The Top Ski Resorts across Canada (yes, there's likely one near you)
We Canadians are often accused of having a hard time being proud of our own. Thank goodness that doesn’t apply to our ski resorts. We have some of the top ski runs in the world and we are not shy to brag about it.
With snow finally hitting most of Canada, it is time to bring out the skis or snowboards and try a new mountain or two. You can likely find somewhere to hit the slopes no matter where you are in the country.
Here’s a list of some of our favourite resorts:
1. Whistler-Blackcomb, British Columbia
At 8,171 acres and 200 runs, Whistler Blackcomb is the biggest resort in North America and has the second highest vertical drop (5,354 feet). Make your way all the way to the top of Whistler to take a photo with the famous Inukshuk, erected as a symbol of the 2010 Olympic Games, and you’ll feel like you’re on top of the world. While you’re up there, jump on the Peak 2 Peak gondola, the longest and highest lift in the world. You’ll travel almost five kilometres over breathtaking scenery to Blackcomb, where you can ski a variety of courses, including the world-famous Couloir Extreme, one of the steepest runs in the world.
When you’re not skiing or snowboarding, spend time at the village. You’ll find everything from elite dining and lodging to dozens of pubs, bars and clubs, all within a short walk of each other.
2. Revelstoke, British Columbia
Revelstoke, on Mount Mackenzie, often rivals Whistler as the best ski resort in Canada. At 5,620 feet, it has the highest vertical peak in North America — and higher than some of the best European resorts including Val d’Isère, Courchevel and St. Moritz — so you’re guaranteed a thrill ride when you reach the top. It also offers the world’s best heli-skiing. Who doesn’t want to do that at least once in their life?
After descending on one of the 65 runs, head into the town. While you may not be able to find the variety you’ll get in Whistler, you’ll come face-to-face with real Canadian history. Built 150 years ago, this Victorian town is also where the last spike was hammered in for the Canadian Pacific Railway .
3. Big White, British Columbia
What’s more luxurious than stepping out of your chalet on to a lift? Big White is fantastic if you want a ski-in/ski-out experience. A majority of accommodations are designed at the foot of the mountain. Only a small percent of its 118 runs are a double black diamond; there are plenty of trails for everyone from the beginner to the advanced skier. The resort also has award-winning kids’ facilities. Those who don’t like to ski or snowboard can check out the Mega Snow Coaster, one of the largest tubing parks in North America.
The village surrounding the mountain is quite small but you’ll still find plenty of eateries, bars and small shops.
4. Lake Louise Ski Resort, Alberta
Nestled in the heart of Banff National Park, Lake Louise Ski Resort is possibly the most stunning resort in the country, if not the world. It’s worth skiing for the views alone. Where else can you ski with a view of a UNESCO World Heritage Site? Both Banff and Jasper mountains were designated by the UN organization in 1984 for their spectacular scenery.
If you’re more concerned with skiing than sightseeing, Lake Louise is worth the trip. With 4,200 acres and 145 runs, you never have to ski the same trail twice. There are a couple of things to consider, however. First, there is no lodging at the resort, so you’ll have to drive or take the shuttle a couple of kilometres to Lake Louise Village. Also, because of its proximity to Calgary (180 km away), the resort can often be very crowded. If you really want to enjoy the serene landscape, visit on a weekday.
5. Sunshine Village Ski & Snowboard Resort, Alberta
Slightly smaller than Lake Louise, this Banff resort generally gets more snow than its bigger neighbour and boasts stunning views of the Rockies. With 3,358 acres of slopes spread over three mountains, the skiing here is said to be better than at other Banff resorts. Contrary to the name, it’s often cloudy in Sunshine Village so the snow stays in great condition on the 137 runs. The resort also offers the only ski-in, ski-out lodging in Banff, so you can roll out of bed and be on the slopes in minutes.
The same caveats that apply to Lake Louise also apply here. The resort can be very crowded on weekends but the views are worth it.
6. Norquay, Alberta
While it is the smallest of the Banff resorts by far, Norquay (pronounced Nork-way) is also the most accessible, especially for families. Norquay is only five minutes from Banff and one hour from Calgary. Unlike the other nearby resorts, however, it is typically less crowded and its small size makes it easier to navigate. But don’t let the small size (28 runs) fool you. The resort has a vertical drop of 1,650 that is often used as a training ground for Olympic and World Cup athletes. If it’s good enough for them, it’s bound to offer some challenge for the rest of us mere mortal. It’s also the only Banff resort to offer night skiing. Opt for the all-inclusive pass that gives you access to skiing, tubing and sightseeing.
While there are no lodging options on-site, you can take free shuttles from the nearby Banff hotels several times throughout the day and evening.
7. Blue Mountain, Ontario
This small resort may not be as glamorous as the ones out west but it will do very nicely for those in central Canada. In fact, despite its size, it is the third-busiest ski resort in Canada (only after Whistler and Mont Tremblant). Located along the shores of Georgian Bay, in Collingwood, Ontario, rides along any of the 42 runs give you beautiful views of the lake down below.
The village and lodgings at the base of the hill are lovely and you’ll find a variety of high-quality shopping, dining, après-ski and lodging options. If you don’t like to ski or snowboard, try the Ridge Runner Mountain Coaster, Ontario’s first alpine coaster, or visit the Plunge water park in the village.
8. Mont-Tremblant, Quebec
Tremblant is the most impressive resort east of Alberta and has been voted the No.1 ski resort in Eastern North America by the readers of Ski Magazine for an impressive 18 years. Nestled in the Laurentian Mountains, just 130 kms north of Montreal, the resort has 650 acres of terrain and 96 runs. It also gets lots of snowfall, not to mention that it has one of the largest snow-making systems in North America, so it’s likely that at least some of the runs are open here even when much of the country’s resorts are still green.
Mont Tremblant is worth a visit even if you never get on the mountain. The village is stunning, with an abundance of restaurants, shops, lodgings and even a casino.
9. Mont Sainte-Anne, Quebec
This is another resort in the Laurentians, about a 40-minute drive northeast of Quebec City. Mont Sainte-Anne is one of the country’s earliest ski areas and in 2016 it celebrates its 50th anniversary. The resort may be smaller than Mont Tremblant but it’s still impressive with 450 acres of terrain and a 2,051 foot vertical drop (the highest vertical drop for night skiing in Canada). For those who don’t want to try the 71 different runs, there are a multitude of other activities including everything from dog sledding to year-round paragliding.
There are various lodging options from deluxe chalets at the base of the mountain to condos located about a kilometre away from the resort. Many visitors also choose to stay in Quebec City and drive in to the resort in the morning.
10. Crabbe Mountain, New Brunswick
We couldn’t leave out the Atlantic provinces in our round-up of Canadian ski resorts. Crabbe Mountain, just 50 kms from Fredericton, is the highest vertical in the Maritimes. The resort is tiny, at only 87 acres and 20 runs, but the vertical is 853 feet, offering a challenge to all but the most expert of skiers.
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