Visit Comox Valley

Busting Winter Myths About
Vancouver Island

For anyone who has yet to visit Northern Vancouver Island for a Winter getaway, there are a few myths that need to be set straight. Sure, there's a grain of truth to some of these myths, but we're here to tell you that for the most part, it's merely just a grain.

Myth #1: Not enough sunshine in the winter

Yes, we are on the west coast of Canada, and yes, coastal locations such as Vancouver Island do get their fair share of overcast weather, but it's no surprise to see week long stretches of blue skies during the winter months. Every winter though, we do seem to get a couple of weeks of fog at low-lying levels, but that's when a short drive up to Cumberland brings you out of the fog to a cute village with quaint shops and cozy cafes. If you take a drive up Mount Washington road, you'll end up in a sunny winter wonderland, perfect for walking, sledding or skiing!
Mount Washington covered in snow in winter. Credit: Eugene Chung

Myth #2: Not enough snow in the mountains

Speaking of mountains and snow, some feel that our mountain ranges are too low and coastal to have enough snow for winter sports. This may be true down in the Southern part of Vancouver Island (The City of Victoria is known for its very mild winter climate), but north of Nanaimo, we've got perfect conditions for big snowfalls. In fact, Mount Washington Alpine Resort often boasts the deepest snowpack in North America and, once in a while, the world! It's not unheard of for the mountain to receive over 100 centime-ters of snow over a 24-hour period.
Sunrise at Mount Washington, getting first tracks. Credit: Eugene Chung

Myth #3: Surfing is a summer sport

Actually, on Vancouver Island, it's a year-round activity. In fact, winter is when larger storms pound the coast and produce the big swells experienced surfers wait all summer to ride. Once in a while on the east coast of the Island, there are days that wind-borne waves are big enough to surf! Offshoots of traditional surfing are kite boarding and kite surfing. One uses a kite, wind and wakeboard-style boards to surf waves, carve glassy water, or catch big air. Really big air! Vancouver island is the perfect place for a Winter getaway for surfing enthusiasts
Catching a Wave in the Comox Valley! Credit: Leon Davies

Myth #4: Can't golf/mountain bike/kayak in winter

There's no such thing as bad weather, just bad gear for the weather. If you're dressed for the elements, you can do almost anything in the winter that you could in the non-winter months. With our mild climate, and little to no snowfall at lower elevations, many golf courses are open year-round, mountain bike trails are clear (though often wet), and water sports activities can still be enjoyed year-round if you've got the right gear and the weather cooperates.

Due to its latitude and geography, Vancouver Islanders enjoy warm winters compared with the rest of the country. On the North Island, it's a tad cooler, so it allows for snow to accumulate on the mountains, enough to keep a deep snowpack for winter sport enthusiasts, while keeping things green year-round in the valleys below. Is it possible to ski, golf and surf on one trip to Northern Vancouver Island during winter? You bet!

Kiteboarding at Goose Spit. Credit: Todd MacSween Photography