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8 Places to Ski in the Canadian Rockies

It’s no secret that the Canadian Rockies offer a world-class ski experience like no other. Canada’s Mountain Parks include Banff and Jasper, both UNESCO World Heritage sites, as well as Kananaskis Country and the Purcell Mountains. The Canadian Rockies are home to downhill ski areas offering limitless powder, steep off-piste slopes, groomed runs, and some of the best terrain for beginners. Cross-Country ski trails abound. What’s your ideal day?

 

Banff National Park

 

 

 

Mount Norquay, Sunshine Village and Lake Louise are Banff’s “Big 3.” Tri-area, multi-day lift passes with optional lessons can be purchased at the Banff Ski Hub. New this year, personalized guided adventures on all three hills include tips and coaching for skiers or snowboarders, insider info about the hills, history of the area and lift line priority. Free daily shuttles ensure you get to the hill of your choice.

 

 

1. MOUNT NORQUAY

Photo Courtesy of Mount Norquay

 

Features

  • Accessible Runs
  • 503m/1,650ft vertical rise
  • 6 lifts, 60 runs

The region’s original ski area, est. 1926. Just 10 minutes north of downtown Banff, Mount Norquay has a reputation for being the training ground for skiers of all ages and abilities, from first timers to Olympic medalists like Jan Hudec. A favourite among locals, many have been spotted taking an afternoon off work for some great skiing close to home.

The close proximity of the lodge and parking lot provides easy access to the hills, perfect for new skiers who can then spend more time on some of the best learning terrain in the Rockies.

Experts love the double-black-diamond runs such as Lone Pine, which remains one of the longest and steepest vertical pitches in North America.

Norquay offers night skiing on two of their downhill runs as well as their terrain park. Check online for dates and details.

New this season: Try their carpool days for discounted skiing! One price of $50 per vehicle, so pack your friends for a great day on the slopes! Dec 19, Jan 9, Feb 13, Mar 13 and Apr 10.

 

Tickets

A: $89 | Yth/Sr: $68 | Ch: $35

All Inclusive (ski, tube and sightseeing): A: $109 | Yth/Sr: $87 | Ch: $46

 

 

2. BANFF SUNSHINE VILLAGE

Photo by Reuben Krabbe

 

Features

  • Three Mountains
  • 1,070m/3,514ft vertical rise
  • 12 lifts (including 7 high-speed quads), 137 runs

 

Banff Sunshine Village boasts the longest ski season in the Rockies, from November to May with all-natural snow. Located 8 km west of Banff via Hwy 1, Sunshine is Canada’s highest altitude ski resort. From the base, take the world’s fastest eight-passenger gondola to the village. Then stay toasty on TeePee LX, the country’s first covered chairlift with heated seats, or find new features in the Great Divide Terrain Park.

Test your skills on Delirium Dive where the combination of steepness, vertical drop and snow conditions have earned it the title of “Canada’s most extreme off-piste.” This run is a favourite for locals who often visit for a few laps of the Dive before work.

The Wild West features 5 double black diamond runs that incorporate tight chutes and technical terrain. Note: A partner and proper avalanche equipment, including a transceiver, probe and shovel, are required to ski the Dive or the Wild West.

Try a Ski Week Package for 5 days of unlimited skiing or riding, 5 nights of accommodation, lessons and more.

 

Tickets

A: $114 |Yth/Sr: $89 | Ch: $44

 

 

3. LAKE LOUISE SKI RESORT

Photo by Reuben Krabbe

 

Features

  • Four Mountain Faces
  • 991m/3,250ft vertical rise
  • 10 lifts, 145 marked runs

 

Lake Louise Ski Resort is known for hosting annual World Cup Downhill races. Located 40 minutes west of Banff on Hwy 1, this family friendly resort boasts discounted prices for children, beginner to advanced runs accessible from each lift and a comprehensive ski school for all ages and abilities. Their daycare can accommodate infants as young as 18 days old. Reserve daycare spaces ahead!

Enjoy breathtaking views of Lake Louise, Victoria Glacier and ice-clad Mount Temple on 4,200 acres of fall-line skiing.

Check out Showtime Terrain Park’s jumps, rails and boxes for novice to expert tricksters.

The Sunny Tube Park is a great way to spend the day with the family.

Ski pristine powder on the backside Whitehorn slopes, Eagle Ridge chutes and Ptarmigan glades.

 

Tickets

A: $114 | Yth/Sr: $89 | Ch/Learning area: $44 | Under 5: Free

 

 

 

Jasper National Park

 

Enjoy the big and beautiful slopes of Marmot Basin in Jasper National Park.

 

4. MARMOT BASIN

Photo courtesy of Marmot Basin

 

Features

  • Big, Beautiful and Uncrowded
  • 914m/3,000ft vertical rise
  • 7 lifts, 91 runs.

 

Jasper’s only ski area, Marmot Basin, is located 20 km south of Jasper via the Icefields Parkway, Hwy 93A. Escape the crowds and enjoy stunning Athabasca Valley views while skiing 1,729 acres of runs, bumps, chutes and bowls framed by impressive pinnacles and ridges.

Looking to take your skills to the next level? Try their “Double Black Diamond Tour,” which takes experienced skiers and hones their skills for “Tres Hombres,” 45 acres of steep, north-facing, off-piste expert ski and snowboard terrain. This area is not groomed, giving it the thrill of backcountry with the safety of avalanche control.

Returning to Jasper on a regular basis? Their Mountain Club Programs allow skiers and snowboarders to build their skills over 5-10 weeks with cumulative instruction.

Three terrain parks offer jumps, boxes and rails for all abilities and new additions keep the spaces fresh.

Visit during Jasper in January’s 30th anniversary! Enjoy discounted lift tickets and lots of great activities including Avalanche Awareness Day, January 19, which features a snow bombing demo, the Marmot avalanche dog and information about mountain and snow safety.

To reach Marmot Basin from Lake Louise, drive 237 km/147 mi on Icefields Parkway along the Continental Divide. Visit 511.ca for road conditions. Book a daily shuttle with SunDog Tours that offers bus service to Jasper from Calgary, Banff, Lake Louise and Edmonton.

 

Tickets

A: $102 | Yth/Std/Sr: $82 | Jr: $36.50

Marmot Escape Card: Canadian residents receive 50% off regular day rates, all season with no blackouts. Further discounts and deals from Jasper hotels and activities.

 

 

 

Kananaskis Country

 

 

 

Try the beauty of the Canadian Rockies closer to Calgary.

 

5. NAKISKA SKI AREA

Photo courtesy of Nakiska

 

Features

  • Accessible Mountain
  • 735m/2,412ft vertical rise
  • 6 lifts, 64 runs

 

Nakiska, located 75 km east of Banff, was built to host the 1988 Calgary Olympic Alpine events. The Official Alpine Canada National Training Centre, Nakiska is open for skiers of all ages and abilities. With 1,021 acres of skiable terrain and impressive snowmaking capabilities that cover 75% of the mountain, Nakiska’s ski season lasts from December to March.

You’ll feel famous knowing that Leonardo DiCaprio, Ellen Page and Tom Hardy learned to ski at Nakiska in preparation for ski scenes in Inception.

Test your skills on the terrain park, which is redesigned each season to provide exciting new experiences.

Try their tube park for family friendly thrills.

Nakiska also boasts an awesome Après Ski BBQ pit with outdoor seating designed to soak up every last ray of sunshine, key for short Alberta winter days.

 

Tickets

A: $89.95 | Sr: $71.95 | Yth: $67.95 | Ch: $33.95

 

 

Purcell Mountains

 

 

 

Enjoy the slopes just outside of the National Parks.

 

6. PANORAMA MOUNTAIN RESORT

Photo courtesy of Panorama Mountain Resort

 

Features

  • Third highest vertical in Canada
  • 1,300m/4,265ft vertical rise
  • 10 lifts, 129 runs

 

Panorama Mountain Resort, located 170 km west of Banff and 18 km west of Invermere, gives skiers and boarders access to 3000 acres of terrain including open fall-line, powder-filled tree skiing and steep bowl runs.

Try Taynton Bowl! 750 acres of pure black diamond skiing formerly exclusive to heli-skiers.

Warm up at the Springs Pools, Canada’s largest slope-side hot pools, including a large warm pool and two hot tubs.

Fuel up at the classic T-Bar and Grill or one of the Mountain Dining Huts on the slopes.

 

Tickets

A: $106 | Yth/Sr: $93 | Ch: $49

Panorama Express: $99 includes ticket. Thursdays from Banff. 1-877-565-9372.

 

 

7. KICKING HORSE RESORT

Photo by Nick Nault

 

Features

  • 5 Alpine Bowls
  • 1,315m/4,314 ft vertical rise
  • 5 lifts, 128 numbered runs

 

Kicking Horse Mountain Resort, located 145 km west of Banff via Hwy 1, is known as “Champagne Powder Capital of Canada.” Ski or ride on 2,825 acres of alpine ridges and bowls with deep natural snow.

Reach the summit with a single gondola ride for access to runs, sightseeing and the Eagle’s Eye Restaurant, the highest dining experience in Canada.

Explore the BIGGEST TERRAIN EXPANSION in Canada with new runs on terrain previously exclusive to heli-skiing. Available as conditions allow.

The Powder Express Shuttle runs daily from Banff: $100, lift pass included. 1-877-565-9372.

 

Tickets

A: $109.95 | Sr: $88.95 | Yth: $82.95 | Ch: $43.95

 

 

 

Cross-Country Skiing

Because life isn’t always downhill.

 

8. CANMORE NORDIC CENTRE

Photo courtesy of Canmore Nordic Centre

 

Features

  • More than 65 km/40 mi of groomed trails
  • 6.5 km/4 mi of illuminated trails for night skiing
  • All trails suitable for classic and skate-ski techniques

 

Originally built to host the 1988 Olympic Winter Games, the Canmore Nordic Centre is located just 5 minutes south of downtown Canmore. This world class facility is one of the few Olympic Nordic Skiing venues still operating.

The Visitors Centre offers training, rentals and a biathlon range.

Machine-made and natural snow combine to ensure trails are available for the whole season, from October to April.

The facility is accessible and includes snow ramps for sit skiers.

 

Daily trail use fees

A: $15 | Sr/Jr: $11.25 | Ch: $9 | Under 5 free.

 

 

For more trails throughout the Canadian Rockies, as well as places to rent skis, snowboards, snowshoes and more, Pick up a copy of WHERE Canadian Rockies!

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