What are the best ski resorts in Canada? We break down our neighbors to the North best ski resorts and share our insights into our favorite ski resorts. It may be a hotly contested subject about the best ski resort, but you can’t go wrong with many of these resorts.
There is no denying that Canada has an abundance of snow and big mountains perfect for ski. To make things matters better Canadian ski resorts are often quiet and locals are loved for their warm welcome. Add to the fact that Canadian ski resorts come in at a fraction of the price compared to Switzerland or Colorado and you have a tremendous country to go ski or snowboard.
Things may change this year as we’re headed to Japan, but the country is our favorite place in the world to snowboard. If you’re looking to plan your next ski vacation then check out some of these awesome resorts. We’ve been to just about every notable resort in Canada and will keep this list updated as we plan to move the Canadian Rockies is 2019.
The Best Ski Resorts in Canada
1. Lake Louise – The Best Ski Resort in Canada
In between runs screaming down groomers or tackling a bowl Banff National Park provides you some fresh air and stunning landscapes. We visited thirty resorts in one season and the views from Lake Louise were hands down some of the best in the world.
It also happens to be one of the largest ski resort in North America with 4,200 acres covering four mountain faces. The terrain varies between beautiful groomers, challenging steeps, and expert level chutes. The longest run here stretches for nearly five miles so start working out your leg muscles now. Lake Louise is a crowd favorite and should be on every skiers bucket list.
There is one major downside to Lake Louise and that comes with the cost and lack of accommodation. Since it’s located in the national park there are no hotels at the resort and the closest one of note is the five star Fairmont Lake Louise. We stayed in Banff which also will cost you an arm and a leg along with high food costs. Considering it’s the most popular tourist attraction in Canada and cannon fodder for Instagram this should not be a surprise.
As one last bonus, Lake Louise has one of the longest seasons in Canada often stretching from November to May!
Reasons why we love Lake Louise
- Overlooking Lake Louise
- Massive terrain
- Proximity to Banff
2. Whistler-Blackcomb – Best Full Package Ski Resort in Canada
This is the mountain on this list that we haven’t visited, but as it’s the biggest and most well-known resort in Canada. Just about every list of the best ski resorts in the world places Whistler-Blackcomb near the top, if not number one. Located in Whistler and just a two-hour drive from Vancouver Whistler is an epic place to have a ski holiday in Canada. It’s the largest ski resort in North America and is visited by over 2 million visitors a year.
Along with Aspen and other Colorado Resorts in the United States, it’s also one of the most expensive places to have a full on ski or snowboard holiday in the world. So even though it may be crowded and make you go broke, the terrain at Whistler is nothing short of amazing. There is something for everyone and even the experts rave about it. For more information about snowboarding at Whistler, our favorite ski YouTuber to follow is Snowboard Pro Camp who is based out of the resort.
Reasons we love Whistler-Blackcomb
- Advanced terrain inbounds
- Incredible off-piste
- Great lift infrastructure
- Large village
- Massive terrain
- Lots of accommodation
- Terrain parks
- Restaurants and nightlife
3. Mont Tremblant – Best East Coast Resort
Mont Tremblant was our first snowboard destination in North America after a month in the Swiss Alps, and I must say it did not disappoint! We spent two days shredding it on the slopes of one of the best ski resorts in Canada. The summit sits at almost 900 meters and offers breathtaking views over the Laurentians. The pistes of the resort spread out from the summit and there is a large number of possibilities for all ski and snowboard abilities.
Those visitors will find a ski area that includes 96 ski trails and 79 km of piste with a variety of greens, blues, and blacks. Mont Tremblant’s incredible snowmaking and grooming abilities, which are considered some of the best in North America. It’s famed for being the best ski resort on the East-Coast, and that may be true.
Above all else, Mont-Tremblant offers amazing Quebec charm in a sea of maple trees. People are friendly just darn friendly here and resort offers the most complete package of any resort on the East Coast. It’s also the only resort from the East Coast we’ve bothered to place on this list. There are a ton of family-friendly winter activities to enjoy in the area and plenty of maple syrup to go around!
Reasons we love Mont Tremblant
- Family Friendly
- Best skiing in Eastern Canada
- Charming village
- Many things to do for a full family-friendly holiday
- Accessible to Montreal
4. Banff Sunshine – Best Ski Resort For Big Mountain Terrain
If you want to find a mountain with some seriously humbling terrain in-bounds then Banff Sunshine is the place to head. Jagged peaks loom high above alpine trees and the views are unparalleled. When you first arrive in the parking lot the mountain does not look like much as the base is simply a gondola station and one restaurant. In fact, to reach the true resort base guests must take a 15-minute gondola that delivers them into a sprawling resort that looks like it belongs in the Alps, not North America.
Banff Sunshine contains two expert only areas that require all riders and skiers to sign out with the ski patrol and carry an avalanche kit. Delirium Dive and Wild West areas feature massive cliff features, chutes, and some seriously steep terrain. Don’t let the expert terrain detract you from visiting the resort as it also has a plethora of groomed beginner and intermediate runs. A large portion of this in terrain that is open with few trees due to the elevation. The resort has something for everyone and the base area makes for a perfect central point to meet after skiing the surrounding peaks.
Reasons why we love Banff Sunshine
- Massive terrain
- Easy to get away from crowds
- Long season
5. Sun Peaks – Best Beginner Terrain
The trails at Sun Peaks ski resort are well laid out and pretty easy to navigate with almost all runs leading back to the base village. It makes for easy navigating and it is almost impossible to get lost. Especially in comparison to Switzerland and Austria where skiers and boarders can easily end up in another village or country if they don’t pay attention.
The resort doesn’t serve as a mecca for ski bums, but that doesn’t mean the ski runs aren’t notable. There are a number of challenging pistes, bowls, glades, and a nice terrain park that has plenty to offer expert and advanced ability levels. It’s a nice full-service ski resort and the second largest in Canada only smaller than the monstrous Whistler-Blackcomb.
Reasons why we love Sun Peaks
- Beginner friendly, but still challenging for experts
- Every lift has a green run down
- Ski in – ski out accommodation
- Three mountains so it’s never too crowded
- Massive terrain park
- Full Resort
6. Kicking Horse – Best Ski Resort For Freeride Terrain
British Columbia is well known for its legendary ski resorts and Kicking Horse is one that consistently makes the list. The mountain used to be serviced for heli-skiing only, but with the new addition of a massive gondola a world of terrain has opened up to everyone. This Canadian ski resort is no beginners mountain with some crazy double black diamond chutes and bowls.
Over half the runs on the mountain are either rated as black or double black and it’s well known for being an advanced and expert riders mountain with very few beginner’s runs. What makes the mountain even better is its location on the Powder Highway and being known for getting epic snow dumps and being the “Champagne Powder Capital of Canada.”
Reasons we love Kicking Horse
- Champagne powder
- Alpine terrain
- Open terrain
- High vertical
- Not crowded
7. Revelstoke – Close Second in Freeride Terrain
There aren’t many resorts in North America you could describe as up and coming, but Revelstoke is just that. It has a reputation that proceeds itself for amazing freeride terrain and tree skiing. A large portion of this resort was previously only accessible via cat skis until the 2007/2008 season when a gondola and two fast chairlifts were added.
All of this opened up a dizzying amount of terrain (3000 acres) and the biggest vertical in North America (1,713m). To top it all off the Revelstoke get plenty of fresh powder at 12m a year on average. The only reason it’s not higher on our list is the terrain is mostly ungroomed and steep. Revelstoke also lacks a resort infrastructure and the full holiday package. It’s a destination for those who want some amazing ski in a stunning setting. As tourism grows in the town with more hotels, restaurants, and bars this Canadian Ski Resort is going to make more lists.
Reasons we love Revelstoke
- Absolutely epic on a powder day
- Open terrain
- Lift Infrastructure
- High vertical
- Not crowded
8. Panorama – Best Secret Holiday Ski Resort
Panorama is a hidden secret in the Purcell Mountain range on the Powder Highway. It’s easily overlooked by many of the other full-service resorts in Canada and the U.S. When it comes to ski holidays people tend to think in the hive mind – as they all flock to the same resorts they have heard of. That means ski resorts in Colorado, California, and Vermont can become insanely busy and overpriced.
Which is exactly what we didn’t find at Panorama. The Canadian ski resort boasts an impressive 4,000 feet of vertical, so your legs will be burning by the time you reach the bottom of the lift, but there are plenty of beautiful places to stop off and enjoy a cappuccino if you fancy.
Reasons why we love Panorama
- New resort with modern amenities
- Great freeride terrain
- Beginner and Expert terrain parks
- Resort Amenities (skating rink and outdoor hot pool complex, with swimming pools, water slides, hot tubs and a sauna)
- Terrain for everyone
- Night skiing
9. Fernie – Best “Ski Bum” Resort
Fernie has been named as one of the best ski towns in the world by countless sites and magazines, including the likes of National Geographic. It’s historically a mining town that was voted the “Best Little Town in BC,” and for good reason. Fernie actually turned out to be one of our favorite spots in all of Canada. This resort in the Canadian Rockies is known for drowning in piles of snow. They see an average of nearly 9m of snow or about 29 ft a year. It’s spread out over 2,504 acres of terrain that includes five large bowls, ridges, and glades. To explore all that the mountain has to offer would take a season at least, with countless options for new lines.
Located in the British Columbia Rockies, Fernie Alpine Resort is the ski destination that powder-lovers dream of and is another expert mountain. With 2,504 acres of terrain spread over five spectacular open alpine bowls, ridges and glades, there is an endless adventure on this mountain. The one saying you’ll hear a lot in Fernie is “steep and deep” and it’s well deserved.
Reasons we love Fernie
- Abundant snowfall
- Cool “Wild West” feel
- Small town charm
- Experts Mountain
- Few children
- Long runs
10. Kimberley – Best Hidden Ski Resort
This may be one of our favorites in the area just because it is so unassuming. Unlike Fernie, Kicking Horse, or Panorama there are no massive bowls, famed double blacks, or white knuckle glades to scare your ski pants off at Kimberley. Instead, it is a magical, simple, and a quiet mountain that’s perfect for ripping a groomer or letting your kids have fun on their own without fearing they’ll fall off a cliff. A large part of it is due to its location across the valley in the Purcell mountain range, no it’s not located in the Canadian Rockies!
If you like gladed runs you’ll love Kimberley. The tree-lined runs off the Black Forest are a real treat. It was arguably our quietest time on pistes as we never saw another skier or snowboarder in our path. If you’re looking for our favorite run on the mountain it would be Vortex. Its a tree-lined run in the Black Forest area with a natural half pipe perfect for both snowboarders and skiers.
Reasons we love Kimberley
- Family friendly
- Great night skiing
- Good mix of runs for all
11. Nakiska – Best “Local’s” Mountain Ski Resort
This was our first introduction to the Canadian Rockies and we are happy we made the stop. Many people skip over Nakiska for its bigger and more intimidating counterparts of Lake Louise and Banff Sunshine. While the surrounding region of Kananaskis may not be as world-renowned as Banff, it is every bit as stunning and with far less tourism. To get to Nakiska you will most likely start in Calgary, only an hours drive away.
The drive into Kananaskis Country instantly makes you feel small as the Canadian Rockies making you even forget you were just in a major city. Nakiska was originally built for the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary. It’s not a massive resort and is well known to be the local’s mountain for Calgary residents. We got lucky and had two epic powder days at Nakiska on a Monday and Tuesday. There’s nothing better than an empty powder mountain making these days some of our favorites of the whole season.
Reasons we love Nakiska
- Proximity to Calgary
- Fun gladed area
- Super quiet during the week
- Good for families
12. Mt Norquay – Best Ski Resort to Add on Your Holiday
Mt Norquay is the most digestible of resorts here and the least imposing for beginners/intermediates. It’s only a 10-minute drive from the town of Banff, making it a great option to go get some runs in and still have time in town. The resort has been in operation since 1926 and offers a number of activities asides from snowboard and ski. It’s also the only mountain that offers night skiing in the area and relatively small in comparison to the other resorts of SkiBig3.
While Lake Louise and Banff Sunshine can draw a decent crowd (still few lines) Mt. Norquay is a quiet mountain. You’ll have a hard time finding crowds here and it’s the perfect place to learn how to ski with a good ski school and affordable lift ticket. They also offer snowshoe hikes, tubing, and child care. The biggest plus to Mt. Norquay for us is the proximity to the town of Banff, only a 10-minute drive. However, if you’re an advanced skier you’ll have to give it a skip for Banff-Sunshine or Lake Louise. The real appeal of this resort is for holiday makers who are interested in trying out ski or snowboard while in the Canadian Rockies.
Reasons why we love Mt. Norquay
- 10 minutes from Banff
- Family friendly
When is the best time to ski in Canada?
For the best conditions, I would recommend visiting Canada between December and March. You’ll have epic powder days in February, but it’s also brutally cold during this month. If you can wait until April prices will be cheaper at most resorts. Banff Sunshine and Lake Louise sometimes operate until July!
What is the best way to get to the ski resorts in Canada?
Like the United States, the most efficient and best way to get around Canada is with a car. If you an American citizen residing somewhat near the border perhaps you can road trip in. We opted to rent a car for a month to get around Alberta and BC. For two people the cost wasn’t terrible, although gas prices were high compared to the USA Canada ski resorts map
Our gear list
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- Our Epic Snowboard & Ski Travel Guide
- Three Unheard of Ski Resorts in Idaho Well Worth a Trip
- Five Ski Resorts in the Canadian Rockies You Haven’t Heard About
- The Ultimate Ski (and Snowboard) Trip Packing List