Ski Resorts in and Around Calgary, Canada

Lake Louise Ski Resort is Banff’s largest ski resort
Lake Louise Ski Resort is Banff’s largest ski resort | © Blaine Harrington III / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Georgie Young
6 July 2020

Although they live in one of the most liveable cities in North America, the people of Calgary grab their skis and head for the hills when winter arrives. Sitting on the cusp of prairies and peaks, this gateway to the Rockies is blessed with an abundance of world-class skiing facilities on its snowy doorstep. From upscale après-ski to wild mountainous terrain, Culture Trip’s local insiders share their tips on where to find the best ski resorts in and around Calgary.

WinSport

Sports Center
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Sliding tracks in the Ice House, a training facility at Canada Olympic Park for sliding sport athletes to practice push-starts.
© Rosanne Tackaberry / Alamy Stock Photo

One of the highlights of the 1988 Winter Olympics was the first-ever appearance of the Jamaican bobsled team. This now-legendary run took place at WinSport, which sits just off the highway in Calgary proper. Here, you can try bobsledding for yourself by hurtling down the luge at 62mph (100kph) – while attached to an expert, of course. Skiing aficionados can also make use of the Olympic-size halfpipe, huge jumps and mogul run, but beginners aren’t forgotten, either, with smaller slopes, lessons and a high-adrenaline tube park. Recommended by local insider Patrick Twomey

Canmore Nordic Centre Provincial Park

Park
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To get to this cross-country ski station, you’ll need to drive an hour or so outside Calgary to the mountainous town of Canmore. The center offers stunning views over surrounding Bow Valley and the Rockies from the meadow sitting at the heart of its trails. You also don’t need to worry about the ski season starting late. The center’s artificial snow machine whirls to life from the start of October, meaning that the respectable 40mi (65km) of hell-for-leather terrain is open for cross-country skiers and biathlon fans for the entire season. Recommended by local insider Patrick Twomey

Nakiska, Calgary’s Closest Mountain

Ski Resort
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Sign at the entrance to the base station of Nakiska Ski Resort during winter on the slopes of Mount Allan (2789 metres/9150 feet
© Rolf Hicker Photography / Alamy Stock Photo
You can’t forget that this resort was developed for the 1988 Winter Olympics, as the Olympic torch is still burning at the entrance. Make your way to the top of the Olympic-size ski slopes – there are 16mi (25km) of runs to choose from – and admire the views of the Rockies before setting off downhill. Take the Gold Road to zigzag your way through pine trees and powdery snow before arriving at the Mid-Mountain Lodge for a well-deserved beer and a look at the mountain from its wooden balcony. Recommended by local insider Patrick Twomey

Mount Norquay

Resort
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Not many ski resorts can say that they’ve hoisted Marilyn Monroe up its slopes, but Mount Norquay is the exception. Located in Banff National Park, it opened in 1926 and was the snowy park’s first-ever ski resort. Although it’s the smallest resort in the area, it’s where you’ll want to visit if you’ve got a quick ski session in mind, as it offers half-day, last two hours and last hour lift tickets. Also on offer is snowshoeing, night skiing and the monthly Cool2Carpool Days, which allows you to split the cost of a lift ticket with everyone in your car, with two Canadian dollars ($1.47) going to charity. Recommended by local insider Patrick Twomey

Banff Sunshine

Resort
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Skiers walk along the edge of Delirium Dive, Sunshine Village Ski Resort, Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada.
© Dan Leeth / Alamy Stock Photo

Is there anything better than opening your hotel room door and immediately skiing down a mountain? At Banff Sunshine – with the area’s only ski-in, ski-out hotel – doorstep skiing is not only possible, but practically the only way to get around. The resort sits a breezy 7,200ft (2,195m) above sea level, which, as well as blessing it with gold-standard natural snow, has the bonus of offering excellent views over Banff National Park. Plus, once the lifts stop running, the après-ski at Mad Trapper’s Smokehouse is unbeatable. Recommended by local insider Patrick Twomey

Lake Louise Ski Resort

Resort
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The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise
© Mick House / Alamy Stock Photo

A wall of mountains that are swallowed by spiny pine trees in the same breath, 4,000 acres (1,619ha) of dry, powdery snow and 145 runs slicing across four different mountain faces – this is Lake Louise, Banff’s largest and most famous ski resort. As well as being the only stop in Canada for the FIS Alpine Ski World Cup, there’s also every kind of ski activity imaginable offered here, from basic chutes to advanced terrain training. Done for the day? Take one last trip up the mountain in the sightseeing gondola to get incredible vistas of the icy-blue depths of Lake Louise itself. Recommended by local insider Patrick Twomey

Banff Gate Mountain Resort

Resort
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Unlike most other ski resorts in the area, Banff Gate is open year-round. Winter calls for, of course, skiing, but when the snow has melted, you can still enjoy Banff’s springtime scenery via whitewater rafting or mountain biking. After spending a day tramping through the forests and flower meadows, it’s back to the resort at the foot of Pigeon Mountain to relax in the hot tub outside your cozy wooden chalet. Recommended by Yamila

KPOW! Cat Skiing at Fortress Mountain

Resort
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Cat skiing at Fortress Mountain near Canmore, Alberta.
© Cavan / Alamy Stock Photo

The joy of cat skiing is the ability to go off-piste and ski across snow that nobody else has touched. On a KPOW cat-skiing tour, you’ll be loaded into “the cat” at Fortress Mountain, which is about 90 minutes west of Calgary. The team will then take you up the mountain until you’re let loose on the trails. It’s fast, fun and only slightly dangerous – perfect for adrenaline junkies and advanced skiers. Recommended by Yamila

These recommendations were updated on July 6, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.