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One thing to love about Vancouver is that there is always something to look forward to — as soon as the summer ends, it's time to look forward to the winter again.

Vancouver is paradise for winter sports enthusiasts, as it offers a range of activities from snowboarding, downhill and cross-country skiing, snow-shoeing, tobogganing, tubing and more.

Having access to the North Shore mountains within thirty minutes of Vancouver, and the famous Whistler only two hours’ drive away, means that Vancouver is perfect for people who appreciate the outdoors. Spending a weeknight sliding down a mountain under floodlights with spectacular views of the Lions Gate Bridge, Downtown and the entire Lower Mainland is one of the greatest things about Vancouver. Winter is no longer a dark and dreary time. When it rains in the city, it means it’s snowing on the mountain — so get outside and enjoy what nature has to offer!

The cost of undertaking a mountain hobby can be off-putting to people living in Vancouver on a budget, with many people not realizing how to go about it cheaply. If you’re not completely sold on trying it out, just rent (or borrow) the required equipment, to begin. In the summer months leading into Fall, you will find the best selection of the previous season’s, and second-hand, gear. Buying a season pass represents the best value; however, all three local mountains offer loyalty cards that reduce your costs for multiple visits.

Some suggestions on where to go to get geared up for winter sports in Vancouver:

  • Showcase, The Board Room , Comor Sports, Pacific Boarder, all on West 4th Avenue, near Burrard Street. Most of the ski/snowboard shops on 4th Ave have sales with big discounts for last season’s gear, so take a look. It’s a great time to get some value on quality brands.
  • Fun in the Sun Clothing (2835 West 4th Avenue). Perfect if you’re on a budget. If you have never tried a sport then it makes sense to keep the investment minimal.
  • Sports Junkies (102 West Broadway). Another great place if you’re on a budget.
  • Whistler Blackcomb Outlet Store. In Squamish, but also worth a look.
  • Don’t forget to scan Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace for new/used equipment. People are pretty honest here so once you take your time and know what you’re looking for, you can get some great deals.

Remember, if skiing or snowboarding doesn’t float your boat, you can still try snow-showing, tobogganing and tubing to get yourself outdoors!

Read more: Our Survival Guide to Beating the Canadian Winter Blues

Now to look at venues for winter sports in Vancouver, with a focus on the local mountains. Whistler is a little expensive if you’re just starting out, so stay local and try to go at a quieter time. Night boarding is perfect, as it has less traffic to distract your learning.

You have three slopes to choose from: Mount Seymour, Grouse Mountain and Cypress Mountain. Seymour is much cheaper, but further east. As you travel west across the North Shore, you see Grouse and Cypress. Grouse Mountain is accessible by public transport via the Seabus, and there is a shuttle from downtown to get to Cypress and Seymour. Your decision on where to go will depend on cost, location and where your friends are going, but there is very little difference between the three mountains unless you are at an advanced level. Seymour has a great park, while Cypress has more terrain available.

Season pass information:

Grouse Mountain Season Pass info
Mount Seymour Season Pass info
Cypress Mountain Season Pass info

Lift pass information:
Grouse Mountain Lift Pass info
Mount Seymour Season Pass info
Cypress Mountain Lift Pass info

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