11 Reasons to Visit Silver Star Mountain Resort in Winter

May 14, 2024 | 0 comments

When you live in the Canadian Rockies, you’re absolutely spoiled for choice when it comes to ski resorts, but we’re often guilty of sticking with the resorts that are closest to home. We’ve skied Big White a handful of times on the western slopes of the Canadian Rockies, but until very recently, had never had an opportunity to check out Silver Star Mountain Resort. When the opportunity came up to head out there and experience it for ourselves, we jumped at the chance!

Let me tell you, Silver Star is not only one of the top places to ski in the Okanagan, but it’s an absolute hidden gem in the Canadian Rockies that deserves WAY more attention than it gets. It’s a beautifully designed, super family friendly resort that’s less than half an hour from the City of Vernon.

In this blog post, we’ll dive into all of the top reasons to visit Silver Star Mountain Resort on your next winter vacation!

Why Silver Star Mountain Resort should be your next Ski Vacation!

1. Amazing skiing at Silver Star

Let’s not beat around the bush, Silver Star Mountain Resort has some fantastic skiing, and the resort is actually much bigger than we expected. From top to bottom, some of the runs are absolutely enormous, and we regularly found ourselves stopping to take breaks.

Once you figure out the lay of the land, there are numerous interesting slopes to explore, and, thanks to a great local tip, we found some amazing glade skiing (Deer Park) that blows most Canadian resorts out of the water.

We visited after it hadn’t snowed for a few days, and I can only imagine how amazing the glades are if you visit on a powder day. Widely spaced trees, with a decent gradient, and relatively low chance of getting lost or stuck in a tree well. There was also a ton of powder that was almost untouched! Definitely the best Okanagan skiing we’ve experienced in a long time!

skiing at silverstar

Silver Star also has one of the most spectacular views of the Okanagan from the peak of the gondola. You can see for miles and miles, and can even see Okanagan Lake in the distance. With night skiing on offer on the weekends, you actually can catch an incredible sunset from the peak if you’re lucky.

Okanagan Lake view from Silver Star

From a technical point of view, I would say that the majority of the mountain is geared towards Blue run abilities, but there are definitely plenty of more advanced areas that can get the adrenaline pumping! there are a few gulleys and double blacks dotted around if you’re in search of something more advanced, and these were typically very quiet and had great snow!

As I mentioned, there is also night skiing on weekends, and it’s actually one of the better night skiing set ups that I’ve seen. Similar to Big White, the night skiing run from top to bottom is quite long, and well lit, so it’s an absolute blast if you still have left over energy after a long day of skiing!

night skiing silver star

2. Ski in Ski out

One of the things we’re really lacking in the Albertan ski resorts is the ski in/ski out aspect. Silver Star has been designed with ski in/ski out in mind, and it makes everything that little bit easier. You can ski back to your room whenever you need a break or when you’ve finished for the day, which makes a huge difference when you’ve spent the day skiing hard.

Silver Star Resort village

As much as I love the resorts in Alberta, there’s nothing worse than having to drive 45 minutes home at the end of a ski day. We do it because the snow is so good and we have no choice, but give me ski in/ski out any day of the week!

It was particularly good because we brought our fur baby with us (more on that shortly). Being able to check in on him regularly throughout the day was a necessity for us, and Silver Star being ski in/ ski out makes that a possibility.

We also thought the hotel was great in general. Great facilities nearby, ski lockers, and rooftop hot tubs to soak in after a long day on the hill.

silver star hot tubs

3. Great food at Silver Star

In our experience, North American ski resorts tend to fall a bit short when it comes to food on offer. Whether it’s extreme pricing, low quality options or lack of variety, food is usually a bit of a disappointment. Typically your choice is a burger, chilli or a poutine in Canada, so we were absolutely blown away by the quality at Silver Star.

Not only were the typical American food offerings available (but at a very high standard), but we also found menus to be really diverse. There was quite a good range of diverse Asian dishes (actually made really well!), and the Bugaboo bakery might be my new favourite bakery ANYWHERE. The variety of pain au chocolats, sausage pastries and more were so tasty that we HAD to come here for breakfast every single day.

bugaboos bakery silver star mountain resort

For those that like a good cocktail at the end of the day, the Black Pine grill had some fantastic options. I probably tried far more than I should have, but I take my job seriously!

black pine pasta dinner silver star

You absolutely won’t leave Silver Star feeling unsatisfied.

4. A fantastic tube park at Silver Star

Over the past few years, we’ve seen a number of ski resorts begin to offer tube parks. For the uninitiated, tubing is sitting in an inflatable donut and being pushed down a high speed track. It’s high speed, doesn’t take too long and is suitable for virtually anyone. We saw a bachelorette party flying down as a group and a couple of pretty young kids taking themselves down.

For parents looking for a little bit of a break from parenting, sticking your kids in the tube park for 30 minutes/1 hour is a great way to keep them entertained.

The other perk, which you really don’t often see, is that the tube park is included in some lift passes, so for the cost of skiing, you can continue the fun well after the hill closes. I think while we were there, the tube park was open until 7pm, so we could squeeze in a few more hours of fun after the skiing was over.

For the most part, the tubing and other activities in Silver Star are all fairly walkable from wherever you’re staying on the hill. From where we were staying (close to the gondola), the tubing was maybe a 5 minute walk.

Other activities to do in Silver Star

You might think that skiing, night skiing and tubing is plenty, but Silver Star is absolutely packed with activities. We were blown away by how much was included with our lift pass.

5. XC skiing

Aside from tubing, there is also a huge communal skating rink, and one of the largest cross country ski areas in the country; over 105km of trails! It’s also in the top 5 highest XC ski areas in the country, at an elevation of 1,642m above sea level.

We were on a little bit of a time crunch, so we weren’t able to take on any of the longer XC ski routes, but we did tackle the night loop, which was absolutely awesome.

cross country skiing Silver Star Mountain Resort

The night loop is a floodlit XC ski loop that takes you away from the resort, around a small mountain and back to the ski hill. You can’t get lost and it means you can continue with more exercise after the sun goes down!

night loop Silver Star mountain resort

XC ski rentals were very straightforward, and again, plenty of the trails start from the resort, so you have a TON of ski in/ski out trails to explore from your front doorstep.

6. Mini Skidoos

One of the coolest things we spotted, was a mini skidoo course for kids to play on. I’m sure if we’d insisted, we could have done it as adults, but we only discovered it after it had closed for the night. It looked absolutely awesome for kids that enjoy something with a bit of HP.

mini sleds skidoos silver star

7. Ice Skating rink

One of our favourite things was the large skating pond in the middle of the village. We brought our own skates, but there are skate rentals in the village, and skating access is included with your lift pass.

The ice is regularly zambonied (smoothed by a machine), and there were goals for hockey players as well as plenty of space for those looking to simply cruise around. Again, the whole ice rink is flood lit, and bordered by a bar/cafe (perfect if you need a beer while you watch your kids skate!)

Other great reasons to love Silver Star

8. Close to Vernon and wine country

For some, having more options for food/nightlife/things to do is important. Fortunately, Vernon is less than 30 minutes away, and in no time at all, you’ll go from a snowy ski hill a mediterranean wine country (although no guarantees it will be sunny or warm in the winter months!).

But for those looking for something a bit different, it’s super easy to take a break from the skiing and spend a day visiting wineries of the Okanagan. There are very few places in the world that could offer such amazing variety of experiences!

9. Silver Star is Pet Friendly

Not only is Silver Star pet friendly, it’s cat friendly! So often when resorts say pet friendly, they mean dog friendly, so it’s a rare treat to find a ski resort that’s cat friendly!

Silver Star cat and pet friendly

Of course, not all accommodation on the hill is cat friendly, but there were enough options for us to find somewhere super spacious and ski in/ski out that was happy to accommodate our cat.

10. Silver Star’s amazing architecture

Silver Star is one of the most stunningly beautiful and unique ski towns I’ve ever seen. When it was incepted several decades ago, they made the inspired decision to not only implement design guidelines for building, but to include colour requirements as well. Yes, each building on the hill is required to have 5 colours! They also were able to create flat roofed buildings where the snow stacks up, and which also allowed the buildings to be built closer to each other.

All of this comes together to create an absolutely breathtaking quaint toy town/Christmas village unlike anything anywhere else. If you’ve ever been to Portmeirion in Wales, it reminds me of a winter version.

Looking out across the village at Sunset is truly breathtaking, and I think it’s fair to say that Silver Star is one of the most beautiful ski resorts we’ve ever come across. I can’t believe it’s not more well known!

I’m not sure if this qualifies for it’s own bullet point, but we absolutely loved the walkability of the small downtown area of Silvertip. There are plenty of small shops, cafes, bars, restaurants and even a candy shop to explore.

silver star village

At night, the buildings come alive with pretty christmas lights, and we absolutely loved wandering around checking out all the little boutiques and food on offer.

11. Silver Star is super family friendly

As far as family friendly resorts go, I really can’t think of one that does a better job; it has all kinds of activities to keep everyone in the family occupied, and the resort is small enough that you really can enjoy it as a unit without getting separated.

All we could think of was how much our friends with kids would love silver Star. Everything is walkable, and with it being ski-in ski out, even our friends with young babies would be able to tag team skiing/looking after the kids.

Where is Silver Star Mountain Resort?

Silver Star Mountain Resort is located about 30 minutes from the City of Vernon, in the Okanagan. From Vancouver, it’s about a 6 hour drive, and from Calgary, it’s a 7 hour drive.

If you can fly into Kelowna, it’s only 1.5 hours!

Final thoughts

Overall we just can’t recommend silver Star Mountain Resort enough. It was a fantastic all round experience at a resort that doesn’t get nearly enough attention.

I can’t wait to come back here again and enjoy the amazing vibes, the fantastic skiing and the exceptional activities on the resort (not to mention the great food)!

Make sure you check out our guide to Canadian Ski resorts here for more great winter resort ideas!

11 Reasons to Visit Silver Star Mountain Resort in Winter

Written byRobin

About us

About us

Hi, we’re Rob and Louise! We’re obsessed with travel and love to share our adventures! We’re a UK/Canadian couple that currently lives Banff, Canada.

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