12 Top-Rated Ski Resorts in Canada, 2017
Canada's top ski resorts are largely focused on Western Canada, in British Columbia and Alberta, and to a lesser extent, in Ontario and Quebec. Whistler, just a two-hour drive from Vancouver, offers a world-class skiing experience, from the slopes to the hotels, restaurants, and shopping. The interior of BC offers some lesser visited gems with extreme terrain or family oriented resorts. In Alberta, the ski resorts around Banff are some of the best in the country. In Ontario, Blue Mountain is a wonderful family hill located just a two-and-a-half-hour drive from Toronto. In Quebec, Mont-Tremblant, known for producing some of Canada's most famous skiers, offers exceptional skiing.
1 Whistler Blackcomb
Whistler Blackcomb, recently purchased by Vail Resorts, is Canada's premier ski resort with world-class skiing and facilities. The combined terrain of these two mountains makes it the largest ski resort in North America. At the base of Whistler and Blackcomb is the enchanting Whistler Village. You don't even need to ski to enjoy a trip to Whistler, but if you do, you'll find seemingly unlimited terrain that can accommodate any level of skier, from first timers to extreme skiers. You'll find beautiful wide-open bowls on Whistler Mountain and incredible groomed runs all over both mountains. On Blackcomb, the Horstman Glacier provides year-round skiing.
The famous PEAK 2 PEAK gondola, more than three kilometers in length and the world's longest unsupported lift span, connects both mountains. Skiers and non-skiers can enjoy this gondola ride for outstanding views over the terrain and ski runs. Whistler is located in British Columbia's beautiful Coast Mountains, just a two-hour drive from Vancouver.
2 Lake Louise Ski Resort
Lake Louise, in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, and less than an hour from the town of Banff, is one of Canada's most well-known resorts. From the slopes, majestic views stretch out over the Bow Valley and surrounding mountains and beyond to the palatial Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise. This is a mountain for all skiers, from the die-hard extreme skiers to families coming here to learn the sport. With 4,200 acres of skiable terrain, the resort offers a mix of wide-open bowls, steeps, chutes, and plenty of groomed runs.
Lake Louise Ski Resort does not have on-site accommodation but does have fantastic day use facilities at the base, with restaurants serving tasty meals, as well as other on-mountain restaurants. Skiers can base themselves in the nearby village of Lake Louise or in the town of Banff.
3 Sunshine Village Ski and Snowboard Resort
Located in Banff National Park, not far from the town of Banff, Sunshine Village is heavenly on a sunny day. A gondola uploads skiers from the parking lot to the village at the base of the runs. Lifts from here take you to runs above the tree line, where wide-open bowls offer unparalleled views over the rugged peaks of the Rocky Mountains. The mountain is skewed towards intermediate skiers, with more than 50 percent of the runs falling into this category. Experts will find an impressive selection of extreme and advanced terrain, particularly on Goats Eye Mountain. About 20 percent of the resort is beginner oriented. This is a great hill for intermediate skiers who want to challenge themselves and move to the next level.
Ski-in, ski-out accommodation options are available at Sunshine Village, but many skiers choose to stay in nearby Banff, where there is a better selection of hotels, restaurants, and shops.
4 Big White Ski Resort
Big White is known for awesome powder days, wide-open views, an abundance of intermediate runs, as well as a good mix of beginner and expert terrain. This is a wonderful family resort, with plenty of convenient accommodation options, including ski-in, ski-out lodging. The mountain offers 16 lifts and more than 2,600 acres of terrain. Views from the slopes are incredible. The resort is located in the enchanting Okanagan Valley, in the interior of British Columbia, not far from the city of Kelowna.
5 Revelstoke Mountain Resort
Located in the interior of British Columbia, about a 2.5-hour drive from the city of Kelowna, Revelstoke is a little more difficult to get to than some resorts but well worth the effort. The mountain sees a high number of powder days; has few crowds; and offers excellent terrain, from open bowls to tree runs and beginner areas. Add to that reasonably priced accommodation options in the town of Revelstoke; ski-in, ski-out facilities at the mountain; and fabulous mountain scenery, and it's hard to beat this resort. This isn't the place to come for a glamorous five-star experience or high-end shopping. This is a skiers' mountain and a great place for families.
6 Sun Peaks Ski Resort
Sun Peaks is Canada's second largest ski area, after Whistler but is still largely unknown outside of Canada and even one of the lesser-known resorts within Canada. Given the amount of terrain, spread over three mountains, it's not surprising this resort offers a little something for everyone, with steeps, cruisers, and tree skiing. And, although you can find all kinds of runs, Sun Peaks is particularly focused on beginner and intermediate skiing, making it a great choice for families.
The European-style village at the base offers ski-in, ski-out accommodation and facilities, adding a level of convenience for people who choose to stay here. You can find everything you need right at the resort, including quality hotels or condos and good restaurants, or you can commute from nearby Kamloops, 45 minutes away.
7 Silver Star Mountain Resort
Silver Star Mountain Resort is a family focused resort with a charming village at the base of the slopes. Buildings are painted in bright colors and are all designed around a similar concept. The mountain offers a varied terrain that caters to all levels of ability but has slightly less beginner terrain than many of the other major resorts in British Columbia, and more expert terrain. Snow quality is one of the resort's many bragging points, with frequent snowfalls of dry powder and generally good visibility.
Silver Star is located in the Okanagan Valley, a short drive from the city of Kelowna. Most people who ski here stay at Silver Star, where you can find hotels and condos for rent.
8 Kicking Horse Mountain Resort
Lesser known on an international scale, Kicking Horse Mountain Resort, outside of Golden, BC, is a three-hour drive from the city of Calgary, and is frequented by both families and hard-core skiers. The mountain, bragging 4,133 feet of vertical, features incredible expert terrain, with steeps and great hike-to powder runs. The mountain is north facing and as a result, good snow conditions tend to endure. Three bowls drain down into more gentle terrain, where you'll find intermediate and beginner runs.
Kicking Horse is located about 15 minutes from Golden, and skiers can base themselves here or at Kicking Horse Resort.
9 Red Mountain Resort
This out-of-the-way ski resort in the interior of British Columbia has long been a favorite with advanced and expert skiers and known particularly for its awesome tree skiing. Located near Rossland, this resort takes a little more time and planning to access, but the reward is uncrowded runs, a friendly town with old-school charm, and reasonable prices. It's also the place to come to find great powder days.
While Red Mountain is skewed towards advanced skiers and boarders, it does offer plenty of runs for beginners and intermediate skiers. In 2013-14 the resort expanded, opening up an additional 1,000 acres of mainly intermediate terrain. The resort, spread over two mountains, boasts a total of 4,200 acres of terrain.
10 Fernie Alpine Resort
Fernie Alpine Resort is a good ski vacation option for almost anyone. You can plan a family vacation here, a friends weekend or week-long getaway, or park yourself here for a winter. The snow and skiing are comparable to other resorts in Western Canada, with a good mix of terrain, from open bowls to groomed runs and glades.
At the base of the mountain is a small ski village with restaurants; hotels; and ski-in, ski-out accommodations. Many people choose to stay in the town of Fernie rather than at the resort, where there are more options, better prices, and a traditional ski-town vibe.
11 Mont-Tremblant Ski Resort
Although the province of Quebec produces some of Canada's best competitive skiers, skiing in this province is still one of Canada's great secrets. Conveniently located just 1.5 hours from Montreal and less than two hours from Ottawa, Mont-Tremblant delivers a fabulous skiing opportunity in eastern Canada. The mountain offers 665 acres of skiable terrain on four mountain faces, more than 2,000 feet of vertical drop, and a total lift capacity of 27,230 skiers per hour. The picturesque European-style village at the base is equipped with a full range of options, including luxury accommodation, fine dining, and high-end shopping.
12 Blue Mountain Resort
Ontario's Blue Mountain Ski Resort, a little over two hours north of Toronto, is a fun, family focused hill, with all kinds of activities and facilities. What Blue lacks in elevation, it makes up for in overall terrain, stretching along the Niagara Escarpment, with plenty of room to accommodate the crowds that descend on this resort during weekends. While this used to be a small-town ski hill, it has grown into a posh ski resort with luxury hotels, great restaurants, and a good selection of high-end shops. People come to the mountain year-round for activities, dining, and weekend getaways.