Just before Christmas, my friend Cristi and I travelled to SilverStar Mountain Resort for a girls getaway and iNwine snowshoe adventure. A quick 20-minute drive from Vernon delivered us to a picture perfect winter wonderland: A small ski hill, complete with twinkling lights and friendly villagers. If a white-bearded man in a red suit should have appeared, I would not have been surprised.
A European-esque design with colourful buildings (code here is no less than 5 colours per structure) the vibe is happy and hygge to the max. (Hygge is a term used in the Netherlands to describe a cozy sense of wellness – and here they have got it covered.)
The Snowbird Lodge where we camped out was absolute luxury. Here they have a range of options including condo-sized rentals with a huge deck and private hot tubs to enjoy. After waking from a deep sleep in a cozy bed, the morning routine began with a bundle up and walk around the corner to Bugaboos Bakery Café for a house roasted coffee and an out-of-this-world almond croissant. Bugaboos, or should I say owner Frank Berkers, is an institution on the mountain. The mountain’s most beloved resident arrived here from Holland 23 years ago and never left.
A European-trained baker, he and his team are up in the wee hours creating a drool-worthy line up of baked goods to start your day. Also open for lunch with favourites like Frank’s Chili or a Devil’s Mocha to warm your bones (a perfect blend of hot chocolate, espresso spiked with Kahlua, ginger and cayenne pepper), there are wonderful croissant sandwiches and such if you want to pack a picnic for your snowshoe hike.
What makes this colourful little village so special is that it is very contained and easy to navigate without a vehicle, as it was built around a town square. All amenities are placed within walking distance in the village including a giant skating rink, tubing runs and trails. There are many lovely shops to peruse, 18 eateries to choose from and all surrounding the main square to ski in and out of.
Besides the charm and warmth of SilverStar, the mountain has also made it very affordable for families. Passes are available that include access to everything from skating to skiing to tubing, you just need one pass for all. Snowshoeing is an absolute delight in these beautiful mountains. It is like walking through a winter wonderland or the landscape of a Christmas card.
Eating and imbibing are also part of the SilverStar culture and the village offers tons of different options to suit your food mood and your tipple of choice. From pub fare to fine dining, really there are options galore. Long John’s Pub is a locals hangout where the theme is good times. Order up a plate of their legendary Sweet & Savoury Root Beer Ribs (and a plate of nachos after your run, paired with some delicious B.C. wine, beer or a cocktail - and you are all set. Check out their live music nights.
If you crave something a little fancier, mosey on over to The Den or 1609 Restaurant & Lounge. Settle in beside the cozy fireplace at 1609 with views of the village square and start with a Grazing Platter that includes locally focussed cured meats, cheese and olives with a cocktail. The Caesars here are the kind you see on Instagram: behold The 1609 Caesar-nator with Stoli jalapeno vodka, featuring spears of accoutrements including spicy chorizo sausage, grilled cheese, onion rings, olives, and bacon! Tagline is: “Try it once and… “You’ll be back”.
For dinner, there are great salad options or the Bloody Beetroot Risotto. Meat eaters will be in their glory with awesome burgers or mains like braised lamb shank or “I just want a steak” steak, although like most of the eateries on the ski hill, it has an impressive list of both gluten free and vegan options.
Wine lovers will be thrilled to discover an actual wine bar at DiVine Cellar in The Bulldog. Tucked downstairs, the local and international wine list is impressive. Open Wednesday to Sunday with fun events like the Painting Party where you can attempt to channel your inner Renaissance artist with a painting instructor while sipping wine with friends.
Accommodations are limited at the resort so planning ahead is key. However, SilverStar is only a 20-minute drive from Vernon on very well-maintained roads so commuting from a hotel in town is easy-peasy. If you are flying in, SilverStar's only a 55-minute drive from Kelowna International Airport. You can find ride sharing information on the website. This is a four seasons resort so check out the adventures you can enjoy here in the summer months too.
The resort has recently sold and is now in the hands of Utah-based company POWDR. POWDR owns 10 resorts across the United States in California, Colorado, Nevada, Vermont, Oregon and Utah and is planning some exciting improvements to the ski hill. “Silver Star is a world-class destination that fits well with who POWDR is, what our properties are — community favourites — and our commitment to protecting and enhancing the authentic year-round adventure experience for generations to come,” POWDR co-president Justin Sibley said.
Read all about SilverStar Resort here.
Must do Food & Wine Events:
Get your tickets now for SilverStar’s Winterland Festival on April 4. Part of the B.C. Wine Festivals, join the fun with B.C.’s best wines, ciders, and spirits. Inflatable Igloos, samples from wineries, cideries, breweries, and distilleries, food, entertainment, souvenir glass, onsite liquor store and more.
Wild Horseman's Dinner Tours
Talk about magical dining experiences, how does snuggling into a horse drawn sleigh on a magical snowy night for a dinner in a cabin sound?
Glide through the night to an enchanting secluded cabin where you will be greeted with a mug of homemade hot cocoa or hot apple cider followed by a barbecue buffet dinner fit for a king.
Snow Cat Tours
And now for something totally different, enjoy a thrilling ride to Paradise Camp on the backside of the mountain to a secluded cabin. Enjoy a romantic lantern-lit dinner, and chef-prepared menu with an extensive selection of wine, cocktails and martinis to pair with your meal. Every Friday and Saturday night.
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