12 Perfect Canadian Ski Towns You Will Never Want to Leave

Written by Kaleigh Moore
Updated: June 19, 2023
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Canada offers some of the most picturesque ski towns in the world, with breathtaking winter landscapes stretching as far as the eye can see. From the charm of small towns nestled into the side of a snow-covered mountain, to the wild terrain of the country’s vast backcountry, there’s something for everyone in these Canadian ski towns. 

Whether it’s your first time hitting the slopes or you’re a seasoned pro, there’s a Canadian ski town that will fulfill all your needs beyond what you could ever imagine. Pack your snow gear and discover the 12 perfect Canadian ski towns you’ll never want to leave.

We’ve put together a list featuring a variety of hills and activities to make your ski trip even more amazing. From vibrant town energy to the powdery snow that draws you in, these ski towns have something for everyone. Start planning now and get ready for the ultimate winter getaway.

1. Lake Louise, British Columbia

Lake Louise, a haven for intermediate skiers and nature buffs, lures many first-time Canadian skiers with affordable flights to Calgary and off-peak Banff National Park lodgings. Spoiler alert: visitors usually return singing its praises.

What’s the secret? The National Park setting, for starters. Imagine skiing on the edge of a 4,200-acre wilderness, 30 miles from Banff – a thrilling experience accentuated by the pyramid peaks of Bow Valley and the wildlife-rich forests below.

Lake Louise’s well-suited trails cater to visitors’ skills, featuring wide, uncrowded intermediate runs with soft, grippy snow. Add the nearby Sunshine Village (accessible via SkiBig3 pass) to the mix, and you’ve got a week’s worth of skiing variety.

Where to stay: As for accommodations, while Banff is a popular choice, those wishing to dodge the 40-minute shuttle ride can opt for Lake Louise Inn or the posh Post Hotel, complete with an award-winning wine cellar, right near the lifts.

Other things to do

Apart from skiing, you can partake in other fun activities like whitewater rafting, kayaking, and fishing.  Visiting the historic Lake Louise train station, taking a ride on the historic Spiral Tunnels Railway, or simply exploring the breathtaking views that Lake Louise has to offer, are equally attractive options.

A view of Lake Louise and its surrounding mountains in British Columbia, Canada.

The majestic Lake Louise is nestled among the snow-capped Canadian Rocky Mountains in British Columbia, Canada.


2. Kicking Horse, British Columbia

Kicking Horse, British Columbia is the dream playground for advanced and expert skiers craving uncrowded slopes and a dash of adventure. Picture yourself embarking on a road trip through the Canadian Rockies, exploring the Powder Highway’s mid-sized ski areas with adrenaline-pumping excitement.

When fresh, deep snow graces Kicking Horse, experienced and nimble skiers will revel in its 2,800 skiable acres of feisty terrain. The resort’s steep, challenging slopes are speckled with black and double-black diamond trails that demand your utmost attention. 

Lower down, intermediate-friendly pistes meander through enchanting forests, but the heart-pounding top section truly defines Kicking Horse.

The half-developed village offers a laid-back atmosphere that contrasts sharply with mega-resorts like Whistler or the Three Valleys.

Where to stay: For a place to stay, the Eagle’s Eye Suite, perched at 2,300m (7,700ft) atop the resort’s mountain top restaurant, caters to honeymooners and thrill-seekers alike. Meanwhile, the charming Vagabond Lodge B&B awaits at the base area, ready to warm your heart after a thrilling day on the slopes.

Other things to do

The Rockies offer opportunities for mountain biking, hiking, and glacier exploration, as well as several rivers for leisurely float trips. Whitewater rapids are available for those seeking an adrenaline rush, while rafters and kayakers can explore pristine lakes. 

You can take a stroll through the historic mountain towns or go for a scenic drive for a relaxing day. Additionally, there are opportunities for golf, horseback riding, and fishing. You can even go climb a high peak for a great view. 

A panoramic view of the majestic Canadian Rocky Mountains in Kicking Horse, British Columbia.

The beautiful town of Kicking Horse, British Columbia is nestled between the towering peaks of the Canadian Rocky Mountains.

©Jeremy Janus/Shutterstock.com

3. Fernie, British Columbia

Fernie, British Columbia, is the quintessential peaceful getaway for intermediate, advanced, and expert skiers seeking a serene ski town experience. The tranquil slopes, open roads, and warm locals will charm you as you explore the Canadian Rocks. But it’s Fernie that might make you reconsider that return ticket.

This small town of 5,000 residents remains blissfully unspoiled by tourism, yet it’s a mere eight-minute drive from some of North America’s snowiest and most thrilling expert terrain. Nestled within five adjacent bowls carved from the Lizard Range’s northeastern face, Fernie offers off-piste descents for every taste – from heart-stopping chutes to beginner-friendly, obstacle-free slopes.

Accounting for roughly 30% of the 2,500-acre area, lower elevations feature gentler, tree-lined trails perfect for intermediates when freshly groomed. However, these skiers may crave more challenges after a few days – perhaps some tuition or tackling tougher slopes. Fortunately, Panorama is only a two-hour drive away.

Where to stay: Regarding lodging, while the town boasts undeniable allure, nothing trumps a slopeside location near the lifts. Book a stay at Lizard Creek Lodge, but remember to visit town for at least one memorable dinner.

Other things to do

From active pursuits like skiing, bicycling, fishing, hiking, and golfing to more relaxed ones like dining, shopping, visiting art galleries, sightseeing, spas, and special events, Fernie offers something for everyone. In addition to this, you can visit historical locations, such as the Fernie Museum, or go on one of the numerous breathtaking mine excursions, including the Fernie Ghost Rider Mine Tour. 

A panoramic view of Fernie, British Columbia with its majestic Rocky Mountains in the background.

Fernie, British Columbia is a beautiful mountain town located near the base of the Canadian Rocky Mountains.

©Autumn Sky Photography/Shutterstock.com

4. Banff Sunshine Village, Alberta

Imagine a Canadian ski town that caters to early intermediates and experts, enveloped in breathtaking Banff National Park. Welcome to Banff Sunshine Village, where 3,360 acres of strikingly diverse terrain await your discovery. 

Unlike its neighbor, Lake Louise, Sunshine Village offers shorter, gentler groomed trails alongside its adrenaline-pumping off-piste challenges, such as the aptly-named Delirium Dive.

Not only does this ski haven sit on Canada’s continental divide, but it also boasts – hold onto your hats – three times the average snowfall of Lake Louise. So, if you’re planning a week-long trip to the region, be sure to pencil in a visit to Sunshine Village for a taste of snowy paradise.

Where to stay: As for rooms, the slopeside Sunshine Mountain Lodge provides cozy lodging options. However, most visitors prefer the vibrant nightlife of Banff or the convenient access to Lake Louise’s prime intermediate skiing. Regardless of where you rest, Banff Sunshine Village promises a memorable ski experience you will want to take advantage of.

Other things to do

Visitors have a variety of options for activities here including animal encounters, scenic helicopter flights over the Canadian Rockies, and a luxurious spa. There are also various day trips and excursions on offer, including a tour of nearby Lake Louise, the Banff Gondola, or a horse-drawn sleigh ride through the snow-dusted landscapes. 

A picture of Banff Sunshine Village - one of the largest ski resorts in Canada

Banff Sunshine Village is a winter wonderland, with more than 3,300 acres of skiable terrain and world-class facilities that attract thousands of visitors each year.


5. Panorama, British Columbia

Imagine a Canadian ski town that beckons road-trippers and seasoned skiers alike, nestled just two hours southeast of Kicking Horse. Welcome to Panorama, British Columbia, an affordable gem boasting 2,975 skiable acres and terrain as diverse as the skiers grace its slopes. 

With 50% of its pyramid-shaped peak catering to beginners and intermediates, there’s something for everyone – but the thrill-seekers will truly be head over heels.

Picture this: challenging, avalanche-protected terrain in areas like Taynton Bowl and Extreme Dream Zone. All this coupled with the adrenaline-pumping presence of RK Heliski – an operation with over 50 years under its belt. It offers helicopter lifts and guided descents across 600 square miles and 900 distinct runs. Talk about a powder hound’s paradise!

But hold your horses. This backcountry adventure best suits athletic intermediates and experienced downhillers who can tackle crud and bumps with finesse. Time it right, and you’ll pinch yourself in disbelief at the “Is this for real?” moments. 

Where to stay: The highly-rated Embarc Panorama offers a cozy retreat just a stone’s throw from the Village Gondola, whisking you away to a hub of lifts and pistes.

Other things to do

You can travel on foot or by bicycle along clearly indicated paths while taking in the breath-blowing view of the Purcell Mountains and the Columbia Valley. Go swimming, fishing, kayaking, canoeing, and rafting in the nearby rivers. In addition, helicopter tours are available for visitors to see a very unique perspective of the area. You can experience an outdoor museum filled with traditional tools, clothes, cuisine, and ceremonial artifacts. 

A picture of a snow-capped mountain and ski resort village in the Purcell Mountains, British Columbia, Canada.

Located in British Columbia’s Kootenay Rockies region, Panorama is an idyllic ski town nestled in the mountains of the Purcells.


6. Red Mountain Resort, British Columbia

Tucked away in the Monashee Mountains near the US border, Red Mountain Resort is a hidden treasure that captivates explorers and seasoned skiers alike. Once an off-grid haven for local skiing enthusiasts, Red has since expanded into a more mainstream destination, boasting 3,850 acres of terrain spread across five steep-sided, round-topped peaks. 

Despite its growth, Red remains a playground for adventurous, athletic off-pisters who relish deep, fluffy powder.

Where to stay: Adding a touch of luxury to Red’s rustic charm, the ski-in, ski-out Josie Hotel offers Aspen-style indulgence at the base of the slopes. But don’t forget the allure of the charming town of Rossland just down the road. To truly immerse yourself in the local scene, book a stay at the Flying Steam Shovel Inn in the heart of town. 

Other things to do

Be it skiing and snowboarding on the numerous slopes and trails, or taking a dip in the heated outdoor pool, you are sure to find something here. Choose other activities like hiking, mountain biking, golfing, fishing, and birdwatching. Additionally, there are scenic chair rides, interpretive tours, and nature walks. 

A scenic view of the mountains of British Columbia, Canada.

Nestled in the Monashee Mountains of British Columbia lies the breathtakingly beautiful Red Mountain Resort – a popular destination for skiing and snowboarding.


7. Big White, British Columbia

Discover Big White, British Columbia – the ideal Canadian ski town for families, beginners, and intermediates. Big White is located in the Okanagan Highlands and has an impressive 25 feet of annual snowfall. Its 2,800-acre ski area offers a gentler experience than resorts like Kicking Horse, Revelstoke, or Red, with top-to-bottom green-rated beginner slopes accessible from every lift.

Enjoy ski-in, ski-out accommodations reminiscent of France’s La Plagne, minus the crowds. The tree-lined slopes promise great visibility even on flat-light days. 

For advanced skiers, the open, gladed terrain at the top of the ski area provides the perfect opportunity to polish powder-skiing skills amidst a breathtaking backdrop of ice-rimmed trees.

Where to stay: Stay at the ski-in, ski-out Stonebridge Lodge, featuring well-appointed apartments steps from the Bullet Express lift.

Other things to do

Visitors can take advantage of the over 12 feet of powder that Big White has to offer in the winter months. Ski and snowboard enthusiasts can explore Big White’s award-winning terrain with seven designated alpine bowls, seventeen lifts, and over 118 trails served by a state-of-the-art lift system. 

A picture of the snow-covered ski slopes and village of Big White British Columbia.

Enjoy a winter getaway in Big White, BC — a picturesque mountain resort town surrounded by majestic peaks and rolling hills blanketed in pristine white snow.

©Chase Merritt/Shutterstock.com

8. Sun Peaks, British Columbia

Boasting beginner-friendly trails on each of its three mountains, this well-designed resort promises an ego-boosting experience. The flat-topped mountains east of Kamloops provide broad, steady intermediate descents through the trees, accounting for nearly 70% of Sun Peaks’ expansive 4,270-acre ski area.

The pedestrianized plaza at the heart of the resort is among North America’s finest ski villages, offering charm, convenience, and easy access to nursery slopes. While there are tougher challenges in the Top of the World sector and the 10-acre terrain park, Sun Peaks shines as a haven for those looking to develop their skills and confidence.

Where to stay: Stay at the three-star Sundance Lodge, conveniently located at the foot of the slopes, or opt for a self-catering residence at the ski-in, ski-out Sun Peaks Grand Hotel, and Conference Centre nearby.

Other things to do

At Mt. Morrisey, explore the breathtaking alpine hiking routes or take a leisurely chairlift ride. Try zip lining or mountain biking if you’re looking for some adventure! You can schedule a heli-ski tour across the untamed terrain or relax in the outdoor hot springs for a more tranquil experience.

A view of the snow-drenched slopes at Sun Peaks, British Columbia

Sun Peaks is renowned for its picturesque ski slopes, offering a unique experience in the heart of British Columbia’s mountains.

©Abbie Warnock-Matthews/Shutterstock.com

9. Le Massif De Charlevoix – Québec

Although easy-access beginner runs grace the mountaintop, only 15% of the terrain caters to novices. As you venture downhill, black diamonds dominate, earning Le Massif de Charlevoix a stellar reputation among expert skiers.

As you glide down, feast your eyes on breathtaking views of the valley and the shimmering St. Lawrence River. Strap on snowshoes and trek along the frozen river to L’Isle-Aux-Coudres for a change of pace. In short, Canada is a winter sports utopia, ensuring unforgettable experiences wherever you choose to ski or snowboard.

Where to stay: Imagine an upside-down ski adventure at Le Massif de Charlevoix in Quebec, where the ski lodge and main parking lot sit atop the summit. This unique setup is a dream come true for those eager to hit the slopes first thing in the morning.

Other things to do

Outdoor enthusiasts can explore the breathtaking scenery of the Laurentian Mountains with activities like exhilarating rapids, white-water rafting, cycling, and peaceful boat trips. With sandy beaches for cooling off and relaxing as well as many opportunities for water sports like windsurfing, fishing, and kayaking, the area is a beachgoer’s heaven.

A stunning view of Massif De Charlevoix, a mountain range located in Quebec, Canada.

Enjoy the breathtaking views of Le Massif De Charlevoix, Quebec’s iconic mountain range. With its dramatic peaks and lush landscapes.


10. Mont-Sainte-Anne – Québec

Nestled in the Laurentian Mountains, just an hour from Quebec City, Mont-Sainte-Anne is a hidden gem boasting awe-inspiring scenery. While Mont Tremblant often steals the spotlight, this quaint resort offers an escape to equally amazing skiing adventures. 

Spanning 2,145 acres, Mont-Sainte-Anne features 70 runs, nearly half catering to beginners. One such run starts at the summit, meandering 3 miles down the picturesque valley.

As you progress, green and blue runs pave the way for exhilarating mogul and tree skiing experiences. Come nightfall, Mont-Sainte-Anne transforms with almost 20 runs illuminated for night skiing, boasting some of the highest verticals in the country. 

Where to stay: With many opting to stay in nearby Quebec, snow-side accommodations abound. So, why not embark on a Mont-Sainte-Anne adventure – a Canadian ski town you’ll never want to leave?

Other things to do

Visitors can engage in a variety of outdoor pursuits, including snowmobile, canoeing, kayaking, stand-up paddling, biking, and hiking. Numerous parks may be found in the region, notably Dieppe Parc and Feuillard Nature Park. 

Mont-Sainte-Anne ski slopes

Mont-Sainte-Anne is one of the oldest ski resorts in North America and offers skiing, snowshoeing and many other winter activities.

©Cephas, CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons – License

11. Blue Mountain Resort – Ontario

A mere two-hour drive from Canada’s largest city, Blue Mountain has shed its small mountain vibe, embracing a picturesque European-style village instead. Strolling through the charming town, you might feel whisked away to Switzerland.

With its high-end shops, lively bars, and delightful restaurants, Blue Mountain caters to romantic getaways and family vacations.

As for skiing, the mountain may not tower above, but its sprawling width along the Niagara Escarpment offers fantastic terrain. Choose from 40 runs serviced by over a dozen ski lifts, and let’s remember the 34 exhilarating tubing runs. 

Where to stay: If you’re seeking a ski getaway in Ontario, the populous Canadian province, look no further than Blue Mountain Resort. While Ontario isn’t famous for colossal ski resorts, Blue Mountain’s accessibility from Toronto makes it a top choice.

Other things to do

Outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy hiking to the mountain’s summit for breath-taking vistas or enjoy skiing and snowboarding on the slopes. Additionally, visitors can engage in winter activities like ice skating and tobogganing. A game of bowling, seeing the arts and culture district, or relaxing in one of the resort’s hot tubs are among indoor activities. A variety of ropes courses and a BMX Freestyle MTB Park are available for an adrenaline rush.

A view of the ski slopes at Blue Mountain Resort in Ontario, Canada.

Take a breathtaking trip to Blue Mountain Resort in Ontario for an unforgettable skiing experience.


12. Jasper

Situated in Jasper National Park, the village is enveloped by nature’s splendor. Locals and tourists enjoy ice-skating on a picturesque frozen lake off the slopes. When hunger strikes, delight in diverse restaurants and bars – Oka Sushi is a must-try for Japanese cuisine in an alpine atmosphere.

Where to stay: Tucked away in the Alberta Rockies, Jasper dazzles skiers with 100 km of slopes framed by a jaw-dropping mountain panorama. Everyone can have a blast on the slopes with terrain suitable for all abilities. And remember the superb lift connection to the nearby Marmot Basin, offering even more ski terrain to explore.

Other things to do

Get on a river raft, go fishing, horseback riding, or mountain biking for an action-packed outdoor trip. For a more laid-back experience, go birdwatching, take a leisurely walk along the Athabasca River, or embark on a guided city tour to take in Jasper’s stunning views.

A scenic view of mountains in Jasper, Canada

Tucked away in the Alberta Rockies, Jasper dazzles skiers with 100 km of slopes framed by a jaw-dropping mountain panorama.


Cherishing the Magic of Canadian Ski Towns That Keep You Enchanted

Canada should be at the top of any winter ski enthusiast’s list of places to explore. Choosing a single Canadian ski town can be difficult with abundant scenic terrains, perfect temperatures for skiing, and plenty of activities.  

Whether looking for a family-friendly experience or a luxurious vacation, it is no wonder why these twelve perfect Canadian ski towns are so beloved and will leave you wanting more. Remember: exploring Canada’s slopes need not break the bank – there are many ways to plan a budget-friendly trip.

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Dawid K Photography/Shutterstock.com

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