Abby Cooper [words + photos]
Sea-to-Sky is an accurate name for the road that connects BC’s Coastal Mountain Resorts. From the shores of the Pacific Ocean to the tippy top of the alpine, this regions dramatic landscape is unforgettable. All of those #pnwvibes you see on Instagram come to life as you cruise at sea level complete with the view from one resort to another, each with its own offerings.
You could spend a full season here and never see all of the terrain offered between the two mountains that make one epic resort. With 37 lifts and over 8000 acres of skiable terrain you can only imagine it’s quiet the task to try and sample all of the goods in a single day trip. This resort deserves a few days for a proper visit, especially since you might get a case of the jello legs when making laps with over 1500 vertical meters or after the longest run which is 11km! Don’t worry though; there are 17 restaurants that will gladly serve you for a coffee, an après beverage or a meal in-between laps. Hot tip; don’t pass up the Crystal Hut for freshly made waffles right on the mountain. Another absolute must is crossing the Peak-to-Peak gondola that connects the two mountains, it’s an attraction all on it’s own and access is included with your lift ticket. Speaking of attractions, Whistler Blackcomb just added a new suspension bridge at the top of Peak Chair on Whistler Mountain, notably the most scenic landing on the mountain!
Heading south on the Sea-to-Sky after visiting Whistler Blackcomb the next resort to stop at is Cypress Mountain. Cypress offers a wild selection of viewpoints including vistas of the Howe Sound and the many islands that lie in it. Turn slightly and you’ll have unobstructed views of the neighboring mountains including the well-known West Lion and down by your feet, that’s the city of Vancouver. Home to the 2010 Olympic Freestyle Skiing and Snowboarding events you can bet that Cypress Mountain has an impressive terrain park. That’s not all, Cypress is known for having an impressive collection of terrain for all visitors.
Accessed via tram, Grouse Mountain gives the allure that you’re farther away from civilization than you’d expect. The tram crosses over a wildlife sanctuary and over top of a well-known summer trail, “The Grouse Grind.” Early ski pioneers in the 1920’s hauled timber up this trail to construct the first cabin and eventually cleared runs, added chairlifts and built a small village – some it’s original heritage is still intact today. The ski nostalgia runs deep at Grouse Mountain and so does the snow! This oceanic climate still lets the snow stack at this strategically placed gem of a resort.
With an average snow fall of 10m this resort rivals Whistler Blackcomb’s 11.6m despite it’s more coastal location. Four terrain parks line the mountain, each equipped with lights for night skiing and riding at Seymour, but don’t let that intimate you, 40% of the terrain is beginner friendly and 40% intermediate terrain meaning there is something for everyone.