There are a lot of things to love about Vancouver Island, top of the list is the incredibly temperate climate that we’re lucky enough to have. While the rest of Canada is blanketed in snow and plunged into a deep freeze at this time of year, we’re still looking up at the sky and wondering if we’ll get some of the white stuff…at some point. This year, if you’re visiting our warm little island on the West Coast and you’re looking for some real winter activities, no problem! From skating to skiing, Vancouver Island has lots of fun winter activities to look forward to!
1089 Langford Pkwy, Langford, BC V9B 0A5
Looking for an alpine-style experience right near Victoria? Then you need to check out City Center Park’s outdoor skating rink in Langford. With on-site skate rentals, heated cabins, firepits and a licensed patio, you can skate into the new year in style!
800 Benvenuto Ave, Brentwood Bay, BC V8M 1J8
With a touch of romance and nostalgia, the outdoor rink at Butchart Gardens is an always popular winter activity of South Islanders. Skating on the 5,000 square foot rink underneath beautiful twinkling lights is hands down, one of the best ways to spend a wintery night in Greater Victoria. While guests at any of the beautiful EMR Sidney properties are only a fifteen minute drive away from this beloved pastime, anyone staying on the South Island should put this at the top of their list!
If you’re on Vancouver Island and want to get a little time on the ice without a massive drive, there are lots of amazing local rinks that are a great option. Local arenas on the Island are a real slice of Canadiana, hubs of the community and usually have lots of drop-in options, skate rentals and super friendly staff.
1035 Shawnigan Lake-Mill Bay Rd, Mill Bay, BC V0R 2P2
Guests at any EMR Cowichan Valley properties will love this fun local rink!
2300 Bowen Rd, Nanaimo, BC V9T 3K7
830 W Island Hwy W, Parksville, BC V9P 2X4
With two NHL sized arenas, this new facility is a must for anyone staying in the Parksville area.
1399 Military Row, Comox, BC V9M 4H2
This beloved rink has seen countless hockey games over the years and is a staple in the community. Plus, you can check out the aviation displays!
Skiing & Snowboarding
When you think about Vancouver Island, ‘ski destination’ may not be top of mind but there are a few locations for downhill skiing and snowboarding on the Island that are as great as you can find on the mainland!
Mt. Washington, 1 Strathcona Pkwy, Comox-Strathcona C, BC V9J 1L0
Mt Washington has everything you could want from an alpine resort, great skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, cross country skiing and sledding. If you’re coming from an EMR Victoria property, you’re looking at a 3.5 hour drive to get there but if you’re staying in the Comox Valley, you’re only a 40 minute drive from a proper alpine winter wonderland!
Port McNeill, BC V0P 1R0
Unlike Mt Washington, Mt Cain is not for the faint of heart! If you’re a die hard skier or boarder and want some incredible powder and pristine backcountry downhill without any of the frills, this is where you need to be! It’s a trek but well worth it for one of the last places on earth where you can find this kind of incredible downhill without any of the crowds.
When we finally get some snow, Vancouver Islanders rush to their favourite local hills to make the most of the fun while it lasts! We’ve rounded up a list of the best local spots to get in some sledding whether you’re taking kiddos with you or not!
With lots of hills and almost no traffic this beloved city park becomes the go-to place for sledding in Victoria once the snow hits the ground. This is the ideal place to get in some sledding or just go for a snowy walk and watch the kids as they shriek their way down the hill.
With a big sloping hill down the back of the rec centre and no traffic to worry about, this is, by far, the best hill in the Western Communities. If you’re staying near Langford, grab a sled at one of the many box stores in the area and head on over!
One of the most popular mountains in the Cowichan Valley is Cobble Hill Mountain and when it snows, all the sloping fields become ideal snow hills! So if you’re a guest at an EMR Cowichan Valley property, this is a great spot to get in on the fun!
This is a nice steep hill that slopes into the soccer field so it’s perfect for older kids while still being safe.
This is another nice big hill with lots of space so everyone has room to make the most of the snow!
This massive hill is the one that you can see from the main highway directly across from the Dairy Queen. One main selling point of this popular hill is that on snowy days, the city of Parksville shuts down the right hand lane of the highway to keep the hill safe for everyone!
If you’re in Comox Valley and you’re looking for some great snowy adventures of any kind, you won’t find better snow than Forbidden Plateau!