SilverStar virgin shares her experience

Sydney based single mum, Lesa Horntvedt, hit up Silver Star ski resort in Canada this winter. As a SilverStar virgin she was keen to share with us her first time experience & her photo album.

Was this your first trip to SilverStar?

Yes it was my first trip to the resort. I was traveling to meet up with a large group including some friends who own property in SilverStar and a mix of first timers and also returning visitors.

Why did you choose SilverStar?

A few factors and certainly a major contributor was the ability to stay in an amazing house as a guest of the owners. There was the incentive of the Aussie dollar against the Canuck Buck which was pretty much on par and of course I am a FOMO and didn’t want to miss out on the fun my large group of mates were going to have.

Who did you go with?

A large group which topped out at about 36 and was steady at about 14. The ages ranged from 16 – 50+ and included about 50/50 adults v teenagers … More teenage boys than girls which always keeps the tempo high in the slopes. We also have lots of local friends who live on the mountain or in the local town Vernon so that a nice ingredients to the mix.

What were your expectations before you went?

I had been watching the forecast so I knew the conditions were going to be great. I also knew it was a smaller resort with a great village atmosphere which was something I was looking forward to.

The snow out performed by expectations on every level, it pretty much dumped regularly while I was there and flurries were constant. Plenty of powder and the terrain was so expansive and varied. It really has something for everyone from the beginners to the crazy park dogs.

What did you love about SilverStar?

The snow conditions were really something else, although I had skied in CA and USA before I think the combination of the sum line tree-line skiing environment and the snow quality was just awesome on this trip. I also really think if you are going to schlep across the globe and spend the coin, then nothing beats ski-in-ski-out to make it so easy. The price of food and beers was a super nice bonus as well

Favourite ski run and why?

Robiliards Run is on the backside. It’s a nice ski to get to it and it’s a lovely long run. I had the pleasure of a first tracks power run on it and it was breathtaking. A nice black challenging enough to keep me on my toes and the powder was sweeeet

Favourite restaurant and why?

I am a big fan of a burger and a beer after a long day on the mountain. Long Johns pretty much ticks all the boxes when I comes to service, quality, price and atmosphere. It’s very popular with the local mountain staff too. The ribs are legendary – but I was not convinced they beat mine. 1606 is great if you want to be a little more grown up.

Favourite coffee place and why?

Unless you’re in Vancouver I think Canada has a way to go when it comes to coffee for the Aussie coffee culture palate. Do try Paradise Camp on the mountain, it is a tip off point for the backside and also serves the world’s best Cinnamon Scroll…and I mean it – the world’s best. Made on site, it’s warm and gooey in all the right places with the obligatory frosting. What North America lacks in coffee skills they make up for in pastry performance.

Favourite bar and why?

The bar at our home. Best company, best prices booze and no walk home…… Other than that there is Long Johns, The Red Antler, The Den and The Bulldog. All pretty good for a beer and a brag.

Did you meet many locals?

There are some great characters in the resort my standout was an Aussie lady who has made the resort her second home. Heather Robilliard operates a ski program and hospitality program in both Silver Star and Sun Peaks. She has a wealth of mountain knowledge, and a team of outstanding instructors from around the globe who deliver a standout small group ski improvement program.

Don Cassar is also great for a chat. His father was a founder of the resort and he operates the local realtor selling property – a lot to Aussies. He has some great stories and so much history to share. He doesn’t mind a chat and a bev either.

What did you do when you weren’t skiing?

So much in such a modest resort. I did some snowshoeing for the first time and it was fantastic I certainly will do that again. We did some snow mobiling too which was a lot of fun – other than when I flipped my passenger off the back. Well I still enjoyed it !

There is also a bowling alley, snow tubing, a skate rink, and horse sleigh rides if that’s your speed.

By far my favourite is a trip down the mountain to Vernon to watch the local ice hockey team play – t he Vernon Vipers. That is one hell of a sport to watch and so fast.  Love it and a must if you are in the resort and a match is being played.

Silver Star offer a return bus service to town from the resort with entry ticket included. It is popular and on one of the nights we went 300+ people convoyed down. It was a hoot.

Did you take kids with you?

Yes I took two teenage sons 16 & 19. They loved it.

Neither has skied overseas before so the whole experience was quite a blast. They were just blown away by the size of the place compared to Thredbo and Perisher and of course the quality of the snow was so different.

No ice, no dirt, no rocks, no sludge. They both improved so much. They also loved the fact there were other things to do like skate and tube etc. There were so many young people in the resort they had a ball and my eldest had a snow-mance so he had the time of his life!

Would you go back and why?

Already booked for this year only longer this time. (Last time we did a month).

For us it was a great resort, big enough to offer challenges and excitement, small enough for us to feel really comfortable and get a little ownership.

The ticket price, lesson price and living expense cost is just fabulous and if you take out the air ticket the ski trip itself is much more affordable than any local Aussie snow holiday I have had.

To be honest I won’t ski in Australia this year, I just can’t justify the price of a lift ticket for the quality of offering. And don’t event start me on the woeful local mountain food. Aussie resorts should be ashamed they are still churning out a bucket of chip and gravy for $10 and thinking they can get away with it.

Check out our SnowsBest Insider Guides to ski resorts around the world.


mrec

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Rachael is the name behind @misssnowitall and the founder of SnowsBest.com. A long time journalist and ski writer, she's been published in ESPN Freeskiing, TIME, Powderhound, Sydney Morning Herald, Action Asia, Inside Sport, Australian Financial Review, Emirates Open Skies, Conde Nast and more.

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2 Responses to “SilverStar virgin shares her experience”

  1. Sam Murphy

    sounds great.

    One thing though. It’s actually got cheaper to ski in the USA than when the exchange rate there was on par.

    Why ?

    Vail resorts buying Perisher.

    Not only is it cheaper to ski any Vail resort, if you buy a Perisher season pass, but, any resort near a Vail resort, is worried that they miss out on their fair share of Australians in January & so they have cut their prices to the bone.

    eg. at Copper Mt, 20 mins drive east of Vail, also on interstate 70, has cut their package prices for lift tickets by 50%.

    If you book 10 nights anytime in season 2016-2017, a 7 out of 10 day lift pass is only US$175 per adult, a 10 out of 14 day is US$225 & a 13 out of 17 day is only US$260. That’s US$20/day(less than AUD$27)

    But, the best part is, up to 4 kids under 13 years are free, with each adult pass purchased & each person gets a secret pass, which means, you get to use a separate lift line on all 4 & 6 person chairlifts, just like a ski school line, so no more Q’s. Guess they figure, you’ve spent enough time getting to the resort.

    & accommodation is not loaded. A good ski in ski out hotel room in January starts at only US$146 per night.

    It’s amazing what competition does.

    There’s even a free bus, that goes to Breckenridge, Keystone & http://www.outletsatsilverthorne.com that runs every 15 to 60 mins, from around 5am to 11.30pm.

    Copper has recently been voted:-
    1) best value resort in whole of North America

    2) best family resort in whole of North America

    Above prices are if booked through any Australian wholesaler.

    Reply
  2. Gary Stevanov

    Great read- great to get an insight into the lesser heard of resorts.

    Reply

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