Skiing & Snowboarding

There are four main areas in which to ski in Canada:

  • Whistler-Blackcomb, in British Columbia
  • Canadian Rockies
  • British Columbia Interior/Okanagan
  • Quebec

For comparison purposes, skiing conditions in Western Canada are more akin to those in Aspen, Colorado, while skiing conditions in Quebec are somewhat comparable to those in Vermont ski areas.

Prices decline as you move from west to east.  Whistler is the most expensive, the Quebec resorts are the least expensive, and the resorts in the Canadian Rockies and the Interior of British Columbia are in between.  There are also other smaller ski hills available in other Provinces, including Ontario that has numerous resorts including Blue Mountain in Collingwood.

 

WHISTLER-BLACKCOMB

 

  • Canada's top ski resort and rated the #1 ski resort in North America for the past 12 years by SKIING magazine due to the combination of extensive terrain, good snow, and a highly-rated nightlife.
  • Whistler-Blackcomb is the largest ski area in North America with over 8,100 acres of ski-able terrain, 200+ marked trails, 12 bowls, and three glaciers.
  • Boasts the greatest vertical rise in North America.
  • Offers ski-in / ski-out accommodation.
  • Consists of two mountains linked by a upscale pedestrian village with direct lift/gondola service. The pedestrian village itself has well over 100 restaurants and night-clubs offering world-class dining and live entertainment. There is additional dining offered on the mountain and valley.
  • The resort's peak 2 peakgondola will open in December 2008, linking the peaks of Blackcomb and Whistler mountains. The higest point of the 4.4 km (2.73 mi.) long gondola is 436m (1427 ft.) off the ground.
  • Whistler is known as "party central."  
  • The gateway city to Whistler is Vancouver, which is a 1 1/2 to 2-hour drive away. There are regular ground shuttles from Vancouver International airport.
  • If you rent a car, the Sea-to-Sky Highway (Hwy 99) is currently being upgraded to reduce that time. However, until it is complete, the construction may have an impact ; check construction information at  DriveBC.ca for the most current details.
  • Whistler is the most expensive place to ski in Canada.
  • In partnership with Vancouver, Whistler will host the 2010 Winter Olympics .


CANADIAN ROCKIES

 

From a cost point of view, the Rockies Region is somewhere between Whistler and Quebec.  The Rockies Region is a large territory that can be further broken down as follows:

Alberta Rockies

The gateway cities are Calgary and Edmonton .

Banff was recently voted #1 on TripAdvisor for Canadian Destinations and was voted 9th out of the top 100 destinations in the world. In 2007 TripAdvisor put out a list of the Top 10 Ski Getaways and once again Banff placed #1!

Banff National Park is home to three world class ski resorts: Lake Louise Mountain Resort, Sunshine Village, Ski Banff @ Norquay.  All three resorts can be access via a ski shuttle from most hotels in Banff and Lake Louise, so you can leave your car at the hotel and let someone else drive you to the hill and back.  Why not relax and enjoy the views!

Banff has a large variety of restaurants, and can serve as an excellent base for accessing the surrounding ski slopes.  If you have the time to try out all the hills you can buy a Tri Area Lift Ticket that gives you access to Mount Norquay , Sunshine Village and Lake Louise

Other Alberta Rockies ski resorts include Marmot Basin outside of Jasper which was rated number two in Reader's Digest "Canada's 10 Coolest Ski Hills and Resorts" article beating all but Whistler. There is no ski in or ski out due to it's location in the middle of a Canadian National Park  but with which come many other perks not available in a purpose built resort. The town of Jasper is a mere 20 minute drive where you can get accommodation to suit any budget or style, along with the most high end dining per capita in Canada. The night life is not what other resort towns like Banff or Whistler offer, but Jasper has so much to tire you out in the day, that you wont be interested in partying to loong anyway. 

Nakiska in Kananaskis Country , and Castle Mountain near Pincher Creek are other Alberta Rockies ski resorts .

Only one ski resorts in the Alberta Rockies offers ski-in / ski-out accommodation...  Sunshine Village Inn .  If you choose to stay there, however, you should be aware that it is the only property that offers lodgings on the mountain.  Once the gondola shuts down, you have no option but to stay there for the rest of the night.    

British Columbia Rockies 

There are a number of ski resorts that offer ski-in / ski-out accommodations in the Kootenay-Rockies Region of British Columbia. 

The resorts include Kicking Horse near Golden, Panorama near Invermere, Kimberley   and Fernie .  

Calgary serves as the primary gateway city to these resorts, although Cranbrook 's smaller airport is an option for accessing Fernie and Kimberley. 

These resorts are strung out about an hour or an hour and a half from each other.  If you do not wish to drive to them, there are a number of shuttle bus services that connect the BC Rockies ski resorts with each other, with the ski resorts in the Alberta Rockies, and with Calgary International Airport .  

 

BRITISH COLUMBIA INTERIOR/OKANAGAN

 

The British Columbia Interior features some of the best alpine skiing in Canada. It is also one of the fastest growing resort regions in Canada, now featuring Canada's third largest ski area - Sun Peaks - which the Austrian national ski team has called home since 2005.

The B.C. Interior/Okanagan region has world class resorts with ski-in / ski-out accommodation. The main resorts are:

Big White 

Located 56km southeast of Kelowna, and claims to be B.C.'s second largest ski resort and Canada's largest ski-in/ski-out resort village. It also offers western Canada's largest resort night skiing area. It is known for its dry champagne powder and mild winter temperatures.

Big White has a quaint pedestrian village featuring true Canadian alpine architecture with ski-in/ski-out accommodation.

Big White is the sister resort to nearby Silver Star, which have interchangeable lift passes.

Ground Transport:  Airport Shuttle service from Kelowna as well as day-trip shuttle to Silver Star. 

Silver Star

Located 22km northeast of Vernon, Silver Star has been voted the "Best small resort in North America". It is also famous for its "dry Okanagan champagne powder" and mild winter temperatures. It is also a favorite of Nordic enthusiasts.

Silver Star features a picturesque Victorian themed alpine village with ski-in/ski-out accommodation.

Silver Star is the sister resort to nearby Big White, which have interchangeable lift passes.

Ground Transport:  Airport Shuttle service from Kelowna as well as day-trip shuttle to Big White.

Sun Peaks

Located 45 minutes northeast of Kamloops, Sun Peaks is a fast growing mountain resort which offers three mountains. The mountains feature alpine bowls, power filled steeps and groomed runs.

The runs are accessed from the charming ski-in/ski-out pedestrian alpine village.

Ground Transport: Resort shuttles are available to and from Big White, Silver Star and Whistler Blackcomb. Airport Shuttle service from Kamloops and Kelowna is also available.

 Apex Mountain Resort

Located 90 minutes south of Kelowna. A hidden gem well know by locals! Known for its "dry Okanagan champagne powder", great weather and incredible terrain.

 Apex has been voted : Canada's Best Small Destination Resort, Best Steeps, Best Grooming, Best New Lodges, Best Ski Bar, and B.C. Alpine Resort of the Year over the years.

Ground Transport: Shuttles are available from both the Penticton and Kelowna Airports through Apex Mountain Resort Shuttle service. Transfers must be booked in advance.

AIR/GROUND TRANSPORT TO B.C. INTERIOR/OKANAGAN REGION:

This region is located between a four and five hours' scenic drive from Vancouver. There is regular bus service from Vancouver.

These resorts are most easily accessed by flying to Kelowna International Airport (direct service from Seattle, Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton) or Kamloops Airport (direct service from Vancouver and Calgary).

Ground shuttle/bus service is available from Vancouver, Kelowna and Kamloops airports. See individual resort websites for more information.     

 

QUEBEC 

Quebec is the least expensive area in which to ski in Canada.  The slopes are less ambitious than those in Western Canada. 

Montreal is the gateway city for Mont Tremblant while Quebec City is the gateway city for Mont-Sainte-Anne

Both of these ski resorts offer ski-in / ski-out accommodation.  

 

Some of the information on this page was obtained from this discussion thread on the TripAdvisor Forum.