TRAVEL ALERTS: Know Before You Go Camping.  WINTER: Snowbird locations and overnight camping.

Winter RV Adventure for Camping Newbies at Sunshine Valley & Manning Park, BC

Campground in the winter

We had the resort to ourselves in the winter!

If only we had known how amazing RVing in the winter is, we would have taken this trip a long time ago! Our journey started in earnest on a Wednesday morning when we made an appointment to pick up the rental RV. Upon arrival, we were greeted by friendly staff, completed our paperwork, and my husband and the representative from Canadream did a thorough walk-through of the unit: power, water, propane, emptying tanks, using the slide-out … all the way to fresh towels and cozy flannel sheets.

Canadream parking lot

At Canadream in Vancouver picking up our RV

We also became familiar with some of the ‘extras’ offered when you rent an RV. These include packages with cleaning services (so you can skip the last dishes and spruce-up at the end of your trip), additional insurance (glass coverage is good to get when driving on winter roads), and something Canadream calls “Peace of Mind” which includes emergency towing, ‘lock out service’, lost key replacement, jump start, flat tire change, and fuel delivery service. You can also rent little comforts like camping chairs or a GPS unit, and buy additional toilet chemicals and toilet paper (RV paper, aka 1-ply) for longer trips. We opted for glass service, peace of mind, and a toaster.

A picture of the wintery landscape along Highway 1

On the highway to Sunshine Valley in the RV

From the lot we hit the highway (under a torrential downpour) and a couple of hours later, arrived at Sunshine Valley as the rain turned to giant snowflakes. Despite our worries about driving the unit in the snow, it handled beautifully. Our guess is it’s so heavy it crushes down the snow – whatever the reason, it performed well on both bare and snowy roads for the whole trip.

We soon found out we were the only campers! Yes, the site was dotted with RVs, but these were ‘weekend guys’ – members who leave their unit up year-round to visit on the weekends like a cabin. Pretty ingenious, if you ask me! Meanwhile we had the place to ourselves.

Once we pulled into our spot and my husband hooked up the power, we pushed a button to send out the slide-out and began to set up our new home. Here are some of the items we quickly realized we should have brought. Perhaps this list will help with your planning!

RV Packing Extras (Forgotten by Novices)

  • Electric kettle (unit comes with a stove-top kettle but electric would be easier)
  • Toaster (available for rent for $10 but if you have one you like, why not bring it?)
  • A snowy shoe/boot mat (for at the bottom of the stairs)
  • Slippers (this isn’t a tent – you do a fair bit of walking around inside!)
  • An extra frying pan (there’s only one)
  • A flat, small baking sheet and aluminum foil
  • Extra cutlery (there’s exactly enough for 4 people)
  • A small drying rack (unless you have a family member who loves to dry dishes!)
  • Oven mitts
  • Dishwashing gloves (they provide soap and scrubbers) as the water can get nice and hot
  • Swim towels (you get lovely shower towels in the unit, but some microtowels are helpful)

Having set up our beds (our daughter immediately chose the alcove above the driver) we hit the (indoor) swimming pool and hot tubs and began to plan the next day’s activities. Our new winter camping adventure had begun!

Canadream RV camping at Sunshine Valley Resort in the snow

Winter Camping at Sunshine Valley Resort

The next morning we woke up to the soft sound of snow tinkling on the roof of the RV. Our bed was toasty as we sank deeper into the flannel sheets, and stared out the window to a winter wonderland. It was breathtaking.

My daughter and I stirred first and prepared a batch of wake-and-shake pancakes and some berry sauce. We woke up my husband with a hot coffee, ate breakfast, and they headed out to the lodge for a swim and a shower while I tidied up and battened down the hatches for our planned day trip.

The roads looked nicely plowed, and Manning’s toboggan run and skating rink were open, and so we drove out of the park and up the highway to this gorgeous alpine resort. At first we weren’t sure about our choice not to bring a second vehicle, but the RV crushed any snow in our way and powered up the hills no problem.

Another perk of bringing the RV? Sheer convenience at Manning Park. We decided against ice skating (our daughter’s not really sure on her skates) and threw on our snowsuits for some toboggan runs.

Once we were tired and ready for a meal we stopped into the lounge for some pub fare. The great thing about having the RV right there was we were able to change into comfortable clothes very easily. Once our bellies were full, we headed back to the RV resort for naps, more swimming, dinner, and a DVD.

It was the perfect day trip and a great way to round out our visit.

New to winter camping? Check out the following blog.

First Time RVing in Winter – What to Know about Renting an RV

Share your BC camping and travel photos using #CampinBC

Published: February 14th, 2018

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by vancouvercampingmom

Morgan was raised on camping by her father and maternal grandparents. A life-long Vancouverite, she is a tourism instructor at BCIT and Royal Roads University and a customer service trainer. Morgan lives in East Vancouver with her family and puts a heavy emphasis on family travel as a way to learn, grow, and reconnect.

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