Canada’s resorts are in a class of their own, with superbly groomed pistes, endless backcountry, modern lift systems, affordable food and unrivalled hospitality.
Freestyle areas and snow-parks tend to eclipse their European counterparts and even the standard of accommodation on offer tends to be better and more spacious than that typically found in France and Italy.
If you haven’t already done so, it’s time to venture west. Here are ten of the best resorts Canada has to offer…
A strong candidate for the ‘World’s Greatest Ski Resort’, Whistler benefits from a high-speed lift system and boasts some of Canada’s biggest verticals. With more than 32 square kilometres of powder chutes, mogul fields, motorway pistes and tree skiing, Whistler and Blackcomb mountains make up the largest ski area in North America.
‘Après’ means more than just bar crawls in Whistler, with moonlit skiing, sleigh rides, cinema and micro-brewery tours to get you started.
Part of the UNESCO Rocky Mountain Parks World Heritage Site, Lake Louise is one of the “Banff Big Three” – a trio of interconnected resorts that make up part of the wider Canadian Rockies Super Pass ski area. High altitude pistes give great snow conditions and easy greens and gentle slopes are deal for beginners.
The vast ski area attracts adventurous intermediates and the endless powder skiing and decent mogul fields will satisfy experts. Not one for all-night parties, Lake Louise attracts serious skiers who like to get an early night.
A good value resort with an authentic atmosphere, great snow cover and plenty of ski-action, Apex Mountain has a reputation as one of Canada’s best small resorts.
Its un-crowded slopes and short lift queues make for relaxed ski days and, with a terrain that combines gentle cruisers with big fall-lines and challenging off-piste, Apex Mountain has something for everyone.
Set in the stunning Jasper National Park, this town is 20 minutes from the un-crowded slopes of the Marmot Basin, where glaciers, forests and frozen lakes await.
If you ski in Canada and visit Jasper, expect downhill skiing on champagne powder, roaming elks, affordable prices, family-friendly facilities and a decent après scene.
Home to the second biggest vertical in Canada, Kicking Horse is renowned for its champagne powder and excellent snow retention. With an ever-evolving piste network, no two seasons here are ever quite the same.
The mountain terrain is particularly good for experts and heli-skiing is popular but there’s still plenty for beginners and intermediates. The mini-Scottish pub is a popular après spot, where you can sit and drink single malt on the terrace. Kicking Horse is also home to a Grizzly Bear refuge and the Northern Lights Wildlife Wolf Centre.
One of British Colombia’s better value resorts, Mount Washington benefits from supreme powder, two terrain parks, night skiing and Nordic trails.
Located to the east of Vancouver Island, it benefits from one of Canada’s deepest snow packs, receiving an average of 11 metre of fresh snow each year.
A resort for purists, Le Massif is located 70 km from Quebec City. With big snowfalls and good retention, this resort boasts the highest vertical in Eastern Canada and is home to an alpine training centre for Canadian athletes.
Located in Newfoundland’s Long Range Mountains, this remote resort has a reputation for its warm hospitality and offers some of the best conditions for skiing in Canada east of Alberta.
Beyond awesome downhills, expect cat skiing, ice-climbing, snow kiting and dogsledding.
90 minutes from Montreal, this accessible resort offers skiing on the highest peak in the Laurentians.
Eastern Canada’s most popular resort, Mount Tremblant is crammed with patisseries and owes its authentic ambience to its ingrained French-Canadian culture.
BC’s second biggest resort is also home of some of the area’s best après pubs. With 155 runs, dry powder, quiet slopes, good weather and plenty of ski-in ski-out accommodation, it’s a favourite with intermediates, experts and families, alike.
There’s a 150m Super Pipe, a boarder cross run, and nearly 40 acres of night skiing terrain.
For more skiing guides and blogs, check out: The 10 best ski holidays in Italy / The best ski boots of 2012 / Best Ski Touring Skis: A buyer’s guide /10 Reasons to Ski in Japan this Winter / Training for ski fitness – expert tips from Olympic physio
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