Tips & Advice

10 best ski towns in Canada

Planning a powder trip this year? To help you narrow down the best ski resort town, check out the top 10 best ski towns in Canada
(Source: Flickr / Shelby Bell)

Fresh powder, check. Amazing views, check. Laid-back lifestyle and fun, check. It’s easy to see why so many people flock to some of Canada’s top ski cities and towns because when it comes to nature, fun, and the lifestyle it affords, there’s no end to the adventure in these open-air hotspots. This list is all about keeping your cool, though, so let’s round up the 10 best ski towns in Canada for you to hit the slopes and get your blood flowing.

For this list, we compiled the results based on the number of hills available, the number of activities (beyond skiing) available, the “energy” of the ski-town (based on size, restaurants, and popularity), and the quality of the snow (the “powder”) available out on the mountains.

Here is our list of the 10 best ski towns in Canada for your winter destination (scroll down to see the top-ranked ski destinations):

No. 10. Fernie Alpine Resort, Kootenay (British Columbia)

(Source: Flickr / John Johnston)

Fernie Alpine Resort is the stuff of dreams. A small little village, nestled amongst lumbering mountains, it’s an idyllic place that’s perfectly suited for coffee-table picture books and ski-buff bucket lists. Wake up in this resort town and you’re surrounded by fresh powder. Better still, you’re at the doorstep of some Canada’s best skiing. The powder and the views make this spot one of the best skiing destinations in the world, and the exceptional dining and accommodations definitely don’t hurt.

Why is it #10? For the 37 feet of snow that gets dumped here—each year.

No 9. Crabbe Mountain (New Brunswick)

(Source: Flickr / Charles LeBlanc)

Whoever said that the East Coast of Canada lacked options for skiers? Crabbe Mountain is the highest point in New Brunswick and gives Atlantic Canadians ample opportunity to flex their abilities out on the hill.

Why is it #9? Nighttime skiing is especially popular here, which sounds just as romantic as it is when cruising down fresh powder by moonlight.

No. 8. Le Massif, Baie-Saint-Paul (Quebec)

(Source: Flickr / Samuel Bouchard)

This is the biggest mountain east of the Rockies, and the journey here alone is worth the cost of admission. In order to get here, you need to take a one-hour train ride from Quebec City, but the journey opens you up to glorious mountain vistas and the view of the St. Lawrence River. Sounds pretty phenomenally Canadian, if you ask us.

Why is it #8? Because there are more than 40 runs, with a 770-metre vertical drop.

No. 7. Panorama Mountain Village, Panorama (British Columbia)

(Source: Flickr / Derek Blackadder)

For a clue as to why this village is included on the list, just look at its name! In Panorama, you literally feel like you’ve been dropped on the side of the mountain, overlooking the expansive terrain. Better still, Panorama caters to both snow lovers and those that hate winter. For those less inclined to hit the slopes, there’s warm pools and even swimming pools with slides, for the kiddies.

Why is it #7? For the view. Oh, what a view!

No. 6. Silver Star Mountain Resort, Vernon (British Columbia)

(Source: Flickr / Murray Foubister)

Move over everyone else, after taking one look at this mountain village we might never want to leave. Not only does it look striking against the white powder, but this spot is filled with some of the trendiest shops and restaurants in the area. This is the perfect place to host an après, while still being able to blow some steam (so you don’t feel bad about that extra helping of steak or creme brulee).

Why is it #6? The resorts exemplary grooming standards mean that each mountain looks absolutely picture perfect.

No. 5. Blue Mountain, Collingwood (Ontario)

(Source: Flickr / CK Golf)

The charming facet about this winter destination is the town. In the wintertime, Collingwood can take on the persona of a quaint Swiss village. This European vibe makes it much easier to soak up the ambience and to justify a day of bombing down the mountain before soaking up the village ambience.

Why is it #5? While the views might not be as breathtaking, this is still the third most popular ski destination in Canada.

No. 4. Marmot Basin, Jasper (Alberta)

While it might be a bit of a journey, with Edmonton 370 kilometres away, this is a place that has an amount of majestic, natural beauty that you just cannot turn down. Why? Because Marmot Basin has the highest base elevation of any other mountain in Canada, which makes the sights from the slopes an absolutely breathtaking experience.

Why is it #4? While it might lack a proper ski village/destination, this UNESCO World Heritage Site gets on the list on looks alone.

No. 3. Mont Tremblant Ski Resort (Quebec)

MONT-TREMBLANT, QUEBEC, CANADA -FEBRUARY 9: Skiers and snowboarders are sliding down an easy slope at Mont-Tremblant Ski Resort on February 9, 2014. It is the best ski resort in Eastern North America.

For the quintessential French Canadian experience head out to Mont Tremblant for a run or two. It’s all about the ambience here, with the ski-in and ski-out destination matched with the charming Pedestrian Village.

Why is it #3? For the Olympic-calibre wintertime activities on offer.

No. 2. Banff/Lake Louise (Alberta)

(Source: Flickr / Matt Seppings)

This is another iconic Canadian hot spot (literally). The Banff Hot Springs is a great place to relax in the wintertime, while the skating rink at Lake Louise is a romantic getaway for even the biggest non-skiers in your life. On top of all that, nearby Banff you have three mountains for skiers of all kinds. Sounds like a pretty solid triple threat if we ever heard one.

Why is it #2? Because of the mix of winter weather and warm-in-winter-weather activities.

No. 1. Whistler Blackcomb (British Columbia)

(Source: Flickr / Mark Stephenson)

Of course, we cannot mention a list of ski destinations without mentioning one of Canada’s most iconic spots: Whistler.  Known from coast-to-coast for being “the place to ski,” it makes it to the top of our list of best ski towns in Canada. The only drawback here is that with popularity, comes more people. Thousands of people will take to the slopes, meaning it’s a popular spot to get in a few runs. Still, Whistler is a great place to visit.

Why is it #1? Because of 3,200 hectares of beautiful, powdery terrain. It should be pretty obvious why Whistler takes the cake, but if you’re unsure you should come here for yourself and see.

Even if snow might not be your “thing,” we can safely say that any of these ski towns are going to take your breath away. These are just some of our favourite spots that we have ranked as being the top ski destinations in Canada. Everyone has their favourite place for powder, so what’s yours?

Max Specht
Max Specht

Nothing makes Max Specht happier than telling people where to go and what to do—and not in an authoritative sense. He prides himself on being a tour guide par excellence and has the recommendations to prove it.