Visitors and locals alike love Grouse Mountain in winter: after just a twenty-minute drive from downtown Vancouver, those with skis, those with snowboards, those who simply want to visit the mountaintop can all take a gondola that whisks them up up and away, up past the snow-line, and higher to a winter wonderland with breath-taking views of the (snow-less) city below.
Vancouver has three ski mountains on the "North Shore", all about a half-hour drive from downtonw. Grouse Mountain-- billed as "The Peak"--still beats the other two ski mountains in creature comforts at its rustic lodge: visitors can dine in the sky at The Observatory, enjoy a bistro atmosphere at Altitudes, or grab quick food at Lupin's Cafe.
In terms of skiing and 'boarding, Grouse can't compete with nearby Cypress Mountain which has more slopes and more lifts. And the real peak ski experience in the region is Whistler-Blackcomb, an hour-and-a-half away. But Grouse is an appealing choice for locals who buy well-priced seasons passes, and for visitors who like Grouse for its scenic gondola.
Keep in mind about Grouse Mountain:
- runs are limited, and beginners may find they ski repeatedly on just one run (-check the web site as runs and lifts can change from year to year)
- the Christmas season gets extremely crowded, as numerous non-skiers ride the gondola up the mountain to see sparkling snow and city lights below, and to try the skating rink and other non-ski activities. You may have to wait an hour to ride the gondola down the mountain.
- the main green run gets extremely crowded during Christmas holidays
- when snow is scarce, always check the website to see which runs are actually open.