Why Big White is a Must-Try Ski Holiday for Families
She is the proud owner of a hot-pink Big White toque and mom of two children who love to ski on the Paradise and Exhibition runs and have the signs to prove it. www.teachersoncall.ca
Booking a family getaway is no easy feat! This is a universal truth.
Yet, for busy households on the go, looking for a vacation that pleases everyone is the treasure trove of holidays. This is especially true for families with children (of all ages!). I understand this both personally and professionally as a parent of two elementary-age kids and the leader of a tutoring service working directly with students and families in Ontario and across Canada. If you feel similarly and are researching family-friendly ski resorts, read on.
Coming out of the pandemic, my family was ready to travel with as little stress as possible. Our kids started learning to ski in the Blue Mountains, Ontario and were ready for a challenge. As first-timers planning a family ski experience, we did our research and landed on Big White Ski Resort. Over March Break, our family of 4 ventured from Toronto to southeast of Kelowna to experience the famous champagne powder snow, unparalleled beauty, and bluebird skies for ourselves.
Working in education, it’s no surprise I am a believer in teachable moments and sharing learnings with others. Here are 10 reasons we fell in love with Big White and why we’re returning for our next ski adventure!
From Magic Carpet to Double Diamond Skiing
My family represents a diverse group of skiers at different levels and abilities, including beginner, intermediate and expert. Prior to Big White, our five-year-old had only been on skis a handful of times, with her only magic carpet reference being the Disney classic "Aladdin". We appreciated that there was truly something appropriate and challenging for each of us at Big White, which truly says a lot. The long, gorgeous runs truly exceeded all our expectations.
School is Out, But Ski School is in Session
The Ski & Board School at Big White is first class all the way and functions like a well-oiled machine. There are lessons and camp programs for children during school breaks with half-day and full-day options. Our two kids were signed up for mornings daily. This opened time for me to work on my skiing. Comfortable on blue but stretching for black runs, I took morning lessons while my kids were in ski school with some of the most advanced ski instructors I have ever encountered. By the end of the trip, we all had improved immensely, making great strides and leaving with a big boost in confidence.
Feel-Good Family Resort
Upon arriving at Big White, I was surprised to learn that it’s a family-owned and run resort. Operating a family business myself, I could relate and see first-hand the quality care and customer service in all aspects of the resort. Not surprisingly, this is a very family-friendly destination with a daycare in the village for young children. The atmosphere lends itself to major family bonding while leaving electronics behind. When we were not skiing with our kids in the afternoons, we were enjoying other activities together, such as tubing, bingo, and carnival nights. Full ski days were followed by kids who were tuckered out and ready for bed, excited to repeat the process again the next morning!
Skip the Driving with Ski-in, Ski-out
Ski-in, Ski-out is an amazing appeal for Big White, especially for families with young children. After our direct flight, we booked a shuttle that took us directly to the mountain in one hour. It was the first time we took a ski holiday without a car. The ability to skip driving and literally ski to the chair lift is a game-changer. This truly makes the trip a holiday, with more time to relax and explore the village on foot.
Feel Like a Traveller, Not a Tourist!
The intimate feel of Big White is hard to describe in the vast open space. Our family went skiing on vacation, but we did not feel like tourists. Big White is not a commercial destination. You will not find any big-name chains or shopping malls. People travel to Big White for the ski experience, not the scene. It is quite unique to find a hidden gem like this for a resort village of this size.
Big Resort Experience Packed with Big Value
Prior to having children, my husband and I took ski trips to Utah, Vermont, Quebec and British Columbia, yet I had never heard of the hidden gem that is Big White. One factor we considered when booking our trip was price. The Canadian dollar was certainly a big incentive when comparing Big White to known resorts in the US and beyond. While ski holidays are not inexpensive, we found Big White to have great value for world-class skiing with very short to no lines (during Ontario March Break!).
Experience Educational Travel in Canada
At Teachers on Call, our in-person and online tutoring team are big fans of educational field trips and travel. The ability to take students to a new province to explore in Canada was a big checkmark. The great outdoors in the Southern Interior of British Columbia acted as a stunning classroom with lots to explore and learn about geography and history.
Ski with the Locals
Big White has a complimentary program where you can take guided daily tours with their Snow Hosts adorned in bright orange jackets (you can’t miss them!). These are not meant to act as lessons. Instead, they are led by knowledgeable volunteers who provide mountain tips to skiers and snowboarders. They also have a lot of insider knowledge on restaurants and deals, which they are happy to share. In addition to official programs, we met so many friendly locals on the chair lifts, many who offered to take us around and ski with us!
Ladies who Ski
For fans of Ladies Ski Days, this resort is for you. While most destinations have one large ladies celebration per year, at Big White, the party continues every Wednesday morning for Ladies Club (Ladies Day). A group of women ski together for a lesson and then enjoy a healthy lunch, glass of wine and conversation together afterwards. I signed up and met a terrific bunch of local women mixed with visitors, all while my kids were in ski school.
Bon Voyage with Big White Hats!
It’s hard to leave Big White, that’s the biggest problem. As a departing gift, the four of us came home sporting a variety of colourful Big White hats that we wear with pride. There are over 80 different colours to choose from, with each pom pom the perfect size of a snowball. The snowball toque is truly a rite of passage that completes the trip. We can’t wait for winter so we can wear them again and return to Big White!