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A guide to the best ski resorts in Canada

posted December 20, 2017


ski resorts in canada

If you thought skiing started and ended with the Alps, it’s time to get to know Canada. Canada has some of the best skiing in the world in its iconic mountain ranges. From the Canadian Rockies to British Columbia’s Coast Mountains, there is metres and metres of powder to be found in Canada.

Whistler is arguably Canada’s most famous resort, and justly so. It is regularly voted the best ski resort in the world. Whistler aside, Canada has dozens of top notch ski resorts nestled among its peaks. Read on to find some of the best ski resorts in Canada:

 

Ski Resorts in British Columbia

 

whistler village ski resort canada

Whistler Ski Resort, BC

This is the best-known ski resort in Canada and probably one of the most famous in the world. With good reason, we might add. The two connected mountain peaks of Whistler and Blackcomb together make up the biggest ski area in North America. The vast terrain means you can ski or snowboard here for a week or more without covering the same runs as there is always a new route to have a go at.

Thanks to its enviable location in the Pacific Coast Mountain Range, Whistler enjoys a huge amount of snow each year with regular fresh powder dumps. Their world record-breaking PEAK 2 PEAK gondola connects the two mountains and the lift system is quick and efficient. For non-skiers, there is plenty on offer including snow-tubing, zip lines and plenty of spas.

The resort is a real all-rounder. It’s excellent ski school and abundance of green runs makes it perfect for families and novices alike. For the more experienced skiers, the high open bowls offer endless possibilities. There is such a range of accommodation in the purpose-built ski town that you can easily have a quiet night if you like. However, Whistler is famed for its vibrant atmosphere with a buzzing après scene that it would be remiss not to sample.

Top Tips

Best for: An all-round resort. It’s truly vast, so the ski runs and resort offer something for everyone.

Getting here: Whistler is incredibly easy to get to. Fly direct into Vancouver and then it’s less than two hour’s drive to Whistler.

Places to stay: Two of our favourite hotels are the Fairmont Chateau and the Delta Suites. The Fairmont sits right at the base of Blackcomb Mountain with the signature luxury feel we’ve come to expect from Fairmont. The Health Spa is huge with a choice of swimming pools, Jacuzzis and steam rooms. The Delta offers authentic alpine-style accommodation right in the heart of Whistler Village. Perfect if you like to be close to the hustle and bustle.

Fast facts:

Ski area – 8,171 acres

Elevation – 650m to 2,285m

Pistes – 20% beginner, 55% intermediate, 25% advanced

6-day lift pass – From $606 CAD

 

sun peak british columbia

Sun Peaks Resort, BC

This friendly resort is made up of three peaks: Mount Morrisey, Sundance and Mount Tod which is the main peak. Although this is the biggest ski area after Whistler, the town is small and cosy with a really welcoming feel.

Around 80% of the accommodation is ski-in/ski-out, which combined with the traffic-free main street makes Sun Peaks so easy to get around. This combined with some of the best beginner terrain around makes it perfect for learners.

The nursery slopes are right by the village centre and lifts. The ski school here is excellent and with over 130 runs, you’ll find plenty of green runs for the less experiences members of the group. For more practiced skiers and snowboarders there are tons of blue and black runs plus some advanced open bowls on Mt. Tod.

Top Tips

Best for: Beginners thanks to its gentle terrain and friendly village

Getting here: Sun Peaks is a 4 ½ hour drive from Vancouver, or you can also take an internal flight from either Vancouver or Calgary airport.

Places to stay: The Sun Peaks Grand Hotel is as luxurious as it sounds. It’s just a few minutes from the village and enjoys beautiful views. It also has the only outdoor heated pool in Sun Peaks. Nancy Greene’s Hotel is set in the heart of the village and is named after the famous Olympian who is an ambassador for the resort. The rooms range from traditional doubles to studios and three bedroom suites.

Fast facts

Ski area – 4,270 acres

Elevation – 1,255m to 2,080m

Pistes – 10% beginner, 58% intermediate, 32% advanced

6-day lift pass – From $540 CAD

 

big white ski canada

Big White Ski Resort, BC

Big White lives up to its name – its 105km of marked runs are nothing to be sniffed at. It’s a favourite with families with an award-winning Kid’s Centre and virtually all accommodations with ski-in/ski-out access. The mid-mountain village is car-free which only adds to the safe and cosy feel of the resort.

The terrain is a paradise for intermediates with such a variety of groomed runs. There are better BC resorts for extreme and experiences skiers, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty to keep advanced skiers occupied. There are plenty of single black diamond runs and even a handful of double black diamond runs through steep alpine bowl to keep you busy.

Happy Valley sits at the bottom of the village and is a dream for any non-skiers or just those craving variety. Here you can go ice skating, ice climbing, tubing, snowmobiling and snowshoeing until late/ The gondola serves Happy Valley until 10pm.

Top Tips

Best for: Intermediates. The number of runs here are a dream

Getting here: It’s easy to access the resort by taking an internal flight from Calgary or Vancouver into Kelowna and then hopping on the shuttle bus. Otherwise it’s a 5 ½ hour drive from Vancouver.

Places to stay: Stonebridge Lodge is an all-suite hotel located at the base of the mountain just a few minutes from the village centre. Its location can’t be beaten and most of the rooms have outdoor hot tubs! The Inn at Big White is in the centre of the village resort and has a good restaurant.

Fast facts

Ski area – 2,655 acres

Elevation – 1,510m to 2,320m

Pistes – 18% beginner, 54% intermediate, 22% advanced, 6% expert

6-day lift pass – From $518 CAD

 

Revelstoke mountain ski

Revelstoke Mountain Resort, BC

This is Canada’s youngest ski resort, only established in 2007. But what it lacks in age it more than makes up for in credentials. It boasts big terrain, big snowfall and big vertical. Revelstoke has the most vertical in North America at 1,713m and enjoys a heady 15m of snow each year.

The area is famous for heliskiing, with access to some half a million acres of terrain. You can still enjoy plenty of off-piste adventures, but now there are 69 named runs and areas within the 3,121-acre ski resort. The wooded glades here are legendary and there are four high alpine bowls.

A gondola and two fast chair lifts provide access to the terrain, which is mostly ungroomed. There is also a brand-new terrain park with jumps, jibs and rollers to play in. The small resort at the foot of the slopes has a hotel, restaurant, bar and coffee shop. You can also stay in the down-to-earth town of Revelstoke itself 5 minutes away.

Top Tips

Best for: Powder hounds. Due to the steep terrain, this resort suits intermediate and advanced skiers best.

Getting here: The best way is to take the shuttle bus from Kelowna Airport. You can catch an internal flight from Vancouver or Calgary to Kelowna. Having a hire care is also a handy way to get around.

Places to stay: The lovely Sutton Place Hotel is closest to the slopes. Its all-suite accommodation offers balconies with stunning mountain views and an outdoor pool and hot tub. Glacier House Resort is a great choice for those log cabin vibes, while the Hillcrest has gorgeous views over the Begbie Glacier.

Fast facts

Ski area – 3,121 acres

Elevation – 512m to 2,225m

Pistes – 7% beginner, 45% intermediate, 48% advanced

6-day lift pass – From $518 CAD

 

panorama ski resort in canada

Panorama Mountain Resort, BC

Panorama is lesser-known than its famous neighbours like Banff and Lake Louise, but this is only a good thing for those in the know. The resort offers one of the easiest experiences around, being largely-car free and with plenty of ski-in/ski-out access.

The vertical here is one of the biggest in North America at 1,220m. The ski area is mostly below the treeline, offering plenty of gladed areas. There’s plenty of varied terrain for all abilities, but the piece de resistance is its double black diamond run in the Extreme Dream Zone.

A free gondola links the upper and lower villages of the resort. The upper village radiates around a skating rink and outdoor pool complex with swimming pools, waterslides and hot tubs. Perfect for kids and non-skiers! The village has plenty of accommodation options and direct access to the slopes.

Top Tips

Best for: Families. There are plenty of child care options here as well as the pool complex and ski shool.

Getting here: Panorama sits in British Columbia’s Purcell MountainsCanada’s oldest. Calgary is the closest airport at around a 3 ½ hour drive away. There are also shuttle bus services which run between the resort and Calgary or Banff.

Places to stay: The Panorama Mountain Village covers both the Upper and Lower villages with a range of accommodation. There are hotel rooms, condos and even a hostel. Most have kitchen facilities and a balcony, and all have access to heated outdoor pools and hot tubs.

Fast facts

Ski area – 2,847 acres

Elevation – 1,150m to 2,375m

Pistes – 20% beginner, 55% intermediate, 25% advanced

6-day lift pass – From $451.20 CAD

 

Femie BC

Fernie Alpine Resort, BC

Fernie is a terrific choice for an all-round resort. It has a reputation for excellent powder, enjoying the dryness of the Rockies but with more annual snowfall than resorts like Banff. There is a good mix of runs for all abilities, with some bowls, steep glades and a terrain park for more experience ski and snowboarders.

For expert skiers, the resort has a cult status. It has plenty to keep you occupied but without being overcrowded. There is plenty of fresh snowfall (9m a year on average) along with steep, ungroomed terrain and glades. The resort has invested in on-going improvement of the area, but the seven lifts do mean that some of the terrain requires a lot of traversing to get there.

The resort village of Fernie is warm and welcoming but small, without a huge range of eating and drinking options. Head to Fernie town a couple of miles away and it’s a different story – it’s lively with a great selection of bars and restaurants.

Top Tips

Best for: All-rounder. It has a good mix of terrain for different abilities and the option to keep things quiet in the resort or dive into après in the town.

Getting here: Fernie nestles in the Lizard Range of the Canadian Rockies, in the East Kootenay region. Calgary airport is 3 ½ hours away from Fernie with shuttle bus options to get you there. A hire car might be handy though for getting from the resort to the town three miles away.

Places to stay: Lizard Creek Lodge is a luxury 4 ½ star resort steeped in rustic elegance. It’s located right by the slopes’ Elk quad chair lift, so the location couldn’t be better. The Best Western Plus in the town of Fernie is a great choice to get closer to the action.

Fast facts

Ski area – 2,504 acres

Elevation – 1,150m to 2,375m

Pistes – 20% beginner, 55% intermediate, 25% advanced

6-day lift pass – From $475 CAD. There is also the option of a Rockies Card which gives you access to the neaighbouring resorts of Fernie, Kicking Horse, Kimberley and Nakiska.

 

Ski Resorts in Alberta

 

banff big 3 ski

Big 3 in Banff, AB

These three world-class ski resorts in Banff National Park combine to form one of the best ski areas in Canada. One pass will get you access to Banff Sunshine, Lake Louise and Mt. Norquay resorts. The towns of Banff and Lake Louise are just half an hour apart and you can access all three ski resorts from the two towns.

Combined, the ski area covers 7,748 acres with more than 300 runs. The runs are well serviced by two gondolas and 26 chairlifts. Plus, the whole region is blessed with plenty of that famed Rocky snow – dry, fluffy powder. Sunshine boasts the longest non-glacial ski season in Canada, spanning 7 months from November to May. Lake Louise is the biggest of the ski areas and is arguably the most picturesque. Mt. Norquay is considered a little, family-friendly gem.

The Banff ski area is one of the most famous in Canada, and with good reason. The facilities and infrastructure here are excellent – as they need to be to deal with so many visitors. But despite the area’s popularity, the towns have retained a friendly, relaxed charm. Banff is particularly jolly with dozens of bars and restaurants to enjoy. It’s here you’ll find the most bustle and the best après. Lake Louise is charming but sleepy.

Top Tips

Best for: Sheer variety. With three ski resorts in one, it’s impossible to get bored here. You’ll never do the same run twice! It’s perfect for families thanks to the big range of terrain and there are plenty of accommodation options. It’s also a great choice for those who like to be near a bustling town and have the option of non-ski activities too.

Getting here: It’s only a 90-minute drive from Calgary Airport to Banff. If you have a car, you have the flexibility to explore the incredible national park and see some of the sights. However, there are also shuttle buses which run from the airport and between all the ski resorts.

Places to stay: Banff and Lake Louise both have plenty of options, though Banff is the bigger town. There is an iconic and luxurious Fairmont hotel in both towns (Lake Louise and Banff Springs). In the town of Banff, the Banff Lodging Company provides umpteen highly-appointed ski lodges with roaring fires and that log cabin feel.

Fast facts

Ski area – 7,748 acres

Elevation – 1,630m to 2,730m

Pistes – 22% beginner, 45% intermediate, 33% advanced

6-day lift pass – From $587 CAD for access to the Big 3.

 

Freestyle Skier - Tourism Jasper

Marmot Basin, Jasper AB

This ski resort is surrounded by the vast Jasper National Park and offers some of the most stunning views in Canada. That makes Marmot Basin a great choice if you have non-skiers in your group or if you want to combine some sightseeing on your ski holiday. The spectacular drive along the Icefields Parkway from Lake Louise to Jasper is a reason to visit in itself.

This ski area isn’t huge, and particularly compared to the Banff resorts, the runs aren’t as big. However, this little resort makes up for it in character. It is far less crowded than other Banff and BC resorts and offers good value for money. It also has a very even spread of terrain from beginner to expert. There is a good mix of ski area above and below the treeline, offering both wide-open views and protected glades.

There is no lodging on the mountain, meaning you’ll need to base yourself in the town of Jasper, 30 minutes away. However, the town is utterly charming so that’s no bad thing. It is much quieter than Banff and has a less touristy, more authentic feel. There are still good options for dining and heading out, as well as services like ski school and child care.

Top Tips

Best for: Getting away from the crowds. Jasper is quiet and more remote than many other ski resorts.

Getting here: Fly into Calgary and take a couple of days to make the spectacular drive up the Icefields Parkway. It’s worth the time!

Places to stay: The Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge is a luxurious choice just out of town, with good restaurants and views. The Crimson is just a few minutes walk from downtown Jasper.

Fast facts

Ski area – 1,675 acres

Elevation – 1,698m to 2,6120m

Pistes – 30% beginner, 30% intermediate, 20% advanced, 20% expert

6-day lift pass – From $450 CAD

 

Ski Resorts in Eastern Canada

 

Mont Tremblant Village

Tremblant, QC

You might only know the Rockies for skiing in Canada, but there are plenty of other options too. Whistler is actually in the Coast Mountains rather than the Rockies, and there are even mountains on the east coast. Tremblant sits in Quebec’s Laurentian Mountain Range and is a picture-perfect destination that has the added bonus of being near some good city-hopping.

The resort is especially good for beginners with a 2-acre beginner area progressing to some long, easy green runs. Although it’s quite a small ski area, there are four distinct slopes to explore and some great terrain for snowboarders. The 30-acre Adrenaline Park sits on the South Side of Tremblant and features a half-pipe. There is also a ski school offering freestyle classes.

One of the best things about Tremblant is the village. This purpose-built pedestrian village has a fun, friendly, family feel. There are plenty of options for accommodation, dining and après. It’s also just 90 minutes from downtown Montreal. For non-skiers, there also the world-class Scandinave Spa to chill out at, offering outdoor hot tubs, waterfalls and steam rooms.

Top Tips

Best for: Families, beginners and those who love the village feel.

Getting here: The resort is just a 90-minute drive from Montreal airport

Places to stay: The village is full of options, from hotels to condos. Our favourite is the Fairmont Tremblant, which offers luxurious and elegant accommodation.

Fast facts

Ski area – 665 acres

Elevation – 230m to 875m

Pistes – 21% beginner, 32% intermediate, 47% advanced

6-day lift pass – From $450 CAD

 

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