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The 10 Best Ski Hills in the Canadian Rockies

Things to Do, Travel Tips, What's New — By mattmcpherson on November 5, 2010 at 6:10 pm
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1. Fernie Alpine Resort – Located approximately 3.5 hours SW of Calgary, Fernie has some of the most terrain, best snow, and widest variety of challenge in Canada. With 10 lifts, 114 runs, and 2500 acres, it’s not difficult to avoid the crowds, and the 884cm of snowfall makes Fernie’s powder truly remarkable.

2. Revelstoke Mountain Resort – A 5.5 hour drive west from Calgary, this resort is not for beginners! Revelstoke has only 3 lifts, but boasts over 3000 acres of terrain and 52 runs. The craziest part of Revelstoke is the 1200cm of snowfall and the 1700m vertical drop, including one 15km run.

3. Kicking Horse Resort in Golden – Only 3.5 hours west of Calgary is Kicking Horse. While it doesn’t get the ridiculous kind of snowfall that Revelstoke does, Kicking Horse is famous for great powder and long runs. It has 120 runs, most of which are for experienced skiers, and 2700 acres of terrain to explore off of 5 lifts.

4. Lake Louise Ski Area & Mountain Resort – A short 2 hour drive from Calgary, and only 45 minutes from Banff, Lake Louise is possibly Canada’s most famous ski hill. With 9 lifts, 113 runs, and 4200 acres of terrain, it truly is impressive. The quality of the snow is not at the same level as the first three hills, and Lake Louise makes snow on 40% of its terrain, but it’s still a top-notch resort.

5. Sunshine Village – Only 15 minutes from Banff, Sunshine is famous for its long ski season, which goes from November to late May! There is a 20 minute gondola ride that takes you up to the ski hills, and there are 3 different mountains to choose from: Goat’s Eye, Standish, and Lookout. Its all-natural snow is unique for Alberta hills, and Sunshine provides 107 runs on 3300 acres. With 12 lifts, there’s every opportunity to avoid big lines.

6. Kimberley Alpine Resort – Often neglected by the crowds, this ski resort is a lot of fun. With 5 lifts, 71 runs, only 10% man-made snow, and 1800 acres of terrain, Kimberley is an over-looked gem. The prices are about $15 cheaper than elsewhere, and the lines are never busy. It’s about a 4.5 hour drive from Calgary. I’m biased toward Kimberley because I spend a lot of time here.

7. Panorama Ski Resort – Some may question placing Kimberley ahead of Panorama, and I’ll admit I’m questioning it right now. Only 3.5 hours from Calgary, Panorama has 9 lifts, 120 runs, 2800 acres, and lights for night skiing. Like Lake Louise, Panorama is about 40% man-made snow, but it still has some nice powdery areas. It also has some of the most impressive scenery in the mountains.

8. Marmot Basin in Jasper – Jasper National Park’s only ski hill, and the nearest significant hill to Edmonton, Marmot Basin is oftentimes over-looked by Calgary. It is close to a 5 hour drive from Calgary, only 2.5 from Edmonton. Mormot Basin offers 1600 acres, 84 runs, and natural snow. It is also open until May, like Sunshine.

9. Castle Mountain – A relatively new mountain at Castle was opened for skiing in 2006, turning Castle Mountain into a great skiing destination. This resort gets a prolific amount of snow, almost 910cm per year. It’s not uncommon to find fresh powder, even at the end of the day! Castle’s six lifts support its 78 runs. You’d think this is near Castle Mountain in Banff, but it’s not. It’s near Pincher Creek.

10. Nakiska Ski Resort – Only 45 minutes from Calgary, Nakiska was made to host the 1988 Winter Olympics. It only gets 250cm of snowfall per year, so it is 85% man-made snow, which leads to some severe icy patches. With only 28 runs and 780 acres of terrain, Nakiska is the type of place to go to if you don’t want to drive far from town.

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