Where To Ski in Canada
Winter is deeper in Canada. There are Canadians there. This means mighty friendly company and great hospitality, as well as a new culture to explore whilst also getting in some of the world’s best skiing or riding.
The terrain is vast, the landscape so much bigger and the views are to boot.
So if you don’t need more convincing, check out our run down of where, why and how to ski in some of the world’s best ski resorts. In Canada.
Banff – Ski Big 3 – Alberta
Lake Louise – Sunshine Village – Mt Norquay
Fly to: Calgary
Transfer time: 1.5 hrs
How long to stay: 10 days
Known for: Snow, atmosphere, scenery
Banff lies in the heart of the Canadian Rocky Mountains and offers world-class skiing. The ski towns of Banff and Lake Louise are home to the ski resorts of Mount Norquay, Lake Louise ski resort and Sunshine Village – the ‘Ski Big 3’.
It’s known for excellent snow records, wide, varied terrain and UNESCO status.
Between them there’s 8000 acres of skiing with an average of 9 metres of snowfall annually.
Dry, light, Canadian Rockies powder snow…
Dog sledding, ice skating, tubing, natural hot springs – there’s plenty else on the Banff agenda too aside from skiing and snowboarding.
Each ski area has a unique character, but the three are available on one lift pass (which includes transport between the three).
If you head to Banff for a winter holiday, we recommend you take some extra days to head up to take in two nearby resorts.
Check out Kicking Horse as well as Jasper (both featured below) and don’t miss driving up the Icefield Parkway to Jasper- voted time and again one of the world’s best drives.
Whistler – British Columbia
Fly to: Vancouver
Transfer time: 2 hrs
How long to stay: 7 days +
Known for: Huge terrain on 2 mountains, apres ski
In the Coast Mountains of British Columbia, Whistler is located 75 miles north of Vancouver.
The drive up to the resort from Vancouver is stunning, and the luxury doesn’t end once you arrive.
Whistler is Canada’s most popular ski destination, is regularly voted #1 in North America, and really has something for everyone.
It has an attractive and bustling base village, with every kind of shop, cool cafe, bar and restaurant you could imagine.
There’s fantastic skiing for all standards, an efficient and modern lift system isfficient, good accommodation to suit all pockets and wild après ski.
Whistler hosted 2010 Winter Olympic events and still now boasts excellent facilities.
While we’re near Vancouver…
Vancouver has three local ski mountains – Cypress Mountain, Grouse Mountain, Mt Seymour.
Grouse Mountain is just 15 minutes from downtown Vancouver.
It’s popular with both locals and visitors, and keeps half the mountain open for night skiing so it’s a post-work activity for many.
Mt Seymour is 30 mins from town and known for being the place to learn ski ski or ride, as well as for its terrain parks.
Cypress Mountain was the freestyle ski and snowboard venueduring the 2010 Olympic Winter Games.
Cypress is a 30-minute drive from downtown Vancouverand the biggest of three Vancouver Shore Mountains resorts with 52 downhill runs.
Mont Tremblant – Quebec
Fly to: Mont-Tremblant International Airport
Transfer time: 90 mins
How long to stay: 7 days +
Known for: Biggest halfpipe in Canada, snowboarding, Quebec culture
From the UK, Tremblant is one of the most easily accessed resorts for skiing and snowboarding in North America.
The blend of Québécois and American architecture makes it a charming, purpose-built village that’s traffic free.
Tremblant is consistently voted best resort in Eastern North America.
Freeriders heading this way have plenty to explore with trees and powder in the Emotion area.
There’s a snowboard park with music pumping into the night with the biggest halfpipe in Canada.
Tremblant has its own dedicated beginners area on the South Side of the mountain, with the 6-kilometre Nansen trail from the top of the mountain the perfect way to get that ´top-of-the-world’ feeling early on in your ski career.
Intermediates have 45% of the mountain designated to their runs and there’s ample advanced terrain on both sides of the mountain.
Another benefit of a ski holiday to Mont Tremblant is the excellent food.
Quebec blends Canadian and French cuisine to come up with some great North American mountain food.
Revelstoke – British Columbia
Fly to: Kelowna International Airport, YLW
Transfer time: 2.5 hrs
How long to stay: 3 days
Known for: Heliskiing, extensive backcountry, expert terrain, deep snow
Revvie is a new resort; It opened during the 2007-08 ski season.
Located in the heart of the Monashee and Columbia Mountains it is surrounded by National Parks, lakes, rivers, glaciers and trees.
At the bottom of the ski hill is Sutton Place Hotel, a purpose-built accommodation where many stay, which is ski-in ski-out a la European style.
It gets deep, deep snow.
We’re talking up to 14 metres during the season.
Extensive, Canadian backcountry skiing with multiple lines off just a few lifts makes it a favourite among advanced skiers – that and the heliskiin. Revelstoke’s downtown is a short drive from the skiing – a little like Wyoming’s Jackson Hole – a comparison used a lot for Revelstoke.
The town is vibrant, healthy, clean, hospitable and forward thinking.
There are many festivals held for sport, music, theatre and arts, heritage celebrations, farmers markets, plus seasonal nightly entertainment at Grizzly Plaza.
So big mountains, abundant snow, and a very cool downtown.
Need to know much more?
Fly to: Canadian Rockies International Airport
Transfer time: 70 mins
How long to stay: 5 days
Known for: Beautiful mountain town, Cat skiing, reliable snow
Fernie is an idyllic small mountain town.
It’s not about glitz and glam – rather the opposite.
It’s become a hub of skiers and riders sick of the bigger, busier, more corporate resorts of the Rockies.
It has developed from a coal mining community and the historical town retains is charm.
Fernie has an especially laid-back atmosphere.
It attracts both the young and old crowds come to ski on its awesome terrain.
It’s known for its down-to-earth, humble locals (friendlier than usual even for Canada) and has notoriously deep snow.
Fernie – All about a love for skiing and snowboarding.
Marmot Basin – Jasper – British Columbia Fly to: Edmonton, Alberta
Transfer time: 3 to 4 hr drive – Snowtrain
How long to stay: 3 days
Known for: Beautiful mountain town, Iron Horse Heritage, uncrowded, views
Jasper is the town – Marmot Basin the ski resort. Marmot Basin has skiing for all abilities.
It’s a fabulous old, authentic Canadian town, like a smaller, more chilled version of Banff and much less touristy.
Not an extensively huge ski area, but it’s a powder zone and receives around 9m of it annually.
The snow is dry, light and fluffy, and, due to the lack of crowds and the quality of the snow, it stays in great condition for weeks after a fall. Moose, deer and the sheep are often seen around town and in Spring you’re likely to spot a bear. The De’d Dog saloon is a must-visit for a taste of local life.
Top tip – if you take a ride on the resort’s Knob Chairlift, you’re known as a knob muncher.
You can take a snow train from Edmonton to Jasper, if you’re heading straight for Marmot’s skiing.
We mentioned above to visit Jasper from Banff.
We’ve got to remind you of the Icefield Parkway between Jasper and Banff, rated the 2nd best drive to do for views in the world.
Split destination trips are becoming increasing popular – fly into Edmonton for Jasper and fly out of Calgary via skiing around Banff.
Kicking Horse – British Columbia
Fly to: Calgary International Airport (YYC)
Transfer time: 2.5 hr drive – 90 min drive – Lake Louise
How long to stay: 3 days
Known for: Total backcountry resort, big vertical drop, raw rugged beauty
Kicking Horse is a ski-in ski-out base village with a few hotels, condos, a pizza joint and bar.
That said, it’s a lively little place and people are talking about and planning their next-day ski or snowboarding adventure rahter than drinking into the night.
It’s certainly a ski base village, and without the skiing there wouldn’t be anyone around.
Kicking Horse for skiing?
It’s a steep, deep, powder-filled little gem.
The four main bowls are a powder hounds dream.
There’s an endless selection of expert black runs that filter down to wide open green and blues below the bowls.
+ a vertical drop of 1,315 metres.
It’s a resort formerly only accessed by helicopter.
Take a guide and take on the resort’s backcountry…
The resort now has five ski lifts, a very recent upgrade from the rickety 2-man that was transport.
Don’t let the handful of lifts sway you on the skiing – you’ll never ski the same line twice…
Spectacular views of the Rocky, Selkirk and Purcell mountain ranges are waiting at the gondola summit.
Fly to: Kelowna International Airport
Transfer time: 1 hr shuttle bus
How long to stay: 7 days
Known for: Family skiing, ‘Champagne’ powder, immaculately groomed pistes
It’s a favourite among families, with good beginner and
intermediate terrain, very well reputed ski schools, and numerous
long, easy runs to practise new-found skills.
Big White also has the TELUS terrain-park with a 500ft long super-pipe, rails, jumps and boarder-cross course.
There’s also some challenging black-diamond runs in the Cliff area of the mountain.
It’s a short shuttle from airport to resort and there are many other activities on offer to keep families entertained.
RED Mountain – British Columbia
Fly to: Spokane airport, USA
Transfer time: 2.5 hr drive
How long to stay: 3 days
Known for: Total backcountry, natural terrain, hippy Rossland town, unspoilt landscape
It’s pristine, natural terrain – 4,000 acres of it.
A backcountry skier and rider’s heaven.
RED Mtn is being talked about a lot at the moment.
And for good reason.
I’ve been, I’ve skied and see’d it and can report back it’s the best ski area I’ve ever been to…
Located on the ‘powder Highway’ in BC it unsurprisingly gets mega snow.
There’s no fighting for lines, it’s steep terrain with excellent tree skiing and 900m of vertical.
The expansion 5-or-so-years ago has increased the skiing massively, and the terrain is complemented by a 360 degree fall line.
Even better, there’s $10-a-run in-bounds cat-skiing – so it’s safe ‘off piste’ skiing but deep and very likely untracked.
Guiding is free in RED, and something you’ll want to take advantage of with the most incredible terrain to explore.
You won’t find a fraction of the stuff without it.
There are five lifts at RED serving an immense amount of sking or riding.
The nearby town of Rossland is just as cool as the skiing is and offer a real small-town ski experience.
It’s affordable lodging and lift tickets, and should be on any advanced skiers bucket list.
A sum up: Total backcountry – 2 chairlifts, cheap cat skiing, free guiding (’cause you kinda need it), incredible tree skiing, steep & deep.
Sun Peaks – British Columbia Fly to: Kamloops, BC
Transfer time: 45 mins drive
How long to stay: 7 days
Known for: Family resort, intermediate terrain
Sun Peaks screams family resort;
It’s a ski-in, ski-out compact resort.
The village is traffic free.
The skiing is full of wide-open blues.
But it does have a darker side with Mount Tod offering some dramatically steep terrain for advanced skiers.
The Sundance Kids Centre offers childminding during the day and themed Activity Nights every night of the week.
Children can take part in their very own version of après ski while parents enjoy fondue at mid-mountain and a ski down under the stars.
It’s Canada’s second largest resort, mainly due to the huge in-bounds (made-safe) off piste area.
It’s a perfect place to take a family as an intro to the Rockies.
Perfect also to spent a few days in Vancouver on one or both sides.
First timers skiing in Canada might be shocked at the cost of it all – namely the lift ticket price.
One way to do it is by buying a North America collective ski pass.
The Ikon Pass and the Epic Pass are the two rivals.
What one of these passes is: a season ski pass with access to a selection of ski resorts – more often than not for a cheaper price than a week’s ski pass. For example, the IKON Pass gives you access to the Ski Big 3 Banff resorts, Revelstoke, Tremblant and Blue Mountain in Ontario, Canada (as well a host of others through the USA).