The 11 Best Canada Ski Resorts

The 11 Best Canada Ski Resorts - UPDATED 2020/21
Karl Sander
Written by Karl Sander / Photos by Greg Burke
Last updated May 15, 2020
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Ski resorts in Canada don’t get a lot of attention outside of the iconic Whistler Blackcomb, but with a whole section of British Columbia nicknamed the Powder Highway, we’re pretty sure Canadian resorts will knock your socks off! So hang tight, here’s our list of the top Canadian resorts!

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Known for

Largest ski resort in North America with the ultimate ski village

Highlights

  • Massive variety of incredible terrain
  • Easy to access from Vancouver
  • Full of amenities and après ski to keep everyone well entertained
  • Expensive place to ski and crowds can be an issue

Closest airports

Vancouver Intl. Airport - 85 mi (2 hour drive)
Whistler Blackcomb ski terrain
Whistler-Blackcomb - the largest ski area in North America

Whistler-Blackcomb combines the terrain of two mountains to become the largest ski resort in North America. With over 200 runs, serviced by 37 lifts, Whistler boasts 8,172 ac of skiable terrain that can accommodate everyone from first-timer skiers to extreme skiers. The resort is easily rated one of the best ski resorts in the world and offers a range of terrain from inbounds backcountry, bowls, glaciers, tree trails to 5 terrain parks! Whistler village also has an abundance of accommodation from condos to luxury hotels, packed along a pedestrian-only path lined with great dining experiences, shopping boutiques and art galleries.

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Known for

Feels like you’re in a European ski town without the transatlantic airfare price tag

Highlights

  • Family-friendly resort just 90 minutes from Montreal
  • Excellent nightlife right next to the slopes
  • Diverse terrain suitable for all levels
  • Weekend crowds can be overwhelming

Closest airports

Montreal-Mirabel Intl. Airport - 64 mi (1 hour drive)
Montréal-Trudeau Intl. Airport - 86 mi (1.5 hour drive)
Mont Tremblant ski resort
Mont Tremblant - the best ski resort on the East

Mont Tremblant’s biggest attraction is the experience of a cozy French alpine resort, conveniently located just 1.5 hours from Montreal and less than two hours from Ottawa. The trails at Mont Tremblant are not only extremely well groomed but offer an array of difficulty with around half of their 102 trails designated for experts. The picturesque European-style village at the base is equipped with a full range of luxury hotels, fine dining and shopping. Mont Tremblant is also extremely family-friendly, offering a great ski school, play centers and non-skiing activities such as snowshoeing, fat biking and cross-country skiing.

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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)
temperature inversion cloud of sea lake louise
Temperature inversion causing a cloud of sea at Lake Louise

Lake Louise is the largest ski resort out of the 3 Banff resorts with an incredibly scenic view that is unparalleled. The resort is very family-friendly with a great variety of wide well-groomed trails that cater to skiers and boarders of all abilities. Being located 45 minutes from the town of Banff, you might want to consider renting a car for extra flexibility since you can ski the surrounding mountains of Banff Sunshine and Mount Norquay if you have a 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
High alpine terrain at Sunshine

Banff Sunshine has one of the longest ski seasons that span across early November to mid-May. Located 9 mi southwest of Banff Village, the resort has terrain for beginners up to steep terrain for expert skiers. Out of the three ski-areas, Banff has the best powder snow due to its high elevation. Banff lacks availability in ski-in/ski-out accommodation with the exception of Sunshine Mountain Lodge at Sunshine Village, however, you will be able to find many more options in Banff Village, where most visitors stay. If you want to further explore the region, you can ski all three interchangeable resorts in the Banff region on just one SkiBig3 lift pass.

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Known for

Canada's favorite family resort and one of the best places for powder skiing

Highlights

  • Tons of powder
  • Biggest ski-in/ski-out village in Canada
  • Largest night skiing area in Western Canada
  • Low visibility and can get crowded

Closest airports

Kelowna Intl. Airport - 38 mi (1 hour drive)
powder skiing at Big White
Nothing beats powder skiing at Big White

Big White’s massive 2,765 ac of terrain makes it a great place to learn to ski powder. Many skiers visit Big White for its off-piste terrain because there is abundant snowfall and groomed trails that provide excellent conditions for tree skiing. The highlight of Big White would be its ski-in/ ski-out village which is important for those who want convenient access to the slopes. It is also the most accessible resort from Kelowna, just an hour drive away from the airport.

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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)
Mt Norquay overlooking the town of Banff
Mt Norquay overlooking the town of Banff

Mt Norquay is the smallest of the three resorts in Banff, which means you will barely find any lift lines given how busy the other Banff resorts can get. Norquay is ideal for beginners especially since you will be able to accumulate verticals quickly on the groomers. Although small in size, the resort still offers an undeniably breathtaking view of the region. In terms of restaurants and bars, you will be able to find a lively crowd in Banff town as there are not many options at Norquay. Equipped with a SkiBig3 lift pass, you will find yourself in the midst of 3 world class ski resorts that will allow you to explore a variety of terrain and history.

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Known for

Canada’s second largest resort after Whistler-Blackcomb and less crowded too

Highlights

  • Family-friendly mountain and village, lots of apres ski activities
  • Diverse terrain with impeccably groomed slopes
  • Not as crowded as Whistler
  • Somewhat less snowfall compared to surrounding resorts

Closest airports

Kelowna Intl. Airport - 130 mi (2.5 hour drive)
Sun Peaks Canada second largest resort
Welcome to Canada's second largest resort

Sun Peaks offers an unparalleled family ski experience that is also relatively affordable in comparison to neighboring resorts. From its roots as a humble ski town, Sun Peaks has expanded to three mountains including Tod, Sundance Peak and Mt. Morrisey which are all connected through a well-organised lift system. The resort has plenty of open bowl skiing, as well as wide groomers runs and glades with around 68% of trails catered towards beginners and intermediates. You can find many ski-in/ski-out lodging options at the village base with a number of bars and restaurants to choose from. You can drive to Sun Peaks or catch a shuttle bus to the resort from Kamloops Airport or Kelowna Airport. Once you get to the resort, you won’t need a car as the village is all within walking (skiing) distance.

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Known for

Ideal resort for avid intermediates and advanced skiers

Highlights

  • Biggest vertical drop in North America; loads of snow
  • Slopes are generally less crowded
  • Cat-skiing and heli-skiing available from the same base
  • Limited dining at the base village and slopes are not ideal for beginners

Closest airports

Kelowna Intl. Airport - 120 mi (2.5 hour drive)
summit at Revelstoke
Summit at Revelstoke

Revelstoke has solidified its reputation as a big mountain terrain with the biggest vertical in North America and as one of the hosts of the Freeskiing World Tour. There is limited beginner terrain at Revelstoke but intermediates and above will love the long, groomed tracks that course right back to the base. When staying at Revelstoke, it is recommended to stay in the town of Revelstoke itself, just a few minutes drive from the resort. In the town, you will find great accommodation and dining options that compliment the old-school ski-town vibe.

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Known for

Crowd free slopes with quality snow, epic expert terrain and a relaxed base village

Highlights

  • Tons of light, dry powder
  • World-class expert terrain
  • Nearby town of Fernie has dog sledding, climbing wall and more
  • Basic amenities at the base

Closest airports

Calgary Intl. Airport - 190 mi (3.5 hour drive)
fernie alpine ski resort
Pow on pow at Fernie!

Fernie is known to have the best and reliable powder in the Rockies mountain range with a historical average of up to 36 ft each winter. Experts will find a variety of off-piste runs including alpine bowls, steep glades and slack-country options. Keep in mind that the options are limited at the base if you wish to seek out accommodation and dining. Instead, you can stay in the town of Fernie which is around 5 mi away or at Kimberley resort which is around 90 minutes away but many visitors like to combine the two in one trip.

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Known for

Variety of terrain, convenient and cozy village

Highlights

  • Diverse terrain to suit all abilities
  • Skate rink and water slides make it family-friendly
  • Heli-skiing available
  • Limited nightlife and no après activities

Closest airports

Calgary Intl. Airport - 194 mi (3.5 hour drive)
Panorama Mountain Resort
Panorama - another resort on the famous Powder Highway

Panorama offers a variety of terrain blanketed with light dry interior BC powder. While Panorama has a wide variety of terrain, powderhounds will be charging towards the extreme terrain at the top of the mountain, specifically Taynton Bowl. The small, mostly car-free village is purpose-built for the resort, and features an abundance of ski-in/ski-out accommodations. The village also has a skating rink and a pool complex that includes swimming pools, hot tubs, and water slides – great off-the-slopes fun for the whole family. As an added bonus, many lodging properties include the use of the complex in their rates!

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Known for

Authentic local mining town with chilled vibes

Highlights

  • Extreme terrain and epic tree-skiing
  • Lots of snowfall
  • No crowds
  • Mountain can be challenging to navigate

Closest airports

Spokane Intl. Airport - 129 mi (3 hour drive)
Kelowna Intl. Airport - 190 mi (4 hour drive)
red mountain ski resort
Red Mountain - best known for its extreme terrain 

Red Mountain is as local as it gets. With its legendary tree skiing, cliffs, and steeps, Red Mountain has established a big reputation for experts! Don’t fret if you’re not an expert, as expansion in recent years has opened up more intermediate terrain and you’ll hardly ever see crowds around the resort. The old mining town of Rossland, a short drive (or free bus ride) away, offers more options for dining and lodging than the resort’s base village. However, keep in mind that Red Mountain has a bad reputation as being difficult to get to from the major airports.

The 11 Best Canada Ski Resorts
Whistler Blackcomb
Mont Tremblant
Lake Louise
Banff Sunshine
Big White
Mount Norquay
Sun Peaks
Revelstoke Mountain Resort
Fernie Alpine
Panorama Mountain Resort
RED Mountain Resort
Whistler Blackcomb