Winter view of the North Shore Mountains & Metrotown (Burnaby) taken from the Alec Fraser Bridge
Left to Right: The Lions (snow covered), Grouse Mtn., Mt. Seymour, Golden Ears.
If it is clear (no smog), it is probably worth riding up the Grouse Mountain Skyride. I hadn't been up there for years, but I got to go up free in Spring 2000 as they are thinking of replacing their phone system (I work for the phone company). I was quite surprised at the improvements that have been made since I last went up there. Its expensive to ride the Skyride up (I think its around 17 dollars), but if you are in really good shape, it is possible to walk up and ride down. It used to be free to ride down, but the popularity of this gruelling 3 Km hike has prompted the Skyride people to now charge $5 for the ride down. The trail starts from the south end of the main parking lot at the base station. You can walk up here to the top, but they now close it in the winter months since a man was killed in an avalanche in 1999. Even in May & June you will still encounter some snowy sections close to the top. It is very steep, and its popularity means you will be sharing the trail with several other hikers. This trail is known as the "Grouse Grind", and describes it well. You reach the base station by driving up Capilano Road off Marine Drive in North Vancouver. There is also a bus (see transit links in "Getting Around" Section.. There are actually a couple of good reasons to bite the bullet and take the Skyride up. You can take a helicopter ride over the city from up there. Also there is an Imax type film presentation of Vancouver from the air which is very popular with most tourists. There is an Indian Longhouse near the top station that has been created by First Nations people. You can see Indian dance demonstrations there and also have a meal. There is information on this in the link in the table just below. The restaurant at the Skyride station has the most spectacular view in Vancouver. You can see all of downtown, English Bay and out to Vancouver Island from there. Reservations are a necessity, request the table in the corner by the window if possible. They will know the one you mean, its the most popular spot. There are plans to possibly build a Hotel on top of the mountain. Its location will place it in the most spectacular spot in the city from a view point of view. you can bet it will also be one of the most expensive.
If you are from the tropics and have never experienced snow, there is quite often snow on the ground up on the mountain well into late June, but skiing ends in late March. The other Vancouver mountains are Mt. Seymour and Cyprus Bowl. You can drive up both of these. See links in table below.
Winter scene on Cypress, Jan 2002
You need a car to get to this park. (except in winter when there are ski shuttles) There is a good viewpoint of the city. To get there, cross the Lions Gate Bridge and follow the signs to West Vancouver, turn right just before the shopping centre (after crossing smaller bridge over a river). Go up the hill and head westbound (to your left) on the freeway you cross under. Watch for the signs for Hollyburn Mountain or Cypress Ski area. This road will take you up Hollyburn Mountain. You will find a viewpoint about 1/2 way up. This one is really good at night. The ski area offers downhill, X country and Snowshoeing. Equipment rentals are available.
You can drive up this mountain as well. Cross the Lions Gate Bridge from Downtown, exit onto Marine Drive east after crossing the bridge. Follow this road along the waterfront, past the Second Narrows Bridge (Highway 1). Turn left on Riverside then right on Mt. Seymour Parkway and follow the signs. If you come across on the Second Narrows Bridge, just follow the signs as you cross the bridge.
Golden Ears as seen from the White Rock Area
These Mountains are located in a Provincial Park just north of the Vancouver suburb of maple Ridge. To get there head east along Highway 7 (Lougheed Highway) and look for signs after passing through Haney Center. The Park contains Lakes, Hiking Trails, & Waterfalls. About a 60 minute drive from downtown outside of rush hour.
This large (active) Volcano is actually located just below the border in Washington State, but dominates the eastern Vancouver Skyline. It is high enough to be snow covered year-round. It offers skiing and there is a road up the peak where summer hiking in the snow is possible.