While most Vancouverites are tucked snugly into their beds this Saturday night, others will be clipping into ski bindings, lacing up ice skates, strapping on snowshoes and hitting the slopes for an unforgettable night in the great outdoors.
Originally launched during the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, Grouse Mountain's 24 Hours of Winter has become a perennial favourite, drawing nighthawks, early risers and everyone in between for a non-stop night and day of snowy fun high above the city.
Visitors can ski and snowboard into the wee hours; take a snowshoe tour at sunset, midnight or sunrise; bust out their best ice-skating moves to DJ music on a mountaintop frozen pond; take a beautiful lighted walk through the woods around Grouse Lake; catch a glowing torch parade; and enjoy a mountaintop sleigh ride.
"You can be skiing or snowboarding down the cut in the middle of the night, or catching the sunrise on a snowshoe tour, so you're able to enjoy things that you wouldn't normally be able to," says Grouse Mountain spokeswoman Julia Grant, adding there's also a mountain-wide scavenger hunt that comes with great prizes. "Hopefully, it's clear for some stargazing, too."
Other events include the gruelling Snowshoe Grind Mountain Run – which features an après celebration in the chalet – as well as zipline tours, a winter walk and meditative yoga session with YYoga, a midnight Jam Over the City, a kids' pond hockey tournament, late-night sledding and more.
Participants can then warm up with breakfast, lunch, dinner or even midnight snacks, and take in the Canucks game Saturday or the Super Bowl on Sunday.
The festivities continue on Family Day, Monday, Feb. 8, with half-price lift tickets for B.C. residents, a pancake breakfast to raise funds for North Shore Rescue, a lantern release in celebration of Chinese New Year and more.
Unlike last year's washout of a season, which saw the local hills struggling to even stay open, this year the mountain has a healthy base and received more than 70 centimetres of fresh snow in the last week alone.
"It's something different, and in Vancouver we're so lucky to live in a place where a lot of these activities are quite accessible," Ms. Grant says. "And it's getting people out and enjoying the outdoors, celebrating all that is winter."
24 Hours of Winter runs all weekend. Ski, snowboard, snowshoe, skate and magic carpet rentals available. Free shuttle available from select points. Full schedule of events at grousemountain.com.