Thinking of a ski holiday in Canada? Considering visiting any of the following ski resorts: Banff Norquay, Fernie, Jasper Marmot Basin, Kicking Horse, Kimberley, Lake Louise, Nakiska, Panorama, Sunshine Village, Whistler Blackcomb? Then read on!
Things to consider before deciding where to go on a ski holiday in Canada. The following is based on statistics gathered direct from the ski hills by rocky-peak Ski Holidays.
We all have a budget to stick to, well, most of us anyway!
Best value ski resort: Jasper Marmot Basin
Most Expensive ski resort: Whistler Blackcomb
? Terrain (Based on % of resort)
Mostly beginner: Jasper Marmot Basin
Mostly intermediate: Nakiska
Mostly advanced: Whistler Blackcomb (Kicking Horse is close second)
Mostly Expert: Panorama
? Time of year
Earliest opening: Sunshine Village, Banff
Latest Closing: Whistler Blackcomb
Be aware that the coldest months are January and February. Some of the best rates of the season are in January and as long as you have plenty of warm clothes just in case, it is definately worth taking advantage of these rates.
Longest season: Whistler Blackcomb (Sunshine Village, Banff close second)
Whistler Blackcomb opens November and closes in early June – how great is that?! Blackcomb Mountain also has a glacier which can be skiied on in the summer.
Sunshine Village, Banff closes end of May. If you are wanting to stay a season then go for the resorts with the longest season. If you are coming out for just week, it is best stick with just one resort, that way you will get to know the runs well. For two week ski holidays think about spending one week in one resort, and the other week in another.
If you don’t want to do the split resort ski holiday, Banff, for example, has access to Banff Norquay, Lake Louise and Sunshine Village and if you are prepared to travel a couple of hours, Kicking Horse onboard the popular Kicking Horse Express Ski Bus. Lake Louise also has easy access to all these resorts too.
? Snow Quantity
Greatest average snowfall: Whistler Blackcomb (Fernie is close second)
This might be why Fernie was rated number 5 best ski resort in North America in Skiing Magazine’s “Top 25 Resorts in North America”. Whistler Blackcomb was number one again!
If you are after deep powder, then increase your chances by visiting the resorts with the highest average snowfall. One thing to remember though is that you can have a powder day in most resorts if your timing is right (and you are lucky!), however, skiing while that snow is coming down is not that much fun as you can not see too much so don’t pray for too much snow at once!
? Snow Quality
Best quality: Sunshine Village, Banff
Quality not quantity comes to mind. Head to the higher resorts for the best quality snow. If the temperatures rise a bit, you still know you will be getting good quality snow, not that horrible slushy stuff. The higher the resorts, the lower the temperatures are going to be so that is something to bear in mind.
In my opinion, Sunshine Village, Banff has the best quality snow. It is ideally located on the Continental Divide and is a high resort and so Sunshine Village, Banff often receives snow when the other ski resorts aren’t.
? Best Powder
Kicking Horse without a doubt! Kicking Horse has it’s famous "champagne powder" that you can just cruise through. The air is so dry, you will find it is almost impossible to make snowballs out of this light fluffy powder. If it looks like the snow is going to hit Kicking Horse Mountain Resort while you are out here, be sure to hop on the Powder Express Bus to Kicking Horse.
Do you like to Race?
The best for racing are Lake Louise and Nakiska. With their groomed runs you fly!
? Greatest Vertical
Do you like long runs?!
Whistler Blackcomb has the greatest vertical in North America (closely followed by Vail) and Kicking Horse has the greatest vertical in the Canadian Rockies. You will find your ankles will burn if you try to do the run from top to bottom in one go. It is certainly a buzz when you do a great last long run from top to bottom to finish your day.
? Skiable Terrain
Whistler Blackcomb comes first to no surprise. Lake Louise has the greatest skiable terrain in the Canadian Rockies. Both these resorts have enough runs for you to be finding new runs year after year!
? Family friendly resorts
All the resorts cater to families, some more so than others. Sunshine Village, Banff, Banff Norquay, Lake Louise, Jasper Marmot Basin and Whistler Blackcomb are all excellent for families of mixed ages and abilities.
? Accommodation preferences
You may want to decide what sort of ski accommodation you would like before you choose the ski resort as not all accommodation types are available at every resort. Larger resort homes are available in Whistler Blackcomb and Fernie unlike Banff, Lake Louise and Jasper which have just mostly hotel rooms. Ski-in, ski-out properties can only be found at Kicking Horse, Fernie, Kimberley, Panorama, Whistler Blackcomb, and Sunshine Village .
I hope I have been able to give you a few things to think about when planning your ski holiday in Canada. For more information and expert advice, be sure to contact rocky-peak Ski Holidays for your ski holiday in Canada.