Undoubtedly the best part of the winter season is the ample skiing that can be found and enjoyed at ski towns across the country. Huge jam-packed tourist spots to smaller quainter local faves, here are the top 10 Canadian ski towns with runs, bunnies, and pints galore.
Regarded as the largest ski town not only in all of Canada but in North America as well, Whistler-Blackcomb has hundreds of trails for skiing, tobogganing, tubing, and more. Take the Peak 2 Peak gondola from Whistler over to Blackcomb and enjoy the best of both worlds.
With legendary powder, uncrowded trails, a mild climate, and the best in après ski fun, Fernie has 2500 acres of skiable terrain, 142 named runs, five alpine bowls, state-of-the-art snowmaking and grooming equipment, and an exceptional beginner’s area. This Canadian ski town is a true winter playground for skiers and riders of all levels.
One of the few hidden gems of the Canadian ski town world, Apex has 67 trails and an average temperature of -4°C, receiving about 600 cm of dry “Okanagan” powder each season that makes it a popular destination. There are also two terrain parks, a World Cup aerial site and mogul course, night skiing, lift-accessed tube park, an outdoor regulation-size hockey and skating rink, and a one-kilometre adventure ice skating loop.
Banff/Lake Louise, Alberta
Banff National Park is home to one of the most frequented ski towns in Canada: Banff/Lake Louise, one of the Canadian Rockies’ most beloved destinations. Impressive mountains, metres of dry light powder snow, vast terrain, stunning surroundings, and hundreds of kilometres of marked trails, from beginner to expert, await you here.
Kicking Horse, BC
Off the beaten ski track lies a sleepy town known as Kicking Horse. Although a newer tourist destination, they already have an eight-passenger state-of-the-art gondola that takes skiers from the village to the top of the mountain, where you'll discover a restaurant called the Eagle's Eye. A lodge is located in the Gondola Plaza providing ski-in-ski-out services, and you can rent everything from townhouses to rooms at charming B&Bs, cabins, chalets, hotels, lodges, and motels.
A playground for kids as well as grown-ups, Mont-Tremblant is a cozy ski town in The Laurentians with bevies of resorts, shops, restaurants, bars, nightclubs, and more. The 2011-2012 ski season kicks off on November 24th, so pull that gear out of storage and get ready for more than 90 trails of skiing action.
While not as large as the other aforementioned Quebec ski towns, St-Saveur has been a favourite of local Montrealers for decades. In addition to their 38 trails there's also skating, tubing, sledding, and shopping at their many outlet stores.
Mont Ste-Anne, Quebec
Located only 30 minutes away from the capital of Quebec City, the ski slopes of Mont Ste-Anne rise up from the St. Lawrence River, which always have great snow conditions that span across three sides of the mountain. It has played host to many World Cup events and has 66 trails spanning over 465 acres, with a 2,050-foot (625-meter) vertical drop. There are also 18 lit trails for the highest vertical drop night skiing in Canada.
This winter one of the best Canadian ski towns is located just outside of the nation's capital region in Hull/Gatineau, where resorts like Mont Cascades offer access to the 20 local ski runs (15 of which are accessible in the evening), five lifts, and Bistro-Bar Amigo, the go-to haunt for delicious food and drinks.
Blue Mountain, ON
The largest mountain resort in Ontario is Blue Mountain, just 90 minutes away from the bustle of Toronto. You can virtually go through a vertical of 720 feet (220 metres) on their 36 trails ranging from beginner to double black diamond, or go and play at one of two terrain parks. And there are 14 lifts to get you safely from Point A to Point B, including four high-speed express chairs that get you uphill even faster.