Hit the slopes this winter at Canada’s top ski and snowboard resorts

November 23, 2016

by Megan Jones

From Whistler Blackcomb in B.C. to Saskatchewan’s Wapiti Valley Resort to Crabbe Mountain New Brunswick, Canada’s mountainous terrain stretches from coast to coast, offering skiers and snowboarders of all skill levels plenty of options for wintertime fun. If you’re looking to hit the slopes this season, read on for an essential guide to the country’s best ski and snowboard destinations. [Photo credit: Tourism Whistler / Robin O'Neill]

Hit the slopes this winter at Canada’s top ski and snowboard resorts

Whistler Blackcomb, British Columbia

Home to the 2010 Winter Olympic Games, Whistler Blackcomb is one of the most renowned ski resorts in Canada, if not the world, due to its massive size, lengthy runs, state-of-the-art gondolas and enviable mountainside village.

  • Top elevation: 2,182 metres
  • Most famous for: Being the largest ski resort in North America, with more than 8,000 acres and runs as long as 11 kilometers.
  • Number of Runs: 200 +
  • Where to stay: Whistler Village boasts dozens of modern condos, hotels and resorts including the elegant Listel Hotel Whistler, a prestigious B.C.-based hotel chain.
  • Where to eat: Unlike most B.C. mountain towns, Whistler is home to a diverse and elegant fine dining scene. If you want to do après ski in style, head to the award-winning Araxi Restaurant + Oyster Bar. Here, oysters on the half shell are fresh and light, while simple farm-to-table dishes and a robust wine list round out any meal.
  • Where to drink: Garfinkles is where the locals go to dance after midnight, while Tapley’s Neighbourhood Pub offers casual vibes, with live music and sports games.

Revelstoke Mountain Resort, British Columbia

Welcome to Revelstoke, a picturesque, historic railway town on the banks of the Columbia River, home to Canada’s youngest large-scale ski resort, Revelstoke Mountain Resort. Launched in 2007, RMR offers shorter lines than most other resorts of its size, and higher elevation than Whistler.

  • Top elevation: 2,225 metres
  • Most famous for: The longest vertical descent of any ski resort in North America.
  • Number of Runs: 40
  • Where to stay: The Mountain offers much in the form of modern, resort-style accommodation. For a taste of true Revelstoke history, check in at Mustang Bed and Breakfast, a Victorian heritage home with cozy, wallpapered rooms and gourmet breakfasts.
  • Where to eat: The Village Idiot Bar & Grill serves American pub food, and is easily the most happening spot in town; the funky decor includes chairs made of old skis.
  • Where to drink: The Cabin. Where else can one lounge with a local beer, bowl with friends, and browse a snowboard and ski shop – all in one bar?

Image credit: iStock.com/stockstudioX

Revelstoke Mountain Resort, British Columbia

Mount Washington Alpine Resort, British Columbia

Vancouver Island dwellers need not visit the mainland for icy slopes. This modest but mighty resort offers more than 50 downhill runs and 55 kilometres of Nordic terrain.

  • Top elevation: 1,590 m
  • Most famous for: An abundance of local wildlife including deer, black bears, and indigenous birds – plus its noteworthy status as Vancouver Island’s only ski resort.
  • Number of Runs: 60
  • Where to stay: Mount Washington does not have a village; however, impeccable ski-in/ski-out lodges – aptly named Bear Lodge and Deer Lodge – are both convenient and cozy, with fireplaces and ample room for extra guests and their gear.
  •  Where to eat: On site, Fat Teddy’s Bar & Grill at Alpine Lodge serves up warm comfort foods like juicy burgers and crispy chicken tenders. The nearby town of Comox offers more worldly options; local favourites include Sushi Wara for Japanese fare, and Toscano’s Mediterranean Grill, where flatbreads are crispy and divine.
  • Where to drink: Fat Teddy’s Bar & Grill, of course; the Mountain’s only bar, Teddy’s offers delicious craft beers on tap, creative cocktails and plenty of bar snacks.

Image credit: iStock.com/Devin_Taylor-Photography

Mount Washington Alpine Resort, British Columbia

Lake Louise Ski Resort, Alberta

Sharing its name with Canada’s most photographed alpine lake, Lake Louise Ski Resort is located in the heart of the Rocky Mountain Range and is one of North America’s largest ski resorts with nearly 150 runs and plenty of attractions, shops and restaurants.

  • Top elevation: 2,637 metres
  • Most famous for: Banff National Park. This famous and historic park dates back to the late 1800s and Lake Louise Ski Resort is just one of its many recreational centers.
  • Number of Runs: 145
  • Where to stay: Treat yourself to the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, an elegant, nostalgia-inducing hotel dating back to 1890. Or, check in to more intimate options including the ever-charming Lake Louise Inn.
  • Where to eat: Slopeside Coffee bar is ideal for a buzz when you need a quick break from skiing. For refined fare, visit The Balkan Restaurant, a classic tavern serving traditional Greek dishes.
  • Where to drink: For the best of Lake Louise nightlife, head to Dancing Sasquatch, where pop hits will make you want to move and groove.

Image credit: iStock.com/ronniechua

Lake Louise Ski Resort, Alberta

Wapiti Valley Ski Resort, Saskatchewan

Despite Saskatchewan’s reputation for flat terrain, a handful of ski resorts serve the prairie province, the best being Wapiti Valley, a remote chalet-style resort with 12 slopes.

  • Top elevation: 310 metres
  • Most famous for: What it lacks in elevation Wapiti makes up for in unique excursions including ice fishing, dog mushing, curling, sleigh rides and snowmobiling.
  • Number of Runs: 12
  • Where to stay: Wapiti is located in a rural area, and does not offer a village with large hotels, shops or restaurants. However, cabin rentals and B&Bs abound, and favourites include the Kingfisher Inn and the Bear’s Den Inn.
  • Where to eat and drink: Drafties Bar inside the tiny Bluebird Hotel in Melfort is a blast from the past, with kitschy decor and traditional English pub food.

Holiday Mountain Resort, Manitoba

Founded in 1959 by Canadian ski resort tycoon Noel Later, this modest ski hill in Manitoba is, surprisingly, the center of innovation for ski resort technology in Canada. The country’s first chairlift, snowmaking system and snow camera debuted on Holiday Mountain.

  • Top elevation: 460 metres
  • Most famous for: Its rich sense of history and beloved local legends, including the storied boxcar village: prior to the construction of the Holiday’s original lodge, skiers took matters into their own hands, installing a dozen retired boxcars as dwelling places.
  • Number of runs: 9
  • Where to stay: A-frame cabins are ideal for multiple families, and the popular Mountain Inn is the perfect place if you’re looking to meet others during your stay.
  • Where to eat: Most guests congregate at the Main Chalet, where one can enjoy breakfast, lunch and dinner in a spirited, family-friendly atmosphere.
  • Where to drink: The Main Chalet’s famous cocktail lounge offers a pool table, beer, wine and cocktails, and live music on weekends during the ski season. The best part? A nostalgia wall filled with vintage photos of Holiday Mountain.

Mont Tremblant Resort, Quebec

Nestled in the spectacular Laurentian Mountains, this 630-acre resort was founded in 1939 by Philadelphian gold prospector, Joseph Ryan. Today, Mont Tremblant is internationally recognized as the best ski resort in Eastern North America.

  • Top elevation: 875 metres
  • Most famous for: Class and style. With its charming, European-style pedestrian village, and elevated dining, shopping and nightlife options, Mont Tremblant is where international celebrities and the Montreal elite come to play.
  • Number of runs: 95
  • Where to stay: There’s nothing quite like a weekend at the Fairmont’s Le Sommet des Nieges, a world-renowned ski-in/ski-out hotel that takes inspiration from the castle-like chateaus of the Swiss Alps from the 40s and 50s.
  • Where to eat: The Pedestrian Village has plenty of fine dining options, of course, but for something a little more casual, head to Mille Pates, a bohemian eatery specializing in healthy, fresh and eco-friendly fare.
  • Where to drink: Bar Café D’Epoque is perfect if you like Euro-techno music and pulsing bodies. La Diable, on the other hand, is a microbrewery offering more laid-back vibes, with simple BBQ fare and artisan beers.

Image credit: iStock.com/mathieukor

Mont Tremblant Resort, Quebec

Blue Mountain Resort, Ontario

Ontario’s preferred ski destination, Blue Mountain Resort is located on the Niagara Escarpment on the southern edge of Georgian Bay, where several slopes offer skiing and snowboarding, snowshoeing, and more.

  • Top elevation: 219 metres
  • Most famous for: Being Ontario’s largest ski resort, maintaining an outdoor skating rink during ski season, and the nearby Scandinave Spa for post-workout relaxation.
  • Number of runs: 42
  • Where to stay: The Blue Mountain Inn is ideal for families, with large rooms, an indoor pool and canine-friendly accommodation. Couples can cozy up on the hearth at the Grand Georgian, a romantic hotel modelled after a historic railway lodge.
  • Where to eat: The Pottery Restaurant will suit all walks of life, with eclectic, locally inspired fare, a stone fireplace, elegant white walls and exposed beams.
  • Where to drink: Jozo’s Original Après is the spot to be when the slopes close. Locals and visitors alike gather here for beers on tap, friendly service and live entertainment.

Image credit: iStock.com/Orchidpoet

Blue Mountain Resort, Ontario

Crabbe Mountain, New Brunswick

The highest vertical peak in the Martimes, Crabbe Mountain presents a wide range of wintertime activities that take advantage of the area’s heavy snowfalls in winter.

  • Top elevation: 260 metres
  • Most famous for: Being the Maritimes’ highest peak, with the most number of runs and chair lifts of all three provinces.
  • Number of runs: 31
  • Where to stay: On-site accommodations are not available, so most guests stay in hotels and inns in and around Fredericton, and the On the Pond Lodge is among the best. This four-star country inn offers a cozy dining room, spa services, and calming views of a serene lake and rolling hills.
  • Where to eat: Open until 9:30 pm each day, Crabbe Mountain’s simple cafeteria offers homemade East Coast meals and desserts.
  • Where to drink: During ski season, The Thirsty Boot Lounge hosts an Après Ski Entertainment Series featuring live music on Saturdays from 3:00 to 7:00 pm.
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