From British Columbia to Quebec, there’s an abundance of Canadian ski resorts to suit everyone, regardless of your skill level. While many are better suited for families, the steep vertical drops you’ll find in others are strictly for advanced skiers only. Read on for our roundup of the best the Great White North has to offer.
An hour and a half from Montreal, Mont Tremblant Resort is one of Canada’s most accessible ski destinations, with trails expertly created for all levels. With abundant snowfall, 22 beginner, 31 difficult and 49 very difficult and extreme runs, it’s the perfect all-rounder resort in Quebec. Families can enrol at ski school and for those who don’t ski, there are plenty of other winter activities to enjoy. The pedestrian village at the base of the mountain has excellent après-ski spots, in addition to shopping and lodging facilities.
Resembling a 19th-century mining village, SilverStar Mountain Resort is bursting with charm. Its streets are lined with everything from brightly painted Victorian-era-style buildings and faux gas lights to wooden sidewalks. Over 80 percent of the accommodation here offers ski-in, ski-out convenience, with beginner slopes located right next to the village. SilverStar also has great intermediate runs and top-class advanced slopes to progress to. And the ski school has a great reputation, making it a prime resort for families.
Located in the southeast of British Columbia (BC), Panorama is a great Canadian ski resort for families thanks to its excellent facilities. From the upper village, you can step out straight onto the slopes, enjoy its skating rink with a magnificent view of the surrounding mountains, or relax in Canada’s largest slopeside hot pools. Panorama has terrain to suit all levels, and RK Heliski specializes in catering to first-time skiers, as well as providing fat skis and powder snowboards for a heliskiing experience you’re unlikely to forget.
Even without its excellent ski facilities, Mount Norquay has a range of fun activities that the family can enjoy, including tubing – which you can also do at night – and snowshoeing on one of five trails. Little ones that are age 4-5 can enrol on two-hour ski programs such as Wee Warrior. Mount Norquay, an hour and a half from Calgary, is the closest resort to Banff and Canmore, so it’s a great spot to incorporate into your Rockies itinerary. Free ski buses are available daily from Banff.
Le Massif, about one hour east of Quebec City in the Charlevoix region, is a record-breaking mountain resort known for its views of the St Lawrence River and range of trails. It’s the highest point – which equals the greatest vertical drop 2,526ft (770m) – east of the Canadian Rockies and has the highest annual snowfall in eastern Canada, with an average of 250in (645cm). Beginner and intermediate runs make up about 45 percent of the slopes, so there’s plenty to try for those just starting out.
Known as Ontario’s playground, Blue Mountain is the third-busiest ski resort in Canada and the only year-round mountain resort and spa in the province. In addition to 40 ski and snowboarding trails, the resort also has 34 snow-tubing lanes, as well as glades, night skiing, terrain parks and the best beginner runs in Ontario. Its village offers excellent lodging options, several dining choices, golf courses, spas and retail stores. Blue Mountain is located in Collingwood in Southwest Ontario.
With the tagline, “legendary powder,” Ferni might not seem like it caters to everyone, but with 140 runs, 2,500 acres (1,000ha) of terrain, and one-third of its slopes rated as easy, it really does. Fernie is known for its abundant snowfall (about 344in/875cm annually) and diverse terrain. Many of its slopes are ungroomed, and some are extremely steep, so it’s also a great choice for experts. If you’re an advanced-level skier and want a challenge, book a shared mountain guide session through the ski school and ask for an ungroomed terrain group.
The best selling point of Big White Ski resort is the fact that virtually all accommodations have ski-in, ski-out access. Located in the picturesque Okanagan Valley, overlooking the Monashee Mountains, it’s home to wide, expansive terrain suited to all skill levels. Here, you’ll find 65mi (105km) of marked runs ranging from beginner slopes to single- and double-black diamond. It’s also a popular choice for its light, dry powder, short lift lines and modern facilities, as well as being an excellent family destination. Activities for non-skiers include snowshoeing, tubing and skating.
Around 30 minutes from Quebec City, Mont-Sainte-Anne is a great resort for all levels. Home to three snow parks and 56 trails, nearly half of the runs are designated for intermediate skiers and snowboarders. When it gets dark, several slopes are lit up from the summit down to the valley for night skiing. There are also options to try cross-country skiing and other winter activities. Mont-Sainte-Anne’s seven lifts transport guests to the resort, providing impressive views of the Saint Lawrence River and the Île-d’Orléans. The village has various accommodation options, restaurants and shops.
If you’re hoping to ski in the Rockies without crowds, Nakiska, built for the 1988 Winter Olympics, is a good choice. Its terrain was created to suit families, with 59 percent of runs classified as intermediate, 24 percent as advanced and 17 percent for beginners. Take your pick from 15.5mi (25km) of slopes – many of which are perfectly groomed. You’ll also find a large snow park here, where you can try out a range of other winter sports. Nakiska, in the Kananaskis Mountain Range, south of Canmore, is only an hour from Calgary.
This resort near Kamloops is the second largest in BC and third largest in Canada. Its size means there’s a run for everyone, and it’s known for being an all-rounder resort. Sun Peaks Resort consists of three peaks: Mount Morrisey, Sundance and the largest peak, Mount Tod. It has perfect nursery slopes to practise on before progressing to one of many intermediate runs. Around 80 percent of the accommodation at Sun Peaks is conveniently ski-in, ski-out, and its traffic-free main street makes it pedestrian friendly.
Lake Louise is a must-visit, if only to see the area’s incredible scenery from the 145 runs here. Stretching over 4,200 acres (1,700ha), it’s one of the largest ski resorts in North America, offering runs to suit all levels, but with lots of more advanced terrain. After hitting the slopes, you can ice skate on the frozen Lake Louise, or explore all that Banff National Park has to offer. Nearby Lake Louise Village is also a pretty place to visit with lots of restaurants, bars, shops and hotels.
The largest ski resort in North America at 8,171 acres (3,307ha) of terrain, Whistler Blackcomb caters to skiers of all levels. It hosted the 2010 Winter Olympics alpine skiing events and receives some 2m visitors every year. The two side-by-side mountains also offer 200 runs, 16 alpine bowls and 3 glaciers. When it’s time to relax after a long day, take your pick of the many après-ski spots.
Sunshine, a 15-minute drive from Banff, is known for its long season from November to May – the longest non-glacial ski season in Canada. As well as offering up to 30ft (9m) of snow, the resort also has a great combination of beginner slopes and advanced mountain trails. Sunshine Village is a part of Banff’s SkiBig3, together with Lake Louise and Mount Norquay. Take advantage of the discounted tickets and shuttle services offered here.
Established in 2007, Revelstoke is a new resort, enjoying a heavy 49ft (15m) of snow each year. It also happens to be the most vertical in North America at 5,620ft (1,713m), making it best suited to intermediate and advanced skiers. It’s home to 69 named runs, as well as four high alpine bowls and legendary wooded glades. Revelstoke is also famous for its heliskiing with over 500,000 acres (202,343ha) of terrain. Relax at the foot of the slopes in a restaurant, bar or coffee shop – or take a short stroll into the relaxed town of Revelstoke.