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.”
Due to COVID-19, safety measures were put in place by the Province of Alberta which impacted the 20/21 ski season. These included limited or no indoor dining, restricted parking capacity and physical gathering restrictions. Most resorts required lift tickets to be purchased in advance online and some also required guests to make reservations for the days they planned to ski. Such restrictions are not anticipated to continue into the 21/22 winter season.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!