10 Exciting BC Moments From 2016

As the new year approaches, it’s time to look back at significant moments from 2016. From #1 spots on “Top 10” lists, to a Royal visit, it’s been a memorable year in BC.

10. The BC Government reached a historic deal with First Nations, environmentalists, and logging companies, and announced that 85% of the 6.4-million-hectare (15.8-million-acre) Great Bear Rainforest will be permanently protected from logging.

Grizzly crossing a river in the Great Bear Rainforest.

Grizzly crossing a river in the Great Bear Rainforest. Photo: Pete Ryan

9. Local businessman and philanthropist Michael Audain opened the hotly anticipated Audain Art Museum in Whistler. His personal collection includes one of the world’s finest collections of First Nations masks, and pieces by renowned BC artist Emily Carr.

Entrance to the Audain Art Museum in Whistler.

Entrance to the Audain Art Museum. Photo: Caley Vanular

8. Chinatown’s Kissa Tanto, a delightful marriage of Japanese and Italian cuisine, was named Canada’s Best New Restaurant in Air Canada enRoute magazine’s annual best-of list.

7. Mount Revelstoke Resort opened the Pipe Mountain Coaster, an exhilarating ride that lets you control your own speed down a 1.4-kilometre (0.9-mile) track.

Pipe Mountain Coaster at Revelstoke Mountain Resort.

Cruising down the mountain on The Pipe Mountain Coaster. Photo: Ian Houghton

6. The BC Craft Brewers Guild launched the BC Ale Trail, a collection of seven craft beer routes around the province. Cheers!

Persephone Brewing Company in Gibsons on the Sunshine Coast.

Persephone Brewing Company in Gibsons on the Sunshine Coast. Photo: BC Ale Trail

5. A media frenzy descended in September when Will and Kate, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, arrived for a week-long Royal Tour.

The Duke and Duchess sample food and wine in Kelowna.

The Duke and Duchess sampled some of the best food and wine BC has to offer while in Kelowna. Photo: @canadian.heritage

4. BC Parks announced an investment of more than $20 million over the next five years. Plans include 1900 new campsites for locals and visitors alike to spend time in the great outdoors.

Nairn Falls Provincial Park near Pemberton.

Setting up camp at Nairn Falls Provincial Park near Pemberton. Photo: Julian Apse

3. Baldy Mountain Resort, near Oliver in BC’s Okanagan Valley, found new life with new ownership. The resort re-opened this winter—much to the delight of locals.

Baldy Mountain Resort near Oliver.

Glade skiing at Baldy. Photo: @apreswheeler via Instagram

2. The world’s largest Christmas light maze put on a display near Vancouver‘s Olympic Village. Enchant boasts more than 5,000 square metres (55,000 square feet) of illuminated sculptures, as well as a Christmas Market featuring 40+ local vendors and a dozen food trucks.

Enchant Christmas Maze in Vancouver.

Enchanted by Enchant. Photo: @wendy.shep via Instagram

1. In October, Lonely Planet released their annual Best in Travel list for 2017. Number one on their Top Countries list? You guessed it: Canada. Aw, shucks.

Natural Bridge in Yoho National Park.

Natural Bridge in Yoho National Park. Photo: @goldiehawn_ via Instagram

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“Pizza” to Powder: Learn to Ski in BC for $25

Eager to slide down a mountain on two planks or one board? Now is your chance to give it a go. Take advantage of Never Ever Days, and learn to ski or snowboard at one of 14 participating BC ski resorts and areas this winter. January through March, snow-sliding newbies can score a lesson, a lift ticket, and rental equipment for just $25—and go from “pizza” (a.k.a. the snowplow) tracks to powder turns.

Learning to ski at SilverStar Mountain Resort.

Learning to ski at SilverStar Mountain Resort. Photo: Blake Jorgenson

Still not convinced to give it a go? Here are five reasons you should learn to ski or ride this winter:

1. Fresh air will boost your mood.
2. Random chairlift chats may lead to new friendships.
3. BC’s ski resorts have already received a ton of snow.
4. Après-ski.
5. It’s only $25.

For more information, check out nevereverdays.com.

Featured image: Big White Ski Resort. Photo: Blake Jorgenson

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A Surfer’s Road Trip to Haida Gwaii

The mysical islands of Haida Gwaii are steeped in the ancient culture of the Haida First Nation, filled with old-growth rainforest and surrounded by an incredibly rich marine environment. Follow Vancouver Island based freelance photographer @kylervos as he spends two weeks driving around this magical place.

Van driving from Masset to Rose Spit, on the Toe Hill Road in the Haida Gwaii.

“Driving north from Masset to Rose Spit, the Toe Hill Road changes from cement to gravel, and ends with miles and miles of beach for those willing to test the tides. Here the road narrows and bends through the mossy-covered old growth forest, creating a thick canopy overhead. It was a well-travelled road on this trip, as every morning consisted of coffees and surf checks.”

Surfer catching a wave no North beach, Haida Gwaii.

“Although growing fast, Haida Gwaii has a small surf scene, and with the vast number of beaches, we had many surfs all to ourselves. This point on North Beach was our favourite spot to set up camp.”

Naikoon Point, Haida Gwaii.

“The Tow Hill Hike located at the mouth of the Hiellen River is an easy half hour hike that brings you to a west-facing lookout towards Naikoon Point. On clear days you can see all the way to Alaska when looking north.”

Surf tide, Haida Gwaii.

“The surf in Haida is very tide reliant. With up to 24-foot (7-metre) tides, some spots have tiny windows where the waves will turn on. This river mouth is one of those waves; you can see the white tide line separating the green salt water from the rusty brown river water.”

Fisherman in the rain, Haida Gwaii.

“After an hour of dodging potholes and oncoming logging trucks, the Yakoun River is a short hike through open mossy old growth with deer trails guiding you to pristine fishing holes.”

Surfer competing in the North Beach Expression Session, Haida Gwaii.

“Haida locals are some of friendliest people I have ever met. They will gladly point you in the right direction to any surf spots. We were lucky enough to be in town for an awesome community event called the North Beach Expression Session. The whole community came out to provide lessons for the kids, surf, and cheer one another on. This was a perfect example of the positive surf culture that we experienced on Haida Gwaii.”

Rose spit on Graham Island, Haida Gwaii.

“At the farthest northern point of Graham Island, Rose Spit boasts an entirely different landscape. Our van wasn’t up for the miles of beach travel, so we were lucky to have a friend @escottsportfishing take us out for an adventure through the windblown grasses on the spit.”

About @Kylervos:

Kyler Vos is a Vancouver Island-based freelance photographer who resides in Tofino. He spends his time shooting surf, landscapes, and wildlife around Clayoquot Sound and its surrounding coast, while also running his own small photo gallery in Tofino. For the past five years, Kyler has spent a significant amount of time on Haida Gwaii, taking photos for a variety of surf and fishing-related trips. His most recent visit to Haida Gwaii this past November was a little different than the rest. He spent two weeks driving around Graham Island in his Volkswagen van with his wife @jaymeewood and their dog Norman on their winter honeymoon.

Related Links
Haida Gwaii Surfing
Haida Gwaii Fishing
Haida Gwaii

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5 Places Locals Are Loving to Cross Country Ski in BC This Week

British Columbia has more than 50 cross-country skiing areas and countless more options in provincial and national parks. Here are five photos showing where locals are making the most of the great, early-season conditions.

1. Sovereign Lake Nordic Club near Vernon

2. Fernie

3. Tetrahedron Provincial Park on the Sunshine Coast


Luxury living in the Tetrahedron. #sunshinecoastbc #exploreBC

A photo posted by Dolf Vermeulen Photography (@dolfvermeulen) on

4. Pemberton

5. Larch Hills Ski Area near Salmon Arm


Snowland #photooftheday #day976

A photo posted by Evan Buhler (@evanbuhler) on

Additional Links: 
Cross-country skiing in BC

Don’t forget to tag your photos with #exploreBC for your chance to be featured in one of our upcoming blog posts.

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