If there’s one thing Canadians know how to do, it’s make the most out of winter.
Sometimes the best way to do this is with an epic ski and snowboard getaway. Whether you’re seeking mellow cross-country ski trails or scenic glacier views and perfect powder bowls, it’s the season to get outside, make some memories and give your gear a workout.
Here are our top picks for snow-themed getaways:
With two massive mountains, plentiful resorts for all budgets and a quaint village full of shops and restaurants, British Columbia’s Whistler is easily one of the top Canadian winter getaways. In fact, people come from all over the world to spend time here, whether for the skiing and snowboarding, or just for the breathtaking winter scenery as seen from a hot tub.
Thanks to Whistler’s two separate mountains, it’s actually the biggest ski area in North America, which means that you could easily spend an entire week here without ever repeating the same slope twice. That being said, it’s not just seasoned snow enthusiasts who are drawn to the towering ski slopes here. There are tons of green runs as well, and no shortage of beginner programs if you just want to get your feet wet … er … snowy.
The mountain’s location on the west coast of British Columbia’s mainland – in close proximity to the Pacific Ocean – means no shortage of powdery snowfalls. Whistler is also a fantastic winter getaway if you’re not into skiing or snowboarding. The main village has tons of lively restaurants and shops, and both mountains offer a number of activities, including tubing, snowshoeing, zip lining and wildlife tours.
Many of the resorts have great entertainment features too. So while your well-used gear is drying off after a long day on the slopes, enjoy a glass of wine in an outdoor hot tub or end the day with a massage and a stop in the eucalyptus steam room, all of which you’ll find in many resorts.
Lake Louise, AB
You’ve probably already seen a photo of Lake Louise, even if you don’t know it. Its placid turquoise waters and sheer cliffs have graced many a travel magazine and adventurous Instagram feed.
Turns out its peaks and glaciers are equally scenic, making this one of the top Canadian skiing and snowboarding getaways if you want a view to go with your action. Nestled in Alberta’s Banff National Park, Lake Louise’s ski facilities include both beginner and intermediate runs, combined with awe-inspiring views. From the top of many peaks, you can see the frozen Lake Louise – which is stunning in its own right – as well as the nearby Mount Assiniboine.
As a ski and snowboard destination, Lake Louise has a less touristy feel than some locations, as there are no resorts or lodging accommodations in the immediate area. Lake Louise Village, however, is a short drive away and has a quaint, charming feel to it. Make sure you stop for a steaming cinnamon roll at Laggan’s Bakery or a rejuvenating spa session at the Temple Mountain Spa, located inside the Post Hotel, one of Lake Louise’s main lodging facilities.
Nestled high in Quebec’s Laurentian Mountains, this resort boasts over 600 acres of ski and snowboarding trails and a bustling pedestrian village, making it one of eastern Canada’s most coveted winter destinations.
It has an equal amount of beginner, intermediate and expert routes, so there’s something for almost everyone. The sheer size of the resort allows it to cater to many other winter-themed activities too, including dog sledding, ice climbing, skating, sleigh rides, tubing and snowshoeing. Plentiful ski schools make it a top spot for families with children who are just starting to build memories and learn the ropes of a truly Canadian holiday.
Much like Whistler, if you need a break from snow-based activity – perhaps to give your gear a break – there’s still plenty to do. Hop on the open air gondola and descend into the pedestrian village, where you’ll find trendy shops, eateries and spas to pass the time. This is also where you’ll find much of the resort’s accommodations, which include everything from budget condos to luxury chalets.
Easily one of the top Canadian ski and snowboard destinations for families, Panorama straddles the border between British Columbia and Alberta.
The resort is car free and divided into two bustling villages. The upper village is arranged around a skating rink and outdoor heated pool, complete with water slides, hot tubs and a sauna. Many visitors stay in the condos in this part of the area, which offers free access to the rink and pool facilities; a big draw for families.
Not only is it easy to find ski schools and beginner programs here, but there are also plentiful childcare centers and options for after-hours care, should mom and dad need a little break. Aside from kid-friendly features, Panorama actually features one of the biggest verticals in North America, rising 1,300 metres in total. There’s also plenty of cross country trails and powder bowls, so really, something for everyone.