The Skyride gondola, which departs every 15 minutes, takes 8 minutes to whisk you 3,700 feet above sea level where the views over Vancouver and the Lower Mainland are terrific. If you are physically fit and like a challenge, an alternative to the gondola is to hike the Grouse Grind, a steep 1.8-mile path up the mountain. If you like a 60-minute workout on a Stairmaster, ‘The Grind’ could be what you are looking for. You don’t hike down either; take the gondola instead it’s cheaper downhill. Criss-crossing the mountain are 26 ski and snowboarding runs, 13 of which are lit for use at night. You can skate on the highest open-air ice pond in Western Canada or tour the mountain on a sleigh ride through the snow-covered forests.

The privately-owned Grouse Mountain is a 20-minute drive from downtown on a good day or you can take bus number 232.

Julian has written articles on Middle Eastern and European architecture for the US magazine Skipping Stones. He has written travel articles that were published in The Toronto Globe and Mail, Fate Magazine, National Catholic Register, and Northwest Travel. Julian has also written articles for the In The Know Traveler, Go Nomad, InTravelmag, and Go World Travel websites. He has also taken many photographs that have appeared in travel guides by National Geographic, Thomas Cook and The Rough Guides. Examples of his work can be found at http://www.photographersdirect.com/sellers/details.asp?portfolio=13734