It may be further afield than the Alps or the Dolomites, but a trip to Canada makes it onto on the bucket lists of ski lovers everywhere for good reason. From the world-famous Whistler Blackcomb and its attractive resort towns to the steep verticals of Revelstoke, there’s enough choice – for every level of skier – to keep you coming back for years.
Families, couples and groups alike can enjoy varied, all-round resorts like charming Tremblant, beginner-friendly family resorts such as Big White and expert areas like Fernie, with some of North America’s steepest terrain, best runs and most challenging off-piste.
Several of the resorts can be combined into one single trip too, offering exceptional variety and thousands of acres in areas of outstanding natural beauty, such as Banff National Park.
Undeniably Canada’s most famed ski resort, Whistler Blackcomb has a legendary reputation as an excellent ski area for all levels of skier. The largest ski resort in North America, it is home to over 8,100 acres of skiable terrain and over 200 runs. Some 55 per cent of these are marked as intermediate runs, though there are great beginner areas at the base of Blackcomb and mid-way up Whistler. There are several excellent advanced areas too, including the Flute Bowl, West Bowl and Spankey’s Ladder, with the longest runs offering a 1,500-metre vertical.
The town of Whistler was purpose-built and has quickly developed into one of the world’s premier resorts. There are plenty of non-skiing activities available and several options for kids, while the apres is among some of the best in North America, centred around venues like Merlin’s, Dusty’s and BrewHouse.
Heidi offers packages to The Westin Resort & Spa, two minutes from the slopes and just over five away from the town centre. Inside, the rooms are spacious, modern and come with excellent views which are only beaten by those offered from the terrace and grill restaurant.
From £3,073pp, including seven nights’ accommodation, room-only, return flights from London Heathrow to Vancouver and airport transfers. Departing 13 January 2024.
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Quebec’s premier ski resort sits at the foot of the eponymous mountain, whose pistes cater well to all abilities. Beginners can start their ski journey at the edge of the village before progressing onto a series of long greens, including the Flying Mile. There are a number blues for intermediates, especially in the areas around Le Soleil and the Lowell Thomas lift, while advanced skiers can enjoy several terrain parks and steep black runs on both the north and south side of the mountain.
The idyllic, purpose-built village has been deliberately built in the style of Old Quebec, with plenty of colourful facades and French-Canadian charm. It offers lively apres and nightlife, often bolstered when locals flock in from Montreal. Non-skiing activities include ice skating, ice fishing and long walking trails, plus there’s a village casino.
British Airways Holidays has trips to the Fairmont Tremblant, one of the more grand hotels in the resort, with an excellent ski-in/ski-out location that lies just a few metres from the lifts. The hotel has impressive spa, pool and sauna facilities, along with a large terrace, restaurant and outdoor hot tub.
From £1,329pp, including seven nights’ accommodation, room-only, return flights from London Heathrow to Montreal and airport transfers. Departing 20 January 2024.
Sunshine Village lies around 20 minutes away from the town of Banff, with over 3,000 acres of ski area that is famed for its snow quality and reliable coverage, reflected in its long season that typically runs from mid-November to late May. It is another all-round area that caters almost equally to every level of skier, starting at the greens on the slopes of Mount Standish. Intermediates are at home in the areas served by the Continental Divide lift and the Tee Pee Town Express, while the more advanced should make a beeline for Goats Eye Mountain. The off-piste at Delirium Dive is also noteworthy.
Banff is the place to stay for livelier evenings and decent accessibility, though due to the town’s distance from the ski area, there is less of an ‘apres’ culture on the slopes.
Stay at the newest hotel in Banff with a package from Inghams. The four-star Moose Hotel & Suites sits in the downtown area, offering comfortable rooms – with balcony or patio areas that provide great views of the Rockies – and a spa that features two heated rooftop pools that remain open in winter. You’ll be a short shuttle away from Sunshine Village, or it’s a 40-minute journey over to neighbouring Lake Louise.
From £1,482pp, including seven nights’ accommodation, room-only, return flights from London Heathrow to Calgary and transfers. Departing 27 January 2024.
Though a little smaller than some rivals at 2,500 acres, Fernie has gained a reputation as an excellent area for advanced skiers, with the added bonus of an average of nine metres of snowfall annually. The mountain is divided into seven sections, the lowest of which offers groomed green slopes for beginners, but the real attraction in Fernie is the ungroomed, steep terrain and tree skiing.
The most challenging runs are at Polar Peak and Currie Bowl, with tree skiing at Siberia or Timber Bowl. The runs around the Timber Bowl Express are more open and longer, with a 650-metre vertical.
When picking accommodation, beware that Fernie’s resort village, while convenient, is fairly small and quiet. The town of Fernie itself is far more lively and has good bus links to the resort five miles away.
Welcome in the New Year in style with a stay in Fernie courtesy of Ski Solutions. Mark the celebrations at Lizard Creek Lodge, a ski-in/ski-out hotel where the views from the terrace and balconies are only rivalled by those on the slopes. Head into town in the evenings in a rental car, included in the package price.
From £1,795pp, including seven nights’ accommodation, room-only, return flights from a London airport, airport transfers and car hire. Departing 30 December 2023.
Big White is one of the best choices in the country for beginners, intermediates and those looking to learn to ski powder, with less steep terrain and plenty of shelter and tree runs. Located in the Okanagan Highlands, this 2,800-acre resort was purpose built for ski-in/ski-out access, providing easy access to the slopes from most of the accommodation.
Some 18 per cent of its 119 runs designated as beginner, while intermediates have the pick of the slopes, with over 50 per cent catering to them. Though the resort is less advanced-friendly, there are challenging areas out in the open at the top of the mountain.
Marketed as ‘Canada’s favourite family resort’, Big White is also a great destination for a ski holiday with the kids. The ‘Happy Valley’ area at the bottom of the village provides several non-skiing activities, and there are enough good restaurants to fill your stay if needed.
Ski Safari offers February half-term getaways to Big White with a stay at the aptly named Chateau Big White in the centre of town. Close to the slopes and with convenient ski-in/ski-out access, it has the ideal location for exploring both the pistes and the local area. Guests can sample food at the on-site Swiss Bear restaurant or the Black Diamond Bar & Grill.
Prices for two adults and two children under 12 years from £1,280pp, including seven nights’ accommodation, room-only, return flights and transfers. Flights are arranged and quoted upon enquiry. Departing 10 February 2024.
Lake Louise lies a little further away from Banff than Sunshine Village, but offers a larger ski area and some of the most amazing views in Banff National Park, including that of the famed Mount Assiniboine. Beginners will find the area around the foot of the hill a good start, while the area around the Grizzly Express and Larch Express lifts contains good beginner runs and some top-to-bottom greens. Much of the rest suits intermediates, while the Back Bowls are good for the more advanced.
Most people will choose to base themselves in Banff, though the 45-minute drive to Lake Louise may put some off. A lift pass to the ‘Ski Big 3’ area covers Lake Louise, Sunshine Village and nearby Mount Norquay, but a stay in Lake Louise itself is a great option for a relaxing week split between skiing, the odd visit to Banff and seeing what this charming village has to offer.
Another offering from Fairmont is the magnificent Chateau Lake Louise, a historic hotel located right next to the shores of the lake itself. Crystal Ski offers the most affordable package here, with a stay in an elegant double room that boasts delightful views of the Rockies. You’ll be five minutes away from town, with the ski area accessible using a free, 10-minute shuttle bus.
From £1,904pp, including seven nights’ accommodation, room-only, return flights from London Heathrow to Calgary and transfers. Departing 27 January 2024.
Revelstoke has managed to gain a glowing reputation despite existing for much less time than most of its rivals (it opened in 2007). Another resort that is well-known for the quality and quantity of its snow, it is still a work in progress – you can currently explore around 3,000 of the intended 8,000 acres – but is already a highly regarded destination for those of an intermediate level or higher.
Mount Mackenzie possesses everything from well-groomed, long blues like the 4km Snow Rodeo to steep open terrain or tree-skiing around the North and South Bowls, with a vertical of 1,700 metres that is the longest on the continent. Heli-skiing is also popular in Revelstoke, opening up access to 500,000 acres and 400 runs.
Book a stay at The Sutton Place hotel with Ski Safari. A refreshing blend of alpine facades and modern American interiors, it has large suites and impressive facilities including indoor and outdoor pools and three restaurants. Even better, it sits less than 50 metres from one of the main gondolas for easy access to the slopes.
From £2,455pp, including 10 nights’ accommodation, room-only, return flights and airport transfers. Flights are arranged and quoted upon enquiry. Departing 15 January 2024.
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