At a scarcely believable 20 minutes from the downtown of a major metropolitan city, Vancouver’s Grouse Mountain is the ultimate in snowboarding convenience. Whilst not the biggest or best ski resort around in terms of the number of trails or lifts, you simply can’t beat it for sheer ease.
Whilst claiming to be 15 minutes from Downtown on their website google maps decided it was 20 minutes with no traffic so the 15 minutes might be a slight exaggeration – but only a very slight one.
Grouse markets itself as an all-season mountain and there certainly seems to be a lot to do up there all year round – and the 1.2 million annual visitors per year is testament to that. But this site is about snowboarding so that’s what we’ll focus on here.
|Resort Elevation: 1,231m (4,039ft)
Vertical Drop: 365m (1,198ft)
Ride-able area: 212 acres
No. of Lifts: 5 (4 chairs and 1 magic carpet)
No. of runs: 26 (14 at night)
3 (12%) Beginner (Green)
15 (57%) Intermediate (Blue)
6 (23%) Advanced (Black Diamond)
2 (8%) Expert (Dbl Black Diamond)
No. of parks: 2
Night Riding: Yes (14 runs)
For more seasoned free-riders this mountain may lose its appeal fairly quickly. With less acreage to explore, the proximity of the mountain may be outweighed by the lack of advanced and expert runs to keep you interested.
On the other hand if you are just starting out or in that intermediate phase this may be a better option for you – at least for a season – and you could save yourself at least 20 minutes of time in the car (time that could be spent shredding the slopes!). The green run ‘The Cut’ looks like a good long beginners run for those starting out to be able get some good rhythm going.
The verdict for the downhill runs – if you’re a seasoned advanced or expert rider then the extra time spent to get to Cypress or Seymour is probably worth the effort – though that shouldn’t stop you from exploring grouse for a day or two. I just wouldn’t recommend a season pass. If you are a beginner then this is probably your best bet. You won’t be able to take advantage of the extra terrain that the other mountains offer just yet so why not save yourself the travel time.
The Terrain Parks
There are two terrain parks though kind of 3 if you count “The Cut Line” which comes in on the left of the main beginners run (The Cut) – see Trail Map below. This can be used as a variation of going down the Quicksilver Park as you can rejoin the Quicksilver once you’ve gone through the Cut Line.
The other park, Paradise Jib Park, is to the right of The Cut and has smaller features for those still learning their way in the free-style world (sounds like my kind of place!).
Click the image below for Grouse’s Trail Map in PDF format. Let me know in the comments section below if this link isn’t working (in case Grouse have put an updated one up for the new season that I wasn’t aware of).
Day Riding & Night-Riding
If you’re a knight-rider then you’ll pleased to know that Grouse has 14 trails lit up for night riding and it’s open until 10pm!
A night pass is valid from 4pm to 10pm and will set you back:
$48 for an adult (19-64 years)
$40 for a youth (13-18 years)
$22 for a child (5-12 years)
$40 for a senior (65+ years); and
Free for a tot (4 years and under)
A full day pass is valid for…the full day! That is 9am to 10pm. Not too much more than a night pass so pretty good value.
$58 for an adult (19-64 years)
$45 for a youth (13-18 years)
$25 for a child (5-12 years)
$45 for a senior (65+ years); and
Free for a tot (4 years and under)
Of course there are also season passes and Grouse also offers a season night pass and a 1 night per week pass. Check out their ticket page for more details.
Usual opening date
They usually open mid to late November. With extensive snowmaking facilities this date has been pretty consistent over the last 5 years.
Past 5 years opening dates:
2010/2011 Season: November 19, 2010
2011/2012 Season: November 18, 2011
2012/2013 Season: November 13, 2012
2013/2014 Season: November 20, 2013
2014/2015 Season: November 15, 2014
Usual closing date
Grouse usually closes at the end of April. But as you will see below that season is often extended through may and sometimes even June! – though often only on the weekends in those later months. But still that is a pretty late season.
Past 5 years closing dates:
2010/2011 Season: June 12, 2011 (weekends only from 28 May and was closed 17 May to 27 May for scheduled maintenance – but still that’s a long season!)
2011/2012 Season: End of May (but weekends only in May)
2012/2013 Season: May 5, 2013
2013/2014 Season: April 27, 2014
2014/2015 Season: Yet to close (at time of writing)
Late season hours are usually reduced and varied and decided on at the time. Peak Season hours are 9am to 10pm weekdays and 8:30am – 10pm weekends.
All of these hours are weather permitting of course.
Getting to Grouse
It begs repeating that the Grouse Ski Resort is only 20mins (or even 15 possibly) from downtown Vancouver by car. You can also reach it by public transport! – making this one of the most accessible snowboarding mountains in the world. When you get to the base you will need to take the sky-ride up. The cost of this is included with your lift pass or season pass.
By car: Follow West Georgia street through Stanley park and go over lions gate bridge and keep following that road until you get to Marine Drive. Take the Marine Drive exit and then turn left onto Capilano Road and keep following that up until you get there. Capilano Road will turn into Nancy Green Way. For GPS directions use 6400 Nancy Greene Way, North Vancouver or Click here for GPS directions.
Public Transport: The 232 bus goes to Grouse Mountain! This is public transport – how cool is that! And cheap. You’ll need to find your way to where the 232 starts which will depend on where you’re coming from. From downtown you can take the 246 which leaves from Hamilton St at West Georgia St. Get off at the Edgemont Blvd At Ridgewood Dr stop and transfer to the 232. Check out Translink and Google Maps for more details. Other options are using the 240 and 236 buses or the 246 to 236.
Rideshare: As always there is the option of ride-share. Check out http://www.hitchwhistler.com or http://www.theskilift.org. This is a great option especially if you want to meet fellow riders on your way up – or you may even share a ride with a skier – heaven forbid! With the ease of public transport this option may not be as good as it is with the likes of Cypress and Seymour but it is still a good, cheap option.
So What’s Your Experience with Snowboarding on Grouse?
Always curious to know what others think of the different resorts. What’s your experience with Grouse snowboarding? And how it compares to its neighbours? Any other comments, questions or feedback also welcome.