Canada is home to majestic snow-capped mountains, extensive tundra and epic glacier landscapes that have more than earned the country the nickname « the great white north ». With white snow stretching to the horizon, this winter wonderland is a must for skiers, snowboarders and other winter sports enthusiasts. In such landscapes and areas, it will be easy to find Canadian ski resorts. If you are planning to go skiing in Canada, we have listed below some of the best ski areas for you to visit. Note, however, that they are not arranged in any particular order, as choosing the best (the term is subjective and influenced by the personal opinion of the individual) is a real challenge.
The best ski areas in Canada at a glance:
1. Whistler Blackcomb
Whistler Blackcomb is considered by many to be Canada’s leading ski area and is North America’s largest and most diverse ski area offering visitors a world-class skiing experience. Whistler Blackcomb is located in the beautiful Coast Mountains of British Columbia and is two hours from Vancouver. It offers epic terrains that can be reached from Whistler Village, Whistler Creekside and the Upper Village.
The combined areas of Whistler and Blackcomb make it the largest ski area in North America with over 8,000 hectares of varied ski area suitable for all levels of skiers, from beginners with their beginner skis to experienced professionals and everyone in between. With several green groomers and blue cruisers, alpine bowls and glades, and steep slopes and slides, it can be quite difficult to resist the temptations of these two peaks.
Reasons why we love Whistler Blackcomb
– With the peak-to-peak gondola, you can hop between Whistler and Blackcomb in minutes.
– A variety of terrain that suits skiers of all levels.
– Many off-piste activities, including fine dining and shopping at Whistler Village.
2. Lake Louise
As the largest of the tri-area ski areas in Banff National Park, Lake Louise offers something for everyone. From breathtaking glacier landscapes (so don’t forget to bring your ski cameras with you) for those who ski to relax to steep and deep terrain for those who want to challenge their skiing skills, Lake Louise has it all.
Lake Louise boasts of extensive grounds that span the slopes of Mt. Whitehorn and Saddleback, with the front south facing directly above the base area and the larch area to the southeast. The juniper jungle near the base area also has a large selection of boxes, rails, jumps, spikes and others. The forested slopes have over 100 runs and over 100 hectares of unkempt terrain.
Reasons we love Lake Louise
– Offers one of the longest ski seasons (usually November to May) among all ski areas
– A special zone for beginners
– A licensed daycare centre where you can leave your children (18 months to 6 years old) while you enjoy the slopes.
The phenomenal snowfall in Revelstoke makes this a haven for advanced and experienced skiers. With its long vertical line (the longest in North America to date) and the deep powder days, it’s no wonder that skiers flock here from almost every part of the world. However, the number of visitors to this ski area is still much lower than that of the other more popular ski centres. So if you are trying to avoid the crowds, this is the place for you.
Revelstoke offers various terrains, from open bowls to tree runs, with most of them aimed at advanced skiers. There are some well-groomed slopes on which beginners can set up their ski poles and get started, but they only make up a small part of the entire ski area. Nevertheless, beginners are still encouraged to visit the ski area, since the beginner slopes, although few, are worth the drive.
Reasons why we love Revelstoke
– Excellent facilities for skiing in and out
– Great and picturesque mountain landscapes all around
– Affordable accommodations
4. Sun peaks
This is one of the less known ski areas in Canada, but it is also the second largest ski area in the country after Whistler Blackcomb. With its terrain spread over three mountains, Sun Peaks has something to offer for everyone.
While Revelstoke is geared towards strong intermediate and professional skiers, Sun Peaks is much more forgiving and its terrain is primarily intended for beginners and those just getting into intermediate. In this ski area, you will find all types of slopes, from groomed cruisers to pleasant tree runs. Advanced skiers can still have fun in the ski area because there are also some steep slopes, powder bowls and even off-piste runs. Since the ski area is mainly geared towards beginners and advanced skiers, this is a great place for children to immerse themselves in the world of skiing. Sun Peaks also has some of the fluffiest snowfields in all of Canada,
Reasons why we love Sun Peaks
– Excellent powder snow for skiing and other winter activities
– Great experience in Nordic skiing with lots of sun, dry snow and constant temperatures
– Charming, European-looking village with many shops, cafes and restaurants to visit.
5. Kicking horse
The Kicking Horse Mountain Resort is located outside of Golden, British Columbia, and is three hours from Calgary. You will drive to many well-known ski resorts along the way, but there are a variety of reasons why skiers of all levels go the extra mile and drive a bit further to get to this resort.
Kicking Horse has more than 4,000 feet of elevation change and offers incredible terrain. It is home to the fourth highest vertical descent in North America, and the ability to ski there makes the long trip worth it. There are huge bowls divided by ridges with a variety of tree runs that are highly appreciated by intermediate and advanced skiers. There are also steep slopes and hikes to the powder slopes, and the bowls flow into a gentler terrain with beginner-friendly slopes. Being a remote ski area also means you can experience the true and genuine charm of an authentic Canadian city.
Reasons why we love Kicking Horse
– Not as crowded as other ski resorts
– Accommodation close to the slopes
– Experts and extreme terrain for advanced skiers looking for an adrenaline rush
6. The Tremblant mountain
Mont Tremblant is one of those ski areas that offer excellent skiing and enchanting landscapes. Located an hour and a half from Montreal, it is one of the most accessible and convenient ski areas in the country.
Mont Tremblant is by far one of the best ski areas in Canada and offers all visitors a fantastic skiing experience. Its more than 500 hectares of ski areas, spread over four mountain slopes, offer something for skiers of all levels, including an exhilarating elevation gain of 2,000 feet. There is also the Tremblant Snow School, which offers personal service to small groups, which also has the advantage of giving you preferential access to the lifts.
After taking off their all mountain skis and ski boots, visitors can treat themselves to a relaxing and family-friendly experience at the base in the picturesque European-style village. The village is full of colorful shops, luxurious accommodations, fine restaurants and much more. The city is reminiscent of communities in the Alps where visitors feel like they are on the other side of the world.
Reasons why we love Mont Tremblant
– Family-friendly ski area
– A wide range of accommodation suitable for every budget.
– The nearby microbrewery serves excellent beer and good
7. Red Mountain
Red Mountain is one of several remote ski areas and takes a little more time to get there. But the best thing about such travel destinations is that only a handful of people ever take the time to visit them. So if you want to share the mountain with just a handful of people at a time, then you should be beheaded in Red Mountain.
The Rote Berg is best known for its challenging terrain and ski slopes. That’s why you’ll find advanced skiers in particular in Red Mountain. With steep slopes and cliffs guaranteed to increase your heart rate, it’s no wonder Red Mountain has produced more members of the Canadian ski team than any other place in the country. However, there are also a number of ski slopes for beginners and advanced skiers, especially after the expansion of the ski areas. The legendary tree runs and over 4,000 hectares of powder snow, which are spread over two mountains, have something to offer skiers of different skill levels. That and the charm of the old mining town of Rossland with its old building from the 18th century is more than enough reason to put this ski area on your ski slopes.
Reasons why we love Red Mountain
– The friendly and relaxed atmosphere
– Amazing tree line traces
– Beautiful snow hosts who can take it
8. Fernie Alpine
Fernie Alpine is located in the interior of British Columbia, causing snowstorms to lose their moisture in the far west and leaving the ski area with only light and dry powder. That and the challenging terrain are some of the reasons why skiers like to go here.
Fernie Alpine has some of the most epic bowls and deep, steep descents that are sure to test your skiing skills. If you are looking for something more demanding, you can bring your cross-country skis and explore the unkempt clearings and channels in the area. However, this does not mean that beginners and children should stay away from this ski area because there are some slopes that are suitable for their ability.
Reasons why we love Fernie Alpine
– Various winter activities like snowmobiling, snowshoeing, sleigh rides and more
– Cat skiing available
– Affordable accommodations near the resort
9. The mountain of Norquay
Mt. Norquay is considered by many to be the birthplace of skiing in the Canadian Rockies, but it’s not as popular as many of the ski resorts mentioned in this list. Nonetheless, it offers some of the best experiences for those who want to go skiing in Canada and is worth adding to this list. The city of Banff is one of the most accessible ski areas in the country and is located in the immediate vicinity of the city of Banff. With affordable lift tickets and a ski school, this is the perfect starting point for those who are just starting to ski.
An underestimated gem, Mt. Norquay has over 50 slopes that are more suitable for beginners and advanced skiers. However, there are also some steep slopes in the wall of the mountain that are suitable for those who want to climb to the next level. There are steep double blacks with unforgiving mogul slopes that will burn your legs safely after a day of skiing. Some consider this a great warm-up before heading to the more challenging ski areas like Revelstoke and others.
Mt. Norquay is not as big and sprawling as other Canadian ski resorts, but the little it has to offer is more than enough to leave a smile on every skier’s face. Combine that with postcard-worthy landscapes and views and you have the perfect skiing holiday.
Reasons for We Love Mt. Norquay
– Generally not crowded even on weekends
– Affordable lift tickets and ski courses
– A short drive from the Banff community
Another underestimated gem of a ski area in Panorama, mainly because of its smaller size compared to the neighbouring ski areas. Despite its size, it has a lot of terrain and verticals to offer the adventurous skier.
Panorama has an area of more than 3,000 hectares that extends below the tree line, making it the perfect destination for those who want to enjoy the glazed areas. Most of the terrain and slopes are suitable for advanced skiers, although there are wide slopes and terrain parks where beginners can practice with their skis.
Reasons why we love the panorama
– Family friendly with lots of free and paid activities for kids
– Generally not crowded, i.e. shorter lines at the lift and more spacious ski areas
– The mountain offers a lot of highly developed terrains for those who want to expand their skills on the mountain.
There are certainly many other ski resorts in Canada that are worth a visit, but the above are certainly among the best that deserve a place on your list of slopes. So grab your gear, reserve, and prepare for an epic adventure while skiing in Canada. Whether you’re looking for well-groomed slopes for a weekend getaway or a backcountry slope for a more demanding experience, you’ll find them all in the Great White North.