British Columbia is a pretty special place. From the ocean to the old growth forests, to the towering mountains, every inch of this province offers something special – but on a recent work trip I had a chance to experience something truly special. I had a chance to go from surfing to skiing a day apart from one another. I wanted to share this itinerary with you in case this is on your bucket list.
Day 1: A travel day
The best ski to surf destination in Canada happens to be on Vancouver Island and so I needed to take a ferry to get there. The ferry from Vancouver to Nanaimo is about an hour and a half and on a clear day make sure to head up to the viewing deck, you never know what wildlife you might find (I was once lucky enough to spot a family of orcas). Once I made it to Vancouver Island it was then another hour and a half drive to Mount Washington.
A little about Mt. Washington
It is Vancouver Island’s only ski resort. The resort is made up of 1,700 acres and 505 vertical metres of alpine terrain. And after a fresh snow dump there was lots of places to cruise through some fresh powder. One thing that really stood out to me was the beautiful views – never before have I seen the ocean from the top of a mountain, and on the other side of the water a clear view of the coastal mountains in Vancouver.
Saturday: Ski day
I woke up early Saturday to a blanket of fresh snow. I loved getting in some powder runs and Mt Washington really has a diverse terrain. I was able to ski steep trees, groomed trails, and everything in between. I then lucked out with a blue bird afternoon and so I was lucky enough to see that breathtaking ocean view.
After a day on the hill I went for dinner at the local (and only evening food spot on the resort) Ted’s. The service was great and good pub food. They even have some weekly events like Music Bingo on Thursday’s and live music karaoke. It was a real fun vibe.
Sunday: Surf Day
A 3 hour roller coaster drive from Mt. Washington you will find the quaint and relaxed coastal town of Tofino. Before you get here though you pass through numerous microclimates; over snow capped mountains, through some of the world’s largest old growth forests, and eventually to the beautiful ocean.
A bit about Tofino
It is known as Canada’s surf capital. Located on the western edge of Vancouver Island within the traditional territory of the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation and part of the Clayoquot Sound UNESCO Biosphere. The natural beauty of this area is celebrated by all. From the whales that call the ocean home to the black bears found inside the Pacific Rim National Park. I have been here numerous times but every time the magic of this place feels new
Surfing in Tofino
I checked into my hotel at Long Beach Lodge, located right on the beautiful Cox Bay meaning the best surf waves were literally at my doorstep. On the property you will also find the Surf Club where I was able to rent all my gear (booties, hood and gloves included because it was -1 and calling for snow the day I went). And I met with my instructor Mikey.
It is really important to take a lesson or at least check the surf forecast ahead of time because the rip tide can be really strong and can carry you pretty far so you need to understand the best time to go out in the water based on your level.
We had a great day in the water (despite a snowy day on the beach). Thankfully there were some waves the right size for me – I think the locals call it whitewash. And seeing the beauty of Cox Bay on the horizon it made me forget about the chilly conditions (although it really wasn’t that bad in the wetsuit).
My favourite part though was the Apres Surf. After a day in the water I was able to warm up with cocktails, snacks, and a hot tub at the Surf Club. This is what dreams are made of.
To complete the trip I went out for a nice dinner in Tofino. I could write a whole blog on the amazing culinary scene in Tofino (I think I may just have to because the food here is soo sooo good). On this particular night I tried a new restaurant called Jeju. It is the first and only Korean restaurant in Tofino and on their website it says their goal is to share the food they used to make for friends and family with their guests. I was very impressed with the delicious food (perfect for sharing and trying different items). The friend chicken and tuna were top notch.
So there you have it, one of the few places in the world where you can go from skiing to surfing in 24 hours.