Canada has a huge number of impressive ski resorts with uncrowded slopes, and there are ski areas to suit all ability types. The country is well known for its friendly locals and relaxed attitude, and you’ll find that this extends to the unpretentious ski resorts, where people are welcoming and just want to have a great time.
Skiing in Canada is a lot of fun with safe, perfectly groomed slopes, and avalanche patrolled ski areas. Although it can be an expensive place to ski, you can save money by buying your passes in advance, and these usually cover a large area so you get value for money.
Here’s our pick of some of Canada’s best ski resorts:
This large ski resort has been open since the 1960s, and has been perfectly designed for skiers and snowboarders, with lots of large hotels that have ski-in/ski-out facilities, and everything you need within short walking distance. It’s a laidback, car-free resort which is excellent for beginners and families, who’ll love the convenience of the resort. Big White really does live up to its name with reliable snow covering the slopes, and the vast ski area means that everyone from beginners to intermediates will find something to enjoy. There’s not much of an après-ski scene, but there’s quite a few restaurants and bars in the resort, and lots to do other than skiing from dog sledding to ice skating.
Canada’s largest, and perhaps best known, ski resort is Whistler. Set in the spectacular Canadian Rockies, this resort is just a couple of hours from Vancouver, and is a popular weekend break for city dwellers. It tends to be more suitable for intermediate and advanced skiers, who’ll enjoy the challenging slopes, and although it’s one of Canada’s busier resorts, it’s nowhere near as crowded as its European counterparts. Whistler is also popular with snowboarders, and has several terrain parks to suit different abilities.
The town itself is lively, with excellent nightlife and a party atmosphere. There are bars dedicated to après-ski, with large terraces and lively atmosphere, and you’ll find several nightclubs that open until the small hours.
Kicking Horse is a small resort with a large ski area, and it is kind of a well-kept secret among ski enthusiasts. Mostly geared towards the intermediate and advanced crowd, it’s made up of about 45% black runs, so you can get in some serious ski time, and about 15% of the slopes are double diamond black runs for the bravest of skiers. The real appeal of Kicking Horse is perhaps how small and intimate the resort is, with just a few bars and restaurants, and a relatively small number of resort visitors who are in the know.
If you want a snow sure resort with lots of ski areas nearby, then Banff is a good introduction to the Canadian ski scene. Three large ski areas are just a short bus ride from the resort centre, with plentiful transport, and the skiing tends to be suitable for intermediate and advanced skiers. It’s one of the more affordable ski resorts in Canada thanks to the cheap package ski holidays that are available, and Banff itself is a charming resort with a small town vibe.
Away from the slopes, Banff is a decent resort for non-skiers, and they can ice skate, cross country ski, or take part in lots of winter activities. Because the resort is separate from the slopes and accessed by bus, there’s a lack of proper après-ski, but the evenings see the town come to life with loads of bars, restaurants, and clubs to enjoy.
Whether you’re off on your first ski trip to North America, or have been going for years, there’s lots of choice when it comes to Canadian ski resorts. Each one has its own style and is suitable for different abilities, so you can choose a place suitable for your group.