Sledding and snow play on the North Shore

The snow capped mountains seem tantalizingly close on the North Shore, so you may be itching to take your kids tobogganing or building snow forts.  Not sure where to go for safe snow play?  Read on to find our tried and tested list of North Shore spots for snow fun.

Sledding

If you want classic tobogganing or sledding, with a wide and safe slope, your best bet is to hit up one of the three resorts.  They all have a sledding hill, with Cypress and Seymour also operating snow tubing.  

Cypress Mountain Resort

The sliding area features several runs with a gentle slope, and is open to kids 6 and under.  You have to bring your own non-inflatable toboggan.  For older kids, check out the snow tubing next to the sledding hill. A huge drawback of Cypress is the traffic and parking madness on the weekends: the parking area is shared with cross-country skiers and snowshoers, and can get very busy.  You can pre-book your time slot online HERE: note that weekends are usually sold out.  All accompanying adults must also purchase a ticket.  

Seymour Mountain Resort

This is our favourite for tobogganing.  It has two slopes with multiple lanes to choose from - gentler for the youngest of tots and more challenging for adventurous ones.  Older kids may enjoy the snow tubing right next to the lower sledding slope.  The parking lot (P2) is dedicated for snow play and the play area is separate from the rest of the ski area, so there is a bit more space and breathing room.  For weekends, you can reserve a parking spot up at the mountain to go along with your activity booking.  You can bring your own sled or purchase a sliding mat at the resort (no rentals). A nice perk for parents of small kids: kids aged 3 and under are free when accompanied by a paying adult.  

You have to make your reservations before heading up the mountain: HERE.

Grouse Mountain Resort

The resort has two runs for sledding in their Sliding Zone, located right next to the Skating Pond.  Personal sleds are not allowed, so you’ll be expected to rent Grouse’s Sliding Zone Sled.  No advance reservations are necessary for sledding, but you do have to book the Skyride for your travel up and down the mountain.  The sledding hill’s slope is not the gentlest, so take that into account when bringing your younger kids.  Read more about it HERE.

Snow Play

If you simply want to take kids out to “see” snow, make a snowman, perhaps have a snowball fight or build snow forts, it’s not a bad idea to look elsewhere than paid snow play parks with their fees, reservations, and lineups.

Cypress Provincial Park Picnic Area

This large field is located one switchback higher than the Vancouver Lookout on Cypress Bowl Road, to your right if traveling uphill.  It too boasts a panoramic view of Vancouver.  The picnic area has a parking lot, several picnic tables and pit toilets, and a large open area that is often snow covered in mid winter.  

Vancouver Picnic Area on Mt. Seymour

This area is part way up Mt. Seymour Parkway.  Smaller than Cypress Picnic Area, and with no city views, this picnic area is nestled in between trees and has a tranquil sheltered feel.  You’ll find a small-ish parking lot, a couple of picnic tables and a pit toilet here.  It is often snow covered mid winter, and the area also serves as a starting point for trails that lead towards both the upper and lower part of Mt. Seymour.

There are also a number of free snowshoe trails in Cypress and Seymour Provincial Parks, and they make for a great outing with older kids or young babes in carriers.  Our favourite for small kid snow play (no drop-off or avalanche concerns) are the meadows about 1km up Hollyburn Mountain trail that starts next to the Cypress Nordic Area.  Otherwise, please don’t venture off the marked snowshoe trails, especially in mountainous terrain, unless you are trained in winter travel and avalanche skills.