The largest resort in North America is often cited as the best resort in the world, so it would be difficult to argue that it's not the best in Canada (though there are plenty of worthy competitors). With over 8,100 acres of skiable terrain and 200 marked runs, Whistler Blackcomb is about double the size of most resorts. Those acres aren't just a bunch of empty fluff either, as every type of terrain imaginable can be found there, from gentle beginner slopes to some of the most challenging steeps and chutes in the world. With five terrain parks and a Superpipe, Whistler is also one of the top freestyle destinations for skiers and snowboarders. A vertical mile doesn't hurt Whistler's cause either. If there's one area that the resort doesn't quite master, it's snow, as it has a reputation for wetter, heavier coastal snow. However, with around 400 inches of snow annually, you're likely to see some of the good stuff too. If you just can't get enough skiing in the winter, Whistler is one of only two North American resorts to offer glacier skiing in the summer. The recent addition of the Peak 2 Peak Gondola makes traveling between the two mountains quicker and easier than ever before.
4545 Blackcomb Way
Whistler BC Canada
Kicking Horse is a much lower-profile resort than Whistler Blackcomb, but don't let its low-key reputation fool you. There's plenty of killer terrain and beautiful snow there. Further inland in British Columbia and located in the town of Golden, Kicking Horse receives drier powder than resorts out near the coast. Beginners and those intimidated by big terrain might want to stick to the lower mountain as the upper part features a variety of steeps and chutes geared directly toward experts. In fact, 60 percent of Kicking Horse's terrain is graded for advanced and expert riders. If you like some choke with your pitch, you'll find 70 chutes to choose from. Kicking Horse offers an impressive vertical of 4,133 feet.
Kicking Horse Resort
PO Box 839 1500 Kicking Horse Trail
Golden BC Canada
Moving eastward, Sunshine Village is another great destination for Canadian big-mountain skiing and riding. The mountain offers 3,358 acres, blanketed in 364 inches of snow annually and drops 3,514 feet of vertical on its patrons. More lift-served, inside-the-boundary backcountry than resort terrain, areas like Delirium Dive and Silver City serve up some of the most-challenging (and terrifying) expert terrain in Canada complete with unmarked cliffs and hazards. You'll need full avalanche gear and an okay from patrol just to enter the gates. With a long season that runs from November deep into May, Sunshine Village is a very reliable option for a ski vacation.
P.O. Box 1510
Banff AB Canada
Not far down the road from Sunshine Village is another Alberta resort, Lake Louise is the second largest resort in Canada. Within Louise's expansive 4,200 acres, you'll find all varieties of terrain including steeps, wide open bowls and groomers. In addition to great skiing, Lake Louise offers some of the most beautiful alpine views in the world, overlooking massive peaks, glaciers and its namesake lake. Great news for groups of skiers with different skill levels--every chair at Lake Louise offers access to terrain for all abilities. For those who love long, continuous runs, Lake Louise allows you to drop its full 3,250 feet of vertical in one thrilling run, rather than dumping you in a variety of loosely-configured base areas.
Lake Louise Ski Area
1 Whitehorn Road
Lake Louise Alberta Canada
While Canadian skiing is skewed toward the big mountains and heavy snow of the western resorts, it's simply not fair to ignore the east entirely. The title for best resort in eastern Canada would have to be between Le Massif and Tremblant. Le Massif wins out for more vertical (2,526 feet), more snow and less crowds. With 410 acres of skiing, a healthy mix of advanced, intermediate and beginner terrain and an annual snowfall total of around 250 inches of quality snow per year, Le Massif has everything that a dedicated skier needs. Sitting atop the Saint Lawrence River, it also offers some truly unique, beautiful scenery. Less crowds than other Quebec resorts means that you'll spend more time riding and less time standing around letting the extremities numb. Le Massif can't be beat as an eastern Canadian destination.
1350 Principale St., P.O. Box 47
Petite-Rivière-Saint-François Québec Canada
(877) LE MASSIF