Skiing in Canada

Photo: @laurissamarion

Canada is thought of as a world of igloos, endless snow and cold, which can only amount to one thing: fantastic skiing. While many now know that there is much more to Canada than ice, there are plenty of mountains that get some epic snowfall every winter season. That means yes, Canada does offer great skiing, both alpine and Nordic. So, where in Canada should the outdoorsmen of the world head in order to get some fresh powder, sick lines and their fill of shredding the slopes? Check out the places you can go to ski in Canada.

 

Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador

The three eastern-most provinces do have ski hills, although skiing is certainly not the first activity that comes to mind while visiting. Their hills are quaint, and good for those that don’t have a desire for double black diamonds, or challenging runs. The bonus here is that they are cheap to spend the day at, and you can become very comfortable with the quaint resorts in a short amount of time.

 

Quebec

This massive province on the eastern side of Canada is home to numerous ski hills. While some are quite small, the sometimes harsher and icy conditions have trained many of Canada’s Winter Olympic medalists. Larger resorts like Mont Tremblant offer all levels of skiing, and the smaller favourites have quaint chalets, great views and when the timing is right, fantastic snow. Plus, the villages always have a hotspot to enjoy the perfect apres-ski. The Laurentians definitely provide the east with some great terrain, and many people take advantage of their long winters by hitting the slopes. Nearby, Main, Vermont and New York also provide some top skiing.

 

Ontario

There are a few memorable ski hills, and more than a few dozen resorts in Ontario, although the runs are typically short and the chairlifts slow. Still, they get some great snow and Blue Mountain especially boasts a charming village to spend your down time in. For a quick getaway and a way to endure the cold, harsh winters of eastern-central Canada, skiing the days away in Ontario is the way to go.

 

Manitoba and Saskatchewan

While both Manitoba and Saskatchewan are relatively flat provinces, both shockingly possess ski hills – usually man-made. However, they’ll take a lot of work to get to, and don’t offer a ton of options in terms of terrain, challenge and trails. Still, you’ve got to give credit where it’s due, Mark McMorris, one of Canada’s most famous athletes is from Saskatchewan after all.

 

Alberta

Once you hit the Rockies, it goes without a doubt that skiing in Alberta is absolutely one of the top things to do in the province. Banff, Lake Louise, Sunshine, Jasper… Tons of Canada’s most famous ski resorts reside within the borders of the province. Great snow, a long season, incredible views, established villages famous for their fun and massive amounts of terrain are Alberta’s ski resorts’ claim to fame. There are plenty of smaller destination for those who want to skip the crowd, and more than enough snow to go around.

 

British Columbia

The western-most province of Canada is home to over forty ski resorts, with its most famous being none other than Whistler-Blackcomb, home of the 2010 Winter Olympics. From the mainland interior, to Vancouver Island, great snow, long runs and plenty of terrain for all levels of skiers, snowboarders and Nordic-goers is available. While Whistler, with its twin peaks, stunning views and famous village is the first-choice of most ski vacationers, there are plenty of other treasures to be found. Mount Washington on Vancouver Island has broken records for the most snow in the world (check out www.discovervancouverisland.com/blog/vancouver-island-winter/, while residing humbly just outside of Courtenay and Comox. Cypress in Vancouver is a great little hill to escape the Whistler bustle and Fernie, Kicking Horse and Revelstoke have their own level of fame amongst BC’ers. Taking a ski vacation in British Columbia may mean you find a new favourite hill, well off the beaten path, but with everything and more you could ask from a ski hill.

 

Nunavut, Northwest Territories and Yukon

Canada’s territories, nestled way up north in the Arctic, offer an entirely different kind of skiing experience. While they aren’t first on the list of vacation destinations, anyone looking for a unique escape simply has to head up north. While NWT has a single resort in Yellowknife, Nunavut has none and Yukon has just a couple, the touring and Nordic options are endless. Imagine not having to worry about the setting sun interfering with your adventure, or sliding past muskox in the snow! The territories might not offer your classic ski getaway, but they will certainly challenge any outdoorsmen and provide a unique adventure.

 

So, as far as skiing in Canada goes, the top picks are Alberta, British Columbia and Quebec. Between those three, there is a nearly inexhaustible list of resorts to pick from, each offering its own adventure. When it comes to skiing and snowboarding, Canada certainly lives up to its snowy legacy.