In February 2010, the eyes of the sporting world were on Vancouver for the 21st Winter Olympics. Billions of viewers around the globe watched the action unfold on the city's slopes and rinks. But Closing Ceremonies didn't mark the end of the fun: Vancouver is a perennial destination for sports lovers.
The city is home to five pro sports teams and a dense cluster of world-class facilities. The BC Lions of the Canadian Football League, as well as Major League Soccer's Vancouver Whitecaps, play inside iconic BC Place Stadium, a 52,000-seat facility with a revolutionary retractable roof. Just next door, the storied 21,000-seat Rogers Arena is home to the NHL's Vancouver Canucks, who have sold out every home game since 2002. Meanwhile, the Vancouver Giants of the Western Hockey League play across town at the vintage Pacific Coliseum, and the minor league baseball Vancouver Canadians play in historic Nat Bailey Stadium, a 1951 beauty nestled in a residential neighbourhood.
But Vancouver offers much more than just spectator sports. Three ski mountains rise just minutes outside of downtown in North and West Vancouver. Cypress Mountain, with 53 runs, had the distinction of hosting the 2010 Olympic snowboarding and freestyle events. Meanwhile, Grouse Mountain and Mount Seymour attract skiers from around the world with their uncrowded slopes. And, of course, North America's premier ski destination, Whistler Blackcomb, is just two hours north of Vancouver.
In the warmer weather, those same ranges are a mecca for mountain bikers, who have turned Vancouver into one of the continent's biking capitals. Hiking is also exceptional, with the Grouse Grind - a short but excruciatingly vertical 1.8 mile climb - ranking as the region's most famous trek.