Canadian ski resorts offer a true big mountain adventure for skiers and riders searching for more. Epic ranges like the Canadian Rockies, the Coast Mountains, and the Laurentian Mountains provide harrowing steeps and plentiful snow for a mix of challenge and fun. You can push your limits and experience dreamy powder, creating lifelong memories.
So, which ski resorts in Canada stand above the rest? We have our favorites. Some offer a mix of peerless terrain and tailored luxury, while others concentrate on a pure mountain experience. Let’s dive in.
It’s good to broaden your horizons when you want to grow as a skier or rider. Whether practicing skills or visiting new mountains, pushing the limits helps you become a true mountain athlete. Riding diverse terrain is one of the best ways to do that. It’s also fun.
While the USA has world-class terrain — like KT-22 at Palisades Tahoe or the Tram at Jackson Hole — Canada has equally daunting (and beautiful) ski resorts. As Outside Online said, “The mountains are bigger, the snow is deeper, and the crowds are non-existent—the promised land of skiing is north of the border.”
Everyone has their preference when it comes to a ski vacation. Some may want a blend of first-class terrain and luxury accommodations. But others may want to ride all day and then crash in a rustic lodge. Depending on where you fit, these picks give you both.
1. Whistler Blackcomb
Whistler Blackcomb is big — huge. With a 5,280 ft. vertical drop and 8,171 acres across two mountains, it’s a ski resort that challenges even the most seasoned skiers and riders. Yet, with plenty of beginner and intermediate runs, everyone can enjoy the fun. Set amongst the Coast Mountains in British Columbia, Canada, it should be on every rider’s to-do list.
Diverse lodging choices suit a range of budgets, from no-frills options to high-end luxury digs. The large base village is the place to be, giving you quick access to the hill, along with abundant après-ski opportunities.
But the highlight of Whistler Blackcomb is its status as a big mountain playground. With advanced terrain comprising over 25% of the ski resort, you’ll find ways to challenge yourself from first chair to last. Cliff drops and steep chutes let you play snow sports superheroes on the way down. Sound good? Try Blackcomb Glacier to test your limits.
On powder days, make your way to Whistler’s open bowls for a sensory winter experience. Take the Symphony Chair, then a quick hike, and drop into Flute Bowl for endless soft turns. It’ll feel like a dream.
Each mountain (Whistler and Blackcomb) offers particular highlights, and the Peak 2 Peak Gondola lets you switch back and forth to your heart’s content. It’s like two ski vacations in one. In the morning, get after it on Blackcomb Glacier’s steeps, and in the afternoon, cruise it out on Whistler’s easy-going blues.
If you have to visit just one Canadian ski resort this winter, Whistler Blackcomb is it. You’ll get abundant north-of-the-border terrain, and with a lively village, plenty of après-ski good times.
2. Sunshine Village
If you want to visit the heart of the high country, check out Sunshine Village in Banff, Alberta, Canada. Positioned on the Continental Divide, it provides a core skiing and snowboarding vacation in a movie-like setting. With one of the longest ski seasons in North America — from November through May — you can score epic turns as your schedule allows.
Sunshine Village is one of the largest ski resorts in the Canadian Rockies, and its stats spell out why. Its peak elevation is a towering 8,954 feet, with a vertical drop of 3,514 feet. 2,350 skiable acres are like a snow sports amusement park. 228 inches of annual snowfall ensures ample powder mornings.
Unlike most ski resorts, Sunshine built its village on the mountain instead of at the base area. About two-thirds up the hill, at the top of the gondola, there are multiple lodging and dining facilities, letting you sleep and refuel at elevation. Not to mention, how cool is it to wake up and ride down the mountain?
3. Lake Louise
For explorers looking to test themselves, Lake Louise offers a remote setting and abundant challenges. With more than 70% of its terrain rated at black diamond or double black diamond, this Canadian outpost caters to the expert skier and rider. Yet, with views and vistas among the best in the world, intermediates can also enjoy its high alpine setting. That way, everyone in your group can have an epic time.
Located about 40 minutes from Banff, Alberta, Canada, Lake Louise sits high atop the Canadian Rockies. 3,000 skiable acres let you roam free, while a 3,250 vertical drop offers satisfying long runs. 200 inches of annual snowfall gives you ample opportunity for fresh tracks. It’s a well-rounded mountain.
When you take on Lake Louise’s blacks and double blacks, buckle in and prepare to ride your best. Trail ratings can be subjective, and this mountain’s expert runs are a category beyond most. A single black run might have a cliff drop, so be ready to perform when you drop in. And the double blacks? Prepare for a nail-biting pitch that requires focused attention.
Highlighting the Lake Louise experience are its excellent views. Almost anywhere on the front side of the mountain, you can view its namesake — Lake Louise — a stunning glacial lake with aquamarine-colored water. The surrounding snow-covered peaks provide a perfect contrast. As you make turns, just glance up and take it all in.
The resort doesn’t have on-site lodging, but nearby Banff has plenty of options. No matter your budget, there’s somewhere to rest, recuperate, and prepare for tomorrow. Or, if you want over-the-top luxury, try the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, set right on the lake.
If you’re a core skier or rider who’s all about the mountains — and not luxury getaways — this is your destination. Set deep in the Canadian Rockies and boasting incredible stats, Revelstoke lets you push further than you thought possible. Though lodging can be scarce and getting there takes commitment, the small mountain town setting only adds to the adventure.
Revelstoke has superlative stats and dreamy terrain. A 6,030 hike-to vertical drop (5,600 lift-serviced) is the longest in North America. 3,121 skiable acres offer wide-open glades, harrowing cliff drops, and dreamy bowls. 230” of annual snowfall ensures turn after turn of powdery fun.
Revelstoke is for the devoted snow sports enthusiast, and it takes dedication to pull up to the first chair. The rustic setting is 4.5 hours from Calgary airport, though some flights reach Kelowna, at 2.5 hours away. But that’s not all. On the drive up, you’ll encounter winding mountain roads that close down in harsh conditions. For an easier time, try the Stoke Shuttle from Kelowna.
Not everyone can follow their snow sports dreams. We have jobs, responsibilities, and obligations. But while you’re there, Revelstoke lets you become the skier or rider you dream of.
On a powder morning, hit the Critical Path Glades off the Revelation Gondola. Or, take the Stoke Chair, hike to the peak, and drop into the South Bowl. Looking to push your limits? Try the double blacks off the backside — like Discipline, Mania, and Drop-In — for ski film-worthy turns.
Due to its remote setting and relative newness (2007), Revelstoke has limited lodging options. So, if you’re set on visiting, it’s best to book well in advance.
5. Big White
If you have a family or just want to cruise with friends, Big White offers a well-rounded experience. Located in British Columbia, above the Okanagan Valley, this beginner-friendly mountain is a more low-key destination. That can be a positive when your group has varying ability levels. But there’s still plenty of vert and open terrain for big-mountain fun.
Big White has solid stats, including 2,656 ft. of vertical drop, 2,650 skiable acres, and 244” of annual snowfall. But where the resort stands out is its terrain variety, letting everyone in your group enjoy their time on the hill. If a friend or family member is just starting out, easy runs let them practice and play, and build up their skills. Or, if you’re a seasoned expert, the upper mountain has steep glades and chutes.
Traveling to Big White involves flying into the Kelowna Airport, and then driving about an hour. For added convenience, try the resort’s shuttle service. Or, you can make the drive from Vancouver or Seattle, though it’s a 5-7 hour trek.
Big White also has abundant slopeside lodging options. Letting you ski in and ski out, these condos and hotels let you fully enjoy your trip, without a daily commute. But they can be on the pricey side. If you’re on a budget, Kelowna has more economical choices.
When you want to venture and explore, Canadian ski resorts let you do that and more. Towering peaks and ample snowfall create superb experiences, while a mix of luxury and basic lodging suits a range of budgets. Whether you want a comfy vacation or an all-out adventure, one of these ski resorts is sure to give you a memorable trip.
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