On step off the Grouse Mountain Gondola and you’ll feel like you’ve walked right into the North Pole. The smell of the logs burning on the fire quickly welcomes you and invites you down to the rinkside firepit. You gaze out over the outdoor skating rink and see the little cabin at the end that is home to the one and only Santa. This North Pole is ELF APPROVED. Here’s a look at all the things to do up at the Peak of Christmas!
Skating on an outdoor rink is like a rite of passage for Canadians, however living in Vancouver means that outdoor rinks are harder to come by compared to our east coast cousins. But Grouse’s HUGE outdoor rink invites you to dust off your skates (or rent a pair if you need them) and hit the ice with the family. There’s nothing like skating on top of a mountain!
Visit Santa In His Workshop
When he’s not feeding the reindeer or supervising the elves you’ll find Santa in his workshop posing for photos with his biggest fans. Be sure to tell him what’s on the top of your Christmas list and smile big for the camera!
Say Hello to Santa’s Reindeer
Get up close and personal with Santa’s chief staff! The reindeer love to visit, and if you want to learn more about them be sure to stop by when one of their caretakers is feeding them and doing an educational presentation.
Grab a crazy carpet and fly down the hillside… fast! Kids will love the ability to “steer” into the man-made jumps and Mom’s will love that kids have to haul themselves back up the hill before they get another ride! It’s good old fashion winter fun!
Light up the night
One of Grouse Mountain’s newest attractions is the Light Walk, where you can walk or snowshoe over the lake and through the trees while being surrounded by thousands of lights! Kids will love seeing “floating” lights and stay entertained throughout the loop as there is lots of variety to look at. Be sure to bring your camera!
Mrs. Clause Approved Gingerbread Houses
Even Mrs. Clasuse would be envious of the amazing Gingerbread houses on display at the Peak of Christmas. Handcrafted from local bakeries and restaurants, these edible homes are truely pieces of art! Just be sure to keep little hands far away from the candy temptations!
Your kids may want to come up and spend the whole time playing in the snow and throwing snowballs. Throw snowballs back. Make snow angels. Let the children lead your time up on the hill and you all will have fun making the memories rather than feeling stressed out to “see it all”. After all, “We didn’t realize we were making memories, we just knew that we were having fun”
Give yourself a lot of time
There are SO MANY THINGS TO DO up at Grouse, you don’t want to be rushed. So I pack a large bag with a ton of food, water, and any equipment we may be bringing from home and then plan to stay as long as possible. One of my favourite tips for extending our stay is to do an activity like skating, have a big snack / bio break, head out on the second activity like snow shoeing, and then head to the chalet for a meal. After being fueled up we head to the Theatre in the Sky where the kids can take off all of their gear and spread out and dry out while watching a classic Christmas cartoon. After the half-hour show, they are warmed up and ready to head outside and play some more! If you’re able to go in the evening be sure to check out the new light walk, it’s amazing.
Tips and Tricks:
Have a combination of comfort food and treats
Whether you’re skating, snowshoeing, sledding, or doing any of the other activities at the Peak of Christmas, keeping kids hydrated and fed is a key to everyone’s enjoyment. I always bring a large backpack and have it loaded with quick snacks I can grab on the go. Then I use my season pass to save 20% off food and head inside for a bigger treat when it’s time to warm up!
Save 50% and Buy a Gold Pass
There are MANY benefits to buying a pass but the biggest one that people don’t know about is that if you’re an annual pass holder you get to bring 4 guests per day at a 50% discount. This is where the real deal comes in… if you buy your child (4 and under) an annual pass for $10 they get to bring you for 50% off! (This is a potential savings of $25 per person!) NOTE: IF you do this you need to go to Guest Services to buy your pass. Don’t go to the main kiosk under the gondola. Guest services is just to the left of Starbucks.
If your child is over 5 their passes are $99 and adult passes are $199, so you’ll have to do the math and see if it makes sense for your family.
Here’s a list of other benefits pass holders get that you can use right away:
* 1 free snowshoe rental, 1 free skate rental, 1 free Ski/Snowboard rental (must have valid lift ticket) and then 20% off all future rentals
* 20% off all regular priced items at the Grouse Mountain Starbucks® location
* 20% off all regular priced retail merchandise at The Spirit Gallery Gift Shop, Outfitters and Essentials
* For a Full list of discounts and benefits check out here