Tired of the textbook European ski holiday? Eager to make your mark in some of the best snow in the world? Take your ski holiday to the next level with a trip to Canada. The country boasts an array of resorts in both British Columbia and Alberta, the two central skiing regions, each with its own distinct identity. If you’re an experienced ski enthusiast or just starting out on the slopes, Canada offers unforgettable holidays that will keep you coming back for more.
Whistler-stop tour of British Columbia:
As British Columbia’s flagship ski resort, Whistler has established a prestigious name for itself in recent years, after playing host to the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in 2010. Following this type of exposure, it’s no surprise that it has become the region’s top ski destination. Consisting of two mountains (Whistler and Blackcomb) first united in 2008, the resort spans over 200 marked runs, 16 alpine bowls and 3 glaciers – sprawled over 3,200 hectares of stunning landscape.
For those not inclined to hurtle down the slopes, Whistler is a goldmine of activity and caters for the whole family. Dog-sledding and tubing are some awesome alternatives to strapping on the skis. What’s more, Whistler Village has rows of quirky shops and restaurants, perfect for keeping any non-skiers entertained. In fact, Whistler Village is particularly family-friendly as no cars are allowed in its centre – making it the ideal place for a relaxing (albeit chilly!) stroll with a hot choc in hand.
Finally, Whistler is renowned for a lively après scene and quirky touches such as scrummy Belgian waffles for sale halfway up the mountain. The 2015/16 season will mark the 50th anniversary of the ski resort – and we’re extending you a special invitation to the birthday party!
Regarded as Whistler’s cool younger cousin, the edgy ski resort is widely-renowned as the global capital of daredevil heli-skiing. Hailed as the resort that made this previously expensive hobby more affordable, Revelstoke is a must-ski for any ski junkie looking to enjoy a totally new experience on the slopes.
In addition to heli-skiing, Revelstoke often earns the accolade of snow powder capital of Canada – in an average year around 40 feet of fluffy snow graces Revelstoke’s slopes. It may seem like this resort isn’t for the faint-hearted, however, don’t discount it just yet. Having recently improved their nursery slopes, the dynamic resort is now just as attractive for beginners!
With slopes reaching 1,829m, the resort is higher than Val d’Isère or St Moritz, and although more suited to proficient skiers, it does now have something for everyone. Revelstoke itself is a charmingly well-preserved Victorian town – what more could you ask for?
All hail Alberta:
Alberta’s central ski hub is Banff National Park, nestled in Canada’s iconic Rockies and home to the ‘Big Three’ – Mount Norquay, Sunshine Village and Lake Louise. Together these three resorts form one of North America’s biggest ski areas, which can all be accessed with one lift pass – a definite bonus! The busy town of Banff, with its lively bars and mouth-watering traditional Canadian cuisine, is complemented by the quaint, sleepy village that sits on the banks of Lake Louise.
Lake Louise sits amongst some of Canada’s most stunning scenery, with the Victoria Glacier taking centre stage. An invigorating day of cross-country skiing is the best way to take in these spectacular views. The benefits of being in the Rockies don’t stop there – Canada’s diverse range of wildlife also plays a big part in any skiing holiday to the region, with elk, bighorn sheep and moose often making an appearance. High-octane activities such as dog-sledding or snowmobiling provide yet more opportunities to take in the surroundings.
Perhaps the best thing about Banff is that it’s only an hour and a half from Calgary airport – a super easy transfer. The fact that your lift pass gives you access to three different resorts makes it amazing value for money, and during the low winter season you can stay in lovely hotels at bargain prices. In Banff, your ski holiday of a lifetime can become an annual tradition!
Outside the world of Banff, Jasper’s Marmot Basin ski resort is another of Alberta’s gems. Winter season in Europe’s popular destinations can be crowded but in Jasper it is surprisingly quiet, as the mountain town is an all-year round resort. Known for combining picture-perfect views with a chilled-out ambiance, Jasper’s 1,675 acres of skiing and snowboarding is ideal for beating the crowds.
With such an extensive selection of resorts, it’s no secret to insiders that the Canada ski scene boasts unparalleled snow, activities, wildlife, après-ski scenes and cuisine. Escaping the European ski bubble has never been so à la mode…