SILVER STAR, CANADA

Librans are partial to being surrounded by beauty. In a ski resort my preference lies in surrounds that have a theme (European, colonial) or reflect ‘days gone by’ (Silver mining, Copper mining etc). Failing that, bright primary colours used in buildings tend to inspire, stimulate and complement the green and white theme nature provides as a backdrop. Welcome to Silver Star, British Columbia. Think Fairyland.

Gorgeous

WORKING-IN WITH BIG WHITE

Two hours up the Vernon-bound road from Big White lies Silver Star. Fantastically the Big White season pass can be used at Silver Star, which makes for a great bargain when you’re planning to ski for more than 10 days. Two thousand five hundred vertical feet, 115 runs, you won’t get bored.

The ski school systems are synchronised, when you walk in on day one all you need to do is explain that your child was a ‘Racing Raccoon’ at Big White and they get straight into it. One of my pet peeves is when you need to explain over and over what ski skills your child has achieved, this can sometimes mean the week is spent skiing basic slopes when they were working up to blacks. An expensive, annoying pain in the what-zit. Luckily, Silver Star is a fine example of how to run a ski school, take note.

Rock on kidz

NEVER COMPARE SIBLINGS
Comparing Big White to Silver Star was the word on everyone’s lips on the chairlifts and in the pubs. From the locals it’s basically like this:

Big White has more powder and ski terrain but tends to white out, which is irritating for visibility. Take your chances. Silver Star has some pretty challenging slopes but tends to get scratchy and when it needs snow you’ll sure know about it.  Having got that out of the way, Silver star has 3000 skiable acres so if it’s in need of snow there’s plenty of room to roam around elsewhere. Not like you’ll be stuck on the bunny slopes.

Hot chocolate mecca

  THE SHOPPING VILLAGE

This village would be perfect for my mum and the sooner she gets to experience it the better. Stores with baubles and trinkets, wall hangings to decorate condos, thick top quality wool jumpers with snow flake designs on them followed by a hot chocolate by the fireside. Nice one. The targeted demographic down the main strip quite clearly points to the older generation, but what a generation flocks it is. It was Silver Star that turned me to see the merits of settling down and taking roots one day in one ski resort (rather than traverse the ski world like a ski-nomad as I do, sampling the wares and delights of each). This finer point deserves some elaboration and for this I dedicate a special paragraph to Baby Boomers, or let’s just call them BOOM BABY BOOM.

BOOM BABY BOOM
We all consider our mortality at one point or another and like to believe we’re value-adding our lives while we’re healthy and able,  if we’re ever committed to the nursing homes we can sit at the window happily knowing we gave it all we got. That’s the theory.

The Silver Star Baby Boomers are inspiring, somebody forgot to tell them they’re not thirty anymore.  You see them on the steepest, bumpiest slopes, they’re not lost, they skied there deliberately and they’re smiling like Cheshire cats. Press your nose up against The Bakery window at 10am or noon and the place is packed out like Rockerfeller Square on New Years Eve. Forget tennis on tuesdays, these bunnies pass you in packs out on the runs, laughing and living it up. Sheesh. Have we got a thing to learn. We stayed with an awesome couple in their sixties, I sent them an email at 8am, to say we’d arrive there that evening. They didn’t get the message because they’d left for their day’s skiing. And they were on their sixth or eighth week of skiing in a row.
FOOD
In love. Pure love.
Long John’s is great for burgers and staff are cruisey and friendly, Isidore’s Cuisine is awesome for a romantic night out with European fine food, Isidore personally attends to you and clearly enjoys all the company of his guests, and who wouldn’t.  Skiers are an amazingly interesting bunch. Paradise Camp is accessible only by cat at night and gets very busy, day and night. Downstairs at The Den it’s pretty cosy and invites an easy order of red wine, warming soups and filling mains. It’s an intimate venue for bands and local chit chat. The Bulldog crowd is young, the music is edgy and here my chicken wings obsession was sated. The Saloon is another younger pub-style hangout.

RUNS

This is a resort that extends the family in a ski-together kind of way. Some resorts are either very flat or very steep and you ski with your kids or beginner buddies like you’re doing them a huge favour. Silver Star has terrain that is challenging to smaller fry, but is not boring to you if you’re accompanying them. Kind of like exploring. There are two distinct mountain ranges, Putnam Creek and Vance/ Attridge. This is not counting Silver Queen where we toddled around with our kids when we felt like taking it easy, here the chairlift is not too high nor too scary. We took our three year old up the Powder Gulch chairlift, at the top those of differing abilities could part ways, blue runs to the left, some awesome black runs to the right, filtering back down to Powder Gulch. Our favourites were the Rush, bon Diablo, Spirit Bowl, Free Fall and Three White Monkeys. El Dorado was great for a cruise down.

Colour, snow, proximity, would more could you want?

Free Fall. Where is it? Straight below. Love it!
   

www.silverstar.com

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