The 5 Best Alberta Ski Resorts

The 5 Best Alberta Ski Resorts - UPDATED 2020/21
Karl Sander
Written by Karl Sander / Photos by Greg Burke
Last updated May 15, 2020
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Alberta is home to some of the highest terrain in the country and a number of the best ski resorts in Canada; a few even sit in the spectacular Canadian Rockies! With the help of local experts, here are the best places to hit the slopes in the Great White North’s “Wild Rose Country.”

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Known for

Incredible resort in Canada with epic skiing and views and access to SkiBig3 resorts with the same lift pass

Highlights

  • World class terrain for everyone
  • Stunning scenery
  • Longest seasons in North America (6 months)
  • Expensive place to ski

Closest airports

Calgary Intl. Airport - 125 mi (2 hour drive)
Lake Louise ski resort Alberta
Lake Louise has tons of terrain across four mountain faces

In the heart of Banff National Park, Lake Louise not only offers epic skiing but the resort also boasts some of the most incredible views you’ll see anywhere. Even though it lacks on-mountain lodging, the day lodges have all the facilities you need. You can also find lodging, shopping, and dining mere minutes away in the famous village – along with the iconic chateau (which is worth a visit even if you’re not staying there!). Best of all you can ski neighbouring Mount Norquay and Banff Sunshine on the same SkiBig3 pass.

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Known for

Home to the only ski-in/ski-out lodging in Banff with access to three ski resorts on the SkiBig3 lift pass

Highlights

  • Plenty of natural dry snow
  • Modern lifts – including a heated one
  • Longest seasons in North America (6 months)
  • Crowded on weekends and limited evening activities and dining

Closest airports

Calgary Intl. Airport - 100 mi (1.5 hour drive)
high alpine terrain at Banff Sunshine
Enjoy incredible views of the Canadian Rockies as you ski 

Banff Sunshine (also known as Sunshine Village) boasts some of the country’s highest terrain and one of the longest ski seasons. Far above the treeline, you can enjoy panoramic views of the Canadian Rockies in every direction. Most visitors will stay in the town of Banff but with a stay at Sunshine Mountain Village, the national park’s only ski-in/ski-out accommodation, you’ll be able to beat day-trippers (who need to take a gondola to reach the slopes) to first tracks. Banff Sunshine may not have as many dining or nightlife options as the town but makes for a wonderful alpine experience. Ski all 3 Banff resorts on the SkiBig3 pass.

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Known for

Hidden gem offering affordable fun in Banff with access to three ski resorts on the SkiBig3 lift pass

Highlights

  • Uncrowded ski area, ideal for beginners
  • Inexpensive place to ski
  • Diverse ski terrain
  • Small ski area and lack of on-mountain lodging

Closest airports

Calgary Intl. Airport - 93 mi (1.5 hour drive)
Mount Norquay Banff backyard ski hill
Mount Norquay is truly Banff's backyard ski hill

Mount Norquay may get overlooked because of its small size but it makes a good case for the best-kept secret in Canadian skiing. The ski area has a small-hill feel offering great skiing, affordability and a relaxed family-friendly vibe. There’s plenty to keep beginners and intermediates skiing all day long plus some surprisingly steep pitches for more advanced skiers and freshies hiding between the trees. Norquay isn’t a destination ski resort, but being so close to the town of Banff, it doesn’t need to be. You’ll find everything from dining to lodging just down the road – it’s really Banff’s backyard ski hill! Ski all 3 Banff resorts on the SkiBig3 pass.

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Known for

The highest base elevation of any Canadian ski resort

Highlights

  • Great value for the money
  • Uncrowded, short lift lines
  • Breathtaking views
  • Relatively remote location far from Calgary

Closest airports

Edmonton Intl. Airport - 250 mi (4.5 hour drive)
Calgary Intl. Airport - 270 mi (5 hour drive)
marmot basin ski terrain
It might be further than other ski resorts in Alberta but that keeps the crowds away

Along with the country’s highest base, being the only resort in Jasper National Park gives Marmot Basin plenty of bragging rights – and even more postcard-worthy views! Combine this with the vast array of runs and the trip to the admittedly remote resort are well worth it – for many, the trip along the Icefields Parkway is a must-do in Alberta even without the skiing! The remoteness also helps keep the crowds down. While there are no places to stay on the mountain, Jasper is only 20-30 minutes drive away. The town is bustling in the summer, but come the winter it has a small-town feel – and the affordability that goes with it.

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Known for

Local vibe, closest mountain to Calgary

Highlights

  • Family-friendly ski area
  • Reasonably affordable
  • Easy to get to
  • Small mountain and low natural snowfall compared to other Alberta resorts

Closest airports

Calgary Intl. Airport - 72 mi (1.5 hour drive)
Nakiska ski area
Just 45 minutes drive from Calgary, Nakiska is an easily accessible ski area

In the heart of Canada’s beautiful Kananaskis Valley, Nakiska is a family-friendly local’s mountain. An easy drive or shuttle ride from Calgary International Airport, Nakiska’s former racing runs and top-notch grooming offer the ideal place to carve huge, sweeping turns and race your friends.There are no on-mountain accommodations but Kananaskis Village and all of its amenities are only five minutes drive away while Calgary, Canmore, and Banff are all less than an hour drive. This convenience combined with an easy-to-navigate trail network, reasonable prices, and a well-designed beginners’ area, all adds up to make Nakiska a fantastic choice for families and groups!

The 5 Best Alberta Ski Resorts
Lake Louise
Banff Sunshine
Mount Norquay
Marmot Basin
Nakiska
Lake Louise