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5 Alberta Rockies Ski Areas

By Where Staff

For nearly a century, skiers and boarders have flocked to the alpine paradise of the Canadian Rockies’ ski resorts. No wonder. Ours is a land where peaks outnumber people and the ski season is longer than any other in the country.

Photo: Banff Lake Louise Tourism / Paul Zizka Photography

Photo: Banff Lake Louise Tourism / Paul Zizka Photography

The impressive wilderness of Canada’s Mountain Parks (Banff and Jasper national parks, and Kananaskis Provincial Park) boasts an enviable combination of tree lined and open bowl terrain, high-speed lifts and on-hill amenities that summon skiers and boarders from around the world. Local ski enthusiasts dish out insider details to make your visit memorable.

Lake Louise Ski Resort

  • Crowned ‘Best Ski Resort in Canada’ at the 2013 and 2014 World Travel Awards, it’s the Canadian Rockies’ largest, 40 minutes west of the Town of Banff.
  • 991-m/3,250-ft vertical rise and four mountain faces, with the region’s only six-person high-speed chairlift.
  • Ten lifts, 145 marked runs and bowls and some of the best fall line skiing anywhere. Novice to advanced routes from every chair make the entire resort accessible to all.
  • Powder hounds find backside Whitehorn slopes, Eagle Ridge 1 to 7 runs and Ptarmigan Glades especially sweet.
  • Access lifts a half hour before opening with a First Tracks Private Lesson ($99 for 90 minutes).

Sunshine Village

  • Canada’s highest ski resort, boasting the Rockies’ longest ski season, this year to May 18, 8 km/5 mi west of the Town of Banff.
  • From the base, the world’s fastest eight-passenger gondola, six high-speed quads and five other lifts rise to the village. A new lift (with heated seats!) debuts next year.
  • Built on three mountains with a 1,070-m/3,514-ft vertical rise, many of Sunshine’s 107 runs are above tree line with views to 80 km/50 mi.
  • Beginners ski Strawberry while cruisers on Boundary Bowl ski in both Alberta and BC.
  • Free riders tackle “Canada’s most extreme off-piste” on Delirium Dive and Wild West. An avalanche transceiver, probe and shovel are required.

Mount Norquay

  • The Canadian Rockies’ original ski area (est. 1926), 10 minutes north of downtown Banff.
  • Vertical rise of 503 m/1,650 ft, 28 runs, six lifts and Canada’s original double black slope.
  • Owned by ski enthusiasts who cherish its family-friendly character. World Cup gold medalist Ken Read is involved.
  • The only place in Alberta’s Rockies to offer night skiing and terrain park use (Fri-Sat, Jan-Mar).
  • Alberta residents can ski for just $2 on Toonie Days (Jan 14, Feb 11, Mar 11, Apr 8). All-inclusive tickets (skiing, tubing, sightseeing) are $75.

Nakiska Ski Area

  • Between Banff and Calgary, built to host the 1988 Olympics. Kananaskis Village is only minutes away.
  • 779-m/2,556-ft vertical rise and extensive snowmaking.
  • Long runs and nightly grooming make it a carving favourite.
  • Beginner zones are self-contained; the new Homesteader Bypass offers easy access to the base area.
  • Monster Glades offer the best powder stashes.

Marmot Basin

  • 20 minutes south of the Jasper townsite. From Lake Louise, take the 237-km/147-mi Icefields Parkway (call 511 for road conditions).
  • In the past five years, three new chairs have brought the total to seven lifts, including the Canadian Rockies Express, the region’s longest high-speed quad.
  • 1,675 acres, a 914-m/3,000-ft vertical rise and 86 runs, glades and high alpine bowls framed by impressive pinnacles and ridges.
  • To find powder stashes, on the upper mountain, ride the Knob chair; or sign up for Marmot’s Snow Host program.
  • Get a free My Marmot card with direct-to-lift tickets at 10% off at skimarmot.com.

>> For more Canadian Rockies activities, shops, restaurants and entertainment, read our digital magazine.

>> Connect with us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram at whererockies and tag your Canadian Rockies posts and photos with #whererockies

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