Canada is in for a snowy winter from coast to coast, and this means lots of cover for the country’s many ski resorts.
There’s something for every skier (or snowboarder, or lodge lounger) at resorts across Canada. You can visit world class resorts in the west for heart-stopping drops and cosmopolitan ski villages or visit a smaller resort in a remote destination to get away from the hustle and bustle.
Whistler Blackcomb is the largest ski resort in North America, making Canada a ski destination for national and international visitors as well.
But we’re not saying anything that much of the world doesn’t already know. National Geographic ranks Fernie, Mont Tremblant, Whistler, and Banff among the top 25 ski communities in the world.
And Snow Magazine names Revelstoke and Whistler Blackcomb on its list of the 10 best ski resorts around the globe.
Here are 13 of the best options for skiing across the country, for everyone from families up for a casual vacation to hardcore skiers and boarders. Let us know, where do you like to ski?
Location: Whistler, B.C.
Why go: If you’re looking for more than 200 runs, 16 alpine bowls, and three glaciers, you’ll find all that at these two adjacent resorts. And in between all that skiing you can also enjoy dog sledding, outdoor skating, and a tube park, as well as visits to a variety of great shops and restaurants in town. Whistler was under an international spotlight in 2010 during the Winter Olympics, and it’ll be easy to see why once you visit for yourself.
Location: Revelstoke, B.C.
Why go: If you want a resort with something for every skier in your group, Revelstoke has you covered. This massive resort gets a lot of snowfall and has the longest vertical in North America: 1,713 metres. The runs are pretty evenly split between intermediate and expert, and groomed runs, moguls, tree skiing, and alpine bowl skiing are all available. There’s enough on the resort that you don’t have to leave if you don’t want to, but you’ll find plenty of shops and restaurants in town, too.
Location: Banff, Alta.
Why go: The three resorts in this area — Mt. Norquay, Sunshine Village, Lake Louise Mountain Resort — have long been popular destinations for Canadian and international skiers alike. Along with a seemingly endless number of runs at a variety of levels of expertise, you can enjoy skating and dog sledding on the resorts. Of course, you can visit Banff National Park —a UNESCO World Heritage site. And you can also hit up Banff’s cosmopolitan shopping and eateries.
Location: Martock, N.S.
Why go: Skiing isn’t as well developed in Atlantic Canada but that doesn’t mean those living in or visiting the eastern coast of the country are without options. Martock is not far from Halifax which makes it a great day destination for locals and tourists interested in beginner/intermediate downhill and cross-country skiing, in addition to a half-pipe and terrain park for snowboarding and free skiing.
Location: Collingwood, Ont.
Why go: This resort is smaller than many in British Columbia and Alberta, but it’s still Canada’s third most popular ski resort. You can ski during the day and night, slide down the escarpment on Ontario’s first alpine coaster, or go on a toboggan tour. After recent renovations the resort now has faster lifts and a ski village at the base. In the summer months you can visit the resort for downhill mountain biking, hiking, and a climbing wall.
Location: Steady Brook, N.L.
Why go: Near Corner Brook — the snowiest city in the country — you’ll find the biggest ski resort east of Montreal. The resort is situated in the Appalachian Mountains and has the highest vertical drop in Atlantic Canada and a terrain park for snowboarding. There’s a high-speed quad lift and a base lodge described as “the most beautiful lodge in the world” by Powder Magazine. And during any time of year you can check out the zip tour and aerial obstacle course.
Location: Fernie, B.C.
Why go: For what might be the highest resort in the Canadian Rockies, for starters. Outside skiing you can also enjoy geocaching, dog sledding, and snowshoeing. You’ll find a family friendly atmosphere here, without the crowds of Whistler Blackcomb, and great powder for skiing. In addition to the ski trails, there’s a terrain park for snowboarding, and shuttles from the Calgary airport can help you get to the relatively remote location.
Location: Central Hainesville, N.B.
Why go: This eastern resort is smaller than the big guns in B.C. and Quebec, but offers a quiet ski vacation for people of all abilities. It’s a great option for beginners and young skiers, with an open area and a pony lift. Trails are a mix of groomed and ungroomed, cruising and steep. In addition, there are several terrain parks and 30 kilometres of cross-country ski trails, and a successful race club.
Location: Tremblant, Que.
Why go: The most popular resort of those among the Laurentian Mountains, Mont Tremblant is a long-time ski destination within Mont-Tremblant National Park. There are nearly 100 downhill trails, a pedestrian village with shops and restaurants, cross-country skiing, and ice climbing. In the summer the area offers a variety of other activities including boating, canoe trips, and fishing tours.
Location: Nelson, B.C.
Why go: Whitewater doesn’t have the glitz or high profile of bigger resorts in Whistler and Banff, but skiing website PowderHounds.com calls it a “nirvana for powder hounds” thanks to the 12 metres of snowfall it gets every year. And because of its low profile, you’ll encounter less crowds and a quieter atmosphere.
Location: Kamloops, B.C.
Why go: The third-largest ski resort in the country offers both alpine and Nordic skiing, making it a versatile choice for families or groups with a variety of different winter sports interests. You can tour the 124 trails with a guide and enjoying snowshoeing and tubing if skiing and snowboarding isn’t for you. This resort is great for families thanks to its ski-in ski-out village and programs for kids. If you’re lucky you’ll get to ski with Olympic gold medalist and resort ambassador Nancy Greene.
Location: Rossland, B.C.
Why go: If you like tree skiing, Red Mountain is a must-visit resort with fresh powder and a laid-back feel. It’s not a huge resort but it’s well suited to beginners and often free of crowds, particularly on the weekdays. There are accommodations on site and in nearby Rossland, which appeals more to visitors who want a quiet, friendly vacation than those looking for a lot of shopping and nightlife.
Location: Baie-Saint-Paul, Que.
Why go: This is the highest point for skiing east of the Rocky Mountains, with a 770-metre vertical drop to be enjoyed if you're brave enough and a ski area accessible from both the base and the summit. Part of the fun of visiting Le Massif is getting there via a one-hour train ride from Quebec City in sight of the St. Lawrence River. There’s a specially designed trail on Mont a Liguori for rodelling, a variation of sledding.