Winter fun at the Sea to Sky Gondola in Squamish
One of the things we love about living in Vancouver is that we can be deep in nature within a short drive. There are so many awesome day trips from Vancouver that it can be difficult to make a decision. Those who live in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia rarely say, “there’s nothing to do this weekend”.
We visited the Sea to Sky Gondola shortly after it opened in the summer of 2014 (read about that experience here). Since then, we’ve hiked the Sea to Summit Trail a few times in the summer but had not yet visited during the winter. Our friends informed us that visiting the Sea to Sky Gondola during the winter was a fun experience. When we learned Santa Clause would be making an appearance, we thought it would be fun to take the boys up to the Summit Lodge and get their photo taken with Santa.
It was nice to finally put on our winter gear and play in the snow again. This was our first taste of snow this winter. We embrace winter and look forward to playing in the mountains whenever we have the opportunity. It had been a busy few weeks, so it was nice to get outside and surround ourselves with nature.
Fortunately, the weather co-operated during our visit. It had been raining for days and the temperatures were quite mild. We hoped to catch a fresh snowfall, but we settled for open skies.
Photos often tell the story better, so here are a few photos from our winter day at the Sea to Sky Gondola in Squamish.
The gondola ride takes about 10 minutes to reach the Summit Lodge.
It’s a totally different experience during the winter months.
Incredible mountain landscapes from the Summit Lodge platform.
Panoramic views of Howe Sound from the Summit Lodge.
The dizzying Sky Pilot Suspension Bridge.
The bridge gets a little bouncy in the middle section. Connor preferred to sit down while I took his photo. The bridge is perfectly safe, but I’m not great with heights. I have trouble crossing on my own, so it’s a little nerve-racking when I have a camera in one hand and a child’s hand in the other.
Nicole and Braydon crossing the suspension bridge.
The Christmas Forest Walk is a short trail that’s perfect for young families.
Some of the trees on the Christmas Forest Walk are wrapped to look like candy canes.
The trail has a few of these picture frames hanging from trees. Perfect for festive selfies.
It’s an easy forest trail that’s great for kids. It gets a little slippery, so bring proper winter boots.
Of course, we had to build a snowman!
The Christmas Forest Walk only takes about 20 minutes. Longer if you stop to build a snowman.
There are plenty of hiking and snow shoe trails that are accessible from the Summit Lodge.
The Chief Overlook Viewing Platform. It takes about 30 minutes from the Summit Lodge, round trip.
The view of Squamish from the Chief Overlook Viewing Platform. That rock formation is the Chief.
Views of Howe Sound from the Chief Overlook Viewing Platform.
Snow-capped mountain views from the Summit Lodge viewing platform.
This is the first Santa photo where Connor isn’t crying. Big moment!
What you need to know before you go:
- The Sea to Sky Gondola is located 2 kilometres south of Squamish, directly on the Sea to Sky Highway/Hwy 99. It’s about a 45 minute scenic drive from Vancouver. More info here.
- Parking is free at the base of the gondola.
- The gondola, lodges, trails, suspension bridge, and viewing decks are open year-round, but the hours of operation will change depending on the season. During winter, the gondola is open from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM. More info here.
- It’s cheaper to purchase your day pass online. Prices and ticket info here.
- Come prepared for the weather. You will need proper winter boots and it’s wise to wear multiple layers, including gloves and toques. Weather can change quickly in the mountains, plan for it. Check daily weather conditions here.
- If you are visiting in the winter, make sure you have proper snow tires for the drive from Vancouver to Squamish because the road conditions can change quickly and it can be a challenging drive with lots of snow.
- Photos with Santa cost $15 for one picture or $20 for two. Plan to arrive early, around 10:00 AM, and go directly to the Santa Booth. You will receive a number when you check in. If you’re lucky, you can get your photos taken right away. If there’s a wait, go outside to the viewing deck or suspension bridge and come back closer to when your number will be called. More info here.
- There are plenty of activities for the holiday season. Find out what’s happening here.
Have you visited the Sea to Sky Gondola?
Share your tips and recommendations in the comments section below.
Read next – 25 Awesome Day Trips from Vancouver