SilverStar Mountain Resort
This article has been sponsored by Travel Mindset and Ski Canada but reflects the honest opinion and experience of the author.
Update Jan. 2021: SilverStar is committed to keeping guests, locals and employees safe during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. Please see their new 2020-2021 health and safety protocols in the section below.
That SilverStar Magic
I first started visiting SilverStar Mountain Resort as a tween. My parents were busy building a business and family trips were few and far between. Our annual ski trip to SilverStar in BC’s Okanagan Valley was our one big deal.
I have such fond memories of racing my dad down our favorite run (Whiskey Jack), flying over those Peanut Trail jumps, après ski hot chocolate, crushing over my Australian ski instructor and wolfing down dinner so I could get back on those slopes for night skiing as quickly as possible.
The funny thing is, fast forward a few decades and those are exactly the same things that my kids and their cousins are doing now (although I’m not sure about the crushing – they don’t share that with me).
These days, our family visits as 3 generations. While my parents turns may be slowing, the kids are now leaving me behind in a shower of snow. I have loved watching them graduate from the ski daycare, to the SnowSport School, to mastering the groomed greens, skiing their first blacks, and now challenging the back side of the mountain, the terrain park and the glades.
Since those early days, some fantastic upgrades have been made to SilverStar Ski Resort, including expanded advanced terrain, a bunch of fun après ski activities (tubing, pond hockey, bowling) and most recently, a high speed gondola.
While this year’s trip will have a few changes due to Covid-19, we are just so glad that we can still visit.
Health & Safety Updates
Are things going to look a little different at SilverStar this season? Sure they are. Will you still be able to have a really great holiday? Absolutely! What will be important for the 2020-2021 season, however, will be knowing what has changed (so that your expectations are in check) and pre-booking accordingly.
Here are some of the key highlights that you will want to be aware of. (See the full Health & Safety document from SilverStar here.)
- Due to capacity limits on the mountain, you will want to book your MY1Pass or POW Pass for alpine activities ahead of time as day passes are unlikely to be available during peak times.
- To allow you to book with confidence, a full refund will be offered on SilverStar Holidays up to 15 days prior to arrival (30 days prior for the period of Dec. 18th. 2020 – Jan. 4th, 2021).
- SilverStar rooms will be left empty for 48 hours between parties and will be treated with a ULV disinfectant fogger as well as having all touch points thoroughly cleaned.
- To ensure limited contact, housekeeping will not be offered this season (but requested items can be delivered).
- Facial covering will be required wherever physical distancing cannot be maintained on the mountain (including on lifts and in lift lineups).
- While group lessons will not be available in their traditional form, small family groups and social groups of up to four people may book a lesson together. Individual private lessons will also be available.
- Open/On This Season: The Elevate Spa, The Pond (ice skating & hockey), TubeTown, nordic trails, fat biking and snowshoeing trails, and snowmobiling tours. Please see the SilverStar website for specifics.
- Closed/Not Offered This Season: The SilverStar Daycare, night skiing, Paradise Camp dinner tours, fireworks nights, and ski shuttles (from Kelowna and Salmon Arm).
- The on-mountain dining options will be more limited this season. Plan on ordering in or self-catering. Both Save on Foods and Butcher Boys in Vernon offer delivery to the village.
Want to take a quick peek around the resort before reading more? Check out this 1 minute SilverStar Ski Resort video!
Why Choose SilverStar
My love of SilverStar is steeped in very special family memories. For the sake of providing balance to this post, I reached out to some of my friends who have only recently started visiting the mountain (or have returned after a long break). It seems that they also share my love for this very unique ski resort. In chatting with them, some consistent themes prevail.
The Village: Designed to look like an old mining town, it’s hard not to fall in love with SilverStar’s quaint and colourful pedestrian village. With almost everything within walking distance of the hotels, you typically don’t have to get back into a vehicle until your return trip home.
Something for Everyone: In addition to the 132 downhill runs over 3200 skiable acres, SilverStar has 55 km of nordic trails (a favoured training ground for many Olympic teams). There is also ice skating, hockey, fat biking, tubing, bowling, sleigh rides, and even yoga.
Value: SilverStar is often cited as one of the most affordable ski resorts in Canada. In addition to reasonable accommodation rates, their well-priced My1Pass alpine lift ticket includes unlimited tubing, skating, and access to the extensive network of cross-country, snowshoe and fat bike trails.
No Lift Lineups: Waiting in line for more than a few minutes is rare at SilverStar except on the busiest of weekends. In fact, sometimes you’ll even get to enjoy a run all to yourself.
The Community: Even if you visit infrequently, you will recognize some familiar faces at SilverStar, whether it is a long-time ski instructor or a local restaurant owner.
The Snow: With its location within BC’s Northern Okanagan, SilverStar is slightly colder and drier than B.C.’s coastal mountains, meaning that the snow is rarely heavy – consistently delivering fresh powder for snow-seekers. If you grew up in BC, you will remember the SilverStar ads touting that Okanagan “champagne powder.”
Where to Stay
The ski in/ski out luxury Snowbird Lodge is our favourite, with multi-bedroom family suites, hot tubs on the deck, gourmet kitchens, in-suite laundry, and a recreational floor (complete with gym, pool table, movie theatre and kids’ play room).
The Firelight Lodge also has nicely appointed 1-3 bedroom units. Most suites have laundry facilities and some have hot tubs. Built specifically with families in mind, this hotel is within very close proximity of the Silver Queen Chair, Tube Town, Brewer’s outdoor skating pond and Pinheads bowling alley.
See more great places to stay at SkiSilverStar.com
Where to Eat
For nice coffees, pastries and sandwiches, Bugaboos Bakery and Café is a must. For dinner, find classic pub favorites at Long John’s Pub, and for a little finer fare and live music, The Den is a popular choice (both have kids’ options).
Need a quick warm up or snack between runs? Stop in at Paradise Camp on the back side of the mountain.
Getting To SilverStar
Location: SilverStar Ski Resort is located in British Columbia’s Northern Okanagan, near the town of Vernon, and a one hour drive from Kelowna.
Arriving by Air: Among other cities, Kelowna International Airport (YLW) offers non-stop flights from Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto and Seattle (see full list). Shuttle service runs all day long from the airport to the mountain during ski season (see schedule).
Arriving by Car: SilverStar is a 5 hour drive from Vancouver*, 6.5 hours from Calgary and 7 hours from Seattle. As you may encounter some winter driving conditions along the way, I encourage you to use the DriveBC website to help plan your route.
*If you are driving in from Vancouver or Seattle and are considering where to make your stops when peckish, may I recommend The Blue Moose Cafe (Hope) and/or Brambles Bakery (Merritt). We also always lunch at the Cactus Club in Kelowna (Banks Ave) since it is consistently good and has something for everyone.