial Park. Known for being the best hill for beginners, Mount Seymour offers 41 runs, with 3 chair lifts and 200 acres of terrain. Six runs are classified as green (beginner) and 26 are blue (intermediate). Mount Seymour also features eight black diamond runs (expert level), and includes four terrain parks for those looking to test out their tricks. There is a vast amount of snowshoeing trails at Mount Seymour, including the Discovery Snowshoe Trails around Goldie Lake and Flower Lake. The popular Dog Mountain trail is a moderate 5 km hike that offers stunning backdrop views of Vancouver. Tobogganing is a popular activity at Mount Seymour and the park is a great area for both young families and those young at heart. Bring your own toboggan or purchase a sliding mat once you get there.
From the urban to the alpine, explore the world-class mountain resort of Whistler Blackcomb, the largest ski resort in North America. Approximately two hours from downtown Vancouver, Whistler Blackcomb is constantly ranked the number one year-round ski resort. Located at the base of Blackcomb Mountain, Fairmont Chateau Whistler offers the ultimate luxury Canadian ski experience, with ski-in, ski-out access, luxurious accommodations, alpine resort amenities like its famous traditional fondue experience served seasonally at The Chalet, award-winning après at The Mallard, fine and casual dining options, and outdoor heated pool and hot tubs with the most spectacular mountain views.