True winter wonderlands are a rarity in Vancouver, but they are not as scarce as you may think. Leave the city behind and take the 20 minute trek up the snowy slopes of Grouse Mountain. You will find yourself in a magical, crystalline paradise brimming with snow-laced evergreen trees and a soft, white blanket of fresh snow on the ground for skiers and snowboarders. During the mountain’s popular Peak of Christmas celebration, this North Pole-like atmosphere, combined with visits from Santa and his crew will cause you to believe in the magic of Christmas all over again.

Vancouver Getaways

Get Up Close and Personal With Santa and His Reindeer

Santa's ready to meet the kids in his workshop. Photo: Grouse Mountain
Santa’s ready to meet the kids in his workshop. Photo: Grouse Mountain

Sure, Santa’s hard at work getting ready for Christmas, but Jolly St. Nick always has time for good little boys and girls. Treat the kiddos to breakfast with Santa, and feast on delicious pancakes with the man himself. Afterward, stop by the Elf Headquarters, where your little ones can share their holiday wishes with Santa in personalized letters.

Budding artists can get creative, crafting their own Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, while young tykes see how they measure up height-wise to a Christmas elf. Don’t forget to drop by Santa’s workshop before you leave for the chance to meet Dancer and Prancer, and learn about all of Santa’s reindeer at the Reindeer Habitat.

Get Out in the Snow

The little ones will have a fantastic time in the sliding zone. Photo: Grouse Mountain
The little ones will have a fantastic time in the sliding zone. Photo: Grouse Mountain

When it comes to classic winter traditions, drinking hot chocolate and  building a snowman are at the top the list. However, on Grouse Mountain, you can’t beat the experience of strapping on a pair of skates and gliding across a smooth 8,000-square-foot outdoor rink.

If you’d rather be sliding down the hill, get on your rented “magic carpet” and whoosh down the designated groomed runs of the mountain’s Sliding Zone with your kids in tow. Prefer skiing and snowboarding? Traverse the peak’s endless supply of trails and slopes or test your skills at the Terrain Parks.

Walk Through a Winter Wonderland

In the evening, take a magical Light Walk around Blue Grouse Lake. Wander through the glittering light tunnel that marks the entrance to the display and feel as though you are surrounded by hundreds of twinkling stars. With the crunch of snow underneath your feet, continue your stroll passed fir and spruce trees and marvel as glowing lanterns and stunning light installations add radiant ambiance to the winter landscape.

Add some sweet treats to your winter wonderland exploration and visit the SOS Children’s Gingerbread Village. Breathe in the comforting scent of gingerbread as you stroll past colorfully decorated miniature houses — and then vote for your favorite creation.

Cozy Up With Your Loved Ones

Sit back and enjoy the sleigh ride. Photo: iofoto
Sit back and enjoy a sleigh ride through the mountain’s stunning landscape. Photo: iofoto

After a day outdoors, cozy up with your family at the Theatre in the Sky, Grouse’s high-definition cinema, and take a trip down memory lane by watching classic Christmas movies. Or grab a seat on a sleigh ride and glide over fresh powder, the runners making a gentle “shush” as they slice through the snow, and soak in jaw-dropping views of snow-covered peaks and forests.

Journey to Grouse Mountain this holiday season and treat your inner child with a meeting with Santa and his elves and reindeer and explore the snow-related activities. Whether you go for spin around the ice skating or slide down the mountain on a snowboard — it’ll be an experience that you’ll never forget.


Clipper Recommends: 

  •  If you are looking for more wintertime fun, head to the awe-inspiring Capilano Suspension Bridge Park. Check out the world’s tallest Christmas tree and soak in breathtaking views as hundreds of thousands of dazzling lights cause the park’s bridges, trees and walkways to glitter like diamonds.
  • While you’re in town, be sure to stop by the Granville Island Market to pick up a few last-minute holiday gifts your loved ones. When it comes time to refuel, hop on a guided culinary tour and taste more than 20 different samples of fine food produced by local artisans.


Feature Photo: Lijuan Guo