Snow Talk


Contact Us with any question you have and we will be only too happy to provide you a response.

For more information on the subjects below just click on each question.

I’ve heard the snow at Big White in the British Columbia interior is really quite different to other resorts in Canada, and around the world. Is that so?
The Okanagan Valley has a unique micro climate because of the extensive lakes and geography in the region. Big White Ski Resort is blessed with huge annual snowfalls; on average around 7.5 metres (24 feet) of dry natural ‘champagne powder’. It is so dry you can hardly pack a snowball, and it is not uncommon for flakes to be the size of a small piece of tissue paper. Being dry and cold they don’t melt quickly when they fall on your jacket. The comfortable daytime temperatures average -3 C (27 F), and this is cold enough to keep the snow light and fluffy, yet perfect for skiing, riding the chairs, cross country skiing and other winter activities. 31 year snow records for the resort confirm the reliability and consistency Big White is renowned for.

If the snow is so special at Big White, what does this mean for my skiing?
The dry snow is a delight to ski on. It has a low moisture content and this makes skiing a pleasure. There are no icy sheets nor gluggy wet snow days. Being able to ski in such ideal conditions will assist your confidence and you will be surprised how this improves your ability all round. This video featuring ex Olympian Richie Biggins includes his insights to the quality and consistency of the snow that makes Big White famous.

I see more people wearing helmets on the snow. Is this mandatory at Big White?
More skiers and boarders around the world are wearing helmets. It is not mandatory to wear a helmet at Big White but we think its a good idea to do so. Not only does it provide some protection but will assist keep you warm especially in the colder months like January. If you don’t have a helmet already you can purchase one on your arrival. The retail stores in Big White provide a good selection and with keen prices.

I see there are a few devices on the market that could help me track and measure my ski/board activity. Do you have any recommendations of what options are better than others?
A variety of options exist, some integrated into gear such as goggles with multiple electronic features and also some Apps for your smart phone. This is a hot topic so expect more new gadgets to be released each year. We don’t proffer to be experts in this field but to date we have used the blue version of the App Snow Tracks (available through the App Store) for a number of seasons and we find it excellent to record our exploits on the hill and take away for fond memories. CNET released a report on options available in this space. This link to that report may assist your particular needs.

Should I teach my children skiing or snowboarding first?
It depends on the age of the children. Most ski/snowboard schools do not recommend to teach snowboarding to kids 6 and younger. If they’re older than 6 and really only want to snowboard, let them learn. The only reason to require skiing would be if you’re a skiing family and want them to learn the basics at least. But, there’s no reason (except the cost of equipment) they can’t ski one day and board the next. There is a practical reason though to teach skiing first: The learning curve of skiing is such that learning the basics, and being able to turn, stop and comfortably move around on an easy slope can be achieved for most students older than 4 in only a couple of hours. Mastery to skiing takes much longer. It’s a good way to get the kids quickly moving around on the mountain. Snowboarding takes much longer to be able to comfortably negotiate even an easy slope. It sometimes takes students a week before they’re able to go top to bottom on a green slope. For kids, this can be frustrating. Source: 20 years skiing, Level II PSIA certified ski instructor, formerly of Aspen, Vail, Eldora and Keystone, now currently head coach of Kalnu Ereliai ski team in Vilnius, Lithuania

What is the best age to start children skiing or snowboarding?
Answer courtesy of Canadian Champion Alpine Skier, Nancy Greene, …”Many skiers ask me, what is the best age to start their children skiing. I usually tell them, “The sooner the better.” Actually, any time between age three and five is ideal, as they will learn instinctively and will develop a natural balanced stance on their skis. I started skiing when I was three and I really can’t remember learning. It is important to make skiing a fun activity for young children. Don’t take them out when the weather is too cold, and always pick terrain that they are comfortable on. Little children are often very happy to stay on the beginner slopes, especially if it has a terrain garden for kids, even though this might be boring for parents. If you are not a strong skier yourself, it’s probably best to put your children in a ski school program. They often learn faster in a group setting and the instructors make sure they learn at their own pace and without developing bad technical habits. Children get the most out of ski school classes if they are confident and outgoing. Every child is different and only the parents can know what is best for their child. Whether you teach them yourself, or put them in the ski school, be happy knowing they are learning a sport they can enjoy all their life. A skiing family looks forward to winter and the adventures they share together on the slopes give them memories to last a lifetime.

Should I bring my own skis/board and boots or rent while visiting Big White Ski Resort?
While it’s nice to be able to ski or board with your own kit the reality is most airlines around the world are now charging for sporting luggage outside of the normal passenger allowance. The good news is the rental equipment in the resort is excellent quality and with a wide choice for all proficiencies. Being a ski/in ski/out environment it means you can change equipment easily, and even daily, if you wished to test advanced skis or boards in different snow and weather conditions. Personally, if you already have great boots they may be worth bringing from home for your assured boot comfort but rental skis and boards available at the resort should cater for all your needs.

If I need to purchase any additional gear once I arrive at the resort what retail options are available?
There are a number of retail outlets in the village to purchase skis/poles and boards, boots, googles, helmets and all sorts of apparel both for the hill as well as après fashion: Dizzy’s – Boots, skis, bags and poles. Dizzy’s is also a stockist for GoPro cameras and accessories; Altitude  – extensive range of Big White branded clothing, helmets, gloves, goggles and a wide variety of mountain and après apparel; The Rider – Snow board specialist for gear and apparel. From Far and Wide offers a wonderful selection of Canadian artisan gifts, authentic and unique pieces of art, giftware, apparel and homewares from all corners of Canada. MGS (Mountain General Store) – Apparel stockists, located in the Whitefoot Lodge, behind The Market; and Mountainside – full of kids’s gear, souvenirs and quirky gifts and memorabilia, located on the lower level of the Village Centre Mall.

My existing boots are ok but is there a good outlet that I can purchase good boots from and be professionally fitted while on vacation at Big White?
If you are ready for new boots then leave your current ones at home; and yes think seriously about purchasing while you vacation at Big White Ski Resort. Dizzy’s is the place to buy your new boots. They have excellent boot fitters, some would say the industry’s finest, with a wide range to choose from. Having the opportunity to go back for fine adjustment during your stay, while you are on the snow, is a huge bonus in getting your fit just perfect for the long term.

What on-snow options are available for people with disabilities?
The Powder Hounds Adaptive Ski Club is part of the People in Motion non-profit organisation. Their program at Big White is available to children and adults with disabilities who wish to participate in downhill skiing. The program is designed to meet the needs of athletes who are either intellectually, physically or visually disabled and operates 7 days a week during the regular Big White ski season. Note: Stonebridge Lodge at Big White Ski Resort has elevator and disabled access to all floors within the complex.

I presume there is a repair and service shop at Big White but can you confirm this for me?
Yes there is a repair and service shop at Big White. It’s located on the lower level of the Village Central Mall (VCM) and open seven days a week during the season.