Canada is one of the best places to ski the world over thanks to their consistent snowfall and comparatively quiet slopes compared to Europe and the USA. Their pistes are immaculately groomed and the entire area within the ski boundary is avalanche controlled and patrolled, allowing you to go off-piste without a guide.
With Canadian ski resorts on both the west and east sides of the country, you are spoiled for options. The west is the better side, especially in British Colombia with “the Powder Highway”. The ski resorts in Canada are often a lot a little more friendly on your wallet than other ski countries and with some awesome ski resorts, it’s easy to make a case to travel there for your next skiing or snowboarding adventure.
Here we’ll take a look at some of the best ski resorts in Canada, helping you pick the slopes of your dreams for your winter ski trip.
You have probably heard of Whistler, I think even people who have never skied in their lives have heard of Whistler. It’s the biggest ski area in North America and one of the most famous ski resorts in the world. It comprises a huge 4,757 acres of slopes spread over two mountains, Whistler and Blackcomb with over 200 trails to choose from.
It’s an awesome ski resort for beginners and intermediates alike. There are nursery slopes for anyone starting out that progress into top-to-bottom green runs. The ski schools are excellent and the magic carpet lifts make it an easy place for a beginner to find their confidence on the mountain.
For an intermediate, the sheer number of different trails is mouth-watering. You’ll be able to keep practicing and honing your skills without ever going down the same run twice. There aren’t many places in the world where there is so much on offer that you won’t have to repeat a slope.
The Whistler ski resort might not be the most fun for pros but the regular powder and technical terrain on the high slopes make it quite interesting. It’s also full of some of the top terrain parks for you to challenge yourself on.
The great thing about Whistler is that there are loads of things for non-skiers to do too. You can go zip-lining, tubing, snowmobiling, and even hop on an eagle watching tour. And there is plenty going on in the resort village to keep anyone entertained.
The resort village is large and buzzing. There is an awesome vibe to the place and the après ski is something not to be missed. There are loads of bars, restaurants, hotels, and shops to keep you busy after a day on the slopes or on your day off.
If you’re a powder fiend or looking for quiet slopes, Revelstoke Mountain Resort in British Colombia might be one of the best ski resorts in Canada for you. It used to be a local haunt and was popular for heli-skiing but the addition of some great infrastructure has opened up the area into a 3000-acre ski resort.
Revelstoke features the biggest vertical in North America and gets around 13m of powder every year. It has quite steep slopes that are left ungroomed and some interesting terrains like big open bowls and tree skiing. It may sound like Revelstoke is more for experienced skiers but with the ski school plus beginner and intermediate slopes, it’s great for anyone wanting to learn or improve their skiing too.
If you’re into heli-skiing Revelstoke has got you covered. Instead of having to book in advance and risk the weather, you can choose to hop in a helicopter or use the ski-lift each morning, giving you the ultimate flexibility to make the most of every day without an expensive commitment.
At the base of the slopes is the Revelstoke resort village. It’s small and quaint with just one hotel, restaurant, bar, and coffee shop. You can also stay 5 minutes down the road in Revelstoke town which has a choice of bars, hotels, and restaurants.
If ski-in and ski-out is the kind of winter escape you’re looking for then there is only one place in Canada to head to, Big White. This ski resort was designed specifically to cater to ski-in ski-out enthusiasts and almost every place you can stay is ski-in/ski-out accommodation. The ski lifts start below the resort town, and even the streets are part of a ski run.
Big White is home to 2,765 acres of safely patrolled slopes that get a huge amount of snow. There is a lot of trees skiing alongside runs with options to learn powder skiing. The Powder Chair gives you quick access to awesome runs on the upper slopes of the mountain that allow any level skier to find out why powder can become such an addiction.
Big White is catered more towards intermediate skiers due to the nature of the area. It’s a little challenging for beginners and not quite challenging enough for pros. Saying this, beginners will do fine but might be challenged a little faster than usual.
The resort village has some great restaurants and places to stay. It’s not huge or overly busy and the apres-ski bars and shops are quite limited. There is an area called Happy Valley at the bottom of the resort that has awesome activities for non-skiers or anyone wanting a day off.
For beginners, one of the best ski resorts in Canada to head to is Sun Peaks. It has run after run of gentle slopes that are ideal for anyone just starting out to gain their confidence on. Sun Peaks covers 4,200 acres of slopes with 135 runs. It’s a huge area and the only place with a larger acreage is Whistler.
The 4,200 acres span three different mountains; Sundance, Mount Morriset, and Mount Tod. Across these three peaks, you’ll find green runs that progress up to a 5-mile top to bottom with an 800m vertical, blue runs, gladed tree runs, and some adrenaline rushing black runs. There really is a slope to suit most people’s levels.
The resort town is quite lovely and filled with pastel buildings. There are a few restaurants and bars to choose from, plus most of the places you can stay are ski-in/ski-out. It’s quite a small village with calm traffic-free streets and a pretty relaxed vibe.
Fernie Ski Resort is one of the best ski resorts in Canada for more advanced skiers. The runs are rugged, steep, ungroomed, and are amongst a lot of trees. It’s an awesome place for any pro to dig deep and work out over a few days. Fernie also gets some amazing snow-fall and is well known across Canada for this reason. Some years it gets up to 11m while 9m is the average.
The resort spans some 2,500 areas and comprises of five alpine bowls for you to get your head around. The largest challenge about Fernie is to know your way around it. The runs can be very difficult to find and quite often you’re going to have to pull a long traverse to keep on moving. It’s recommended to attend a two-day Steep and Deep Camp at the beginning of your stay so you can learn your way around the mountain. These are only held once a month and if you miss it, then you can book a mountain guide session with the ski school but be sure to ask for the ungroomed terrain class.
The resort village of Fernie is quaint and quiet with everything you might need, just not in abundance. There are a couple of restaurants, bars, and some great places to stay. If you’re looking for something a little more lively, then Fernie down just down the road has a large selection of bars and restaurants plus a more upbeat vibe.
Anyone looking for a great deal on their ski vacation should take a look at Banff, located right in Banff National Park.
The Canadian ski resorts around this area tend to have incredible value packages on offer due to the towns size and number of places to stay. Banff is actually more of a summer tourist hot-spot thanks to its proximity to national parks and incredibly scenic drives, and the extra accommodation that’s there for summer, needs some filling in winter, hence all the deals.
Only of the charms of Banff is that you can access three different places with one lift pass, giving you some great diversity. But the one drawback is that you’ll have to get the bus to them each day. Bus fare is included with your ski pass but it’s not quite the same as skiing out of your door and down a mountain.
The bus rides are between 5-45 minutes away depending on which area you head to. The closest slope is Norquay, which is about a 5-minute ride. It’s tiny with only a 190-acre area to ski around but it has great nursery slopes for beginners. Around 15 minutes away is Sunshine Village that comprises 3,356 acres, steep terrain, double black diamond runs, and is known for getting a lot of snowfall. If you choose the longest rid of 40 minutes you’ll get to Lake Louise and 4,200 acres of slopes for intermediates and beginners.
Banff as a town is pretty awesome. There are dozens of bars, restaurants, and shops, plus it has quite a fun atmosphere to it. And when you consider the range of the best ski resorts in Canada, right at your doorstep, it’s hard to find a better destination.
There you have it, Canada’s best skis resorts. As you can see, there really is a resort for anyone and everyone, no matter the atmosphere or the kinds of slopes you’re looking for. Canada has got your ski-holiday covered. There are great places to learn, hone your skills, or challenge yourself to the max. You can pick a resort that is either quiet, buzzing, ski-in/ski-out, French-style, or full of those apres-ski vibes we all love.
Roger is a little obsessed with travel. He has been to over 40 countries, broken 3 suitcases and owned over 10 backpacks in 12 months. What he doesn't know about travel, ain't worth knowing!