Fabulous ski resort for families, catering to wide variety of ages and ski abilities. My extended family meets in Vernon for a Christmas week of skiing every year, and there's a range of abilities, beginning preschoolers to advanced adults.
The ski school is great, very professional and friendly instruction. Their kids centre is particularly strong. Lessons begin at age 3 at the tiny bunny hill / magic carpet area right in front of the daycare, and all part of an enclosed area for security. There's a bigger magic carpet and a slope completely dedicated to green runs with its own chair for the next step up. The front face is a very accessible combination of green/blue/black runs, which means as soon as kids can ride the chair, the whole family can ski the same mountain together.
The village is a very pretty place, and nicely laid out so that it feels like there's definitely a town centre where it's easy to meet people. Lots of restaurants and stores with good ski gear and neat toys, and of course the all important candy store for the apres-ski treat purchase for the kids. Restaurants range from OK to pretty good. The food is generally a step up from the horrible cafeteria style catering you see at many big mountain resorts. More on the level of pub fare, and sometimes quite a bit better than that. (I particularly recommend the Paradise Ranch lodge at the top of the Powder Gulch chair - great gourmet burgers & mixed green salad. You can't get fries there, but they have yummy cinnamon buns).
The skiing is extremely enjoyable, if not world class. (Experts will likely prefer the challenges at the new billion-dollar Revelstoke resort nearby.) Tons of powder (last year we got 80 cm over 3 nights, but the days dawned magically clear). The front face has long, steady runs with lots of trees for shelter, although the top is no fun in white-out conditions. When the snow is blowing, however, seek refuge at Silver Woods, which also has some nice cruisers and moguls, but it's quieter and more sheltered. The most challenging skiing is in the Putnam Creek area, with plenty of double diamonds and the occasional blue and a single green for those who took a wrong turn. Lineups are practically non-existent here, and pretty minimal at Silver Woods.
There's tons of apres ski activities, as well as tubing and skating. But we've never had a chance to stay to enjoy them as family have property in the area where we stay. Nevertheless, it's extremely tempting.
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