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Breathe in the fresh Canadian mountain air. Look around. All you see is powdery white stuff surrounding you. Then you push off and the rush begins!

RELATED: Hey, beginners—these are the best ski spots for you!
If skiing is on your radar, the North Shore Mountains of Vancouver must be your go-to destination this year. Lying directly in the path of powerful north Pacificstorms, the city is known for its snow—mega amounts of it! Within just minutes of the city are several ski resorts to challenge your skills, whether your sport of choice be downhill, cross-country or snowboarding.

Grouse Mountain

Grouse Mountain

In Vancouver

Grouse Mountain is the closest to the city featuring a convenient aerial tram to get you up more than 4,000 feet. With 33 downhill and snowboard runs as well as four chairlifts, Grouse Mountain offers the ultimate alpine experience with snowshoeing, snowboarding and mountain ice skating. Just opened this year are new glades for exhilarating runs through the trees. Wrap up your business meeting downtown, then head to the slopes for yes, night skiing and see the twinkling lights of downtown below. Take advantage of big savings with 5 and 10-day Snow Packs.

Cypress Chairlift | Photo courtesy of

Cypress Chairlift | Photo courtesy of Tourism Vancouver

Just 30 minutes from downtown is Cypress Mountain highlighting three peaks of non-stop excitement…Mt. Strachan, Black Mountain and Hollyburn Mountain. (After all,Cypress wasthe Official Freestyle Skiing and Snowboard Venue for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games.) Schuss down 53 ski runs with six chair lifts—two of which are high speed. For another way down, find yourself in the colossal snow tubing hill or stay flat on the cross country skiing trails for a walk through winter wonderland.

Mount Seymour, also a part of the North Shore range, is your gateway to mountain adventure just a half-hour’s ride from Vancouver. Boasting 40 trails, five lifts and four terrain parks, schuss through the snow on skis or snowboard. Snow tubing and tobogganing hills add to the fun; Seymour is ideal for families.

ALSO: Get a lift from Orbitz Rewards and earn instantly toward hotels

Head north to Whistler 

If you want to go a little further, you’ll find the largest ski resort in North America. Yes, Whistler/Blackcomb is the granddaddy of them all and you can hit the slopes in under two hours. The resort has recently been named the best ski resort for 2017 in SKI Magazine Readers’ Survey, now three years running. At WB, two massive mountains combine slopes for almost 9,000 acres of snow-covered terrain, 16 alpine bowls and 200 marked trails. Want to ski on a glacier? Take your pick of three.

Sea to Sky Gondola Snowshoeing | Photo courtesy of Tourism Vancouver

Sea to Sky Gondola Snowshoeing | Photo courtesy of Tourism Vancouver

There are endless other ways to get your thrills. Feed your need for speed on a bobsleigh or skeleton slide. Go Twilight Zip Lining for exquisite moonlit mountain views. Discover uncharted territory on a snowmobile. Or, leap off a bridge with Winter Bungee Jumping. After the rush, raise a glass at one at the many restaurants, bars and cafes in the village.

Fairmont Vancouver: The Castle in the City 

Fairmont Hotel | Photo courtesy of

Fairmont Hotel | Photo courtesy of The Grand Dame of Vancouver

To stay and play, check into the world-class Fairmont Vancouver Hotel, an oasis in the heart of the city with luxury on every level. In the timeless tradition of the Fairmont, you’ll feel an aura of distinction in the Italian marble lobby, antique furnishings and crystal chandeliers. Enjoy the health club, Absolute Spa and designer fashion boutiques like Gucci, without leaving the hotel. For dining, Notch8 offers a huge breakfast buffet, afternoon tea and an early start to Happy Hour.

With a highly favorable exchange rate, the US dollar now goes further than ever in Canada. Start packing your gear!

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Tagged: Christmas Travel Ideas, Destinations

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Mira Temkin

Mira Temkin

Lover of lore with a thirst for adventure, Mira has her bags packed -- ready to go in a flash. She writes with spirited soul about destinations, hotels and spas.

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