Skiing on Grouse Mountain is a fantastic option if you live in Vancouver and want to reach a ski-hill with very little effort. It is incredibly easy to get up to the Mountain on public transit and on clear days you’ll be treated to fantastic views of Vancouver and the Burrard Inlet.
Marc and I wanted to try out all the Ski Resorts on Vancouver’s North Shore, so last weekend we finally had a chance to explore Grouse Mountain with our skis. Here is my mini review about Grouse Mountain Skiing facilities.
Grouse Mountain Skiing overview
The Grouse Mountain ski resort covers one side of the mountain, with ski slopes right up to the summit of the mountain at an elevation of 1250m. There are two long chairlifts, as well as two smaller chairlifts and a magic carpet for newbie skiers.
How to get to Grouse Mountain:
You can take public transit the whole way. If you’re coming from downtown, take the Seabus, then jump onto a #236 bus. Or take a #232 from Phibbs Exchange on the North Shore.
If you drive up, come early as by 9am all the parking spots were already full.
There is a cafeteria, a restaurant, a shop and washrooms in the lodge. There is also a beaver tail stand on the slopes (although it is not always open)
$69 (or $49 for night skiing)
This includes the cost of the skyride up the mountain.
Grouse Mountain Skiing – getting started
If you can, buy tickets online before you get to the mountain! We did try to do this, but their online system didn’t work for us, so we had to get in the queue. We arrived half an hour before the ski slopes were due to open, and the line up was not crazily long BUT there were only two members of staff serving people, and they were very slow. They also kept disappearing off into the back office, leaving no-one at the desk.
This means, if you need to buy a ticket, don’t expect to get started straight away. It took us almost an hour just to buy a ticket and ride the skyride up the mountain.
Grouse Mountain Skiing – the slopes
There are 24 downhill ski-runs. The majority of them are blue (intermediate), with a handful of black diamond (difficult) runs, and a couple of easier green runs. See the full map here.
If you’d like to visit, but you’re not into skiing, you can go snowshoeing on the Grouse Snowshoe Grind, or wander around the light walk. Plenty of people visit Grouse Mountain for non-ski related fun.
Grouse Mountain – How busy is it?
We visited on a Saturday morning in February. When we first arrived, it was not too busy at all. It was snowing, so we couldn’t see very far off in the distance, but there seemed to be plenty of space on the slopes.
More and more people arrive as the day goes on, but it never felt too busy. We did have to wait for lifts, but not for long. Grouse seems to be far busier than Sasquatch Mountain, but not quite as crazy as Cypress Mountain.
Grouse Mountain – Green runs
“The cut” is the main green run on Grouse Mountain. It is a really fun place to practice as it is wide, and not too steep. In the afternoon, the clouds lifted slightly and we could see the pretty views down to Vancouver. If you are a beginner, this is where you’ll spend your time. There is also teeny hill with a magic carpet for total snow newbies.
Grouse Mountain Blue runs
There are a wide range of great blue runs on Grouse Mountain. Some are steep with moguls, some emerge through trees, and some have gorgeous views. “The peak” is the name of the (blue) slope that everyone can see on Grouse. If it looks a bit steep and scary for you, there is a second, easier (also blue) run called “heaven’s sake” that winds around the back of the mountain. I found the piste on “the peak” quite icy and difficult, but it gets easier if you try it multiple times.
Most of the other (blue and black) ski slopes lead towards the Blueberry Bowl and the Olympic Express chairlift.
This is the view from the Olympic Express. It is gorgeous, even on a snowy cloudy day.
Do you know about Moguls? As a newbie skier I had never heard of them, but they are mounds of snow that are formed when skiers and snowboarders do sharp turns. Overnight they harden into icy bumps on the pistes. Up until this weekend I have just avoided pistes that are covered in moguls. I find it really difficult to ski around them. Marc and Tim are both better at skiing than me, so they showed me how to handle moguls. At first I’d watch them, then ski down on easier routes(!)
I wanted to try this myself. I started off by trying to slowly ski around the newly formed moguls, or the smaller ones at the edge of the ski slope. Now I can sort of navigate my way around these difficult slopes.
Grouse Mountain’s Back Diamonds
I have written about my failures attempting black diamond-level ski runs previously. Last time I tried, I ended up sliding head first and upside-down down the slope. This meant I wasn’t overly keen to try again. Still, I figured if I don’t try, I’ll never get to see the views from any black runs. So… I took a deep breath and started sliding down a black diamond called “blazes”. You can see my joy face halfway down. I can totally do it!
Squeeee! It was a little scary, and I was definitely the least elegant skier on the mountain BUT I managed to ski down Grouse Mountain, on green, blue and black diamond slopes. This means I am happy to confirm Grouse Mountain is a really fun mountain to explore!
Although, as I managed them, it might mean the black diamond runs are not too hard!
We finished our day back on the easier slopes near “the cut”. Once the clouds lifted it was really nice to see the views, and the pistes through the trees are incredibly fun to explore. If you visit Grouse Mountain to go skiing, “paper trail” was the ski run I liked best.
Learning to Ski near Vancouver
If you fancy learning to ski in Vancouver, then Grouse Mountain is a great place to visit. It is quite expensive, but makes up for it by being so easy to get to, and having such pretty views. I have a bunch of other posts about learning to ski in (or close to) Vancouver if you’d like to read about other options…
- Cypress Mountain – I have posts about skiing lessons as well as normal ski days
- Mount Seymour – I have a post about Skiing lessons Mount Seymour and Going back for fun.
- Whistler Blackcomb – I have posts about being a beginner, late season skiing in spring and skiing at Christmas.
- Sasquatch Mountain – If you head inland toward Mission, Sasquatch is a cheap, really fun place to ski in the Fraser Valley.