News from the snow
Silver Star Mountain Resort Canada
Located near Vernon, British Columbia in the Okanagan Valley, Silver Star Mountain Resort is a place where Victorian heritage and genuine friendliness are as honoured as the values of a time gone by. Silver Star combines a friendly atmosphere with skiing and snowboarding on 3,065, blanketed by 23 feet (700cm) of the world's best powder snow. The village theme is inspired by a typical nineteenth century British Columbian mining town era with Victorian architecture. Brightly coloured storefronts provide a unique ambience to the Resort. Silver Star has doesn't bother much with snow making because its totally unnecessary - getting over 23 feet annually of the World-famous natural, dry, Okanagan powder snow. Apart from its reputation for family friendliness and a perfect mix of long rolling groomed cruisers on the Vance Creek and the steep and deeps in Putnam Creek, there is in another, Silver Star is also a world renowned early-season cross-country trail network, particularly popular with Canadian and US Nordic and biathlon teams. Silver Star has an enviable natural snowfall record, averaging around six metres (18 feet), providing an average snowpack of 250cm (eight feet). The resort benefits from the unique microclimate of the Okanagan Valley, The comfortable daytime temperatures average -3 C (27 F) which is cold enough to keep the snow light and fluffy, yet perfect for skiing. The abundant natural snow has enabled the resort to open in mid-November. The resort' history dates back to the late 1950's / early 1960's when a day lodge was built and organised skiing began thanks to the construction of two short rope tows. More investors were found and the first real lift was installed - a 5,000 foot (1,600m) long Poma tow which gave skiers lit-served access to the summit of Silver Star mountain for the first time. Throughout the 1960's two aerial double chairlifts were installed. In the 1980's the first hotels were built and quad chairlifts were installed. 1991 saw the opening of Putnam Creek, best known for powder-filled fall line runs. Silver Star Mountain Resort was purchased in 2002 by the Schumann family, owners of nearby Big White Ski Resort. Since the purchase in 2002, Silver Star Mountain Resort has installed two new lifts, including the Comet Express, Canada's largest six passenger chairlift.
Silver Start has two ski areas - Vance Creek and the newer Putnam Creek. The resort has an 1890s style base village and operates what was the longest detachable quad in Canada. Silver Star has tripled in size in the past decade and is continuing to expand now under joint ownership with neighboring Big White. It doesn't bother much with snow making because its totally unnecessary - getting so much of the natural stuff. Silver Star is also a world renowned early-season cross country ski centre, particularly popular with Canadian and US cross-country and biathlon teams.
Vance Creek, the south face, features mostly beginner and intermediate runs with a few short sharp expert runs through the trees. Beginners can get an easy start with runs slopeside and progressive trails accessed by the Comet Pack Express, This Leitner-Poma built lift was added at a cost of $5.2 million Canadian dollars in 2002. At 1,763 meters in length it can carry up to 2,600 skiers and boarders per hour. There are wide, mostly south facing slopes surrounding the village, all easy to access from the accommodation.
Putnam Creek, best known as Canada's hottest backside, is home to some of the most challenging terrain anywhere. When it opened a high speed quads in 1991, it accesses steep and narrow chutes with names like Pipeline, Headwall, Freefall and Holy Smokes - there are more than 60 runs in all with some of the steepest groomed nightly by winch-secured groomers, creating wonderful fast, steep cruising for those capable of handling it. And on a powder day, there are few places to match it.
Under the direction of Norman Kreutz, Canada's foremost teacher of teachers, Silver Star's Snowsport School is regarded as the premier ski & board school in the country. Silver Star's highly certified professionals provide a training and learning experience unlike any other. They have some of the best pros in Canada to show you how much fun skiing and snowboarding can be.
Night skiing is available over a 300 metre vertical and other facilities on the slopes include free mountain tours. Terrain features at the resort include a halfpipe, expanded progressive terrain park, aerial training site, family fun race centre and moguls course.
Skiers wishing to visit neighbouring resorts will find Sun Peaks to the north and Apex and Big White to the south; the latter on a dual-mountain lift ticket.
Cross country skiers have extensive trails to enjoy. There are two trail systems, one leaving from the village and another that is lift accessed from the Summit; giving more than 60km (37 miles) of trails. Five kilometres of the tracks are floodlit for night skiing. The facilities and abundant snow cover are impressive enough to attract the Canadian National team for regular early-season training.
Putnam Station has won awards for being the best children's restaurant in a Canadian ski resort and Silver Star as a whole was voted best family ski area by Ski Canada magazine.
The Adventure Park contains tubing, the ice skating pond, mini snowmobile park for children, horse drawn sleigh rides, snowmobile tours and family snow shoeing.
Families can also enjoy the indoor climbing wall or the full-service gym & weight room.
Daycare is available for children aged 18 months to six years at the Star Kids Centre, here young children have their own beginners park and hand picked instructors with phenomenal patience to care for them and help them master their first turns. Conventional ski school classes are available from aged four in special kids classes and regularly receive rave reviews for their high standards.
Bear Paw Coffee on the top floor of the Town Hall serves gourmet coffees, soups, and sandwiches. Bugaboos Bakery Café is located on the Vance Creek boardwalk and serves European and Canadian specialty pastries, Dutch hot chocolate, Italian and specialty coffees, soups and sandwiches.
Other options include Clementine's with live piano playing every weekend. It's a fun place with great food available for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Every Thursday is prime rib night and a taste of the Okanagan buffet is on Sunday nights.
Alternatively the Craigellachie Dining Room has meals for any budget or occasion. Featuring a kid's menu and daily specials, it also has a full Okanagan wine list.
Options include Charlie's Bar, a cozy après-ski bar with a warm and inviting fireplace or Long John's Pub in the Lord Aberdeen Hotel. Long John's is a 100-seat pub with a cozy mining theme. The intimate Wine Cellar Lounge again has rustic charm and is located on the lower level of the Putnam Station Inn.
The resort's key après hot spot remains Vance Creek Saloon which features a DJ and live music, the saloon is the place to go for an evening of fun. With a pool table and darts this western saloon also has light meals and snacks.