Many of Canada’s most diverse landscapes are situated within British Columbia’s boundaries, from its famous Rocky Mountains to the southern Okanagan’s Osoyoos desert. Even Vancouver, by far British Columbia’s biggest city, is no more than a 2 hour, 30 minute Sea to Sky Highway drive from North America’s largest ski resort, Whistler.
After the snow melts in Whistler, Kootenays, and Rocky Mountains ski resorts, the province becomes an even more varied outdoor playground. High quality fishing and water sports are easily found along British Columbia’s breathtaking Pacific Ocean coastline, as well as the countless rivers and lakes within the province’s interior. British Columbia may be the only Canadian province where visitors can comfortably golf in winter and ski down glaciers in summer.
However, winter remains British Columbia’s prime skiing season, and any excursions through the province’s unspoiled backcountry slopes should be accompanied by professional guides familiar with this sometimes treacherous territory. Golden’s Mistaya Lodge and Alpine Tours arranges helicopter excursions to a secluded lodge between Yoho National Park and Banff, Alberta.
Central British Columbia’s Selkirk and Monashee mountains contain especially large numbers of slopes accessible only by helicopter. Heliskiing and snowcat skiing are both possible regions. Meadow Creek’s Selkirk Wilderness Skiing may have pioneered the snowcat skiing concept more than three decades ago, but this reputable company is now joined by many more groups like Whistler’s Powder Mountain Catskiing. Most snowcat ski groups include about a dozen guests, a driver, and lead and tail guides.
The newly opened Jumbo Glacier Resort west of the Rocky Mountain town of Invermere is the only North American ski resort which never closes thanks to the never melting natural snow on the resort’s four towering glaciers. However, summer visitors preferring to spend their time on lower and warmer ground can join a Coastal Revelations eco hike through central Vancouver Island’s breathtaking rainforests or spend a day on a Burgess Shale Geoscience Foundation hiking tour through the Walcott Quarry’s fossil bed in Yoho National Park.
Chartered fishing tours like Vancouver Island’s Salmon Eye Charters and Ultimate Sportfishing along the Fraser River will help fishers obtain the licenses they need to legally try to catch a bite at any of British Columbia’s countless fishing holes. Bass are most frequently caught in the Kootenay Rockies, while the endless salmon streams along British Columbia’s west coast made its people prosperous long before the first European settlers arrived.
Visitors who prefer watching marine life from afar can join whale watching tours such as Prince of Whales, which departs from Victoria, Vancouver, and even Seattle, Washington, or Ocean Outfitters, based in the smaller Vancouver Island town of Tofino.
The Okanagan Valley’s four annual wine festivals, over 100 wineries, and guided __wine tastings __like Penticton’s Grape Escapes Wine Tours may form the heart of British Columbia’s wine industry, but Langley’s Domaine de Chaberton Estate Winery also arranges wine tours and tastings not far east of Vancouver.