Winter On The Coast
Winter on the Sunshine Coast is mild compared to some parts of Canada, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t any snow to be found. Come and enjoy scenic outdoor activities, quaint cabins with ocean views, and cozy spots for a cup of hot chocolate.
Temperatures typically sit between 2 and 10 degrees Celsius (35-50 F) during the day. In lower elevations, the winter rains that typically come from November to March help keep the scenery green and the waterfalls flowing. And up in the mountains, you’ll find plenty of snow to play in.
Remember to pack accordingly: waterproof gear comes in handy, and dressing in layers will help you stay warm.
Snow Sports: Skiing, Snowshoeing & Snowmobiling
The communities along the Sunshine Coast are situated very close to sea level, and receive minimal snowfall in a typical year. That being said, the neighboring terrain is mountainous and it doesn’t take long to reach the snow line. Visitors to the Powell River region can enjoy the snow along the higher elevations of the Sunshine Coast Trail, such as Tin Hat Mountain, or in the Knuckleheads.
On the southern Sunshine Coast, snow lovers can enjoy the Dakota Ridge winter recreation area, which boasts 20km of groomed nordic ski trails and 7km of snowshoe trails. Local outfitter Alpha Adventures offers shuttle service, tours, lessons, and equipment rentals. Other popular areas for more backcountry exploration include Mt. Elphinstone Provincial Park, Tetrahedron Provincial Park, and the Caren Range.
Please note that many of the winter recreation areas mentioned above are also home to backcountry cabins and lodges. They are typically available on a first come, first served basis and by donation to the local volunteer organizations that maintain them.
Waterfalls & Trails
One of the Sunshine Coast’s most popular winter activities is to head outside and enjoy the lush rainforest. Even on a rainy day, the canopy overhead often provides a bit of shelter from the drizzle and the greenery is stunning. Pick a trail with a waterfall or creek and you are sure to enjoy the extra waterflow that you don’t often see during summer hikes. Popular choices include Cliff Gilker Park, Langdale Falls, Homesite Creek, Kelly Falls, and David Lam Falls.
Take some time to rejuvenate during your trip. Winter can be a busy time of year—especially leading up to the holidays—and it's important to to take some time for yourself. You can experience winter wellness in a number of ways: pamper yourself with a spa treatment (there are even mobile services available), take a yoga class, or head into the rainforest for some forest bathing with Nature with Haida.
Embrace the “Hygge” (Get Cozy!)
There are lots of ways to enjoy winter on the Sunshine Coast, and we like to take a cue from the Danish term “hygge.” Embrace the winter vibes and that special feeling and conscious appreciation of feeling cozy, and enjoy the charming and simple pleasures of life whether you’re with friends or alone.
Sometimes on a cold, dark day, hygge is the feeling you get from sitting by the fire with a hot drink; other times it’s about soaking up some sunshine outside at a favourite park or beach. Overall, it’s about being aware of the good moments and enjoying the season. Book a cozy cabin or room, plan a meal with friends at an intimate restaurant, and find a quiet moment of solitude in the trees.
If you’re visiting during the winter, be sure to check the events calendar for what’s happening while you visit.
There are two Farmers’ Markets that run throughout the winter, and during November and December there are Christmas markets and craft fairs to check out—along with festive celebrations in each community. On New Year’s Day you can live like a local if you’re willing to take the plunge in the Polar Bear Swim, and in February you can sign up for the Sunshine Coast Loppet & Snowshoe Poker Challenge at Dakota Ridge. As winter winds down in the early March, the annual qathet International Film Festival draws cinema enthusiasts from near and far to the Patricia Theatre.
Share Your Photos
Tag your photos with #sunshinecoastbc to share your winter adventures with us!