If you’re looking for one of Canada’s best ski resorts then you’re in for a treat. Big White has been on the rise for years, and that’s no coincidence. There is a reason it’s known as one of Canada’s best ski resorts for the whole family. At Big White, you will get some of the best powder imaginable while riding amongst the snow ghosts on the west side of the mountain!
If you go ski Big White you will end up skiing in lots of whiteout days with a few bluebirds in between but trust us it’s absolutely worth it. These whiteout days mean A LOT of snow, yay! Big White has some of the softest (and often untouched) snow out there which makes tree riding a blast! And the best part? The season starts in November and goes all the way until the end of April!
Everything you need to know about Skiing Big White, Canada
In this post, you will find everything there is to possibly know about skiing Big White, that will simplify your trip and make the whole experience easier for you.
This post includes:
- The best way to get from Kelowna to Big White (or even all the way from Vancouver).
- The easiest and cheapest ways to get a place to stay on the hill along.
- Secrets to getting the most bang for your buck.
- The best ways to save on lift tickets.
- And much more.
No matter if you’re coming from abroad to do a ski season at the hill or you’re just a tourist passing by… If you’re wanting to experience some of Big White’s magical terrain then we have you covered!
Skiing Big White has been an absolute blast this season and even though we lived in Kelowna we made the trip up a few times a week to enjoy the beautiful mountain. It’s such a breath of fresh air to be up at Big White.
Now let’s get to it…
Kelowna to Big White
One of the many beauties of Big White is the fact that it is so close to Kelowna. For Dom, growing up in Alberta and having to drive 4 hours each way to go skiing makes this 1-hour drive seem like nothing. For Jo, growing up in Denmark, it’s a whole other story…
From Kelowna, all you have to do is take Highway 33 East until you turn off on Big White Road. As long as the weather is fine and the roads are great you’ll get there in no time. To the lower chair, it should only take about an hour.
Two things to keep in mind are:
- You definitely will need winter tires and a reliable car to get up to Big White. Remember that you’re driving in the mountains. During winter. I think you get the point 😉
- Note that the road seems wider than it actually is when there’s snow on it. The actual road is pretty narrow but the snow on the sides covers the potholes and the ground so it looks wider. Don’t fall for it 😉
FYI, there are absolutely NO GAS stations up at Big White so make sure your car is full before going up. Not talking from experience or anything (whoops)…
The roundtrip is roughly 100kms return which isn’t too far but there is quite an elevation gain so you will use a fair bit of gas to get up and down. So why not try and carpool and make the trip more enjoyable, cheaper, and all around better!
How to get from Kelowna to Big White
There are three ways of carpooling that we’ve tried when driving to Big White, and we highly recommend using any of these any day of the week. It can be a pain to try and find a ride without carpooling, and it’s usually quite expensive and inconvenient too.
This is Canada’s only ride-sharing app and we are grateful that it exists. Public transport is a nightmare in Canada. And expensive. And inconvenient.
With Poparide, lifts up and down the mountain are usually always $10 CAD. A pretty reasonable price if you ask us. Especially compared to the shuttle.
There are people who are driving back and forth every day between Kelowna and Big White so you should have no problem getting a lift up with someone. It also makes the ride much more enjoyable.
All drivers on Poparide have to submit government ID so it’s a pretty safe app. We’ve driven over 40 people on it and also taken rides and we’ve had no issues whatsoever. If you’re new to the app here’s $5 off your first ride.
Big White Ride Share Facebook Group
This is a specific group for people who are looking for ride shares and people who are posting trips down to Kelowna and back. One way trips usually cost $10 and if you’re going return with the same driver you can give them $15 total. We find this to be a great alternative for rides as well.
Official Big White Facebook Group
This group is basically a huge group of friendly people who live up at the mountain or go there all the time. If you want you can check if someone has a ride posted or post your own ride and hopefully someone can help give you out! We’d recommend using this group if you can’t find rides on Poparide or in the rideshare group.
Jobs at Big White
If you’re a local or a traveler coming to Biggie on a work holiday visa then it’s a good idea to start applying for jobs in late summer before the winter season starts. Ski resorts love to fill their positions a few months before the season starts.
Big White Jobs
Big White Jobs is the best place to look for jobs on the hill. You’ll be able to find all the current open positions and how many available spots they have. If you’re looking to make a bit of extra money, try working as a server or bartender where you can make good tips. But no matter what kind of job, we’re sure you’ll have a super fun time because you’ll be surrounded by a bunch of like-minded travelers!
Big White Accommodation
Accommodation can get a little tricky since it is quite a small ski village and lots of the housing is for the staff at the hill. But there are a few solid options to find places to live or rent while you’re up at the hill. Of course, lots of it is locally owned by people from Kelowna who go up for the weekend. But since we’re in the gold rush days of online short term renting there are those options as well.
One of the easiest ways to find accommodation up at Big White is via Airbnb. If you haven’t got an account or make a new one you can get up to $62 CAD off your first stay. Try to book a few months in advance if possible though because there are a limited amount of available options.
Some places that aren’t posted on Airbnb may be posted on VRBO so try giving that a look. Especially if you’re looking for bigger and fancier places you will most likely find those options on VRBO.
Big White Accommodation Page
There are some regulations up at the mountain which means that not all buildings allow for those rental platforms to function. Instead, lots of the rental units can be found on the Big White accommodation page here. Prices tend to be a bit more expensive here but you will have a lot more options.
Otherwise, you can try the official Big White Facebook page where you can talk to some locals and may even be able to get a discount of some sort and not have to go through a middleman to rent a place up at the mountain!
Big White lift tickets
Plan to work at the mountain
Do not buy a season pass! You will most likely (99%) get a season pass with your job and unfortunately, if you buy a season pass before you start work you will not be able to get it refunded! 🙁 It happened to a friend of ours and it sucks! It’s nice to not have to splurge out $700- $1050 CAD in one day if you don’t have to 😉
Non-worker season pass
If you plan to ski a bunch in a season and you aren’t working at Big White then you should definitely get the early bird season pass. It usually has to be bought before the end of October and costs around $700 CAD. If you miss out on the early bird price it’s still worth paying the $1049 CAD though. The ski pass comes with many perks and pays itself off in about 7-8 trips up to the mountain.
Here are some of the perks you get with a season pass at Big White:
- You can give up to 2 friends 25% off their day passes
- 15% off ski and snowboard rentals
- 10% off ski rentals for friends
- 15% off food and beverage at certain pubs, restaurants, and cafes
- other small things!
So if you just plan on going for the day and one of your friends has a season pass then consider asking them to use their discount on you and save 25% off your ticket.
Apart from that, the cheapest way to buy a 1, 3, or 5-day pass is with the BIGGIE CARD!! You will save between $30-$40 CAD for each day you go. So it’s totally worth it and all you have to do is go to any Ski/snowboard shop in Kelowna and buy it. One we can recommend is Play It Again Sports.
Once you have your Biggie Card you can reload it online whenever you want and you can reuse it every season!
Big White snow report
One of the most important things you’re going to want to know is how the snow is looking up at Big White. Skiing is a lot better when it dumps on the mountain and you can ski in fresh powder. There are a few ways to follow the snow reports up at Biggie. If you’re on Instagram then give @skibigwhite a follow. They post daily updates of the conditions and how much snow they’ve got in the past 24 hours.
Otherwise you can always go check out Big Whites snow report online where they have webcams, daily snow reports, grooming information, and much more. It’s super important to check the weather before you go because especially at Big White the weather makes a world of a difference. If it’s windy, cold, and foggy then you can get up to the hill and end up seeing absolutely nothing. It doesn’t hurt to check in the morning and see if it’s worth going up!
We’ve given you all the information you’ll hopefully need to explore Big White and making the most of your time up at the mountain. The rest is for you to explore and uncover. It’s a beautiful mountain that is very family-friendly and perfect for any level of skier and snowboarder.
Our season up at Biggie was filled with snow ghosts, low visibility, amazing tree runs, and cruising through the Ogopogo. We made the best of the days we could see and laughed when the visibility was brutal…where we’d end up usually eating french fries and sipping on hot chocolate.
It’s fair to say the name Big White is very fitting. Enjoy your time shredding down the mountain!