Get your skis and snowboard ready, winter is right around the corner and with it the opportunity to venture far and wide across Canada for some of the best skiing in North America.
Whistler. Been there, done that. Sure, it’s convenient for us Vancouverites, and that’s exactly the point. Everyone and their dog is going as soon as they get the chance (and saved enough for the lift ticket).
So wouldn’t it be nice to go on a ski vacation this winter without having to drop a week’s salary? Wouldn’t it be nice if the whole family or friends with different ski abilities could partake in the fun and games? Yes, yes it would. We give you 6 ski resorts you should travel across British Columbia and perhaps into another province to experience this winter.
On average, some 40 feet of snow falls annually on this quaint little ex-mining town set at the foot of British Columbia’s Monashee Mountains. Getting there takes a bit of effort (Kelowna Airport is 2 hours away; Calgary is four and a half), but the champagne powder, friendly vibe, and affordable eateries and bars make up for it. Check into a suite in the ski-in/ski-out Sutton Place Hotel, then hit Revelstoke‘s thigh-burning vertical (5,620 feet from top to bottom), which beats anything you’ll find in Courchevel or St. Moritz. The après scene at the Village Idiot is loud, colorful, and fun. For an elegant dinner or sophisticated cocktail, book a table at 112 Restaurant in the Regent Hotel.
Colorful buildings lend this resort with a true ski-in, ski-out village a certain charm—think of it as Disneyland on snow. And just like that other wonderful place, this resort is very popular with families after champagne powder and lots of kid-friendly amenities and activities such as movie nights, fireworks, family bingo and carnival nights. A pedestrian-only village set mid-mountain makes it incredibly convenient for families and friends with different abilities and interest to split up and meet up for lunch or après without getting lost.
Cuteness aside, SilverStar isn’t just a place for beginner skiers and riders. Indeed, the resort is impressively big (3,269 acres), with 132 runs, four high-speed chairs and 10 in total. What makes SilverStar a great option is that it is relatively inexpensive compared to the other resort on this list, and a ski area that is largely below the treeline means some protection from the elements. Early Bird season passes are on sale now.
Skip the massive crowds at Lake Louise and opt for this awesome Alberta resort with equally Instagrammable scenery—and Canada’s first high-speed heated chairlift. Sunshine Village sits at 7,200 feet on the Continental Divide in the heart of Banff National Park, which practically guarantees light and dry snow during the seven-month season.
Your ski-in/ski-out hotel (the only option at the resort) is Sunshine Mountain Lodge, where the rustic-chic decor includes gas fireplaces, heated floors, and floor-to-ceiling mountain views. The on-site bistro, Eagle’s Nest, specializes in farm-to-table fare, like bison short rib braised in dark ale and served with Yukon potatoes. Pair the dish with a glass of Canadian Pinot. But the best meal in the region is at the Station Restaurant in Lake Louise (a 35-minute drive away), set in a historic railway station. Get a SkiBig3 lift ticket to gain access to Sunshine, Lake Louise, and Mt. Norquay.
Imagine a quaint Alpine village, the kind where buildings are painted in Crayola colors, where streets are of the cobblestone variety, and where lights twinkle in the deep blue night. Now take away the hefty cost of overseas airfare and snooty attitude and you’ve got Mont-Tremblant. Perched on the highest peak in the Laurentians, this resort offers 96 trails (at 3.7 miles, Nansen is the longest) on four different slopes and three snow parks. This is Quebec, so don’t miss out on a breakfast of crepes (what else?) at Crêperie Catherine. For a boutique waterfront retreat, check in at Hôtel Quintessence.
Ice canyons, glaciers, and 3,000 vertical feet of skiing with views of stunning Jasper National Park are what’s in store at Marmot Basin. Set deep within the Canadian Rockies, Jasper is hard to get to (a four-hour drive from Edmonton or five hours from Calgary), but once you do, you have 86 marked trails on 1,675 acres practically to yourself. In winter you can also get great deals on accommodations (the cedar chalets at Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge are classic), dining (Tekarra is a favorite), and activities (do the Maligne Canyon Ice Walk).
Think of Big White as Whistler’s smaller, less popular (but just as pretty) sister. Situated in the heart of British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley and only 45 minutes from Kelowna airport, this resort has all you’d want for a girlfriend or family getaway—without the crowds. Cute cafés? Check. Car-free village? Check. Perfectly groomed trails? Check. But you’re here for the snow, and it gets plenty of that (some 25 feet per year) across its 118 designated trails, which are ideal for beginner or intermediate skiers and riders. Stop at Six Degrees Bistro for the mushroom risotto or lamb confit, then chill out at Crescendo, a luxurious five-bed, five-bath ski-in/ski-out chalet.