Ski season is fast-approaching. Do you know where you’ll be hitting the slopes this year? You can divide Canada’s ski regions into east and west. In eastern Canada Ontario and Quebec boast some great ski resorts, and the western part of the province in British Columbia and Alberta there are equally good opportunities for skiers and snowboarders. You can also swoosh down a ski hill in Atlantic Canada, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.
If you’re not sure where to experience the thrill of the slopes in Canada, we’re here to help with our guide to where and when to strap your skis (or snowboard) on.
When can I ski?
Canada has a relatively long ski season meaning you have some flexibility as to when you go. The season runs from about mid-November to mid-April depending on where in Canada you plan to ski. In general, the western provinces have a longer ski season thanks to more moderate temperatures so you can expect to ski well into April, or even later in British Columbia and Alberta, sometimes into May.
Quick tip: Canada’s best ski resort areas aren’t just about winter fun. Keep in mind that many of the locations and resorts listed also boast a wide range of all-season activities. In the winter there’s also skating, snow tubing and snowshoeing, and in warmer months there are lakes and hiking trails to enjoy depending on where you are.
Skiing in Alberta
Alberta can be broken down into three ski areas: North, central and the Rockies. The Rocky Mountains, in particular Banff National Park, is home to the province’s “Big 3” ski resorts, which include Mount Norquay, Sunshine Village, and Lake Louise Ski Resort.
Mount Norquay is a great option for families since, in addition to a wide range of ski and snowboard runs, there are also snowshoe trails and snowshoe rentals, a snow tubing park and a new Kidz Zone with lots of fun activities just for kids. Sunshine Village is located 90 minutes from Calgary and can get up to nine metres of snow per season. The resort has more than 3,300 acres of skiable terrain for all levels, from beginner to extreme, and it’s even possible to ski in two provinces – Alberta and British Columbia – on one run. Lake Louise Ski Resort is one of the largest ski resorts in North America with 4,200 acres of skiable terrain. There are runs for every level and ski and snowboarding lessons are available. There are also many dining options for a post-run meal or snack.
These are known as some of the best ski resorts in Alberta, but there are many other opportunities to ski outside of Banff. You can check them out here.
Skiing in British Columbia
Some of the best skiing in Canada can be done in British Columbia and it’s also where you’ll find the most ski resorts in the country. British Columbia has 13 major ski resorts and 47 in total. You can get the full list here.
The most popular ski resort is Whistler Blackcomb, which is also the number one ranked ski resort in North America. Whistler and Blackcomb are two side-by-side mountains which consist of more than 200 marked trails, 37 lifts, five terrain parks (areas where skiers and snowboarders can learn or practice tricks), and more than 8,000 acres of skiable terrain. There is also a pedestrian-only village at the foot of the slopes, and dedicated family areas.
Big White is the second largest ski resort in British Columbia. There are 118 trails for all levels, 16 lifts and ski in/ski out accommodations for 17,000 guests. Other activities include snow tubing, snowmobiling and snowshoeing.
Skiing in Atlantic Canada
Atlantic Canada consists of the four easternmost Canadian provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Prince Edward Island. Visitors to Prince Edward Island who want to ski or participate in other winter activities can head to Brookvale Winter Activity Park. In addition to skiing, guests can also cross country ski, snowboard and snowshoe.
Anyone wanting to ski in Newfoundland and Labrador can visit Marble Mountain Ski Resort, located in the western part of the province at the base of Marble Mountain. The resort is known to have some of the best skiing east of the Rockies and gets an average of five metres of snow per season. Visitors also have the opportunity to go snowmobiling or take a winter zip line ride.
Skiers and snowboarders in New Brunswick will want to check out Poley Mountain, located 10 kilometres outside of Sussex. The resort is conveniently situated between New Brunswick’s three major cities of Moncton, St. Johns and Fredericton. There are more than 30 developed trails (including 10 night skiing trails) and more than 100 acres of skiable terrain.
Nova Scotia is home to a few ski resorts, including Ski Ben Eoin, Ski Wentworth, and Ski Martock. Ski Martock has seven trails, including a terrain park and a half pipe; Ski Wentworth has 20 alpine ski trails, a half pipe and a terrain park; and Ski Ben Eoin has several runs suitable for skiers from beginner to advanced and is family friendly.
Skiing in Ontario
Ontario might not have the altitude of some of the ski resorts in other provinces, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t great places to ski here. A full list can be found here but we’ll also take you through a few of the most popular ski resorts in the province.
Blue Mountain is the largest ski resort in Ontario. Located in Collingwood, about two hours north of Toronto, skiers and snowboarders will find 36 trails, 251 skiable acres, 14 lifts and scenic views of the Niagara escarpment. There are also three freestyle zones and 22 trails lit for night skiing.
About an hour north of Toronto in Barrie you’ll find Horseshoe Resort, another popular place to ski in Ontario. There are 29 alpine ski and snowboard runs, 61 skiable acres, a terrain park and 35 kilometres of Nordic trails for snowshoeing or cross country skiing.
Another option within an easy drive from Toronto is Mount St. Louie Moonstone, which is 15 minutes north of Barrie. They offer 40 runs, 170 skiable acres, two terrain parks and night riding programs. Keep in mind that unlike Horseshoe and Blue Mountain there is no accommodation on site at Mount St. Louie Moonstone but there are places to stay nearby.
Skiing in Quebec
The Laurentians region is where you’ll find Mont Tremblant, one of the most popular ski resorts in Quebec. Mont Tremblant has 95 ski trails on four distinct slopes, 662 acres of skiable terrain and accommodates skiers of all levels. A pedestrian village boasts shops, bars, restaurants and a casino, and a wide variety of accommodations are available at the resort. In addition to skiing and snowboarding, visitors can also enjoy skating, snow tubing, dog sledding, a spa and much more.
A justifiably popular ski resort in the Quebec City/Charlevoix area is Mont Sainte Anne, located 30 minutes from Quebec City. There are 530 acres of skiable terrain, 69 trains that cover 71 kilometres on three sides of the mountain, four snow parks (like a terrain park), several lodging options and seven snowshoe trails, among other activities and amenities.
In the Eastern Townships a popular option for skiers and snowboarders is Mont Sutton. This ski resort has 60 trails, nine lifts, four mountain chalets and a family area. There are also several lodging options at the resort.
Skiing in Manitoba
There’s plenty of opportunity to ski and snowboard in Manitoba. Asessippi Ski Area & Resort is the province’s largest resort, which has 26 ski and snowboard runs, two terrain parks, night skiing and a snow tubing park. There is no on-site lodging but there are accommodations nearby (within 15 to 20 minutes).
Holiday Mountain Resort has been in operation since 1959. There are 11 downhill runs, a terrain park and zip lines (the longest and fastest in Manitoba). This ski resort is the only one in Manitoba with on-site lodging.
Skiing in Saskatchewan
There are no mountains in Saskatchewan, but you can still find places to ski and snowboard while you’re there. Most opportunities to sail down the slopes can be found near the communities of Melfort, North Battleford, Saskatoon, Prince Albert and Fort Qu’Appelle. Wapiti Valley near Melfort has 12 runs and a terrain park, while Table Mountain near Battleford has 11 runs for skiers and snowboarders, as well as snow tubing. Other options include Duck Mountain, Timber Ridge, and Mission Ridge Winter Park.
Lead photo: Phil Whiffen used under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license