The Story of Winter

The changing of the seasons always brings a fresh perspective. With the coming of winter, a new story weaves its way into Southwest British Columbia.

Perched high above Howe Sound in the Coast Mountains sits the Sea to Sky Gondola. In an area once accessible to only the most dedicated and hardy mountain folk, the Sea to Sky Gondola brings a different winter experience to Southwest BC. Just a snowball's throw from Vancouver, the gondola provides an opportunity for visitors to get out of the rain and experience winter as it was meant to be; towering, snow capped peaks, crisp mountain air, alpine forest and a cozy lodge from which to venture out.

 

On the interior side of things, the Summit Lodge, sitting at the top of the gondola, is the perfect basecamp for your snowy pursuits. Enjoy majestic, high alpine vistas while you sip a locally brewed espresso or come for a gourmet dinner and watch the winter sun dip slowly over the Southern Coast Mountains.

 

Outside, the possibilities are endless: Take a walk through snow-laden forest and spend a moment listening to the quiet solitude of winter. Grab some snowshoes and explore a little further on some of our trails. Bring the family and spend the day sliding around in our tube park, with views of Skypilot and the surrounding peaks. With rosy cheeks, watch the kids blow bubbles in their hot chocolates at the end of day of winter fun.

 

Further afield, the doors open wider. Bring your skis and skins and spend the day in the backcountry. With a ten-minute ride, the Sea to Sky Gondola brings you right to the doorstep of some of the biggest backcountry terrain in the area. Pack a lunch and snowshoe your way up to the alpine with Sky Pilot and Habrich looming above. Or bring your ice axes and spend a day or three sending winter routes up the surrounding peaks and gullies. So much natural terrain to explore and experience. 

 

The Sea to Sky Gondola offers a new take on what winter can be. It’s a place to come and feel winter at its purest, away from the crowds and the grey rain of urban life. Crisp mountain air, snow laden forest and high alpine peaks overlooking some of the most beautiful terrain in British Columbia…winter at the gondola is about being and dreaming and trying something new. Come and visit. 

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Squamish Today:

 

The Squamish (or Sḵwxwú7mesh in the Squamish language) is the name of the aboriginal people who have inhabited this part of southwest BC (including North and West Vancouver, Howe Sound, Whistler, the areas surrounding the tributaries entering Howe Sound) since time immemorial. Squamish is the English pronunciation of Skwxwú7mesh, the traditionalautonym for the people. The name Keh Kait was the traditional name for the site of downtown Squamish.

 

The Skxwxu7mesh territory comprises 6,732 km2. The largest village of the Sḵwxwú7mesh in the Squamish area is Chiyakmesh, which is in the area of Brackendale and is the namesake of the Cheakamus River. Another main village is located near the south entrance of town, St'a7mes, which lies below the Stawamus Chief, which gets its name from that village. Though within municipal boundaries, residents of these Indian Reserves are not governed by the municipality but are members of the Squamish Nation. It also includes villages in North Vancouver and a number of other reserves at Gibsons and elsewhere in the general region.

 

What Makes Squamish Special:

 

Squamish is known as the Outdoor Recreation Capital of Canada. Attractions include the Stawamus Chief, a huge cliff-faced granite massiffavoured by rock climbers. As well as over 300 climbing routes on the Chief proper, a majority of which require traditional climbing protection, there are steep hiking trails around the back to access the three peaks that make up the massif, all giving great views of Howe Sound and the surrounding Coast Mountains. In all, between Shannon FallsMurrin Park, The Malamute, and the Little Smoke Bluffs, there are well over 1200 rock-climbing routes in the Squamish area (and another 300 or so climbs north of Squamish on the road to Whistler). In recent years, Squamish has also become a major destination for bouldering, with over 2500 problems described in the local guidebook.

 

Another activity for which Squamish is well known is mountain biking, with over 600 trails suitable to all riders that can ride ultra-steep trails with huge gaps and steep rock surrounding the town. One of the more famous events supported by the Mountain Biking Community is the Test of Metal, a 67-kilometre, cross-country, mountain-bike race held annually in late June. Limited to 800 riders, the 2007 race sold out in under an hour.

 

Kiteboarding and windsurfing are popular water sports in Squamish during the summer. Predictable wind on warm sunny days makes theSquamish Spit the top kiteboarding location in western Canada.

 

Squamish's extensive quality trail system is a key feature of an annual 50 mile ultra trail run, the Arc'teryx Squamish 50. Solo runners and relay teams run on many of the same trails as the Test of Metal, and pass through Alice Lake Provincial Park and Quest University. "The Double" is an award offered annually to the participant with the fastest combined time for both the Test of Metal and Arc'teryx Squamish 50.

 

Other tourist attractions in Squamish include Shannon Falls waterfall; river-rafting on the Elaho and Squamish rivers; wind surfing and kite surfing at the mouth of the Squamish River; snowmobiling on nearby Brohm Ridge; and bald eagle viewing in the community of Brackendale, which has one of North America's largest populations of bald eagles. Squamish is also a popular destination among Greater Vancouver hikers, mountaineers and backcountry skiers, who visit the large provincial parks in the surrounding Coast Mountains.

 

For more information, please visit: Squamish Tourism