Need Some Ideas of Fun Things to Do on Your Down Days?
Ski holidays can be exhausting! You’ve spent hundreds of dollars on your lift ticket, so you want to ski first to last lift, every damn day. I get it! Maybe you’re the one person in the group who doesn’t want to ski every day, or doesn’t ski at all. Even though you’ve spent a fortune on lift tickets, down days are important on ski holidays, but they don’t have to be boring.
Big White has an incredible amount of terrain down in Happy Valley (over 25km’s of trails!) specifically for activities such as snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, snow mobiling, dog sledding and fat biking.
Here are some of my favourite activities on offer that non-ski lovers, or tired skiers alike can enjoy, and still have a hint of adventure in their day.
#1. Go Ice Skating
Big White is home to Canada’s highest outdoor ice-skating rink. It is the size of an Olympic Hockey rink! Open from 11am until 9pm daily (10pm on weekends), you can cruise around surrounded by the beautiful snow crusted pine trees. Entry to the ice skating rink is free. You will need skates though. Skates can be rented inside the Happy Valley Day Lodge for $11 per hour.
Don’t be deterred if you’ve never skated before! They have skating frames to assist people with no ability to balance on a very slippery sheet of ice, like me and you! (wink wink).
#2. Snow Mobile or Snow Biking with Outback Snowmobile Tours
Outback Snowmobile Tours offer snow mobile tours from 1- to 4-hours in length! They take you to the ends of the Big White’s backcountry, visiting wooden cabins, and frozen waterfalls along the way. Tours run daily and can be booked with concierge or down at the Outback Snowmobile Tours office in Happy Valley.
This year, they also offer ATV Side-by-Side tours and Snow Biking. The ATV’s are pimped out with snow tracks, creating another family friendly way to see Big White’s Backcountry.
The Snow Bikes are basically a motocross bike with a sled track replacing the back wheel. They combine the agility of a dirt bike, with the power of a snowmobile and provide a high adrenaline based way to tear around the trails. You can read more about my love/hate relationship with snow bikes in my article The Time I Simultaneously Loved and Hated Snow Biking.
#3. Go Snowshoeing or Cross-Country Skiing
Big White offers snow shoe tours for beginner, intermediate and advanced hikers, or you can rent the snow shoes or cross country ski’s and venture out on your own. The trails wind through the secluded forest, making you feel a million miles away and really in touch with nature. Great for getting out of your ski boots, but staying outside and active in the mountains.
If you’re feeling particularly lively and adventurous on your snowshoes, you can keep them overnight and use them to hike to the top of the mountain for sunrise. A particularly popular spot for Big White locals to catch the sunrise is ‘The Knoll’. Located lookers left from the top of the Bullet Chair and almost ‘above’ the Black Forest Chair, it provides a perfect spot for watching the sun wake up. You might need some good bearings of the mountain, or a local to go with you though, it is semi-hidden for a reason. (Disclaimer: I’m not sure it’s technically ‘allowed’ that you do this, but we’ve never been caught or disciplined, eep!)
#4. Dog Sledding
A true Canadian experience and an absolute MUST in my opinion, especially if you’re a dog lover like me. One of the more pricey activities offered at Big White, Tim from Candle Creek Kennels will introduce you to all 32 of his sled dogs, educate you on their diet, training and their (quirky and downright adorable) individual personalities before taking you out on the 7km long sled trail.
You can read more about my experience in my post Dog Sledding in Big White – A True Canadian Experience. Tours cost around $250 for the large sled, with a weight cap of 150kg’s. You can book the tours through concierge. Try and save money in the budget for this one, you honestly will not regret it.
This one is particularly for the kids, or the big kids at heart. The tube park is located down in Happy Valley and has five, groomed lanes for you to zoom down on your rubber tube. The park opens at 4pm weekdays and 2pm weekends and it costs $23 for a full day of tubing. It’s a great activity for the whole family to enjoy, and you can do it after skiing all day!
#6. Horse-Drawn Sleigh Ride
Wanting to do something romantic for your significant other? Or maybe the kids love horses and would enjoy an old-school horse-drawn sleigh ride through the forest. Tours run for either 30 minutes or 1 hour (includes yummy hot chocolate). You can also add for extra pizazz, either add brunch or dinner in your own private romantic cabin!
Tours start at $20 per person and can be booked through the concierge desk.
#7. Food Hop/Bar Crawl
Despite being a relatively small village, Big White has some pretty cool culinary experiences on offer. You can spend your afternoon meandering from place to place, sampling everyone’s best offerings.
Some of my favourite places to indulge include; The Woods, Globe Cafe and Tapas Bar, The Blarney Stone, Sessions and Gunbarrel Grill.
Each place has a signature dish or cocktail you have to try. My particular favourites are the $10 Beer and Burger on The Wood’s Snow Patio, Tabletop S’more’s at Globe Cafe and Tapas or their Spanish Sunday Traditional Paella, and Sessions enormous Nachos (try it with pulled pork). Don’t be shy to ask the bartender or server what their signature offerings are!
Stay tuned for a special post devoted to all the amazing must-have food experiences up at Big White.
So you can see Big White is not just for ski fanatics. There are plenty of activities for the whole family to enjoy! For more information or to pre-book your tours with Big White click here.