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Driving in Winter - suggestions for which places to visit

Sydney, Australia
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Driving in Winter - suggestions for which places to visit

Hi, In February (probably just before winter olympics start) we are planning on flying in to airport near Vernon and meeting friends at Silver Star. We would like to drive to some areas (we have 2 weeks before we fly home to Australia from Vancouver), so would love some suggestions as to what other ski resorts or places of interest in this vicinity that we should consider seeing/skiing. I considered driving back to Vancouver, but some of the postings about winter driving has made me think I should reconsider this? Your opinions on this would also be appreciated, and which way to drive, if positive responses. My husband has driven in snow conditions before (and on the wrong side of the road ), but having said that, I don't want to be stressed out if conditions are too bad... ie are all routes to Vancouver prone to snow conditions? Thanks in advance Gblyn

Kamloops, Canada
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1. Re: Driving in Winter - suggestions for which places to visit

The two main ski resorts are easy driving distances from Silver Star. Big White is in Kelowna where you will be flying into and Sunpeaks is in Kamloops. As a ballpark guess for driving times I would say ~2.5 to 3 hours one way to both ski hills. You should have enough time to get to these locations driving safely. As usual winter driving can be stressful but take your time and if a heavy snowfall has occurred just stay at Silver Star. Our highway crews are pretty good in my mind and are usually on the roads as soon as they can. There are other resorts in the southern Okanagan and one in Revelstoke northeast of Vernon but your travel time will increase.

A couple of web links to add more info for you:

hellobc.com/en-CA/…BritishColumbia.htm

http://www.drivebc.ca/

Note the webcam links in the DriveBC site to give you an idea of what the roads look like and if any issues are present.

One other thought is that Silver Star has a shuttle service to both mountains I believe, I would check to be sure and for costs.

http://www.skisilverstar.com/

sunpeaksresort.com/planyourtrip/gettinghere/…

Hope this helps, enjoy your stay :0)

Vancouver
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2. Re: Driving in Winter - suggestions for which places to visit

If you are flying in to Silver Star, that means you are probably landing in Kelowna about 35mins from Vernon and another 20 or so up to the mountain.

There are a few choices for your adventures:

1. Sun Peaks - The road is not too bad between Vernon and Kamloops in the winter because it does not cross any mountain passes. It is in the bottom of a valley.

2. Big White - You would have to drive back to Kelowna and up to Big White. Between Vernon and Kelowna the road is not bad, but the road up to Big White can be. There is a helicopter transfer that you can take from Silver Star to Big White as they are owned by the same people.

3. Apex - This is a little farther south in Penticton. I would speculate the road would be alright for this drive.

4. Revelstoke - This is a relatively newly expanded ski hill and the road is good for part way, but can get heavy snow as you near Revelstoke.

5. Kicking Horse - About 3hrs from Vernon, near Golden BC, plus add some time to get to Vernon and to get to the ski hill from Golden. The road here can be terrible between Revelstoke and Golden.

Of course all of these routes can be terrible if there is a snow storm or they can be clear if you have a nice sunny day.

Vancouver, Canada
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3. Re: Driving in Winter - suggestions for which places to visit

Driving conditions depend entirely on the weather. We have lots of snow clearing equipment and crews: ploughs, sand and salt trucks, etc. When the snow is falling from the sky, often it is coming down faster than the crews can clear it, making for dangerous conditions. Another type of situation that makes things dangerous is when the roads are wet, either from rain or melting snow, and then it freezes overnight and you get a sheet of ice on the road, so you need to watch for warm weather followed by a quick chill.

If there hasn't been snow for a few days, then the crews have had a chance to get out and clear the roads and dump salt on the ice and the driving conditions are absolutely fine. If you can be flexible about when you drive, then you can adjust your schedule according to the weather.

Vancouver, Canada
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4. Re: Driving in Winter - suggestions for which places to visit

<<Driving conditions depend entirely on the weather>> and I would add that the weather will do what it wants. There is no predictability. There is some fairly high ground between Kelowna/Vernon where you will be skiing so it will snow rather than rain. The sheets of ice have been mentioned - we call this black ice because you can't see it until your car is in a skid. A friend of mine scoots down into the States to come across to Vancouver at Christmas time. This means south to Osoyoos on #97 and then to Cle Elum to hook up with Interstate 90 to Seattle, then up I5 to Vancouver. Just that small distance to the south seems to make for better weather conditions for highway driving. If the weather is good, by all means drive out to Vancouver through BC. Be aware that your rental car will not have snow tires, instead all season radials. You might want to consider carrying chains.

Sydney, Australia
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5. Re: Driving in Winter - suggestions for which places to visit

Thank you so much for all those replies... it has been most helpful... our plans are very flexible, so as said, we will probably play it by ear/weather.....

Cheers

GBlyn

Sydney, Australia
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6. Re: Driving in Winter - suggestions for which places to visit

another question...... is it worth driving to Whistler for a look see - maybe not even to ski, but just to say we've been there?. If so, which route would be the nicest, as far as scenery, and maybe a stop along the way (again we would be leaving from Silver Star). I guess what I'm wondering, is if we only ski for a few days at a couple of resorts, what else is there to do in the winter - (sorry, I haven't had time to research the websites yet?) Should we just treat this as a skiing holiday.... ( I think we will have 2 weeks to spend in Canada).

Thanks

GBlyn

Kamloops, Canada
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7. Re: Driving in Winter - suggestions for which places to visit

The shortest route is about a six hour one way drive at ~425km. It is a scenic route through Kamloops, Cache Creek, Lillooet and then Whistler BUT portions of the route are very high elevation and can be shut down for portions due to snow conditions, road is lightly traveled as it is very rural at times not for the faint of heart (probably not a route one should take with limited winter driving).

See the Cayoosh Web cam between Pemberton and Lillooet.

th.gov.bc.ca/weather/south_coast_region.asp

The other obvious route is from Vernon to Kelowna then Merritt, Vancouver and then Whistler ~seven hours at ~560km. This route is also very scenic.

My guess eventhough the games are after you are coming it would be an extremely busy time to visit.

Kamloops, Canada
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8. Re: Driving in Winter - suggestions for which places to visit

Try the snowshoe day trip at Silver Star, snowmobile trips are fun, winery tours in the Okanagan Valley.

skisilverstar.com/home_showSection_ID_102.ht…

http://www.okwinetours.com/

9. Re: Driving in Winter - suggestions for which places to visit

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