Canada is one of those bucket-list destinations, especially in winter. But don’t just dream – ski holidays to Canada are easier (and cheaper) than you think. And the earlier you book, the better deals you’ll get.
Have we peaked your interest? Here are some of the great reasons why Canada is simply the best.
World-renowned Whistler is the biggest ski resort in North America. It’s got heaps of powdery terrain to dig your skis into, spread across two mountains – Whistler and Blackcomb. Up on the hill you’re sure to spot an Inuksuk or two – historic stone landmarks built by the indigenous Inuit people.
Other resorts like Banff and Lake Louise are huge too, giving skiers more space to spread out – so you’ll practically have the piste to yourself. Efficient lifts make for short queues, and because many resorts, like Fernie, are mostly visited by locals, weekdays tend to be a lot quieter. Winter is often the low season, too, so there are fewer people in resort than during the summer.
Some of Canada’s ski resorts, including Banff, Lake Louise and Jasper, are in national parks. These protected areas are not only beautiful (it’s hard not to be with the Canadian Rockies as a backdrop), but offer unbeatable views both down in resort and while you’re skiing. These national parks are also home to a load of mountain wildlife like elk, marmots, coyotes and bears – so don’t be surprised if you see a deer casually wandering around town.
All of our resorts have a huge range of restaurants to choose from – Whistler itself has almost 200, with everything from Japanese and Italian to Mexican and Spanish. And you’ve got to try the local specialities, like gravy-smothered chips at Smoke’s Poutinerie in Tremblant, or AAA-grade beef at Banff’s Melissa’s Missteak. Best of all, though, is the staple Canadian ingredient – maple syrup. Pour it on everything while you’re there, and stock up on addictive maple cookies before you go home.
It’s no secret that Canadians are known for their hospitality. Whether it’s a waiter in a bar, the liftie helping you onto a chairlift or your fellow skier stopping to help you up after you’ve taken a tumble, everyone’s polite, cheerful and always happy to help. Even Olympian Nancy Greene spends her free time hosting ski guiding sessions around Sun Peaks at weekends.
Non-skiers and adventure enthusiasts are well catered for in Canada too. Try ice skating across Lake Louise’s frozen lake, glacier walking in Banff or raising your heart rate by zooming down an Olympic bobsleigh run in Whistler. If you prefer something a little more laid-back, Panorama’s scenic outdoor hot pools are your best bet.
The special events
Festivals are Canada’s forte. At Christmas, Whistler holds their annual Dress Like Santa Day, while over in Alberta, the Lake Louise Magic Ice Festival sees carvers sculpt unique works of art in ice. Fast forward to spring and Sun Peaks is getting geared up for the Tod Mountain Days Spring Festival. This extravaganza is full of retro outerwear and hosts the Slush Cup, where contestants attempt to glide across a pool of water on their skis or board – do you have what it takes?
Now that Canada’s safely secured a place on your bucket list, grab a deal to one of our Canadian resorts next winter.