Ski Canada: Grouse Mountain

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Written by Cassidy Barnes posted on Monday, March 29th, 2010

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Named for its native blue grouse, this ski hill is in Vancouver’s backyard. It only 15 minutes from downtown, but is a world apart.

Grouse Mountain's slopes lit for night skiing with the twinkling lights of Vancouver below. (Grouse Mountain)

“The Peak of Vancouver” has long been an industry leader, as it built the world’s first double chairlift way back in 1949.

Since then it has undergone countless upgrades, two of which were Canada’s largest snowmaking system (completed in 1973) and the Air Grouse mountain zipline (completed in 2008), which takes visitors high above the alpine rainforest, soaring through the air at speeds of more than 30-50 miles (50-80 km) per hour.

The slopes at Grouse Mountain are situated in the pristine wilderness of the Coastal Mountain Range. There are 26 runs at Grouse, 13 of which are open for nightskiing. The floodlights stay on until 10 p.m. nightly to accommodate skiers who want to get in a few runs even after work in Vancouver.

The base of the mountain is at 900 feet (274 m) and peaks at 4,100 feet (1,250 m) above sea level. The vertical drop of the skiable area is 1,260 feet (384 m).

On average, Grouse Mountain receives 102 inches (305 cm) of snow annually, and has 37 snow guns that cover 75% of their terrain. Of their 26 runs, 3 are green (easy), 15 are blue (intermediate) 6 are black diamond (advanced) and two are double black diamond (expert).

If you want to get your heart pumping, take the Olympic Express to challenge the double black descents of Purgatory and Devil’s Advocate. Or, if you are looking for a gentler side of Grouse, check out The Cut to link some easy-going turns off the Screaming Eagle Chair.

Snowshoeing, ice-skating, sleigh rides and dining high above the city are other popular Grouse activities. Panoramic views of the city below welcome over 1.1 million visitors per year on the area’s Skyride to the top of the mountain. Skyride is North America’s largest aerial tram system with views of Vancouver, the Pacific Ocean and the surrounding Coastal Mountains.

In the summer come back to Grouse to visit their refuge for endangered wildlife, world-famous lumberjack show, Birds in Motion falconry demonstration, tandem paragliding, helicopter tours, eco walks, hiking and more!

The mountain is dedicated to environmental responsibility, which is why they use automatic taps to conserve water, recycle and have a wind turbine (The Eye of the Wind) and wellness program to encourage their employees to build fitness into their lifestyle. According to Grouse’s website, “Every decision the resort makes is asked through a filter of social, environmental and economic responsibility… because mother Earth is a living thing.”

Telephone: 604.980.9311
Snow Phone: 604.986.6262

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