Canada’s going downhill.
Skiing, that is.
While destinations like France, Switzerland, and Austria are often top of mind when one conjures up visions of their next ski getaway, what a lot of people don’t realize is that Canada’s ski resorts are actually farther north than those found in each of these European favorites. That means a reliable ski season that typically lasts through the month of May, giving visitors predictable powder and more time to hit the slopes.
So, whether you’re an adrenaline junkie in search of big air and a great spot for après ski drinks, or you’re on the hunt for your next family-friendly adventure, you’ll find what you’re looking for in the Great White North. Read on as we recap our top five resorts for downhill skiing in Canada.
Let’s start with the undisputed king of Canadian ski resorts. Owned by the famed Vail Resorts and located about two hours north of Vancouver, British Columbia (BC), Whistler Blackcomb’s unique set-up grants visitors access to two different mammoth mountains. Whistler and Blackcomb are connected via a scenic gondola, and the combined resort actually ranks as the largest in all of North America. This resort has everything you could ask for in a ski destination, from the charming Whistler Village to ample terrain parks with various runs for different skill levels.
Here’s one that’s ideal for families as it boasts Canada’s largest ski-in/ski-out resort village, which makes for easy access for little ones who may not have the patience for long shuttles or commutes to the mountain. Big White is located in BC’s interior in the stunning Okanagan Valley and has something for everyone. There are 2,700 acres of terrain, nearly 20 lifts, a gondola, and plenty of non-ski activities, like tubing, snowmobiling, and dog sledding.
Another interior BC locale, Sun Peaks is the country’s second-largest ski area. Here, you’ll find more than 4,000 acres of terrain and nearly 140 different runs. Because of the number of beginner and intermediate runs available—coupled with the resort’s ski-in and ski-out accommodations—Sun Peaks is another popular pick among families. That’s not to say it’s all a leisurely stroll (ski?) in the park. Sun Peaks has its fair share of “steeps” for those with a need for downhill speed.
Some feel that the location of Red Mountain, a lesser-known resort near Rossland, warrants its removal from consideration for the best ski spots in Canada. It’s too hard to get to, they claim. But that’s exactly what Red Mountain’s biggest fans love to hear—that just means more uncrowded runs for them! This destination is best suited for intermediate to expert skiers, particularly those with an appreciation (and a skill level for) tree skiing. In total, Red Mountain has more than 4,000 acres of spectacular terrain.
Ski Big 3
Our last resort on the list may give you your best bang for the buck, as it’s technically three separate resorts rolled into one. Encompassing Banff Sunshine, Lake Louise Ski Resort, and Mt. Norquay, Ski Big 3 promises access to some of the best skiing in the world. Between the three resorts, all of which are just a short drive from Banff—a resort town plucked right out of central casting—you’ll find some 7,700 acres of terrain and 362 runs of all skill levels. There’s also night skiing, tubing, snowmobiling, helicopter rides, and so much more.