Last Updated: December 30, 2014
Nestled just 35 minutes (more or less depending on traffic) drive from downtown Vancouver and a mere 22 minutes from West Vancouver, Cypress Mountain is not only a convenient resort but one that offers plenty for the 400,000+ snowboarding, skiing and cross-country skiing visitors it hosts each year.
Cypress has the largest vertical drop (610m [2010ft]), the largest ride-able area (600 acres), the most lifts (9) and the most runs (48 trails + 4 parks) of all of the Vancouver mountains (Grouse & Seymour being the other two).
Cypress is actually made up of 2 mountains – Mt Strachan and Black Mountain. And what’s the best thing that people like about all that terrain? – less people per acre and less time spent waiting at the lifts.
Host for freestyle skiing and snowboarding for the 2010 Vancouver Olympics this mountain has undergone various upgrades that many Cypress-goers agree make it well worth the extra dollars spent on a season pass compared with its neighbouring resorts Grouse and Seymour.
Resort Elevation: 1646m (5400ft)
Vertical Drop: 610m (2010ft)
Ride-able area: 600 acres
No. of Lifts: 9 (6 chairs and 3 surface lifts)
No. of trails: 48 (+ 4 parks)
7 (13%) Beginner (Green)
18 (35%) Intermediate (Blue)
19 (37%) Advanced (Black Diamond)
4 (8%) Expert (Dbl Black Diamond)
4 (8%) Freestyle Areas (Orange)
No. of parks: 4
Night Riding: Yes
Usual opening date
The opening date for the Cypress is normally around mid November according to their website. Turns out they’re quite accurate. I looked into the opening dates for the last 5 seasons and mid-November hits the nail on the head.
Past 5 years opening dates:
2010/2011 Season: November 20, 2010
2011/2012 Season: November 8, 2011 (earliest ever)
2012/2013 Season: November 14, 2012
2013/2014 Season: November 20, 2013
2014/2015 Season: November 15, 2014
Usual closing date
The usual closing date for Cypress is typically mid to late April. So that gives you a full 5 months of riding.
Past 5 years closing dates:
2010/2011 Season: April 25, 2011
2011/2012 Season: April 22, 2012
2012/2013 Season: April 14, 2013
2013/2014 Season: April 20, 2014
2014/2015 Season: Yet to close (at time of writing)
The 2013/14 season saw the mountain open for business for 136 days – so there is plenty of time to get up there and see what Cypress has to offer.
Opening hours vary depending on the time of the season. At time of writing the hours for the 2014/15 season are (weather permitting of course):
Early Season: 9am – 4pm (opening till December 14)
Mid-Season: 9am – 10pm (December 15 to March 25ish)
Late Season: TBD
Are you a Night Rider?
Night riding for the 2014/15 season is scheduled to run from mid December to mid March. So if you get a buzz out of riding under lights, can only make it in the hours of darkness or just don’t want your day to end, then for 3 months of the season you are in luck! The hours of night riding operation at Cypress are typically 4pm to 10pm (weather dependent of course).
Check out the Black Mountain trail map below. Click on the image below to see full size image.
And the Mount Strachan trail map. Click on the image below to see full size image.
Cypress’s Terrain Parks
Cypress Mountain has 4 terrain parks and they are scaled for ability. The Stomping Ground is designed for those new to the park with only small features. They also have the Patio Park, the Skate Park and The District. The District has the largest feature of all the parks with Large and Extra-Large Features while the Skate Park has Medium to Large Features.
The terrain parks are all located on the Black Mountain side. Click on the terrain park map below to see full size image.
How to Get There
Only 35 minutes by car from Downtown (traffic depending) and with public transit as an option the Cypress Ski Resort is certainly an accessible mountain.
Driving yourself: Use 6000 Cypress Bowl Road, West Vancouver for GPS directions from your location. See directions on google maps.
Public Transport: Not the quickest way there – bit of a pain – but still it’s great that it’s an option and if you have no other way of getting there then it’s a vital option!
You’ll need to find your way to the Waterfront Station in Downtown Vancouver where you connect to the Seabus which will takes you to North Vancouver where you connect with the Cypress Mountain Express bus on Lonsdale Quay.
The Shuttle now has pick up locations in Richmond, Kitsalano and the West End of Downtown, in addition to the North Vancouver options.
Check out the Cypress Mountain Express bus website for schedules and prices etc.
Personally I find it a similar price and more convenient to hire a car (if you already have insurance) but if you don’t drive or don’t have the right licence to hire, or don’t have/want to get winter tyres (may or may not need them), then this is the best option. Just be aware that it will take longer on the bus than driving.
Of course if you are based in West Vancouver or North Vancouver then this is a much quicker journey.
They also do pick-ups from a few Burnaby locations but only on weekends and holidays.
See below for my experience with the express bus (hint: it was a good one).
Rideshare: Checkout the following websites to get there by rideshare: http://www.hitchwhistler.com or http://www.theskilift.org. This will be cheaper than getting public transport and you can meet fellow shredders on the way up! Plus you’ll be doing the environment a favour!
So What’s Your Verdict on Cypress Snowboarding?
Thumbs up or thumbs down? Give your opinion on Snowboarding at Cypress by leaving a comment below. I have no affiliations with any ski resort so be honest about what you think – just keep it PG ok! Any questions or feedback also very welcome.
Photo Credit (top)
Date: December 30, 2014
Transport: Cypress Express Bus
Conditions: Early season – limited runs open.
Absolutely loved my day/night on Cypress. This might be a little bit exaggerated as it was my first time on a board in 15 months (having transitioned from Southern to Northern Hemisphere) and I do tend to have a great time on snow despite the conditions.
That said, given the relatively low amounts of snow and limited terrain open it felt like the coverage wasn’t too bad. They had the snow machines pumping out the good stuff for a few days and a bit of natural snow a couple of days beforehand.
I thought the runs were well lit at night (though this was my first time night-riding so nothing to compare it too).
The lifts were quick & operations in general were smoothly run I thought. May have been due to limited runs open, but the slopes were also uncrowded and lift lines were small and non-existent at times. This was during holidays so was pleasantly surprised.
The burrito I had in the cafe in the upstairs of Cypress Creek Lodge was also a good bite to eat in between runs – and we made good use of the lockers in the rentals part of the building. Great to have when you’ve come in on the bus – and just $2 for the day.
I took the express bus up which was really convenient. I caught the 12:30 from Westend, Downtown Vancouver – jsut down the road from my place so super convenient! So how long does the bus to cypress take? It took 1hr 10mins total to get to Cypress as it detours to North Vancouver (Londsdale Quay) as one of its pick up points. But still really quick to get from Downtown.
They had two buses for the way back – one of which that went to the Londsdale Quay and Park Royal stops and the other direct to the Westend, Kitsalano and Richmond stops. So it was precisely 32 minutes on the way back for us. Not sure how often they do it that way but was a real bonus for us! This was late evening so the low amounts of traffic helped with the quick return time.