Skiing in Canada varies greatly, from smaller, icier mountains in Quebec and Ontario, to big, world-class resorts like Whistler Blackcomb in British Columbia, and heli-skiing operations in Alberta and British Columbia that offer acres of untracked powder. With all the possibilities, when planning for a trip to Canada it helps to know what to expect.
Canadian ski resorts, particularly in Alberta and British Columbia, have large vertical drops and acres and acres of terrain. Experts will revel in "off-piste" type skiing that is in bounds and patrolled. Skiing is also generally less crowded than slopes in the United States and Europe.
While the altitudes are lower in the Canadian mountains, the more northern latitude means the treeline is lower and the vertical drops are equal to or larger than those found in the States.
Many of the resorts have upgraded their grooming abilities as well, so visitors can expect both well-groomed cruisers and steep ungroomed slopes.
The snow varies greatly. Resorts in eastern Canada, such as Mont Tremblant, have colder, wetter snow and the slopes can often get icy. Lake Louise and other resorts in Alberta can get light, fluffy powder, while resorts in British Columbia often get a mix. Temperatures can be bitterly cold, with averages in Mont Tremblant at -20 Celsius (-4 Fahrenheit).
Accommodations and Dining
Accommodations at most Canadian resorts are excellent. Visitors can expect everything from affordable hotel rooms to expensive chalets and condos. Dining, too, can be a treat, including excellent world-class restaurants and more budget-oriented bistros. Lake Louise and Banff National Park in Alberta have a variety of hostel-type accommodations. Visitors to Whistler-Blackcomb, which consistently tops lists for one of the best ski resorts in the world, can choose from ski-in/ski-out slope-side lodges such as the Aspens and the Marquise, to multibedroom homes for groups of 16 or more, such as Taluswood. Those going to Ontario and Quebec resorts like Mont Tremblant can find many cozy bed and breakfasts, as well as hotels and chalets. Prices are generally lower than top U.S. resorts like Vail, Aspen and Park City.