Why you should consider a ski holiday in Alberta


READ TIME: 8 minutes

There is no question that Alberta’s Rocky Mountains is one of the very best ski destinations in the world, let alone in Canada. More and more people are choosing this beautiful corner of North America for their ski holidays and it’s not hard to see why. From myriad resorts and slopes to beautiful surroundings and English-speaking instructors (and then throwing cheap flights to Canada into the mix), Alberta really starts to speak for itself. In our latest guide, we are going to run through some of this destination’s many virtues, highlighting why you should consider a ski holiday in Alberta’s Rocky Mountains for your next trip.

We spoke to Jen and Mick from the ski travel blog The Snow Chasers, whose glowing praise for Alberta will whet the appetite of any skier: “We love Alberta as a ski destination for so many things! It is easy to get to, has predictable snowfall, varied terrain, that oh-so-lovely champagne powder and the stunning backdrop of the Rocky Mountains.”

If you are new to our blog, make sure you check out some of our other fantastic articles about Canada skiing and beautiful Alberta. No matter what you want to learn about visiting Canada, we’ve got a guide for you. You can find more of our helpful pieces dotted throughout this article.

Which ski resorts are in Alberta?

Lake Louise Alberta Ski resort

Image credit: Noel Hendrickson

Alberta is home to some incredible ski resorts which we’ll go into in more detail later on. But first of all, where is Alberta and what can you find there?

Alberta is a province in the west of Canada, straddling the Rocky Mountains and the prairie belt and bordering British Columbia. It is home to stunning national parks and great skiing, which can be easily accessed from Calgary and Edmonton international airports. Alberta is home to the following ski resorts:

– Jasper Marmot Basin (located within Jasper Nation Park in Alberta)

– Banff Sunshine (located within Banff National Park in Alberta)

– Mt Norquay (located within Banff National Park in Alberta)

– Lake Louise (located within Banff National Park in Alberta)

Read on to discover more about these resorts and the amazing ski destination that is Alberta.

Stunning natural beauty

Skiing in Alberta

Image credit: Jake Dyson

There are a plethora of reasons why you should consider an Alberta ski holiday but one of the most obvious is the region’s stunning natural beauty. There are very few places on Earth that can match the sheer drama of the Albertan landscape. The ski slopes all sit within the national parks of Banff and Jasper where natural beauty abounds – think Rocky Mountains, lakes and forests. The views from the gondola and the top of the slopes are spell-binding (just make sure you keep your eyes on the slopes as you ski down!). However, Alberta’s location in the Canadian Rocky Mountains doesn’t just make a pretty picture – its geography and climate are also the reason why Alberta boasts such fantastic dry powder.

Becki, from the travel blog Borders of Adventure, adores Alberta as a ski destination, telling us that for her, its geography and beauty is a big winning component: “Despite the fact that Alberta’s ski area is easily connected via short transfers from hubs like Calgary, the ski areas still feel secluded and offbeat. However, nothing beats the mighty location and the fact you are exploring within and surrounded by the Rocky Mountains – one of the best backdrops in the world and with snowfall for several months of the year. It’s certainly somewhere you should at least visit once in your lifetime.”

SEE ALSO: Free things to do in Calgary

Incredible choice

Ski Pro and Kids at Marmot Basin

Image credit: Marmot Basin

While the plentiful snowfall, brilliant facilities and extended ski season are winning features, one of Alberta’s true defining components when it comes to skiing is the sheer choice and variety available. It doesn’t matter if you are new to skiing, have tried it once before or visit the slopes every year, Alberta has a resort for you.

Kristen Bor, the founder of the outdoor activity and travel site Bearfoot Theory, names Alberta’s variety of choice as the area’s most appealing attribute: “The close proximity of Alberta’s major ski resorts to each other means you can ski four different mountains during a week-long ski vacation and get a great taste for what the Canadian Rockies have to offer.”

Leigh, an Alberta based writer from the outdoor and adventure travel blog Hike Bike Travel, also championed Alberta’s wonderful choice when it comes to skiing there and praised the snowfall: “Ski resorts in Alberta are legendary for their light, airy snow – most often with a drool-worthy mountain background. And we’re spoiled for choice here with the number of ski resorts, especially within just a few hours’ drive of Calgary. The price point for ski tickets too – especially when compared to resorts in the US – is excellent.”

Quiet ski resorts such as Jasper

If you have your heart set on a Canadian ski holiday but are worried about the crowds and very busy resorts, head to somewhere like Jasper in Alberta to find just what you are looking for.  Jasper is a truly unique ski destination as unlike other top locations, winter is its quiet season. As a result, you can peacefully enjoy its wide-open ski hills and lack of queues in this mountain town. Jasper’s Marmot Basin Ski Resort is ideal for both beginners and intermediate level skiers and is only a brief transfer from the lovely town itself. Featuring 86 runs and 1,675 acres of fantastic ski terrain, Jasper is an easy and attractive choice.

Telling us what she loves about skiing in Jasper, Kristen Bor of Bearfoot Theory gushed: “Marmot Basin is a gorgeous, uncrowded mountain with a laid-back, local vibe. Mid-week, you’ll be able to ski right onto the lifts, and with nearly half of the mountain above the treeline, you’ll feel like you’re on top of the world.”

SEE ALSO: 48 hours in Jasper

Access to Banff’s big three

Banff is one of Alberta’s most popular mountain towns and it also happens to be home to some of the best skiing you are ever going to find. At Banff, you find what is known as the Big 3 – three of the very best ski resorts in all of Canada. Comprised of Sunshine Village, Lake Louise and Mount Norquay, the Big 3 attract skiers from all over the world and are a true jewel in Canada’s ski landscape. Situated in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, Banff and the Big 3 have something to offer everyone with transfers to each resort included from downtown. Boasting 8,000 acres and nearly 300 runs between them, Banff is a dream destination for skiers. To truly take advantage of these resorts, the SkiBig3 pass should certainly be acquired. Valid throughout the entire season at all three resorts, you’ll be free to ski to your heart’s content, access buddy tickets, and receive a discount on lift tickets.

Speaking about Banff’s Sunshine Village in particular, Kristin Addis from the travel blog Be My Travel Muse (who also champions the beauty of Alberta) explains what she enjoys most: “Sunshine Village is one of my favourite places that I’ve skied to date. The ski-in lodge is beautiful and awesome, plus they have a hot tub in the snow and great food. There’s a variety of runs and as a beginner, I loved the powdery slopes and the variety that they had for me. The instruction was great too. I felt I progressed more there than I had with many other instructors in the past. I’d go back in a heartbeat!”

Banff Sunshine Village

Image credit: Dan Evans

Banff is beloved by so many visiting skiers. Telling us why it won her heart, Becki from Borders of Adventure said: “In Banff, I got to ski on the freshest, softest powder I’ve ever practised on. It was almost a childlike wonder, and that feeling never gets old. I got to wake up in a hotel on the mountain and outside my door, get straight on the ski runs. What’s also a bonus in Banff in Winter is that you get to ski in a protected nature area that is Canada’s first designated National Park, where rules are set for it not to be ruined or overrun. To ski in a pristine landscape is priceless.”

Jen and Mick from The Snow Chasers is also a big fan of skiing in Banff. Speaking to us about what they love most, they said: “Our favourite thing about skiing in Banff and Sunshine Village is that although it is a big mountain resort, it still has a charming, relaxed vibe to it and isn’t too overly commercial.”

A long ski season

Ski lift in Alberta

Image credit: Dan Evans

Another wonderful benefit of skiing in Alberta and, indeed, Canada as a whole, is its long ski seasons compared to other global destinations. Covering a whopping period of seven months from November to May, this extended ski season means you don’t have to worry about missing the traditional winter months. With Europe’s average ski season being six months and America’s just five months, an Alberta ski holiday is only separated from the pack further in this regard. With more chances to fit in that dream trip and even less time to wait until the next ski season begins, Alberta continues to win hearts.

SEE ALSO: Discovering the wildlife of the Canadian Rockies

Why Alberta is a dream ski destination

Alberta ski slope

Image credit: Dan Evans

– It has stunning natural beauty

– It provides skiers with an incredible choice

– It has quiet ski resorts such as Jasper

– It gives you access to Banff’s Big Three

– It offers a long ski season

When it comes to great global ski destinations, Alberta is certainly part of the equation. When you consider the province’s breath-taking natural beauty, myriad slopes, diverse resorts, and perfect geographic location, booking a ski trip to Alberta becomes a no-brainer.

Alberta’s skiing scene is just one of many factors that go into making Canada such a remarkable holiday destination. You can discover more reasons to visit in our instructive and entertaining guides available on our blog.

Has this article inspired you to make future travel plans? Go ahead and discover some of the memorable Alberta ski holidays we have available. That dream Canadian holiday is just a few clicks away!

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