A Budget Traveller's Guide to Skiing in Western Canada

Sunshine Village | © David G Steadman / Flickr
Sunshine Village | © David G Steadman / Flickr
Photo of Hayley Simpson
Writer30 January 2017

There are numerous ski resorts in British Columbia and Alberta. Although a lot of them look luxurious in photos, a ski holiday in Western Canada doesn’t have to be expensive. Here are some tips for budget travellers, to help you get the most out of skiing in Canada, while spending less.

Ski Holiday Packages

There are some websites that specialise in ski vacations. Ski Canada and Skican are just two companies that can offer you packaged deals. Ski Canada has good specials for groups and does Ski Safari RV Tours, which includes hiring an RV and visiting more than one ski resort. Skican hosts group ski tours around British Columbia too. Break down the costs and see if a ski holiday package works out cheaper for you.

Some ski resorts also offer packages that include accommodation and lift passes to save you money. Visit the Whistler or SkiBig3 websites for such deals.

Skiing in Whistler, British Columbia | Public Domain/Pixabay

Don’t Stay on the Mountain

Unless a good deal is found, it will probably be more cost-effective to stay off the mountain and not in the village. Most ski resorts that are near towns offer shuttle services up the mountain daily as well. In BC, Fernie is known for being an excellent ski town, with Rolling Stone naming it the Coolest Town in North America. It’s ski resort, one of the biggest in Canada, is very close by. Head to Revelstoke to ski the biggest vertical drop in North America, and save money by staying in one of the town’s many hostels.

In Alberta, Banff is also home to quite a few hostels and it has three ski resorts within easy reach. Canmore is another town in the Canadian Rockies that is very close to Banff, but a lot less crowded and cheaper. You can easily drive to Banff’s ski mountains or head to nearby Nakiska Ski Resort.

Downtown Revelstoke in British Columbia | © Robert Tadlock / Flickr

Buy Lift Passes Online

To save money, buy lift passes online prior to your first day on the mountain. Most ski resorts advertise that buying in advance online means extra discounts, so check out their individual websites. Another website to look at for excellent lift pass deals is Liftopia.

Visit Out of Season

One of the best budget travel tips is to always travel out of season. For Western Canada ski resorts, this usually means visiting before Christmas and around spring. Visitors will find good deals and packages for skiing at the end of the season. Sunshine Village in Banff has the longest season out of all of the resorts, from November to May.

Ski in Spring at Sunshine Village | © David G Steadman / Flickr

Rent Equipment

Unless you’re an avid skier or snowboarder that hits the slopes every season, it may be cheaper to rent your equipment and clothing at the ski resort you select. Most rental services offer deals depending on how long you want to rent for. Check out Amazon for inexpensive snow gear too, such as moisture-wicking thermal tops (imperative), goggles and waterproof pants.

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