Winter is coming: Where to ski in Western Canada

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This post is in partnership with Travel Mindset and Ski Canada.

As summer gives way to the crisp days and cool nights of autumn, a skier’s mind turns to thoughts of gently falling flakes, the glee of first tracks on corduroy runs, and the beauty of bluebird skies and snow-covered mountain peaks. Western Canada ski resorts have something for everyone, and resorts are preparing for the 2023-24 ski season. Use our comprehensive guide on some of the best ski resorts in Canada to help you plan an unforgettable winter ski holiday with your family.

Best ski resorts in Canada

Find room to roam with SkiBig3 in Alberta

Home to some of the most spectacular snow conditions in the west and certainly some of the best ski resorts in Canada, the SkiBig3 resorts of Banff Sunshine VillageLake Louise Ski Resort  and Mt. Norquay in Alberta have ‘room to roam’ and Rocky Mountain views for miles and miles. They’re among the top 10 ski resorts in Canada.

Scheduled to open in early November and with 8,000 acres of terrain across the three unique ski resorts, skiers and riders of every ability can experience wide open bowls, cruisers and glades, steep and deep runs and space to stretch out and enjoy the best that winter has to offer, among the towering peaks in Canada’s first National Park.

In winter, the townsites of Banff and Lake Louise are snow-dusted mountain villages with a variety of guest accommodations for every budget, excellent dining options, and many other enjoyable winter activities like skating, ice-climbing, dog sledding and snowshoeing. 

Use the map below to search for hotel and short-term rental options

SkiBig3 resorts offer several ticket bundling options with hotel accommodation bookings. Guests can book with confidence and enjoy no cancellation fees and free itinerary changes until 3 days prior to arrival.

SkiBig3 is an Ikon Pass and Mountain Collective destination, so if you’re a passholder, be sure to tap into some great lodging deals.

skiing in western canada

Travel the Powder Highway in southeastern B.C.

Just to the west of the Rockies, British Columbia’s Powder Highway connects eight alpine resorts in a 1,014km/630 mile loop, a true ‘road to winter.’

Home to deep, dry and consistent Kootenay powder, resorts such as FernieKicking Horse Mountain in Golden, Revelstoke, Red Mountain and Kimberley also feature charming and authentic ski towns filled with local skiers and snowboarders. 

Throw in some of the world’s most renowned heli-skiing and cat-skiing operations, as well as highly coveted backcountry lodges like Purcell Mountain Lodge, and this area of British Columbia stands out as one of the premier ski vacation destinations in the world.

Several of these resorts offer some of the most challenging terrain and highest vertical drops in North America. But there’s room for every level of skier and rider. In the words of a local, there’s ‘wide open spaces with no nearby faces ’ – an ideal situation for those seeking a winter wonderland without the crowds.

The Powder Highway also mirrors the Hot Springs Circle Route through the Kootenays, a serendipitous coincidence for those who like to soak sore muscles after a hard day on the slopes. *Raises hand*

Enjoy champagne powder in the Thompson/Okanagan

The interior of British Columbia is dotted with some of the largest ski resorts in Canada. Complete with epic champagne powder conditions blanketing charming ski villages. The Okanagan Valley’s Sun Peaks, Big White and SilverStar ski resorts are within close distance of each other, but each offers unique and special alpine experiences. 

Just four hours from Vancouver, Sun Peaks is Canada’s second largest ski resort. With three mountains and 4,270 acres of skiable terrain, a quaint European-style village and family-friendly amenities both on and off the slopes, Sun Peaks comes closest to feeling like you’ve landed in the Alps. In addition to alpine skiing, there’s cross-country, terrain parks, tubing, snowmobiling, ice skating. And don’t forget about the chance to ski with Olympic legend Nancy Greene!

Beautiful Big White receives an annual snowfall of 750 cm/24.5 feet of dry fluffy snow. Which creates truly fantastic ski conditions spread across 2,765 acres. Big White has great family-friendly amenities, lots of ski in ski out accommodations, and a lovely compact village atmosphere. It’s also got slope side activities that include ice climbing, skating, tubing and horse-drawn sleigh rides.

Located in B.C.’s Monashee Mountain range, SilverStar Mountain Resort features 130+ runs of long and windy green and blues alongside steep and challenging powder-filled chutes for expert skiers. The hills above the colourful village get an average of 23 feet of light powder annually. Even on busy days, you’ll have room to yourself to enjoy it all. 

The Resort’s “One Pass” allows unlimited access to all SilverStar has to offer. This Canada’s largest daily groomed cross country network at Sovereign Lake, plus snowshoeing, fat biking, skating and tubing.

Go coastal at Whistler Blackcomb

Whistler is a skier and rider’s paradise. With over 8,170 acres of skiable terrain between Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains and 200+ runs, 16 alpine bowls and three glaciers, every powder hound will find his or her sweet spots. 

As the biggest ski resort in Canada and a perennial winner of best ski resort in North America, Whistler brings the alpine experience to another level.

Whistler receives an average annual snowfall of 11.8 metres/38.7 feet per year, so there’s lots to go around. The two mountains offer slightly different skiing and riding experiences for winter enthusiasts.

Whistler Mountain features more green runs, wide open bowls and more family-friendly terrain. Blackcomb Mountain attracts more intermediate and advanced skiers and riders, as well as those interested in double blacks and high alpine chutes. 

Use the map below to search for hotel and short-term rental options

Whistler Blackcomb is scheduled to open for American Thanksgiving. Note that at some on-mountain restaurants, reservations may be required. Guests are asked to use the “Time to Dine” reservation system for pre-bookings.

The resort offers a variety of pass options for guests. From the Epic Pass, which also includes resorts across Canada, the USA and Europe, to multi-day EDGE Cards for locals. There’s also Student Cards and the new Whistler Blackcomb Day Pass. 

Lift passes include access to both Whistler and Blackcomb mountains. They also include the PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola that operates between the two. If that sounds like you’re getting two mountains in one, well, you are. Go out and enjoy it.

A shout out to Vancouver’s North Shore Mountains

For those living and playing in Metro Vancouver, the three north shore mountains – CypressGrouse and Mt Seymour – will be familiar and beloved resorts. Many locals have learned to ski, ride and enjoy winter for the first time at these great ski hills.

Accessible by car, resort bus and Grouse’s Skyride gondola, these ski ‘hills’ offer fantastic ski school programs and affordable day rates and passes. They also offer other ways to enjoy winter, like tubing, skating, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. 

skiing in western canada

Western Canadian Ski Ticket Deals

You can buy season passes from the resort of your choice via their website. Whether it’s an Ikon, Epic, Mountain Collective or individual resort pass, Western Canadian alpine resorts are making it easy for skiers to find savings and hit the slopes as often and as much as possible.

Interested in visiting a variety of alpine resorts? The Canadian Lift Pass Program from Ski Canada offers skiers and riders a chance to ski and snowboard at some of Canada’s greatest ski resort destinations for less. Choose the Explore the West package and save up to 34% on lift tickets. Supplies are limited and sell out quickly.

Got kids in grades 4 and 5? Sign them up for the Grade 4 & 5 SnowPass! The SnowPass gives kids the chance to ski or snowboard two times at each of the 125+ ski areas across Canada. All for the low cost of just $29.99 CAD.

We purchased a SnowPass for both of our kids when they were of age. The passes are valid for two seasons if you apply at the beginning of Grade 4. It was best ski sports deal we ever made.

No matter where you choose to make first tracks or end the day with après, the ski resorts in Western Canada offer an unforgettable, safe and healthy alpine mountain experience for every age and budget.

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Dreaming about skiing in Canada this winter season? From incredible deep powder terrain to bluebird days and corduroy runs, plan your ski holiday with our ultimate guide to Western Canadian ski resorts.

Photo Credits: SkiBig3, Reuben Krabbe, Go Whistler, Sun Peaks Ski Resort

Claudia Laroye
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