To an outsider, skiing in Canada might be synonymous with a trip to Whistler. Yet, on the contrary, one of Canada’s many assets is its range of incomparable ski resorts. Names like Revelstoke, Sun Peaks and Fernie might not ring bells the way Whistler does, but are all world-class. The sheer sizes of these resorts are quite unlike any European destination. Not only are the skiing options vast, but the resorts are host to a whole range of activities, restaurants and accommodation.
Brush up on our favourite Canadian resorts that you might not have heard of:
Another common misconception is that Whistler is in the Rockies. Although its location in the Coast Mountains is stunning, there’s no substitute for the real deal. If it’s the Rockies you are after, or if you are simply looking for an incredible trip, we recommend heading to Banff National Park. With Powder Hounds naming Banff as one of the best ski resorts in Canada for après ski, nightlife and restaurants, Banff is particularly fitting for an older crowd and the more experienced skier.
Three different ski areas make up Banff Park. ‘The Big 3’, as they are known, are Mount Norquay, Sunshine Village and Lake Louise, with the latter being the most popular resort area. These are all accessible with the tri-area lift pass and together account for 8,000 acres of skiable terrain. Banff town, nestled in the mountains, is separate from each of these areas but has a shuttle bus running to all.
To the bold and the brave we recommend the World Cup downhill ski circuits, which are open to the public whenever they are not in use. By the time these runs are completed, it will be time to try out Banff’s nightlife. Start the evening with a delicious and filling meal at Banff Block before heading out to Banff’s most famous nightclub, Dancing Sasquatch.
Skiing with children will, for most, require a family-friendly resort. Heading to a family-renowned area not only means that the terrain is more appropriate, it also means a friendly crowd and wider variety of child-oriented activities. If you are looking for just this, we recommend opting for The Big White Ski Resort, in Kelowna, British Columbia. The resort is 60km from Kelowna airport, making the journey easy if you’re travelling with little ones.
Big White spans over 2,650 acres of terrain and 105km of marked runs. Perhaps unsurprisingly, given its name, the resort famously has fantastic snow. With plenty of runs for pros and beginners alike, Powder Hounds have named it one of Canada’s best for beginner and intermediate terrain, and for family trips.
The activities available here are by no means exclusively for children. An afternoon away from the slopes is quickly passed at the 60-foot Ice Climbing Tower in Happy Valley Adventure Park. Or if you don’t want to sacrifice skiing time then opt for the faster-paced Big White Tube Park, also in the Adventure Park.
After a tiring day outdoors, the best place to pass the evening is in the famously cosy and comforting restaurant, The Woods. This family friendly restaurant is located in the centre of town. Its glowing lights make it hard to miss and hard to resist.
Mount Tremblant, Quebec, is one of North America’s earliest ski resorts. It is still a traditional cobblestone village. And, best of all, it is completely pedestrianised. USA Today has named it as one of the world’s Top 10 Most Scenic Ski Resorts. Even though it is less well-known than others internationally, it is popular with celebrities.
With a remarkable summit of 2,871 feet, one of the highest points in the area, it has an outstanding view over the Laurentian Mountains. Its location makes this resort perfect for the walker, skier and snowboarder alike. Testament to this is their 19th year as #1 Ski Resort in Eastern North America, voted by readers of Ski Magazine. Tremblant even beat resorts in New England.
Both skiing and après ski in Tremblant are for the serious. With Canada’s largest snow system and over 660 acres of skiable terrain, you can be sure to have perfect snow at all times. Advanced skiers should try famous run, ‘The Edge’. Hidden amongst trees and accessible only by an old chairlift, this has a very retro feel to it.
At the end of the day, head to Microbrasserie La Diable for a hearty meal and home-brewed draughts, and then onto Le P’tit Caribou. After extensive renovation, the nightclub reopened in June 2016. It was named as one of the world’s best apres-ski bars by Men’s Journal. This quaint and colourful town is without doubt one of our favourite current destinations this year, and it will be for many more.
Canadian resorts have longer ski seasons than those in Europe. The season extends to the end of April and often into May. Plus they have more skiable terrain and exciting activities. You can’t blame us then for wanting to tell the world about the fantastic resorts in Canada. If you open your eyes to the powder possibilities, you can have the best ski trip ever!