I know most of us in Vancouver are feeling pretty snowed out at this point. But if you have to shovel it off your sidewalk, brush it off your car and trudge the kids to school in the stuff, you might as well enjoy it too.
We were looking for a fun and active thing to do this family day weekend to break up the winter blahs – so we decided to take a little day trip out to the Sea to Sky Gondola in Squamish. The drive itself is amazing and rivals any scenic route out there… mountains, water, trees… you can practically hear a choir of angels around every corner.
The Sea to Sky Gondola has a ridiculous deal on this weekend (50% off all tickets) which means that a family of four can ride the tram and make use of all the activities at the top for $12.50 a person. Less than a movie ticket!
The gondolas themselves are 90% window so that you can gape wide-eyed over an unobstructed view of the beautiful Howe Sound. Unlike our usual gondola ride, seating is mandatory, which is a huge plus if you’re toting wee ones. They also had snuggly blankets. I wonder how many people just refuse to get off at the top.
Thankfully the fun continues at the top of the mountain. There is a huge network of trails for backcountry skiing and snowshoeing: many well groomed and many more rugged ones. They also have a well-maintained and well-marked set of very short and walkable family-friendly ones that even my three-year-old had no trouble on. The big fun was always hoping off the trail to “bum slide” down the hill or just crawl about in the snow. Plenty of room and plenty of snow to burn off the pent up energy from too much time in the house.
The kids also enjoyed the parks and playhouses they had at the top and bottom of the mountain. It was neat how the snowy environment intertwined with the pretty standard park equipment: kids could dig under, climb over and roll down the snow banks on the sides.
There was also a great little indoor play area in the chalet. No too often you can soak up the view at the top of a mountain through the floor to ceiling glass and sip cocoa while the kids play happily in the corner. A little slice of heaven right there.
Our kids aren’t quite old or brave enough to enjoy the tube sliding area, but from everyone we talked to, it was a big hit. I would recommend the $5 tube rental for those with big kids or those who are big kids at heart.
Instead, we must have walked across and back on the suspension bridge for an hour. It has enough sway to be exciting but not enough to be terrifying as we have found with our youngest on similar bridges in the past.
We were lucky to hit a clear day and made good use of the multiple viewing platforms. I really enjoyed the info boards that talked about the Squamish people and how they interacted with the land in the area. We didn’t make the free walking tour, but I think it would be a really great addition to the day.
The 50% Family day promotion runs February 11-13th. They also will offer live music, face-painting, and an outdoor bonfire complete with s’mores to ring in Family Day weekend.
Disclosure: I received complimentary tickets for my family in exchange for an honest review. All views and opinions are 100% my own.