Canadians may not have invented skiing, but they sure have perfected it. There’s much to love about skiing north of the border: fewer crowds, bigger mountains, and plenty of powder. World-class ski areas in Canada are currently open and ready for business—and while Canadians have always welcomed U.S. travelers, you can expect even more of that famous hospitality than ever. Last season was rough on skiers (and ski areas) all over the world, but Canadians, being Canadians, dug deep and used their down time wisely to upgrade the guest experience. Whether you’re heading to a resort or planning on a backcountry adventure, the best ski resorts Canada, from the Pacific Ranges and Rockies to Quebec’s Laurentian Mountains, offer something for everyone.
If abundant snow and scenery aren’t enough, consider the fact that the current exchange rate is very favorable to those holding U.S. dollars, lending a significant advantage for American travelers. You’ll save about 20 percent on everything from skiing to lodging.
Canadian ski areas have dropped the reservation system, but there are still pandemic-related protocols to note. Many resorts require their staff be fully vaccinated and that visitors follow suit. Restaurants also may require proof of vaccination—so don’t forget a copy of your card (both on your phone and a printed copy is advisable). You won’t need reservations, but if you buy lift tickets in advance, you’ll get deep discounts.
Before you go, check with the Government of Canada website for the latest information on travel. If you’re visiting British Columbia (B,C,), the Hello BC site provides timely updates—as does this site for all Canadian destinations. Finally, check the current U.S. regulations for re-entering the country. Right now, you’ll need a negative Covid test and proof of vaccination to cross the border in either direction.
Here are some of the best ski resorts Canada and tips about how you can make the most of the upcoming Canadian ski season.
Best Ski Resorts in Canada to Visit This Season
1. Whistler Blackcomb, British Columbia
This mega-resort is about two hours north of Vancouver, B.C. You get two mountains, Whistler and Blackcomb, for the price of one—with a scenic gondola ride connecting the two. There are more than 200 marked ski runs, 8,171 acres of terrain, 16 alpine bowls, and three glaciers. Whistler gets, on average, more than 38 feet of snow per year. Book a guide and share the cost with up to six friends or schedule a ski/snowboard lesson with the resort’s Olympic program where former Olympic skiers share skills and stoke for the sport. Or sign up for an Extremely Canadian Steep Skiing Clinic to improve your off-piste technique.
2. Sun Peaks Resort, British Columbia
Tucked deep in interior B.C., Sun Peaks Resort will be celebrating its 60th anniversary this winter. It’s Canada’s second-largest ski area, with 4,270 acres of skiable terrain, two alpine bowls, 138 runs, and 13 lifts. New activities here this season include Sun Peaks Backcountry Tours and avalanche training courses—plus public skating at a new Sun Peaks Centre featuring an NHL-sized ice rink.
3. Big White Ski Resort, British Columbia
This family-friendly destination boasts Canada’s largest ski-in/ski-out resort village. With an annual average snowfall of 25 feet, this mountain is covered in dry, Okanagan Champagne Powder. There are 119 designated runs, 16 lifts, and 2,765 acres of skiable terrain. All lift tickets of three days or more include a flex day off—and online lift tickets are 25% off.
4. Silverstar Mountain Resort, British Columbia
Silverstar boasts great powder, a festive mid-mountain ski village with ski-in/ski-out access, and Canada’s first all-inclusive lift ticket. There are four distinct mountain faces with 3,282 skiable acres. The mountain offers 132 runs, 12 lifts, and, on its backside, more 1,900 acres of black and double black diamond runs. Nordic skiers can head to the 60 miles of trails. The nearby Sovereign Lake Nordic Centre has a 2.5-mile lit track for night skiing, lift access to upper trails, and two certified biathlon ranges.
5. Kicking Horse Mountain Resort, British Columbia
Kicking Horse (aka the Champagne Powder Capital of Canada) has some of the best chute skiing in North America. Tucked between the Purcell and Rocky mountain ranges near Golden, B.C., the resort has more than 3,500 acres of skiable terrain, 121 runs, four alpine bowls, 85 chutes, and five lifts. There’s also a tube park and skating rink. From the Eagle’s Eye Restaurant, the highest elevated restaurant experience in Canada, you can see five National Parks! The resort is home to the world’s largest enclosed, protected grizzly bear habitat—but not to worry. Boo, the resort’s resident grizzly, is in hibernation for the winter.
6. Revelstoke Mountain Resort, British Columbia
Revelstoke is located between the Selkirk and Monashee mountain ranges. The area gained fame with its exquisite backcountry heli-skiing, but since the resort opened in 2007, it’s become a playground for on-piste as well. The resort sports the biggest vertical drop (5,620 feet) in North America. You’ll find lodging deals aplenty in Revelstoke—including 35 percent off your room for three nights or more at the Sutton Place Hotel. Thrill seekers won’t want to miss out on tandem paragliding (on skis) for a kick of adrenaline and a spectacular, bird’s eye view.
7. Kimberly Alpine Resort, British Columbia
Tucked into the Selkirk and Canadian Rockies, a visit to Kimberly is worth it for the view alone. The resort has a chill vibe and minimal lift lines. There are 80 runs spread out over 1,800 acres and about 13-feet of light, fluffy, Purcell powder annually. Kimberley offers a huge variety of ski-in/ski-out accommodations, 20 miles of cross-country trails, and one of North America’s longest night ski runs.
8. Fernie Alpine Resort, British Columbia
Serious powder-hounds all know about Fernie’s steep and deep magic. Up to 37 feet of snow blanket this resort each year, making it one of the snowiest ski and snowboard destinations in Canada. There are 2,500 acres of terrain spread across five powder-packed alpine bowls, with 142 marked runs. The Raging Elk International Hostel offers comfortable, secure, and completely private “pod-rooms” at half the price of a hotel room.
9. Panorama Mountain Resort, British Columbia
Just 200 miles west of Calgary along one of the most scenic roads in the world, Panorama has 3,000 acres of terrain that include over 130 runs, 10 lifts, and over 19 feet of annual snowfall. In addition to skiing and snowboarding, adventurers can book private heli-skiing and snowmobiling, glide on 12 miles of groomed Nordic trails, soak in the slope-side hot pools, or try fat-tire biking along the snowy banks of Toby Creek.
10. Red Mountain Resort, British Columbia
Located in Rossland, B.C. and the first stop on Canada’s famous Powder Highway, the fiercely independent RED delivers 3,850 acres of pristine skiing. There’s a new chairlift on Topping Creek that accesses sweet tree skiing, powder stashes, and 1,000 feet of vertical. Add in 25 feet of annual snowfall, $10/run cat-skiing, a boutique hotel, and a modern hostel at the base—plus new mid-mountain cabins—and you have the ultimate ski vacation.
11. Whitewater Ski Resort, British Columbia
Whitewater is a world-class skiing destination. An average 40 feet of snow falls each season, drifting over a terrain that covers 2,367 acres, with 2,044 vertical feet of uncrowded slopes. The mountain features 81 runs and four lifts, as well as five 3.5 miles of groomed multi-use tracks for Nordic skiing, snowshoeing, fat biking, or taking your pup for a beautiful alpine stroll. There’s no cell service or Wi-Fi, so a trip here is a chance to unplug and focus on your turns.
12. Mount Washington Alpine Resort, British Columbia
This is the closest ski resort to Vancouver (you can see the Pacific Ocean from the chairlift) and well worth visiting. Thanks to its island setting, Mount Washington Alpine Resort gets 38 feet of snow per season on average. There are 1,700 acres for downhill skiing, with 81 runs, two terrain parks and five lifts as well as four Magic Carpets and a Tube Park. It’s also home to one of North America’s top-rated Nordic Centers—with 30 miles of machine groomed cross-country trails.
13. Ski Big 3, Banff National Park, Alberta
The Canadian Rockies are world-renowned for magnificent mountains, abundant wildlife, and of course, great skiing. Ski Big 3 is a partnership of three iconic ski resorts in the Park (Lake Louise, Sunshine, and Mount Norquay). All are less than an hour from the town of Banff, so it’s easy to hit all three ski areas during a visit. You can pick your location, depending on weather and snow conditions. Plus, there’s a free shuttle so, in most cases, you can ski without the worry of renting a car.
The single lift ticket gives you access to nearly 10,000 acres of skiable terrain, with plenty of options for beginners and experts alike. At Banff Sunshine, book a few nights at the Sunshine Mountain Lodge, which is only accessed by gondola. Lake Louise Ski Resort has a new chairlift (out of Whiskey Jack Lodge) which is designed for beginner and intermediate skiers. Plus, the West Bowl opened in the 20/21 season and offers plenty of glade skiing. Mt. Norquay was the first ski area developed in the Canadian Rockies and is the closest to Banff of the three ski areas. A favorite with the ski race crowd, it offers great groomed (and off-piste) runs and excellent night skiing.
After skiing at all three resorts, you can stop by the SkiBig3 Adventure Hub in Banff and have your SkiBig3 Lift Ticket, Mountain Collective or Ikon Pass scanned and validated. Then, in addition to bragging rights, you get a free pint of beer (or wine or soft drink) at The Elk & Oarsman or St. James’s Gate—two of Banff’s popular watering holes.
14. Tremblant, Quebec
Tremblant, just under two hours northwest from Montreal, is an alps-like experience without having to leave North America. The slopes are gentle and the forests dense. The groomers at Tremblant are superb. It’s probably snowing right now on Mt. Tremblant—but if not, the resort has one of the most effective snowmaking systems in the world with more than 1,000 snow guns. Located in Quebec’s Laurentian Mountains, Tremblant offers 654 acres and 95 ski trails catering to all skier levels. An open gondola-style lift called The Cabriolet connects the upper and lower parts of the European-style cobblestone village at the base.
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