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Ski Off the Beaten Path

Underdiscovered Winter Resorts

The big resorts of our three ski provinces are world famous, but we've gone off the beaten track, onto the back-country trails you could say, and selected some less well-known resorts where the snow is just as deep and fluffy, the devotion to good skiing just as strong, and the après ski just as hot.

British Columbia

Whistler Blackcomb

The largest ski resort in North America, needs little introduction. It is consistently ranks in the top five among North American resorts by the most respected industry magazines. It has the greatest vertical terrain for skiing and other winter sports in the entire continent, the best parks and pipes, the largest above tree line terrain and bowls, and a very, very long ski season - up to mid-June. After hosting the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, Whistler's known worldwide as a premier ski destination. whistlerblackcomb.com

Kicking Horse Resort, Golden

Kicking Horse is situated in the Dogtooth range of the Purcell Mountains, and is surrounded by six national parks (Banff, Glacier, Kootenay, Yoho, Mt. Revelstoke and Jasper). It has more than 1,000 hectares of ski and snowboarding terrain. It also boasts the second-highest vertical drop (from mountain top to village) in Canada: 1,260 metres. The season opens mid-December and lasts until mid-April. To get there, take flights to Calgary International Airport and then drive for about two-and-a-half hours along the Trans Canada Highway. Fellow skiers rate it as challenging; you'll go home tired, but very happy. kickinghorseresort.com

Kimberley Alpine Resort

This resort is located in the East Kootenays, southeast BC. There are 728 hectares of skiable terrain and 80 runs. Kimberley also offers night-skiing. The season starts in mid-December and runs to the start of April. It's a quick 20-minute drive to Cranbrook Airport off Hwy 95A, or a four-hour drive from Calgary. Great atmosphere and friendly locals. The Stemwinder Bar & Grill is the place to go after a day on the slopes. skikimberley.com

Red Resort, Rossland

Lying between the Monashee and Selkirk Mountains in Rossland, Red Resort (made up of two mountains, Red and Granite) is a three-and-a-half hour drive from Kelowna International Airport. Trail and Castlegar regional airports are no more than a 30-minute drive from the mountain. There are more than 600 skiable hectares and 880 metres of vertical terrain. The season starts in December and runs through to April. Characterful resort, with a small-town feel. The trees are awesome. redresort.com

Alberta

There aren't enough superlatives to describe Alberta's ski resorts. Lake Louise (skilouise.com) is Canada's largest ski area; Sunshine Village, near Banff, (skibanff.com) has the longest ski season (November to May); Norquay (banffnorquay.com) is family friendly and just ten minutes from Banff; Marmot (skimarmot.com) is a 20-minute drive from Jasper, it's family friendly and uncrowded; and Nakiska (skinakiska.com) is less than an hour's drive west of Calgary and is ideal for those who consider just staying up on their skies an achievement.

Castle Mountain

In the Southern Alberta Rockies, Castle Mountain is two-and-a-half hours south of Calgary. The season runs December through April. There are 67 trails and the longest run is 5km. Castle is suitable for all classes of skier, beginner to expert. The lifts may be on the old and slow side, but the sheer amount of snow makes up for them. Castle has gained a reputation for extreme skiing. skicastle.ca

Hidden Valley Ski Area

Just south of Medicine Hat, close to the town of Elkwater, this ski resort is in Cypress Hills Provincial Park. Fly to Calgary and it's 20 minutes south of the Trans Canada Highway on Highway 41. The resort receives two metres of snow annually; the season opens in early December and ends in late March. Consistent snow, diverse trails that suit all levels, and, very important this, friendly locals. skihiddenvalley.net

Québec

Mont Tremblant

Considered the best ski resort in Eastern Canada, it's located 90 minutes from the Montreal-Trudeau International Airport and 35km from Mont Tremblant International Airport. The season runs December to April. Tremblant has an international feel, a real tourist draw. tremblant.ca

Mont Sainte-Anne, Beaupré

About 40km from Québec City, Mont Sainte-Anne is family-friendly and less crowded than Mont Tremblant. The skiable terrain is 185 hectares, the vertical drop 625 metres and it has 65 trails, including night skiing with the highest elevation in the country. Fly to Québec City International Airport (Jean-Lesage). The season is long - November to May. mont-sainte-anne.com

Le Massif, Baie-Saint-Paul

Le Massif boasts the highest vertical drop east of the Rockies, 770 metres. The views are special too. You'll likely spy the freight ships making their way along the St. Lawrence River. Take flights to Québec City (Jean-Lesage Airport). Le Massif is 73km from Québec City. Follow Route 138 (east from Québec City) to get there. Ski season runs mid-December to mid-April. lemassif.com

Mont Alta

Picture 27 trails and glades and a vertical drop of 178 metres. Now take a flight to Montréal-Trudeau International Airport and drive for about 80km. Mont Alta is located on highway 117 in Val David. Ski December through mid-April. Skiing like it used to be... mont-alta.com

 
 
Brittany Dietz
Brittany has travelled to France, Germany, The Netherlands, Mexico, Canada and all over the U.S. She's passionate about travel and has big plans for future trips! Brittany is a Content and Social Media Executive at Cheapflights.