Crystal Mountain Resort in Westbank, British Columbia, is a popular destination for skiers and snowboarders. As part of a series on ski resorts, Huffington Post Travel offers our guide to Crystal Mountain Resort, featuring all the key information snow lovers need to know before they hit the slopes.
The BasicsCrystal Mountain Resort is a family-friendly winter resort that offers affordable ski, snowboard and snowshoe packages and lessons for the budget-conscious. Nestled on the slopes of Mount Last in Westbank, British Columbia, Canada, the small resort is only a 15-minute drive away from Kelowna City in British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley. As a way of celebrating Canada’s Centennial, Crystal Mountain was established in 1967 as Last Mountain Ski Resort. It was purchased by new owners in 1992, and its name was changed to reflect the iridescent nature of snow in the dry and sun-drenched Okanagan area.
The MountainThe Okanagan Valley Guide boasts of the soft, light and fresh Okanagan powder snow that is typical of the West Coast mountains as one of the prime features of Crystal Mountain. At a base elevation of 3,940 feet, Mount Last rises to 5,001 feet at its highest elevation, making it a solid proving ground for all level of skiers. The average snowfall in the area is 122 inches at an average yearly temperature of 25 degrees Fahrenheit. Ski season typically starts in early December and lasts through late March, and skiers can enjoy 24 trails covering 470 acres. With a vertical drop of 650 feet, Crystal Mountain is an excellent location for new ski enthusiasts while featuring 25 acres of glades for the more advanced tree skier.
Trails And LiftsCrystal Mountain has 24 trails, with six for beginners, nine intermediates and nine black diamonds for advanced-level skiers and snowboarders. Long Trail, which is classified as a beginner trail, is roughly a mile in length and is the longest run in the entire resort. There are three lifts in Crystal Mountain: a double chairlift, a scenic triple chairlift and a green T-bar, allowing for a lift capacity of 3,000 people in an hour. Located just below the triple chairlift is Rankin Rut, a terrain park where veteran skiers and snowboarders can perform tricks.
In The NewsEach year, residents of Kelowna and the neighboring towns gear up for Crystal Mountain’s annual White Rabbit Snowshoe Race held on a Saturday in January. The race is open to men, women and youth 10 to 15 years of age. The race trail begins on a plateau above the scenic triple chairlift. It is composed of alternating gentle and steeper slopes until the finish line at the resort’s Snow Bowl next to the parking area. The resort also hosts a family fun day featuring races, such as the human dog sled race, and competitions such as a tug of war and a treasure hunt for kids.
CostLift passes for adults range from $36 to $46 each and $26 to $38 for youth and children, depending on ages and the time of day. Equipment rental for skiing and snowboarding costs $32 while a pair of snowshoes and a helmet can be rented at $26. Lessons vary from $79 to $185 for youth and children and $99 to $198 for adults. Crystal Mountain also offers season-wide passes for the entire family at $1,599 or adult season passes starting at $449 when purchased early.
Apres-SkiFor a small resort, Crystal Mountain is surrounded by several pubs and restaurants where skiers can unwind. Whiski-Jack’s Pub serves a variety of beers and wines and features live music every night. For a more kid-friendly venue, skiers favor the Bohemian Bagel Café in Kelowna, which serves traditional all-american cuisine. There are other restaurants worth checking out in the area such as Fogg N’ Suds Restaurant & Taps, La Cucina Pasteria and Ginza Japanese. Take a day off from the slopes with a visit to Eurphoria Spa, where the experts promise to use only natural ingredients in a relaxing massage and rejuvenating facial.
WATCH: Crystal Mountain Resort
Snow and sunshine make a merry meeting on the slopes of Crystal Mountain, delighting scores of skiers, snowboarders and snowshoers who flock to the resort in the winter.
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