A Beginner's Guide to Canada's Ski Resorts

Winter in Banff
Winter in Banff | © Grant C / Flickr

There are hundreds of ski resorts in Canada, so it can be difficult deciding which mountain best suits your needs. From British Columbia to Quebec, here are the best resorts for families, beginners and for people searching for that quintessential ski village life. Follow this beginner’s guide, and you’ll be skiing in Canada in no time.

Best family-friendly ski resorts

Big White is one of Canada’s best ski resorts and a winner for families. The British Columbia resort has a mountainside village that’s great for ski in, ski out convenience. Plus there’s a grocery store, a lot of restaurants and night-and-day daycare options. Big White has 188 trails, a great tube park and is known for its night skiing. Mont-Tremblant in Quebec is excellent for families, as there are many more activities that everyone can enjoy, outside of skiing and snowboarding.

Snowy Mont Tremblant Village

Best all-rounder ski resorts

In Quebec, an excellent all-rounder resort is Le Massif, just an hour east of Quebec City. Forty-five percent of Le Massif’s runs are for beginner and intermediate skiers, which is why this is a great resort for everyone. Sun Peaks Resort is the second largest ski area in Canada, complete with a run, a snowshoe trail and a tube park to suit all. The British Columbia resort is located north of Kamloops, and its village has excellent ski in, ski out convenience.

Le Massif Views

Best villages and ski towns

Whistler is a popular option for ski holidays, and rightly so. Its side-by-side mountains are accessed directly from the village, and when combined, they make British Columbia’s biggest ski resort. It’s also known for its excellent après-ski spots. Banff is home to three ski resorts, so you can easily base yourself in the beautiful ski village and explore all three options. Finally, Fernie in British Columbia has been named the Coolest Town in North America by Rolling Stone, so stay in the ski town at night and check out world-renowned Fernie Alpine Resort by day.

Banff’s Main Street

Three extra tips to consider

Purchase insurance

If travelling internationally to one of Canada’s ski resorts, it’s very wise to look into purchasing skiing and snowboarding insurance. Accidents happen a lot on the slopes, and it’s best to be over-prepared in these kinds of situations.

Buy lift tickets online

For most ski resorts, it’s much cheaper to purchase lift tickets online. At Sunshine Village in Banff, people can save up to 34 percent buying their lift tickets online prior to their first day on the slopes.

On the lift at Big White

Purchase or rent snow gear

The final step is deciding between buying or renting equipment and clothing. There are rental places at every ski resort if you choose the latter option. As for clothing, wearing a waterproof jacket and pants is always recommended. Find a pair of pants with zips on the side so that they can go over and keep moisture out of the boots. Underneath the waterproof jacket, ensure your first layer is made from moisture-wicking material, such as polyester. Other items to put on your shopping list include wool socks, gloves or mittens, goggles and either a helmet or beanie.

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