Contemplating ripping up the mountains in Canada but need help deciding which resort to hit? Whether you’re after easy-going beginner runs, challenging terrain, or once-in-a-lifetime nightlife, our ultimate list has a resort for you. Check them out below!
Oh, Canada! Look a little closer, and it’s easy to see why some of Canada’s ski resorts are ranked as the best in the entire world. The legendary peaks of the Rockies, the Selkirks, Monashees, Purcells, the Coast Mountains, and the Ominecas, all hold mind-blowing ski resorts that attract riders of all abilities from every corner of the globe.
The Canadian mountains offer a certain variety that’s simply hard to beat. Head to British Columbia, Alberta, Quebec, or Ontario to find resorts that serve up more powder than you can imagine, world-famous off-piste terrain, and insane après-ski. But there are also smaller resorts where you can rub shoulders with locals and revel in that authentic Canadian charm.
So, where should you explore first? Whether you’re after the chance to heli-ski and send it off movie-worthy cliffs, or chill out and soak up some family-friendly activities, Dope Mag is here to help! We’ve rounded up the 25 best ski resorts from the stretch of Canada and presented them with awards based on what they top the list for, such as ‘beginner-friendly’.
It’s all part of our plan to help you choose your next epic destination. So, start planning that trip with our ultimate list of the best Canadian ski resorts.
Quick find navigation - Top 25 ski resorts in the Canada
Generally, the best time to ride in Canada is between December and March. However, some resorts, such as Whistler, are even open until late April.
If you remember one thing about Canadian weather (okay, two things), it’s that it can get damn cold and freaking icy. In fact, it’s ranked as the third coldest country in the world (behind Russia and Greenland). And it’s perfectly normal to encounter freezing rain in some resorts, especially those nearer the west coast (Whistler, for example), or those in Ontario and Quebec.
Of course, this depends on which area you’re heading to, and, as a general rule, things warm up in March. But, until then, pack plenty of down, base layers, and sharpen those edges.
Where should you head first in Canada’s vast country? Dope Mag will tell you all! Above each resort guide is a list of awards highlighting our favorite traits about each place. These range from ‘family-friendly’ to ‘off-piste’, ‘overall value’, and ‘nightlife’.
FYI, we haven’t ranked the resorts in any specific order! Think of this as an ultimate list rather than ranking from best to worst. Instead, we’ve used badges under each resort’s name. These highlight the absolute best bits so you can find a ski destination that meets your needs.
We’ve included each resort’s type of ski pass, too. This is handy to know as buying one of the four main ski pass options – Epic, IKON, Powder Alliance, and Mountain Collective – often means you can ride at multiple resorts throughout the season. And they don’t just have to be in Canada. Buy an Epic pass, for example, and you can also ride in resorts across the US, Europe, and even Japan.
There are also Canada-specific lift tickets like the Rocky Mountain Passport. This provides access to seven resorts across the Canadian Rockies for insane snow all season long. Alternatively, you can buy the SkiBig3 lift ticket with access to Banff Sunshine, Lake Louise Ski Resort, and Mt. Norquay (all three of which are on our list!).
Each ski pass often has different options (such as full-access, two-day, base pass, etc.). In the grand scheme of things, you might save more money buying one of these passes than buying individual lift tickets.
You’ll also notice quite a few mentions of the knock-your-socks-off Powder Highway® throughout our list. This adventure playground and premier ski destination is in British Columbia’s Kootenay Rockies and features deep, deep snow alongside North America’s most stash-filled, adventure-packed ski resorts.
If you’re after backcountry lodges and heli-skiing, you need to head to this area of BC. The eight ski resorts along Canada’s Powder Highway are…
- Whitewater Ski Resort
- Fernie Alpine Resort
- Panorama Mountain Resort
- Kicking Horse Mountain Resort
- Revelstoke Mountain Resort
- Kimberley Alpine Resort
- Fairmont Hot Springs Resort
- Red Mountain Resort
Is anyone else suddenly feeling the urge for a road trip? We’ll start the engine…
Whistler Blackcomb is Canada’s crème de la crème (if not the world’s). They say if you can’t find terrain here to make you go ‘yew!’, you won’t find it anywhere else on the planet. It has a whopping 8,171 acres split between Whistler and Blackcomb. So, you’re sure to find something to make you grin from ear to ear!
There’s big snowfall here too – around 37.5 feet per year! So pack your snorkel. And the balance of beginner, intermediate, and advanced skiing is ridiculously spot on. Families, freeriders, racers, tree riders, park rats, and cruisers can all get their fix on these two side-by-side mountains.
Whistler is up there as one of our favorite resorts ever for après! Yep, if you like to party, Whistler is one of the most famous destinations for memory-making nightlife. Gems include The GLC, Dusty’s, and Merlin’s Bar & Grill.
We don’t want to exaggerate, but Whistler might be as close to perfection as you can get. This isn’t just a ski resort – it’s an outright experience.
Top tip: For ultimate bragging rights, hire a guide and hike over Blackcomb’s Spanky Ladder. There you’ll find the insane Gemstone Bowls. Be warned, though: this is some serious expert terrain that’s not for the faint-hearted.
We bet your jaw will drop in awe once you arrive at Lake Louise. This place raises the bar on stunning scenery with its aged glaciers and how-can-this-be-real vistas. Honestly, it’s like something out of a movie, your Insta feed, and Pinterest board combined!
The terrain also gets our vote in terms of its variety. There’s something for everyone throughout Lake Louise’s 4,275 acres – from steep, long groomers to cliff-decorated couloirs and luscious larch-filled glades (quite a tongue twister, that!). The resort itself, though, is quite relaxed with low-key après-ski and easy-going locals.
And, while in Lake Louise, you’ve just got to eat at Whitehorn Bistro. Yes, the food is awesome, but the view will knock you sideways. Expect to have your mind blown over the 11,375-foot Mt. Victoria with its impressive sub-peaks.
In terms of overnight lodging in Lake Louise, there are six incredible hotels to choose from – including the iconic, luxurious Fairmont Chateau! Head to the Fairmont Chateau for breathtaking views of the lake and Canadian Rockies – seriously, your camera roll will be full of jaw-dropping vids and photos. Of course, you can also stay in the epic town of Banff, only a 40-minute drive away.
Top tip: Sign up for one of Lake Louise’s free guided tours, offered twice a day. This is a rad touch for finding your ski legs – and bearings. Lake Louise’s size can definitely be a touch overwhelming …
Yep, Lake Louise is stunning, but Sunshine Village is equally impressive. It also features insanely impressive terrain and snow conditions, making it high on many people’s riding bucket lists.
There’s even accessible butterfly-inducing backcountry-type terrain, such as Wild West and Delirium Drive. Just make sure you have the appropriate avalanche kit.
The awesome Banff is close by, but Sunshine Village offers its own on-mountain accommodation. Yep, the Sunshine Mountain Lodge is ski-in, ski-out, and perfect for heading back to after a day of hucking groomers, treeline slopes, drops, bowls, and the infamous terrain parks.
Yep, in Sunshine Village, you’ll have your pick of four terrain parks. Each one offers something different for every rider: Strawberry Park, Great Divide Park, Grizzly Park & Springhill Park.
Top tip: Stretch those skiing and snowboarding legs by buying a tri-area lift ticket. You’ll have access to Sunshine, Norquay, and Lake Louise, with shuttle bus transport included from the latter and Banff.
If ski-in, ski-out accommodation is what you’re after, you can’t go wrong with Big White Ski Resort. Yes, its design means you can practically roll out of bed and be riding freshies within five minutes.
Because Big White is so easy to get around, it’s perfect for families. But it’s also spot on for solo riders and riding crews – especially if you’re bringing beginners and intermediates with you (18% of trails are for beginners and 54% for intermediates). And don’t worry if you’re more of an advanced rider. There are more than enough mogul-filled black diamond runs and off-piste tree riding to keep you busy.
Off the mountain, there are bucket loads of activities and entertainment for families – and the big kids amongst you. We’re talking about ice hockey, ice climbing, ice skating, and mini snowmobiles.
There are regular events, such as fireworks and carnival nights, too. All this is particularly handy for down days and if you’re not a fan of riding in whiteouts. Well, they don’t nickname Big White the Big White Out for nothing.
Top tip: Look out for Big White’s infamous ‘snow ghosts’. These are ghoulish-looking snow-blasted trees – so don’t worry about wiping your goggles if you think you’re seeing things or might be too hungover.
We all dream of powder: waist-deep frozen goodness that makes us grin like nothing else. And, when people dream of powder, they’re often envisioning one of two places: Japan or Revelstoke. Yes, this resort receives approximately 34.5 feet of dreamy powder per year. That’s certainly enough to put the ‘Real Stoke’ in Revelstoke.
We’re not going to sugar-coat it, though: Revelstoke is pretty hardcore. The fifth stop on the Powder Highway® is loaded with some nerve-wracking freeride terrain. But, because it’s a bit of a mission to get to, the crowds aren’t as extensive as somewhere like Whistler. So, tricky terrain and tricky location make Revelstoke heaven for freeriders. Winning!
However, there are some beginner areas to be found. Plus, at the base of Revelstoke Mountain Resort, you’ll find some ski-in, ski-out accommodation, incredible scenery, and a classic old-school ski-town vibe. Intermediates and advanced riders will go crazy for the long, winding groomers that take you straight back to the base.
Top tip: For the mountain’s most uninterrupted fall-line run, hike to Sub Peak. Here, you'll drop in close to the resort boundary (to the right of The Banana Hammock) and enjoy one of the greatest lines of your life.
If you’ve got little ones in tow, Sun Peaks Ski Resort is the place! There’s a ski-in, ski-out village, awesome ski school facilities, child-minding services, and shed-loads of activities to keep kids busy on and off the slopes (such as horse-drawn sleigh rides and dog sledding).
And, while the kids are occupied, there’s more than enough terrain for you to shred. Sun Peaks has Canada’s second-largest ski area (Whistler being first) with a jaw-dropping 4,270 acres of rideable terrain.
What it trumps over Whistler, though, is a lack of crowds. And we can go one step better – Sun Peaks gets 19.75 feet of dry, light powder every year.
The rideable terrain is spread across three mountains. For mellow groomed trails (perfect for beginners and intermediates), head for Sunny Sundance Mountain. For more challenging terrain, glades, and open bowls, it’s gotta be Mt Tod. If you want a sweet mix of steeps and cruisers, though, ride over to the north-facing Mt Morrisey.
Top tip: Why unclip at the end of the run? Stay clipped into your bindings and ride down the main snow-covered street of Sun Peaks village.
SilverStar Mountain Resort will charm you off your feet. It’s like something out of a movie set with tons of fairy lights, child-friendly activities and facilities, ski-in, ski-out lodging, and a cute pedestrian village.
But don’t let words like ‘cute’ fool you into thinking this resort is just a bunny hill for beginners. Instead, you’ll find 3,282 acres with 133 marked trails, making it more than big enough to entertain you from first lifts to last chair. There are plenty of Blue runs alongside Black runs, with 40% of the trails marked as intermediate, 35% advanced, and 10% expert.
On the backside of SilverStar, you’ll find Putnam Creek. This is for the advanced riders among you with challenging double black diamond runs, big cruisers, bumps, and steeps. Plus, SilverStar can definitely brag when it comes to snowfall. This resort averages around 23 feet of dry powder every year. Prepare for freshies and face-shots!
Top tip: Fancy swapping two planks for two wheels? SilverStar offers a whopping 15 kilometers of groomed trails for fat biking!
If the name Kicking Horse makes you think this resort might be more hardcore than others, you wouldn’t be wrong. Kicking Horse Mountain Resort has humbled many expert riders with its double black diamonds, chutes, bowls, and gladed trees.
Gnarliness reigns supreme in this resort, with 45% of the trails being Black runs and 15% Double Black Diamonds. It’s also an insane destination for powder hounds, averaging 24 feet of the dry white stuff every year. Well, it is stop number four on the famous Powder Highway®.
The mountain’s peak is made up of four main bowls and multiple ridges that wind down into one main face and 128 marked runs. Fancy tackling one of the longest verticals in North America? You’ll get the chance at Kicking Horse. It has a vertical of 4,134 feet – perfect for a quad workout!
The nightlife and village here are quite quiet, but that’s only because the focus is more on riding – and building up your legs’ tolerance to take on that vertical!
Top tip: Kicking Horse is the place to go heli-skiing – even as a first-timer! Head out on a guided tour to access more freshies than you can imagine. It’s like having good times on tap!
We debated about whether to add Red Mountain Ski Resort to our list, but only because it’s a fairly unknown, uncrowded, and untracked ski resort. So, we didn’t know whether we should spill the beans or keep schtum about the final stop on the Powder Highway®.
Some folks come here, fall in love with it, and never leave. And how can you blame them? Red Mountain is home to jaw-dropping fall-line tree riding and plenty of that sweet, fresh powder over an impressive 3,850 acres.
Red Mountain smashes that perfect balance between steep, knee-shaking, challenging terrain and family-friendliness. Plus, Rossland, the nearby town, is so laid-back you’ll wonder how anyone ever rides upright!
It also offers incredible bang for your buck. Stay in on-mountain accommodation at Red Resort or head down to Rossland. At Red Resort, there’s a ski school, childcare, a retail shop, bar, a cafeteria, and other dining options. But there’s nothing horribly overdeveloped here. It’s chilled-out Canadian vibes at their best. And we love it.
Top tip: Book yourself on a cat skiing tour! Go with a tour company for a day’s riding or jump on one of the resort’s snowcat shuttles that take you over to the advanced terrain of Mt Kirkup.
Head for Jasper National Park and prepare to be blown away. Marmot Basin Ski Resort is blow-your-socks-off beautiful, especially from the Eagle Ridge and Knob chairs.
But what’s even more likely to blow you away is discovering how uncrowded this resort is. It’s great value for money, especially compared to the likes of Lake Louise and Sunshine. The locals are bend-over-backwards welcoming, too, making Marmot Basin feel like a home away from home.
And, in terms of riding, Marmot Basin Ski Resort offers the best of both worlds: the splendor of the open alpine alongside the coverage (and fun) of the trees. There’s enough variety to keep every rider happy here – from bumps, glades, and tight trees to groomers, chutes, and cliff drops. The trails are also pretty evenly spread (satisfyingly so): 30% for beginners, 30% for intermediates, 20% for advanced riders, and 20% double black diamonds.
Top tip: You’ve just GOT to head to the jaw-dropping Maligne Canyon. It does mean a break from riding, but trust us, it is 100% worth it. You’ll walk on ice (with cleats) through a deep canyon, under frozen waterfalls, and across frozen rapids. It’s otherworldly – and unforgettable.
In terms of our favorite all-rounder resort, it’s got to be Fernie. This beauty draws everyone to it – from ski bums seeking expert terrain to families looking for a slice of the Powder Highway. The best thing, though, is that it’s hardly ever crowded and keeps that classic Canadian laid-back culture.
Fernie Ski Resort should be particularly high on your bucket list if you’re an advanced or expert rider. The terrain here is epic, with incredible sidecountry and backcountry options. It also features five large bowls across this 2,504-acre playground.
At the base, you’ll find a relaxed village with hotels, restaurants, and ski-in, ski-out accommodation. If you’re after off-mountain activities, the nearby town of Fernie has a climbing wall, dog sledding, and so much more.
Top tip: If you’re an avid powder hound – or just want to try something new – you’ve got to try snowcat skiing. Our top pick is choosing a multi-day trip that includes overnight stays in a luxury lodge. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and highly Instagrammable, too!
Head to Mont Tremblant and you might think you’ve taken a wrong turn and ended up in the Alps. Yep, there’s a distinct touch of European style here – from the fondue and continental dishes on the menus to the chance to practice your French with fellow riders. But you’re definitely on the East Coast – and at one of our favorite-ever resorts.
There doesn’t seem to be anything Mont Tremblant can’t do: it’s amazing for après-ski and nightlife, dining, lodging, and – of course – riding. Our top tip for après has to be Le Diable, a microbrewery brewing craft beers inside. And the pedestrian village excels and enchants with a vibrant array of cobbled streets, fire pits, and an open gondola.
For riding, there’s something for everyone. Hit trails with the locals on the North Side or ride through the trees on Sunny Side and The Edge. For times off the mountain, the options are endless – and epic. Drive a racecar, head to the waterpark, or ride a rollercoaster (yes, really!).
Top tip: They say the early bird catches the freshies. So, grab the opportunity to ride 45 minutes before the resort opens. This early access is free with stays at certain hotels, or you can pay for the powder privilege.
Ontario’s largest resort certainly delivers the goods with impressive terrain, an awesome lift system, and drop-dead stunning views of Lake Huron. What more could you need?
Okay, so the vertical isn’t crazy here. But you have over 365 acres of corduroy groomers to rip – whatever your level. The foot of Blue Mountain Resort has mellow learning slopes for beginners, while the western end offers steeper gladed terrain. Plus, there are plenty of bumps runs and night skiing if that’s more your thing.
For lodging, you have a variety of choices. Stay at the base of Blue Mountain Resort – with its luxury hotels, high-end stores, and fancy restaurants – or in nearby Collingwood. Heading there with someone who’s not that into riding? Take them ice skating, tubing, snowshoeing, or to the heated pools at the Plunge! Aquatic Centre.
Top tip: Head to AXED Blue Mountain for après-ski with a difference! Yep, you can throw axes after a day of throwing yourself down the mountain. We say it’s the perfect combo!
If other ski resorts in Banff are the big siblings, Mount Norquay is the baby (and favorite) child. Yep, compared to its neighbors, Mount Norquay is an under-the-radar resort loved by locals – which often means way fewer international crowds who all head for Sunshine and Lake Louise.
Because of its petite size, Mount Norquay is super easy to navigate. This means it’s often a firm favorite with families. Plus, there’s an awesome ski school, childcare, and a tubing hill (with eight lanes of tubing fun!). If you’re not planning to visit with a family, though, Mount Norquay still has you covered.
Think of it as a chilled, laid-back resort, perfect for finding your ski and snowboarding legs. It’s a fantastic pick for beginners, and there are also rad fall-line groomers for intermediates. Plus, you know what a lack of lift lines means: plenty of laps! Then, head to the Lone Pine to soak up the mountain views – and a pint of ice-cold beer.
Top tip: Night skiing! Mt. Norquay is the only place you can night ski in Banff National Park. Plus, it has a fully lit terrain park – perfect for perfecting those midnight Mutes!
Head to the Laurentian Mountains, and you’ll find a mini resort with a massive amount to offer. The awesome Mont-Sainte-Anne ski resort is only a one-hour drive from Quebec City. It’ll bowl you over with its stunning scenery, mega-fun tree runs, and incredible range of activities for the non-skiers in your group.
If you’re with dead-keen riders, though, this resort still packs a punch. There’s enough for all abilities across its 71 runs. 46% of the terrain is targeted towards beginners and intermediates, while advanced skiers have the rest to play with. There’s also high snowfall (hello, 22 feet per year!) combined with fantastic snow cannon coverage for guaranteed white stuff.
Head away from the slopes, and there’s more than enough to entertain you. Fill your boots with fat-biking, ice-climbing, snowshoeing, and plenty of cross-country skiing spots. 547 acres might make you think that a week is enough time in Mont-Sainte-Anne, but as you can see, there’s plenty to keep you coming back – and your adrenaline high!
Top tip: With someone who’s not so much of an adrenaline junkie? Book them into the Château Mont Sainte-Anne. This four-star condo is at the base of the mountain, offering luxury, style…and a magnificent Nordic spa.
Another resort happy to stay on the DL is Panorama Ski Resort. Yep, head to Panorama Ski Resort and you’ll find tons of impressive terrain and vertical, ski-in, ski-out accommodation, and long corduroy trails. And the best bit? The crowds haven’t cottoned on to this gem yet!
Like Mount Norquay, Panorama’s village and ski area are conveniently designed – making it a hit with families. But Panorama also offers steep backcountry-style in-bounds terrain, accessible via snowcat or hiking. Plus, the gladed areas are something else here!
In fact, the pinnacle of tree skiing here is the double black diamond glade skiing in the Extreme Dream Zone. There’s also Taynton Bowl, a backcountry-style area that was former heli-skiing terrain. These touches give a cruiser’s heaven some legit backcountry chops.
When you’re done riding, there’s not much crazy nightlife here. However, you’ll want to head to Panorama’s famous hot pools. With a warm pool, two hot tubs, and a large cold pool, you have everything you need to find your zen – and relieve those aching legs.
Top tip: It’s got to be heli-skiing! Get away from the resort and access unlimited fresh tracks. Trust us – it’s a rush like no other! If you’re after something a little less daunting, though, choose the Authentic Cheese Fondue Luncheon at Elkhorn Cabin & Outdoor Café for unforgettable gourmet dining at 8,000 feet. Yep, this ski-in/ski-out cabin halfway up the mountain offers an incredible three-cheese blend made with Swiss Cheeses, white wine, and kirsch. And there’s chocolate fondue for added decadence. Anyone else’s stomach growling thinking about it? We’ll race you there!
Deep in Canada’s Selkirk Mountain range is a secluded resort that’s often overlooked and pure heaven for powder hounds. Yep, Whitewater (aka WH20) has an incredible 39 feet of annual snowfall! So, we don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say this place is a powder seeker’s paradise. In fact, it’s the number one spot on the infamous Powder Highway®.
And our favorite thing about this resort? You’re not having to share your freshies with others! Whitewater prioritizes authentic charm over heavy crowds, so you’ll never have to worry about elbowing anyone out of the way in the run to first lifts. Though, on a pow day, expect the entire town of Nelson to turn out!
And, with this much powder, it’s no surprise that the resort’s accessible slackcountry options are pretty sweet! Think steeps, tree riding, chutes, glades, and bowls. With three faces to choose from, there’s never a dull moment. And thanks to the natural boulder fields, the whole place becomes one big playground everywhere you look.
Top tip: Letting the fall lines take you. All roads lead to home on the Summit and Silver King sides, so don’t sweat staying on course. Just hunt for powder stashes and wait til you hit the cat tracks. Then, just follow them back to the lifts!
Get to Mt. Baldy quickly before the secret’s out! This resort is a quiet haven for powder chasers with blissfully non-existent lift queues and plenty of untouched lines to ride any time of the year.
There’s a real old-school feel at this resort, with friendly locals and incredible overall value. Okay, with 360 acres of rideable terrain, it’s not the biggest resort on our list, however, this is a resort where every square inch can be ripped and shredded – from natural and manmade glades (240 acres of it!) to open lift-served terrain.
Crash for the night in the small village or stay in the charming towns of Oliver (37km away) or Osoyoos (58km). Back in the resort itself, you’ll find a small day lodge with a bar and the option to go snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, or play winter disc golf.
Top tip: Plan your trip with care! Blady is shut Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and keeps a strict Thursday to Monday opening schedule. But hey, it lets the snow build up so ensure you’re timing your visit for those Thursday freshies.
Second on our list for the most aptly named ski resort is Powder King. Yep, it’s pretty much the top for powder skiing in Canada, getting a whopping 41 feet of snow per season. Is your jaw on the floor? That’s the most over any other Canadian ski resort!
It’s no surprise Powder King’s mantra is ‘Whisper of the North’ – everyone wants to keep this place on the down-low. And, because there are fewer crowds, there’s enough here to have a slice of snow heaven to yourself. Remember, though, that freshies are only up for grabs from Thursday to Sunday. Any other time, and the resort’s closed.
Oh, there’s also no cell service or Wi-Fi at Powder King, so you really can focus on the freshies. Okay, there’s not much else to do other than ride, but what else do you need? Ride, rest, repeat – and throw in some beers with the locals, of course.
Top tip: Bring everything you might need with you – including grocery supplies and snacks. Powder King is wonderfully stripped-back, so there aren’t tons of supplies available on-resort. Simplicity is king at Powder King.
Many powder hounds’ ears prick to attention when Apex Mountain Ski Resort is mentioned. That’s because it hosts that elusive blend of no crowds, rad steeps, and dry, light Okanagan powder. Jackpot!
If you’re keen to soak up an old-school ski area and get off grid for a few days, Apex is the place to go. There’s a substantial chunk of challenging trails for advanced and expert riders, featuring some thigh-burning fall line steeps and bump runs. It’s also often hard to tell the difference between a single and double black diamond run here. But there are some nice wide slopes with gentle grading for beginners (16% of trails are marked as beginner).
And, when you’re done riding, you can chill in the compact village. Just bear in mind that it’s a totally different vibe from the pumping nightlife and atmosphere of the likes of Whistler. However, most of the lodging here is ski-in, ski-out and the resort itself is fantastic bang for your buck. Sometimes, that’s all you need.
Top tip: A rite of passage at Apex is having a Gunbarrel coffee from Wendell. This is a flaming Grand Marnier sent down a double-barrel shotgun into coffee and fine liqueur. If you didn’t have a spring in your step about getting on the mountain, you sure will after this.
Hang out with the locals at Hudson Bay Mountain Resort (formerly Ski Smithers). It’s near the quiet town of Smithers, with a population of only 5,500 locals – so expect plenty of friendliness alongside your freshies.
There are also very few crowds, and lift tickets, food, and accommodation are super affordable. Honestly, this place ticks a lot of boxes. And, if backcountry is another box you’d want ticking, fear not – Hudson Bay Mountain Resort has access to some epic off-piste. 110 hectares of lift accessed sidecountry sits outside the resort boundaries. Plus, the Hankin Evelyn backcountry area is just a short drive away.
For beginners, Hudson Bay Mountain Resort provides a semi-separate area for learning. And, for intermediates, you’ll be flying – most of the terrain is marked as intermediate (55%) with rolling groomers that are mostly fall line.
Top tip: Tag Hudson Bay Mountain Resort onto a Northern Powder Highway road trip. It’s the perfect addition! Just remember that it’s closed on Mondays and Tuesdays throughout most of the season, though.
Let’s rewind to 1988. The Calgary Winter Olympics need somewhere purpose-built to host the event. Enter Nakiska ski resort. Yes, this small ski resort might have been built to host the Olympics, but its legacy as a real rider’s resort has lived on.
Nakiska’s petite size and easy-to-navigate design have made it a hit with families. Unfortunately, there’s not much natural snowfall here due to its location at the edge of the mountains, right on the cusp of the Alberta pan, just outside Calgary. But the snowmaking, state-of-the-art grooming, and impressive lift structure have made the former ski racing runs incredibly fun. Gather your crew and race (or cruise) down the wide corduroy Olympic-sized runs.
Most of the rideable terrain is aimed at intermediates. However, there are still enough trails for beginners and a couple of challenging runs for the more advanced riders among you. In fact, Nakiska is possibly the cheapest place to learn to ride – they offer a ‘Beginner Zone Only’ ticket for just $10. Bargain! If freestyle is more your thing, Nakiska’s got you. There’s a terrain park and half-pipe to keep you on your toes (literally).
Top tip: Keep an eye out for nods to Nakiska’s Olympic past. There are touches like chair names – the Bronze, Silver, and Olympic chairs are perfect for beginners with mostly Green slopes. For intermediate to advanced riders? Head for Gold! This chair offers a nice mix of Blue and Black runs.
Another amazing resort you won’t want to sleep on is Kimberley Ski Resort. This hidden gem is the sixth stop on the Powder Highway® and nestled into a picturesque (okay, Insta-worthy) section of the Purcells.
On-mountain, you’ll find 80 trails spread over 1,800 acres (and 12 or so gladed runs), meaning Kimberley Ski Resort has more than enough to play with for all abilities. The resort is split into two key areas, both below the tree line. The front side features a beginner’s area, while the back is mostly Black runs.
For advanced riders, Kimberley offers more than enough world-class riding with mogul and gladed terrain and backcountry access if you go further afield. There’s also a rail park for flexing your skills, and, down at the base, you’ll find a village with tons of Canadian charm and ski-in, ski-out accommodation. It’s also a wonderfully pretty winter-wonderland town thanks to the natural snow that builds up in the streets on account of its high native altitude. In fact, it’s officially the highest city in BC!
Top tip: Wake up to fresh pow? Head for the Black Forest Zone for hidden powder stashes, steep, technical lines, and shouting ‘yew’ among the open trees.
With 143 trails across seven slopes and four mountains, Bromont is not one to do things small. And there’s plenty for everyone here – from 40% of trails marked for experts and double-diamond riders, to 25% for beginners and 35% for intermediates.
If you’re heading on a trip with your family, Bromont might just be the place. It’s only an hour’s drive from Montreal, with a separate learning area and plenty of Greens and Blues on Mont Soleil. And, if that wasn’t enough, there’s a water park for down-days with slides and heated pools. The season pass is also incredible bang for your buck if you’re intending to post-up here for the winter! And if you prefer freestyling over family time, Bromont has eight terrain parks. Each park (yep, that’s what they’re known as) has plenty of creative and progressive features for every level – from seasoned pros to more nervous newbies.
See yourself as a night rider? Bromont has the largest floodlit ski area in North America. The mountain is open 8.30am to 10pm, Sunday to Thursday, and 8.30am to 10.30pm on Fridays and Saturdays. During their Nuits Blanches events, you can ride until 1am across 99 slopes. Just remember that’s only seven hours of shuteye before first lift, though…
Top tip: Try before you commit! Because of its low elevation, riding conditions at Bromont can sometimes be a bit hit-and-miss. The staff totally get this, though. So, if you’re not happy with the snow after 30 minutes, you can exchange your lift ticket for a coupon to come back another day. Now that’s service!
If you’re tired of bottomless BC powder, why not sneak across the border into Alberta and head to the expansive Castle Mountain Ski Resort? Keeping things casual, there are no fancy spas, sleigh rides, or expensive restaurants here, but that’s what we love about it. Instead, there’s an old-school vibe where riding reigns supreme over any frills or fluff.
At Castle Mountain, you’ll mostly rub shoulders with locals visiting for the weekend. But don’t worry – you won’t have to fight over freshies. Big crowds aren’t a big thing here. And, there’s a whopping 3,592 acres to go around, with challenging terrain and impressive length fall line runs. Yes, advanced and expert riders can fill their boots here with tons of steeps, chutes, moguls, glades, and cliff drops.
Oh, and there’s more than enough snowfall, with a more than respectable 29.5 feet per year. Our favorite thing to do with after a powder dump? Check out Castle Mountain’s 800-acre Powder Stagecoach cat skiing area. Acres upon acres of untouched pow? Genuinely what dreams are made of!
Top tip: Once you’re done cat skiing, head to Gambler – one of our favorite chutes in Castle Mountain. It’s a long, wide, steep run with untouched powder in the right conditions and not another soul in sight. Trust us – Gambler takes the word ‘fun’ to a whole new level!
And breathe! Phew, that’s our top picks of ski resorts in Canada. We like to think there’s something for every rider on our list – from die-hard powder hounds to families looking for their next adventure.
Reckon we’ve missed one worth including? Let us know via @dopesnow on Insta, and we’ll race you there.