- Written by Dan
Top Winter Resorts in Canada
By Hostelling International / Photo by Navnetmitt
Canada’s Position as One of the Northernmost Countries in the World Has One Inevitable Consequence: Winter
From the historic Rossland Ski Club to Whistler Blackcomb, Canada’s snowy weather, coupled with magnificent mountain ranges that climb into the clouds, means that some of the best winter resorts are in our national backyard.
If you’re thinking about relocating for a season, HI’s Job-Seeker Packages can help get you started; or if you’re looking for less commitment, try our winter deals at hihostels.ca/ winter. So as the sun starts to set on summer, it’s time to start thinking about the winter road ahead (or consider bailing to Australia and New Zealand).
Whistler Blackcomb, British Columbia
Whistler Blackcomb is Canada’s most famous ski resort with a global reputation as one of the best places in the world for winter activities. The Official Alpine Skiing Venue for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games, Whistler Blackcomb has just opened the world record-breaking Peak 2 Peak gondola. Whistler Village is right at the base of the mountain and is a great place to hang out and people-watch. Whistler Blackcomb's reputation won't disappoint.
Mt. Norquay, Sunshine Village, Alberta
Mt. Norquay, Sunshine Village and Lake Louise Ski Area (Canada’s largest ski resort) make up the Big 3 to ski in the Canadian Rockies Banff/Lake Louise area. Banff National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, providing opportunities to ski/board through surrounding unspoiled Canadian scenery with potential wildlife spotting opportunities as you cruise down the mountain. There’s even the opportunity to ski or ride in both the province of Alberta and British Columbia on the same run!
Kicking Horse Resort, Golden, British Columbia
Kicking Horse Resort has Canada’s second-longest vertical (1,260 metres) and more than 2,700 acres of skiable terrain and 100+ trails. Situated near the small town of Golden in the Kootenay mountain range, Kicking Horse is two-and-a-half hours west of Calgary. Golden and Kicking Horse Country is close to six National Parks: Glacier (50 minutes); Mt. Revelstoke (1.5 hours); Yoho (30 minutes); Banff (1 hour); Kootenay (1.25 hours); Jasper (2.5 hours).
Fernie Alpine Resort, British Columbia
The Fernie Alpine Resort has some of the best packed and powder conditions in Western Canada and also has an annual festival celebrating the legend, Griz the Powder King, which brings Fernie these fine snow conditions each year by shooting a musket into the clouds.
Red Resort, British Columbia
The legacy of the Rossland Ski Club permeates Red Resort. Red Resort on Red Mountain and Granite Mountain is known for its varied terrain with over 1,500 skiable acres, six lifts, one half-pipe and a park-wide sound system. Historically, Rossland is the birthplace of skiing in Canada as Scandinavians caught up in the Gold Rush settled here in the late 1800s and organized the Rossland Ski Club, which held the first Rossland Ski Club race on Feb. 15, 1896.
Big White Ski Resort, British Columbia
Big White is B.C.’s second biggest mountain and claims to be Canada’s largest fully ski-in/out village. Located 56 kilometres from Kelowna in the Okanagan Valley, Big White was awarded “Best Powder” by Ski Canada Magazine in 2008, as well as having the award-winning Telus Terrain Park.
Sun Peaks, British Columbia
Sun Peaks has the second-largest ski area in B.C. and the third largest in Canada, with more than 3,600 acres of skiable terrain, 12 lifts and 122 runs. Located near Kamloops, the B.C. Interior is known for its light, dry ‘easy-to-ski’ powder.
The highest peak in the Laurentians, Mont-Tremblant is only a one-hour drive from Montreal and offers locals and tourists 625.5 acres, 94 trails, an Olympic caliber superpipe and 13 lifts to handle more than 27,000 skiers per hour.
Mont-Sainte-Anne is 30 minutes from Quebec City and is known for having the highest vertical for night skiing in Canada and 17 trails open at night, with more than 465 acres of skiable terrain and 13 lifts open during the day.
Le Massif, Baie-Saint-Paul, Quebec
Massif’s appeal is the panoramic view of the St. Lawrence and the proximity to Quebec City and Baie Saint-Paul (an arts town in the region of Charlevoix). The resort is not known for its challenging terrain but offers over 400 acres of skiable area and 5 lifts.