Silver Star Ski Resort in Canada boasts one of the most unique ski villages in the world, and a deceptively large, world-class ski area in the heart of British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley. Silver Star has something for everyone, yet it’s particularly great for those wanting an easy and fun family ski vacation.
- A cute and compact ski-in ski-out village.
- Whether you love them or loathe them, the colorful buildings are unique and memorable.
- The skiing off the backside is great for advanced and expert skiers.
- Canada’s biggest cross-country network. A total of 55km of groomed trails make this a popular choice for cross-country skiers.
- A range of accommodation – from budget through to high-end vacation homes.
- While Silver Star labels all accommodation as ski-in ski-out, not all strictly is.
- The kids’ activity area (with tubing, ice-skating and more) is separate from the village.
- The village is small and the restaurant choices are limited, although decent.
- While there’s a good après scene, this is not Whistler or Banff. The one nightclub was shut during the 2014/15 season due to a fire.
Arriving at Silver Star Ski Resort for the first time, visitors could be forgiven for thinking they’d driven on to a Western movie set, albeit a wacky one. All of the buildings are weatherboard and a patchwork of bright, happy colors. Silver Star’s mid-mountain village is not a place where you’ll get lost, since it’s tiny. A central ski “plaza” is surrounded by restaurants, cafes, shops, hotels, bars and the ski school. In keeping with the Western movie theme, the ski school has a rooftop bell that’s rung to start class.
But don’t let the size of the village deceive you. Silver Star resort is a big ski area – at 3269acres/1323ha it’s the third-largest ski area in Canada behind Whistler Blackcomb and Sun Peaks. And it offers fantastic skiing for all levels!
The quality of skiing at Silver Star ski area is impressive. Although there are only six main lifts (not including the magic carpets and connecting T-bar), these lifts service an enormous spread of terrain.
The village and most of the accommodation at Silver Star are situated mid-mountain on the “Front Side”. This makes access to the slopes easy and quick for most visitors.
First-timers will start in the small beginner area with its magic carpets, right in front of the village. From there they’ll progress to beginner areas mainly off the Comet Six Pack Express and Silver Woods Express.
Intermediates will also have a field day on the Front Side where there are some nicely gladed areas where they can try their hand at some tree skiing – particularly down in the Silver Woods area.
Strong intermediates and advanced skiers are well looked after on different parts of the mountain – most notably on the “Back Side”. This area, with its blacks and double blacks and occasional blue run is almost exclusively reserved for them. Some of the runs are long, steep and fast, while others have perfectly spaced trees to play around in on a powder day. The more adventurous and energetic can explore the side-country off Alder Point that funnels back down to the Powder Gulch Express. This lift is the only one servicing the whole Back Side so the entries and exits before and after each run can get a bit repetitive and sometimes flat.
Silver Star is rarely crowded, though on busy weekends the Comet Express can get somewhat congested.
Shredders and park rats wanting to test their skills will head straight for the Rockstar Terrain Park, though lapping the park requires the long Comet Express. There is also a snow-cross course.
Silver Star has two areas set aside for night skiing – off the slow old double Summit Chair and Silver Queen Chair.
Silver Star Canada is perfect for families. It’s great value and easy to get around. There’s a wide variety of self-contained condos in Silver Star and a good ski school, with a lot of programs to suit your child’s level.
For such a small village area there are a surprising number of activities to do outside of skiing, particularly aimed at families (see below). However, these mostly take place away from the main village, closer to the base of the Silver Queen Chair.
There is a wide selection of accommodation in Silver Star to suit every taste and budget. From a backpackers hostel and a budget pub-style hotel right through to luxurious condos and vacation homes. The one thing in common is that most properties are all dressed up in the same wooden, colorful style! A lot of the condos and hotels in Silver Star are situated within easy walking distance of the village, while the vacation homes are scattered along the ridge and an area called The Knoll.Search Hotels and Deals Get your
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The No.1 attraction at Silver Star (apart from the skiing) is its world-class network of cross-country trails. Over 55km of them are groomed daily and weave their way in and out of the ski resort – sometimes with spectacular views. If you’ve never tried cross-country skiing before, this is a great place to give it a go! You can take lessons or rent gear in the main resort center. You can also use your lift pass (or buy a special pass) to have lift-access to the upper mountain trails.
Most of the family-focused activities at Silver Star take place near the base of the Silver Queen Express, about a 10-minute walk from the village. Silver Star has a picturesque 2.5acre natural ice-skating rink where there’s plenty of room for hockey players, figure skaters and first-timers. In the same area there’s tubing, night-skiing, mini-snowmobiles and pinheads bowling. Other snow activities include horse-drawn sleigh rides, snowshoe tours and snowcat dinner tours.
For adults there’s a day spa, fitness center, yoga, a gallery and a handful of retail stores. The resort organizes night trips to Vernon to see ice-hockey matches (great for international guests!).
If you want to splurge there’s a heli-skiing operation that picks you up and drops you off at the resort (see Kingfisher Heli-skiing for more details).
Silver Star ski resort is close to the town of Vernon, and one hour from Kelowna International Airport, which has daily international flights from cities in Canada and the US. From Kelowna airport you can rent a car, but once in Silver Star you will hardly need it. A better option is to take the direct shuttle bus provided by the resort (for an extra charge). If you’re after a road trip, Silver Star is five hours’ drive from Vancouver, or 6.5 hours from Calgary.
There is a shuttle bus for getting around Silver Star, but most condo properties are within easy walking distance of the village.
More details are in our Silver Star Scout Field Guide.
Silver Star Resort operates from mid-November until mid-April. The best time to visit for the most reliable snow is January and February, although temperatures are colder then. There can be great spring skiing in late March and early April, with the occasional dump of fresh snow.
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