Silver Star Mountain Resort
Silver Star boasts about its Champagne powder and so it should with 19 feet (6m) of average annual snowfall, so there is rarely a shortage. The resort is split into two distinct areas Vance Creek ("The Front Side") which faces south and Putnam Creek ("The Back Side") which faces north with a wide range of terrain to suit all levels. The Putnam Creek area has alot of advanced terrain with some blue runs, however the blue runs at Putnam creek are generally as difficult as the black runs on the Vance creek side. The three other areas of the resort are smaller but boast their own advantages; Attridge has short quick runs and can be good on powder days, Silver Woods which has fantastic gladed runs and the Silver Queen which is a dedicated beginners slope.
- 1 Location
- 2 Pros
- 3 Cons
- 4 Contacts
- 5 Planning
- 6 Resort Facilities
- 7 Ride Guide
- 8 Other
- 9 Resources
Silverstar is located 22km (12miles) north east of Vernon in the Okanagan Valley, which is known for its picturesque lakes and beaches in the summer and also boast some of the best interior skiing in BC. Kelowna, which has and international airport, is about 70km (43miles) from Vernon. The silverstar resort could be described as being situated on a "hill" compared to some of the Rockie mountain resorts, however does not mean that the runs are not challenging and one upside to this is that the risk of avalanche is significantly smaller. One benefit that is not common in BC is that the entire resort is situated right on the mountain, right next to the ski runs - meaning almost all of the accommodation is ski-in/ski-out. The Victorian inspired village is basically one street with a ticket booth in the middle. All of the restaurants and facilities can be found here. There's one rental shop, two ski wear shops and around 10 restaurants.
- when the powder falls, it is unbeatable
- only crowded during christmas and a few of the holidays
- boasts the most blue-bird days of BC interior ski fields
- small village atmosphere and colourful houses
- varied terrain
- THE BACK SIDE has some very challenging runs and alot of double black runs meaning you will not get bored
- family friendly atmosphere
- it is easy to be alone on some of the runs
- if one side has poor conditions, it is most likely the other side of the mountain will be different
- large mature tree lined runs
- mountain bike tracks used in the summer become birmed chutes of adrenaline in the winter
- alot of australian staff
- limited facilities - sometimes a trip to Vernon is necessary
- only one small market
- limited choices with dining and shopping
- General Enquiries
Open from 8 a.m. to 4.30 p.m. daily. Phone: (250) 542-0224 Fax: (250) 542-1236 Email: email@example.com Postal: Silver Star Mountain, PO Box 3002, VIB 3MI, British Columbia, Canada
- Central Reservations
Central Reservations and Bookings Toll Free: 1-800-663-4431 Overseas: (250) 558-6083 Fax: (250) 558-6090 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Guest Services
Phone: (250) 558-6019 Fax: (250) 542-1236 Email: email@example.com
- Snowsport School Programs
Phone: (1-866-558-2112 Fax: (250) 558-6077 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Information Desk - Activity and Event Information
Early season hours 8am to 4:30pm. As of the 15th Dec 8am to 8pm and 9pm on Fridays. Phone: (250) 558-6019 Fax: (250) 542-1236 Email: email@example.com
The nearest international airport is Kelowna (YLW), 70kms from Sliver Star which has several flights from Canadian and US destinations. If there is no direct flight then Vancouver (YVR) has regular flights to Kelowna. Kelowna airport is served by Air Canada, WestJet and Alaska Airlines. The Vernon Airporter and also the The Kelowna Shuttle shuttles people from Kelowna airport and Vernon, however some trips need to be prebooked. Expect to pay around $40 CAD for a one way journey and upwards of $80 CAD for a return.
Vancouver 560km (350miles) away and can take up to 8 hours to drive. Depending on the time of year, check for any road closures as this can cause delays. From Vancouver to Vernon, the main highway routes will be Vancouver to Hope (Transccanada Highway 1), Hope to Merritt (Coquihalla Highway 5) and Highway 97 and 97C which take you to Vernon.
There is a train station at Salmon Arm, 60km from the slopes, however you will still need to get a bus to get to Silverstar from there and then a shuttle up the hill, which could prove to be more expensive than simply flying.
The greyhound bus runs from many destinations across Canada and usually takes 10-12 hours to get to Vernon from Vancouver. This is by far the cheapest option, usually costing about $40 CAD one way. A seated overnight bus option is also available. Unfortunately, you will still need to organise transportation up the mountain. A Taxi one-way up the hill costs around $50 CAD one way. Otherwise contact the shuttle services, they are usually happy accept pick-ups from the Vernon bus depot.
Accommodation at Silverstar is split into two distinct types; Condo style, which tends to be in the Village or private homes which are generally situated on the Knoll. The Knoll is a small hill which protrudes above the village with a looping road which connects all of the properties back to the Village.
ownerdirect,com have a good variety of large private homes which are on the Knoll. Availability of the properties can be checked on the website. Longer rentals can also be negotiated.
Condos / Hotels
All of the Hotels will always operate as Condos, meaning they usually have a kitchen and you will be largely self-sufficient. None of the hotels offer room service and only some have attached restaurants. The accommodation ranges from Hostel style to Luxury Condo style, further details can be found here
- The Snowbird Lodge is the primo Ski in/Ski out location. The fitout of the rooms is excellent and they are very spacious.
- Firelight Lodge is the most recent addition to Silverstar, overlooking the small lake used for ice-skating. The rooms are modern and spacious and will meet your every expectation. The Lodge is located across Parking Lot B, so is separated from the main village.
- The Bull dog offers renovated rooms and is somehow affiliated with the similarly named hotel chain in Amsterdam. It is opposite the Lord Aberdeen.
- The Lord Aberdeen is situated right in the heart of the village, which can have pros and cons - expect noises on weekends, but fast access to the slopes.
- Pinncales Suite hotel was one of the first accommodations on Silverstar and is at the top of the Village. Access to the village is not completely clear, however there are uninterrupted views of the slopes.
- Silver Creek is one street back from the main village, however offers balconies and good views of the Village and the surrounding area.
- Vance Creek Lodge is on the main street.
- The Chilcoot was silverstars' premium accommodation a few years ago, so expect the prices to reflect this.
- Silver Lode Inn is currently being used as Staff Accommodation, however operates as a hotel in the summer.
Accommodation can be found in Vernon, however you will need access to a car to make this economical. The trip usually takes about 20 minutes, depending on traffic an conditions.
Single Day Prices:
- Adult (19-64yrs): $71
- Youth (13-18yrs): $59
- Child (6-12 yrs): $35
- Senior (65+ yrs): $59
- Tots under 5 ski free
Keep an eye out for offers during the season. Night skiing is often boasted as $5 fridays (which also includes saturdays) where a lift ticket is $5, rentals are $10 and other bargain dining specials apply.
See also a full pricing schedule for for Nordic, Tubetown, Night and multiday pass prices. All prices in CAD and exclusive of Tax
Probably the best ski school in Canada. Certainly the highest percentage of level 4 CSIA instructors. Ski school head is Norm Kreutz. Good mature instructors are George Young, Hans Gut, Steve Feedham and Spike Kenny.
Ski, board and Nordic/Cross country equipment can be hired from Ski Dazzle rentals, pricing is typical for any Canadian resort. As you enter the sliding doors, follow the signs and hang a direct left to go down the ramp. The people at the front retail area will get grumpy if you ask them where rentals are. If you are staying in Vernon, equipment can be hired from a number of vendors. Snow shoeing equipment can be hired from Valhalla Pure across from Ski Dazzle. Jackets, Snow Pants and Kids outerwear can also be hired from Ski Dazzle retail area.
Facilities are limited in the Village, however if you are only there for a short time; these should suffice. The Lord Aberdeen Market is the local grocery store and stocks, bread, milk and fresh veggies. If you ask the owner nicely, he can arrange a custom order and delivery for a small fee.
The village is relatively small; everything is in short walking distance. For long stays, you may need to go down to Vernon (about 20 minutes away by road) to get to the supermarket and other amenities. Vernon is a big town, about 30,000 people. Other than driving down or finding a ride, the Vernon Airporter will take you down to town. The shuttle has 5-6 departures a day and a return ticket is around $18 CAD. The shuttle is a small van and can take up to 11 passengers. A taxi ride is about $50 one way.
Five parking lots serve Silverstar. Parking lot B is the largest and right in front of the village main street. Parking lots A and C are smaller but are still in very close vicinity to the village. Parking lot D is next to the Firelight Lodge and parking lot E is further out next to the Silver Queen chair.
Silverstar boasts a number of activities other than skiing.
- Nordic Skiing is big at silverstar and the trails are connected to the Soverign Lake Nordic Center which has many manicured runs totaling over 50km. A seperate pass is required to nordic ski in the Soverign Lakes Provincial Park. Access is also either by car (about 8 minutes from Silverstar village) or by taking a reasonably difficult nordic trail that takes about an hour.
- Tube Town is next to the Silver Queen ski run and offers tubing with two rope tows.
- Ice-skating is offered outside on a small natural lake with a small island. Skates and hockey equipment can be rented from the information desk at tube town.
- Night Skiing is usually offered on Friday and Saturday nights with about 3 runs and two field open. The silver Queen chair and Summit chair operate on these nights. The summit chair accesses the Milky Way run and Face.
- Rock climbing at the NATC on weekends.
- Mini sleds are popular with children and offer another activity for day or night. Information available from Tube Town
- Snow shoeing tours are available and are run through Valhalla Pure. There are many different trails and styles of tour. One of the best tours is the Starlight Cabin Rendezvous which is about an hour of snowshoeing, followed by a home cooked dinner at the Wild Horseman's Cabin and a Sleigh-ride back to the village.
- Snow mobile tours are offered from time to time and usually go out if number suffice.
- Silverstar also offers a Day Spa
There is only a few restaurants in town, but enough variety to keep your meals interesting.
- Silver Grill. Steaks are on the small size. An 8 or 12 oz steak is not large. Lenny's the chef and he can recommend some good local Okanagan wines at about a 80-100% markup. But still reasonable compared to Australian snow resort standards. A premium red will be around C$80.
- Isadore's is a top class restaurant offering good prices, fantastic cuisine and great lunch specials. Isadore is also often seen about the Village and on the slopes advertising his wares.
- Bugaboos bakery - great baked goods run by germans
- Bean to Cup - good coffee boasting the best hot chocolate in town (anything with whipped chocolate mousse is awesome!)
- Long John's Pub - friendly service, good pub food definitely try the LJ's burger before you leave town.
- Mountain Katz - an new restaurant offering steaks, and with many night specials each day of the week.
- Bulldog Cafe - Slick pub food, some portions can be smaller than expected.
- The Town Hall offers burgers, breakfast and sloppy food for a quick canteen bite when on the hill.
- The Den - fun pub, good service, menu changes often, wedges are amazing. Possibly the most underrated place on the mountain.
- The Saloon - everything you would expect from a pub, has railway fries which are novel, offers wing nights and other specials.
- Allora Bistro is new in 2010 and is promoted as a wine bar with good appy's
- HB Pizza - pizza restaurant, does take away and delivery. Uses whole wheat crust and has pasta and a does calzones very frindly and great food
- Paradise Camp - the only on-mountain eating, over on the back side at the top of Powder Gulch chair offers soup, sandwiches and hot drinks. Paradise camp also has dinner tours where the diners are taken to the camp in a snow cat!
- Sleigh ride with dinner in the Wild Horseman's Cabin http://www.skisilverstar.com/home_showSection_ID_104.html - Home style cooked meals all prepared with no gas or electricity. Great for a traditional dining experience.
Bars & Entertainment
With only a few bars on the mountain, Silverstar makes the best of a limited situation. Most of the bars would not survive if it were not for the on-mountain staff, thus any night is usually a big one, especially after pay-day.
- The Saloon - the largest pub with dance floor, 2 pool tables and booths. DJ's can sometimes be a little lame, however dart nights and other activities are on offer on slower nights.
- The Den - if you can get the seats by the fire NEVER LEAVE. Live acts are also sometimes on offer.
- The Bulldog - Large area with alot of tables. Needs alot of people to make the atmosphere buzz.
- Long John's Pub - can pack out pretty quickly, especially as diners stay on after their meal and enjoy the night.
Shopping is targeted at people who want to buy gifts or need gear, either because they forgot it or they just want the convenience of an on-mountain purchase. Prices are not usually higher than similar sized Vernon ski shops.
- Ski Dazzle - offers all ski, board equipment and outerwear, baselayers, Silverstar logo clothing, goggles and pretty much any accessory imaginable.
- Valhalla - is a smaller version of Ski Dazzle with a Nordic skiier temperament. Come here first for all Nordic and Cross County gear.
- Coldstream Dry goods - offers assortments of gifts
- Something Nice - gifts for family and anything with a nice smell to it.
The patrol os the only place medical advice can be obtained. Depending on their mood (or you injury) they may or may not be helpful to your needs. They do not sell medical goods or items, so you will have to go down to a pharmacy if you need anything. Plasters, pain medication and other incidentals can be found at the Lord Aberdeen Market.
The Silver Queen chair is the best place to start learning without the worry of getting in the way of the pros. The only time you will see good skiiers here is when they pass through from Attridge to the Silver Woods chair. The Magic carpet area at the end of the main street is also good, but the carpet is painfully slow. For good beginner green runs try Far Out, which is almost flat in one area, or Sundance, which has a few rollers.
From the Comet Six Pack Express there are a number of long Green and Blue runs. The run that gives a nice opening to the day is Exhibition which follows the lift line down. From the top, skiers left you can take either Middle Dipper or Whiskey Jack for runs that are very good if the visibility is poor. At the end of the day take the Six Pack up and take Milky Way back to the village. Whisky Jack is the favourite run of many people, with big rollers at the start and fast bottom area. The Black bowl area on the Backside is steep and amazing but usually only when it is groomed.
Silverwoods has some of the best gladed off piste runs on silverstar.
Out of Bounds
Although not patrolled and technically out of bounds, the mountain bike trails make great winter trails. If you can find a summer map, you may get an idea of where they area. As a general rule of thumb, where there are trees; there will be a mountain bike trail. One run that requires a traverse and is not patrolled is Alder Point. This is not an easy run and there will be many obstacles.
Silverstar boasts over 60km of nordic trails and is connected to the Soverign Lakes Provincial park which includes over 50km of groomed nordic trails. Manicuring for traditional nordic is regular and constant.
Parks & Pipes
Telus Park offers a number of boxes, an assortment of table tops, step up jumps and spines. The park is 16 acres and is maintained well.
The backside offers many double black runs, of particular mention is the head wall, which extends from Three Wise Men across to Casanova.
Anywhere on the backside after a powder day - if you beat the locals there. Attridge is underrated on a powder day, people usually forget it is there.
Anywhere close to trees or in trees will be great for the seldom foggy day. Middle and Little Dipper are usually great. Silverwoods will also be good. If it is foggy, the backside is lower than the front side, so usually it escapes the fog.
The backside in general.
The backside is basically what transforms Silverstar from a good resort into one of the best. After a powder day it is hard to get off the slopes. One of the only problems is that because of the terrain and how the lifts are placed, the front side can get super busy on weekends and holidays. Most people will only ski the front side as it is warmer and has easier groomers. Try other areas to escape crowds and to find good runs.
The weather is usually blue sky sitting just below 0 degrees, thus keeping the snow cold and fast. On the occasional foggy day the different sides of the mountain offer protection from unwanted weather conditions. Wind is not often a problem. The backside usually takes longer to open than the front sides (usually around a month) as it is much lower than the front side and can sometimes rain down the bottom of the lift, making the runs mucky.
The front side, including Attridge and Vance creek are south facing, meaning they get full sun from the start to the end of the day, which extends toward the end of the season. Silverwoods can be in shadows alot of the time and is possibly best at the start of the season or in the mornings. The backside, sometimes referred to as the "Dark Side" is in shadow at the start of the season and gradually gets more sun towards the end of the season. Many runs on the backside will never see direct sunlight (the head wall for example), while others like Sunny Ridge will usually have sun from the beginning of the season.
Silverstar used to be an old silver mine, which is where all of the references to silver originate. The history of skiing on the mountain starts around 1946.