IF YOU’RE A POWDER SEEKER on the hunt for more fun than you can wave a ski pole at, head up north for a trip of a lifetime. Between British Columbia’s famed “Powder Highway” resorts to the massive expanse that is Whistler Blackcomb and the quaint, family-friendly resorts in the Okanagan region to Banff and Lake Louise’s pristine beauty and Quebec’s charming Mont Tremblant, Canada has a ski vacation to suit every type of skier or snowboarder. So head “oot and aboot” with your knapsack and tuque, grab a beavertail and mapleback for breakie and you’re well on your way to enjoying the Canuck culture this season.
THE “POWDER HIGHWAY”
The Kootenay Rockies is home to iconic resorts boasting pristine views, authentic ski towns, friendly locals and deep pow as a far as the eye can see, it’s no wonder it’s on top of most skier and snowboarder’s bucket list. With eight alpine ski resorts, over 20 backcountry lodges and numerous heli- and cat-ski operators, it’s a powder playground for all snowbirds. Not to mention the little towns sprinkled throughout, each with unique local cultures are gems waiting to be discovered. It doesn’t matter where you start your journey—maybe in Revelstoke where people have been skiing for 100 years, or Nelson where snow buries charming heritage houses, or Golden where mountains scratch crystal blue skies. Or perhaps your journey begins down in Rossland, up at Panorama or over in Fernie, where steep trees, ‘cold smoke’ and storybook villages have captured the hearts of enthusiasts. For the ultimate powder playground, travel to Revelstoke in the northeast corner of the Powder Highway to Kicking Horse. Then, head south on Route 95 to Panorama ski resort for impressive vertical skiing travel on to Kimberley Ski Resort for a quick run or two. Next, take a quick detour via Cranbrook to Fernie Ski Resort, followed by Highway 3 to Highway 6 to Whitewater Ski Resort. The famed “tour de powder” finally ends at Red Mountain in Rossland where Big Red Cats provide access to 18,900 acres of untouched cat-skiing terrain. powderhighway.com
WHISTLER BLACKCOMB and the quaint, family-friendly resorts in the Okanagan region
Blackcomb is stunningly large, with the most skiable terrain (8,171 acres) and highest vertical rise (5,280 feet) on the continent, each of its two interconnected mountains are bigger than other top-tier destination resorts. The result is virtually every snow condition, level of challenge and type of terrain you could imagine. Whistler Blackcomb claims 8,171 acres of designated in-bounds skiing, including more than 200 marked trails, plus expansive bowl and glade zones, with even more available to experts hiking its ridges (it is also one of the few resorts that operates on-site heli-skiing, with access to another 430,000-plus acres). This terrain is served by a vast network of three dozen lifts, including three new ones for the coming season. The highlight is a 10-passenger gondola that replaces two chairs previously required to get from the bottom of Blackcomb to the top, now a much faster single-ride ascent— for 4,000 skiers per hour, the greatest capacity of any lift in the U.S. or Canada. whistlerblackcomb.com
LAKE LOUISE AND BANFF
It’s human nature is to crave a sense of the wild, to seek out the feeling of discovery and reinvigoration that comes from finding personal space. It’s the purity and power of the alluring mountain peaks and vast valleys that create Lake Louise and Banff and enable visitors to quickly feel at home (and that’s before you settle down for some much-deserved fireside après). Known as the friendly giant of Canadian skiing, the Lake Louise Ski Resort offers 4,200 acres of skiing spread across four mountain faces in the heart of the magnificent Canadian Rockies. Their unique layout with beginner, intermediate and expert runs from every chair allows families to explore each area together. And with chutes, glades and gullies, gentle slopes, cruising runs, remote bowls, it’s home to some of the most challenging terrain in the Rockies. If you’re looking for fancy boutiques, overpriced restaurants or “mega resorts” this is not it! Just pure, awesome skiing and pristine beauty that is as much a part of the landscape as the culture. With events such as FIS Alpine World Cup Skiing, Big Mountain Challenge, live bands, Shake the Lake and Torchlight Parades, you’ll want to extend your stay and immerse yourself in the unspoiled wilderness experience that runs through the first week of May—that’s six months of snow-filled bliss! skilouise.com
Skiers have flocked to Quebec’s Mont Tremblant since its first chairlift and lodge opened in 1939. Positioned at the at the foot of the highest mountain of the Laurentians, this storybook village is complete with cobblestone streets lined with European style buildings that mimic Montreal’s Old City with vibrant red, teal and marigold facades and roofs. And with abundant snowfalls, skiers and snowboards can swoosh down some of the best slopes in eastern North America and ride 18 acres of ramps, rails, jumps and its Olympic caliber superpipe. Add impeccable hotels, charming boutiques, divine dining, lively entertainment, curated events and historic charm and you have a unique village that’s full of joie de vivre. From extreme adventures to rejuvenating spas to cultural activities, Mont Tremblant is a must all year long. And local Québécois are so welcoming with warm smiles and sophisticated elegance, it exudes ambience like nowhere else! tremblant.ca