Exploring Western Canada’s Resorts: Our Picks

Exploring Western Canada’s Resorts: Our Picks

September 28, 2023

Discovering Western Canada’s Top Resorts

The ski season is just around the corner, and if you’re in or planning to visit Western Canada, you’re in for a treat. This region boasts some of North America’s finest ski resorts. Here’s a list of the top seven ski destinations in Western Canada that deserve a spot at the top of your skiing bucket list.

1. Kicking Horse Resort, BC

Located just 6.4 kilometers outside Golden, BC, ranks as North America’s sixth-largest ski destination. With nearly 3,500 acres of terrain and 120 trails, it’s a skier’s paradise. The mountain features three expansive bowls that funnel into gentler slopes, catering to both intermediate and beginner skiers. Plus, it boasts the fifth-largest vertical drop in North America!

What’s more, Kicking Horse offers stunning landscape views and convenient onsite accommodations, making it an ideal spot for a peaceful weekend getaway. Enjoy hassle-free chairlift access and ample route options during your visit.

2. Fernie Alpine Resort, BC

This resort is said to get the most annual snowfall of all the resorts in Western Canada, giving skiers the powdery ride of their dreams. In total, Fernie has over 2,500 acres of terrain, 142 runs,          and five alpine bowls. You get access to seven chair lifts, with the longest run being five kilometers. Fernie isn’t the mountain for extreme skiers but is excellent for families and beginners.                  Another benefit is that you don’t have to deal with the same crowds you get in resorts like Whistler or Sun Peaks. A small ski village at the base of the mountain is perfect for accommodations            and grabbing apres-ski food and drink. If you don’t want to stay at the resort, you can opt to stay in the nearby town of Fernie.

3. Sunshine Village, Alberta

Nestled within Banff Regional Park, Sunshine Village Ski Resort is a captivating and exhilarating destination. Offering something for skiers of all levels, from gentle green runs to challenging double black diamonds.

Spanning over 3,300 acres across three mountains and serviced by 12 lifts, Sunshine Village provides ample opportunities for exploration. What sets it apart is its claim to fame as the home of Canada’s only heated chair lift, ensuring your comfort throughout your adventure.

While beginners have their share of options, Sunshine Village holds a special place in the hearts of extreme skiers. The legendary Delirium Dive is renowned as one of the world’s top ten off-piste destinations, and approximately 50% of the runs are tailored to intermediate skiers.

With an average of 30 feet of pristine snowfall each season, skiers have a winter wonderland to conquer. Accommodations are available directly on the resort, with ski-in, ski-out convenience, although many choose to stay in the charming town of Banff, a mere 20-minute drive away.

Big White, BC

Big White is like British Columbia’s best-kept secret, often overshadowed by the more renowned destinations of Whistler and Sun Peaks. But for the locals in the know, this hidden gem of a resort is a true delight and deserves more recognition than it gets.

With over 2,700 acres of pristine ski terrain and 16 lifts, Big White offers a skiing experience that’s as varied as it is enjoyable. The resort boasts 119 designated trails, with 18% catering to beginners, 54% to intermediates, 22% to experts, and 6% to the most daring of extreme skiers. For those who crave the thrill of night skiing, a section of the resort is illuminated after dark.

But skiing isn’t the only attraction here. Big White offers a plethora of winter activities to diversify your mountain experience, from snowmobiling and dog sledding to ice climbing and tubing.

Much like Sun Peaks, Big White provides convenient ski-in, ski-out accommodations right on the resort. However, if you prefer to stay off the mountain, the charming city of Kelowna is just a short drive away, offering a range of hotels for your stay. So, whether you’re a local looking for a hidden treasure or a traveler seeking a unique winter escape, Big White has all the ingredients for a memorable alpine adventure.

 Sun Peaks, BC

Following Whistler Blackcomb, Sun Peaks stands out as one of British Columbia’s most sought-after ski resorts. As Canada’s second-largest ski destination, it boasts an impressive 137 runs and a sprawling 4,270 acres of skiable terrain. These runs cater to a diverse range of skiers, with 10% designed for beginners, 58% for intermediates, and 32% for those seeking an expert-level challenge.

Sun Peaks further enhances your skiing experience with 13 lifts, ensuring minimal wait times even during peak season. For the adventurous souls, there’s the option to venture off the beaten path and explore the resort’s 19 kilometers of backcountry trails.

When visiting this winter wonderland, the ultimate experience awaits those who choose to stay directly on the resort. Numerous hotels offer ski-in, ski-out accommodations, allowing you to wake up, savor your morning coffee, and hit the slopes right away—an unparalleled way to embrace the skiing paradise that is Sun Peaks!

Lake Louise, Alberta

Nestled in the heart of the majestic Rocky Mountains, Lake Louise Ski Resort is Alberta’s picturesque alpine haven. With an expansive 4,200 skiable acres, the resort caters to every skiing preference, offering alpine bowls, meticulously groomed runs, thrilling steeps, and challenging chutes.

Among Alberta’s ski resorts, Lake Louise stands out as a beloved choice for families, thanks to its remarkable versatility. It caters to skiers of all skill levels, from novices taking their first runs to seasoned experts seeking a thrill. Notably, a recent addition, a new chairlift, grants access to the West Bowl area, unveiling 480 fresh acres of terrain. However, it’s essential to note that this area is best suited for intermediate and advanced skiers.

While Lake Louise Ski Resort doesn’t provide onsite lodging, there are numerous dining options available for you to refuel and savor a well-deserved drink after conquering the slopes.

Whistler Blackcomb, BC

Whistler Blackcomb consistently earns its reputation as one of Canada’s premier ski resorts, and it proudly holds the title of North America’s largest ski destination with the highest uphill lift capacity. Additionally, it boasts the continent’s second-largest vertical drop, attracting visitors from across the globe who seek the ultimate skiing experience. Approximately two million enthusiasts make the pilgrimage to Whistler Blackcomb each year.

At the heart of this remarkable resort is the Peak 2 Peak gondola, seamlessly connecting Whistler and Blackcomb mountains, offering skiers access to thousands of acres of pristine terrain. For those in search of a unique adventure, heliskiing opportunities provide an escape from the crowds, allowing you to carve your path through uncharted areas.

Whistler Blackcomb goes beyond traditional skiing with the inclusion of five terrain parks adorned with 90 rails and over 40 jumps, ensuring excitement for freestyle enthusiasts.

When you’re not conquering the slopes, Whistler offers a vibrant apres-ski scene. This mountain town is synonymous with British Columbia’s nightlife, featuring an array of bars, exquisite restaurants, and even nightclubs to enliven your post-ski evenings.

Among Western Canada’s top ski resorts, these seven stand as shining examples, though it’s worth noting that honorable mentions like Revelstoke, SilverStar, and Apex also contribute to the region’s winter wonderland. The challenge lies in selecting just one for your annual winter pilgrimage!

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