It’s hard not to like a ski resort that has Sophie Monk’s seal of approval. SilverStar Mountain Resort is all your snow bunny dreams rolled into a very attractive mid-mountain hamlet, where buildings are swathed in a complementary mix of primary colours and pastel hues, skiers cruise straight past your window and you can unclip and be in the cosy comforts of your lodge – or an après bar – within minutes, thanks to its convenient ski-in, ski-out setup.
SilverStar is more than just its mountain (four of them, to be exact); this ski resort for everyone stars a fantastic lineup of off-piste action and excitement.
- Skiable area: 1,328ha
- Runs: 132 marked runs (the longest is 8km)
- Best for: Intermediate skiers and snowboarders
- Annual snowfall: 700cm+ (100 per cent natural snow)
- Average temperature: -5 degrees Celsius
- Lifts: 11
- Elevation: SilverStar Mountain Resorts sits mid-mountain at 1,609m
- Accommodation: Nine on-mountain hotels and lodges
- Food and drink: 18 outlets
1. Hitting The Slopes, Of Course
With its meticulously groomed runs (gotta love that Canadian corduroy crunch) across long green and blue cruisers and powder-filled chutes, SilverStar is a dream destination for skiers of all abilities.
While there’s the most amount of runs for intermediate riders (40 per cent), SilverStar is still a great place to learn, with another 15 per cent of runs suitable for beginners. The very beginner-friendly Silver Queen green run is serviced by a chairlift so you can practice both linking turns and getting on and off a chairlift (seriously, it requires a lesson in itself), after you’ve dominated the bunny slope.
Advanced skiers and snowboarders will have the most fun, with 35 per cent of runs dedicated for experienced riders and 10 per cent for the extreme daredevils over the front and backside of the mountains.
Travel Experts Annabel Edgecomb from Flight Centre Indooroopilly and Kim Newman from Flight Centre Toowong fall into the advanced camp. They loved SilverStar’s deep verticals (the steepest runs in the Okanagan Valley), and counted Rollercoaster (blue), Sunny Ridge (blue) and Canntastic (black) among their favourites.
“Sunny Ridge is a fun, rolling blue with offshoots through narrow black tree sections and runs,” says Annabel.
“I recommend always skiing in a group and always getting a lesson – or at least a mountain guide, which is a unique bonus of Canadian ski resorts,” says Kim.
2. Hot Tub
“SilverStar’s unique mid-mountain village location means that you enjoy a true ski-in, ski-out experience, given your first run of the day is always downhill to the chairlift and your last ride of the day is to your door,” says Kim.
And right at your door is where you’ll find some post-ski delights.
For those lucky enough to stay at the Snowbird Lodge, arguably SilverStar’s most premium mountain accommodation, first-round après-ski (aka ‘after’ ski) means soaking in a private hot tub on your verandah while enjoying views of the slopeside action – don’t forget to wave at the riders on the chairlifts – with a drink in hand, no less. Other mountain lodgings such as Fireside Lodge, feature communal outdoor hot tubs for a more social experience in the fresh alpine air.
3. Après-Ski, Round Two
After you’ve stretched out your tired limbs in the hot tub and donned your finest après outfit (Sorel boots and (fake) fur vests for the win, ladies), it’s time to kick après-ski fully into gear. With 18 eateries and bars to choose from, fun isn’t hard to find.
Den Bar and Bistro and Red Antler are two of SilverStar’s most popular hotspots for good food, cold drinks and a cosy, convivial atmosphere. Come for the nachos (big enough to share between two or three) and stay for the beers. Long Johns, a sports bar-type venue is another top après pick, where you can mix, mingle and hustle around pool tables in a casual setting.
4. Wine And Dine
Whether you’re craving burgers to refuel for an afternoon on the slopes, light bites, pastries or a fine dining affair, SilverStar delivers on the culinary landscape too.
Beyond The Red Antler and Den Bar and Bistro, SilverStar is a foodie hotspot and can satisfy any craving, from flaky pastries at Bugaboos Bakery Café and the strange yet tasty banana mocha latte (yes, really) at Bulldog Grand Café to the modern dishes at 1609 – which later turns into a nightclub.
Guy Paulsen, SilverStar’s destination sales manager loves Silver Grill for its refined setting and unfussy flavours: “My favourite meal is the pan-seared blue fin tuna with seasonal vegetables. It’s simple, but exquisitely prepared and is my go-to meal for special occasions – or when I want to treat myself.”
5. “Play, Your Way”…
… says Guy. “At its core, SilverStar is a great skiing mountain; the magic of it all is really at your fingertips,” he adds. For non-skiers or those that want a bit of a break, take full advantage of the resort activities, from snow-shoe tours and tubing to snowmobiling (including kid-size vehicles!) and fat biking.
With the way the village is set up, it’s not uncommon to find skiers and snowboarders riding to the top of the tubing run, and then skating right back into town.
Annabel Tidmarsh, First and Business Travel Expert from Flight Centre Queen Street enjoyed an early morning fat biking experience.
“The whole experience was amazing! The views and the serenity were like nothing I’d seen before! We did a 5km loop, mostly downhill, but when you go down you have to come back up, so keep the speed and momentum going where possible. We stopped for lots of photo opportunities (and breaths!), and it took about two hours in total.
“I would suggest a moderate level of fitness to be able to get up the hills – it’s like riding in sand. I loved the uninterrupted views and that we pretty much had the whole track to ourselves. I also loved getting out and doing something a bit different when I needed a break from skiing,” she says.
6. Lovely Weather For A Sleigh Ride Together
Nothing says ‘Canada’ like weaving through an alpine wonderland of snow-covered evergreens, private mountain trails and ski runs in a sleigh pulled by draft horses to a log cabin in the woods for dinner. The Wild Horseman Dinner Tour is SilverStar’s hearty, homey evening affair, complete with hot chocolate, warm apple cider and a home-style feast cooked by a bearded chef named Remington (how very Canadian, eh?).
It’s not fancy, but that’s its appeal, and Remington welcomes his guests like family to a communal dining room by a glowing fireplace. The 2018 menu includes a choice of juicy ribs, succulent wild salmon, steak or vegan pasta served with a buffet-style menu of roast vegetables, cowboy beans, country rice and salads, followed by a hearty serve of apple crumble, of course.
The best part is that it’s BYO, so don’t forget to pick up a local bottle of red from SilverStar’s cellar door in town.
Top tip: Have a chat to your sleigh drivers. Our driver Caitlin was so knowledgeable and passionate about all things equine; her relationship with horses, Pat and Rocky, spoke of the unbreakable bond and trust she’s formed caring for the strong, majestic animals.
Sking and riding is tiring work and there’s only so much restoration a hot tub can do. Say hello to SilverStar’s Elevate Spa. This decadent destination offers rejuvenating treatments based on Ancient Ayurveda principles. Book in, relax and let the skilled therapists work their magic.