Ski resorts in the Canadian Rocky Mountains are some of the most expansive and best equipped in the world. Famous names like Whistler and Banff roll off the tongue among seasoned riders and novices alike. Thanks to the high elevation of many Canadian ski resorts, the season here lasts from November to May and the snowfall is reassuringly frequent.

    Whether it’s your first time clipping on skies or you’re a seasoned boarder looking for snow parks and extreme black runs, Western Canada is blessed with the right ski resort to suit your needs. Check out our guide to the best places to go snowboarding and skiing in British Columbia and Alberta.


    1

    Whistler Blackcomb

    The biggest ski resort in North America

    Whistler Blackcomb is famed as a premier skiing and snowboarding hotspot throughout the world. This is one of the largest ski resorts in North America, with over 200 ski runs, several snow parks with kickers and half pipes, and plenty of off-piste trails to discover. The town of Whistler is a fully-fledged resort destination with a range of shopping and nightlife options.

    The Peak 2 Peak gondola connects the 2 summits of Whistler and Blackcomb mountains so you can ski both mountains on the same day – you even get to enjoy incredible views along the way. Of the 2 mountains, head to Whistler if you’re looking for more gentle beginner slopes and Blackcomb for challenging red and black runs. You can reach Whistler Blackcomb in less than 2 hours from Vancouver.

    Location: 4545 Blackcomb Way, Whistler, BC V0N 1B4, Canada

    Open: Daily from 10 am to 5 pm

    Phone: +1 604-967-8950

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    2

    Lake Louise Ski Resort

    Family-friendly winter fun in Alberta

    Lake Louise Ski Resort is one of North America’s best family ski mountains, with a wide range of runs to suit children and adults, excellent ski schools, and plenty of fun alternative activities. With 1,700 hectares of skiable terrain across 4 different mountains, it’s safe to assume that you can take an extended trip to Lake Louise and never get bored. There are close to 150 runs to choose from, as well as plenty of off-piste action.

    Most of the runs here suit the intermediate range of skier, although the lower slopes are well designed for day-1 riders as a place to learn safely. Beginners even have their own Fun Zone, with easy humps and small kickers to get used to doing jumps. Once you unclip your skis, head into Lake Louise town to enjoy the tourist-friendly shops, bars, and restaurants. You can reach Lake Louise from Calgary in under 2 hours.

    Location: 1 Whitehorn Rd, Lake Louise, AB T0L 1E0, Canada

    Open: Daily from 9 am to 6 pm

    Phone: +1 403-522-3555

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    3

    Fernie Alpine Resort

    Regular snowfall and plenty of activities suitable for large groups

    Fernie Alpine Resort is high up in the Rocky Mountains, with runs above the treeline near the summit that descend into well-sheltered runs as you ski down towards the base station. Regular snowfall, typically from January onwards, makes Fernie a top choice if you’re looking for powder days in western Canada.

    The runs in Fergie are wide open and well-groomed meaning groups can ski or snowboard together without the worry of too much traffic. This is one of the best ski resorts for mixed ability groups in Canada. Other activities to enjoy include sleigh rides, watching a game of ice hockey, or strapping on the snowshoes and hitting the hiking trails – even in the depths of winter! The town of Fernie is around 15 minutes’ drive from the base station, although there are plenty of ski-in, ski-out facilities on the mountain.

    Location: 5339 Fernie Ski Hill Rd, Fernie, BC V0B 1M6, Canada

    Phone: +1 250-423-4655

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    4

    Big White Ski Resort

    Plenty of fun to be had, day and night

    Big White Ski Resort is a popular ski holiday destination for fun blue and green runs (the easier runs), spread out over 1,100 hectares. It’s a great spot for a relaxing trip combining skiing with other winter activities such as tubing, ice skating, and dog sledding. You can also enjoy night skiing or boarding under bright lights.

    Many people choose Big White for their Canadian ski trip because of the interesting shopping and dining to be enjoyed at the foot of the mountain. Several fancy restaurants serve everything from sushi to tapas, giving Big White a touch more luxury than other resorts in British Columbia.

    Location: 5315 Big White Rd, Kelowna, BC V1P 1P3, Canada

    Phone: +1 250-765-3101

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    5

    Banff Sunshine Village Ski Resort

    Enjoy 7 months of skiing and snowboarding

    Banff Sunshine Village is a high-altitude ski resort on the border of Alberta and British Columbia. Being more inland than most ski areas in western Canada, the mountains are bigger here, meaning longer runs. The longest run at the resort is an incredible 8 km.

    The snowfall in this area of Alberta is excellent, with a long ski season that stretches from November to early May – that’s almost 7 months of skiing. But be aware that temperatures can drop below -10°C in mid-winter so those chairlifts up to the top can get mighty chilly. March and April offer great skiing conditions in Banff. Look out for free guided tours of the mountain, which are led by volunteers who will take you right across the ski area and provide some interesting historical information.

    Location: 1 Sunshine access Rd, Banff, AB T1L 1J5, Canada

    Phone: +1 403-705-4000

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    6

    Revelstoke Mountain Resort

    The biggest vertical drop of any ski resort in Canada

    Revelstoke Mountain Resort offers 65 ski runs with plenty of steep, challenging black runs for experienced riders. There are 8 ski lifts on the mountain, including an enclosed gondola to reach the summit. As this isn’t as large as many other ski sites in western Canada, you’ll find it less busy and catering to a more ski-obsessed crowd. The resort has a 1,713-metre vertical drop, which is quite an extreme altitude change.

    The town of Revelstoke sits a short distance from the base of Mount Mackenzie, with plenty of accommodation and restaurants for some après ski activities. Revelstoke Airport is only a few minutes’ drive from the base ski slopes, so it makes sense to fly into this remote resort.

    Location: 2950 Camozzi Rd, Revelstoke, BC V0E 2S1, Canada

    Open: Daily from 8 am to 8 pm

    Phone: +1 866-373-4754

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    7

    Sun Peaks Ski Resort

    Massive ski area suitable for large groups

    Sun Peaks Ski Resort is a Canadian resort that spans 3 separate peaks for a huge variety of runs. With around 1,728 hectares of skiable terrain, this huge area is second only to Whistler Blackcomb in terms of size. In total, there are almost 140 trails for you to enjoy, with 13 lifts. Sun Peaks is also popular with cross-country skiers (also known as Nordic skiing) thanks to the many hiking tracks that crisscross the mountainsides that are also pet friendly.

    This ski area is a great destination for the major holidays due to its remote location. It’s around 45 minutes’ drive from the town of Kamloops or an hour’s flight from Vancouver or Calgary. Other activities on the mountain include dog sledding, winter mountain biking on specially designed ‘fat’ tyres, ice fishing and snowmobiling.

    Location: 1280 Alpine Road, Sun Peaks, BC V0E 5N0, Canada

    Phone: +1 250-578-7222

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    8

    Red Mountain Resort

    Great value skiing in British Columbia

    Located close to the American border, Red Mountain Resort is a lesser-known ski resort that’s something of a hidden gem for advanced riders in British Columbia. You’ll enjoy plenty of tree-lined runs here, which are especially fun after a big dump of snow. The gentle slopes still have some easy green and blue runs suitable for beginners. The chair lifts and facilities here are not fully developed to make it a tourist destination, but that also means that Red Mountain is noticeably cheaper than some of the more famous ski resorts in Canada.

    If you’re looking for some great value skiing and snowboarding in western Canada, with a nice meal and a couple of beers before bed, then Red Mountain is a great choice. The snow can get slushy during warmer months, so it’s best to head here in mid-winter.

    Location: 4300 Red Mountain Rd, Rossland, BC V0G 1Y0, Canada

    Open: Daily from 8.30 am to 4 pm

    Phone: +1 250-362-7384

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    photo by Murray Foubister (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified

    9

    Silver Star

    Family fun on the slopes and in the village

    Silver Star is a throwback to how ski resorts used to feel, attracting a lot of families with its wide variety of ski runs, car-free village and child-friendly restaurants. 3 high-speed chair lifts service the ski runs, with some ‘magic carpet’ lifts for children and beginners.

    Silver Star's inland location in the middle of British Columbia, far from all major cities, keeps the numbers down on all but major holidays. It’s best to fly to Kelowna Airport and take an hour-long shuttle to the mountain.

    Location: 123 Shortt St, Silver Star Mountain, BC V1B 3M1, Canada

    Phone: + 1 250-542-0224

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    10

    Kicking Horse

    One for the experienced riders who want a challenge

    Kicking Horse is an expansive ski resort in British Columbia, known among hardcore riders and snowboarders as a place to test your mettle on some challenging double black diamond runs. If you didn’t know, that’s as hard as the measuring system gets on most mountains!

    For many years, Kicking Horse was only accessible to heli-skiers, but thanks to more lifts being installed, we can all try out the steep mountain terrain. The gondola that takes you right to the top can get busy on fresh powder days, but you can save time by staying in a ski-in, ski-out hotel close to the base station.

    Location: 1500 Kicking Horse Trail, Golden, BC V0A 1H0, Canada

    Open: Daily from 10 am to 3.30 pm

    Phone: +1 250-439-5425

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    Paul Smith | Compulsive Traveler

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