A Canadian ski trip is a wonderful family vacation. Western Canada is scenically spectacular, The Purcells, Monashees and Selkirks are towering peaks like the Alps of Switzerland and Austria, big vertical ski mountains, without the flight to Europe. You drive through beautiful National Parks, and witness tremendous wildlife grazing on the side of the Trans-Canada Highway. In Quebec, winter carnivals, plentiful snow, plus proximate ski resorts await your family – with a French vibe, so its like a trip to the French Alps, but closer. Ski resorts Tremblant, Mont Sainte Anne and Le Massif are ideal for families- with ski schools, lodging and après ski activities for everyone. Quebec’s Laurentian Mountains and the Canadian Rockies embrace other winter activities like visiting igloos, toboganning, dog sledding, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling.
Best Ski Resorts in Canada
Big White in BC Canada has the best ski in ski out village, and excellent Children’s ski and ride programs – actually sponsored by the Family Channel. Big White Mountain has tons of ski terrain for everyone, plentiful natural snow, and a wide choice of family style lodging around the well-planned mountain village. Big White is super family-friendly from morning till night, with après ski activities, tubing, dog sledding, family events, plus night skiing.
Whistler and Blackcomb in BC is the biggest in North America. Whistler’s Intrawest village offers tremendous lodging, dining and après ski options- family friendly by day but also kind of wild at night. Creekside is quieter and perfeclty slopeside for families. Whistler Blackcomb’s skiing includes 37 lifts, 200 trails and 8,171 acres up to 7,494′ vertical so its a grand place with three base villages – akin to skiing in Europe – a true Alps-like experience! Whistler is owned by Vail Resorts, making it Epic, literally part of Vail’s Epic Pass.
Lake Louise in Banff National Park is the biggest in Alberta, and many say the most beautiful anywhere. Lake Louise’s 4,200-acres of ski terrain on three sides is super scenic and offers something for everyone in the family from The Front Face, The Back Bowls and Larch. A Lake Louise ski trip should include a visit to the world famous Chateau Lake Louise, or lodging at the posh Post Hotel, and skiing at nearby Sunshine Village Ski Resort, plus Banff’s Norquay which offers night skiing as well. Bring your camera and look out for elk and caribou.
Sunshine Village Ski Resort is in the heart of Banff National Park, with high-elevation skiing, over 3,358 acres up to 8,954′. Sunshine’s scenery is amazing as you ski across the Continental Divide – Alberta to BC. Sunshine has some super steep runs off Goat’s Eye and Delirium Dive, but lots of ego pleasers in the sun too – hence the name Sunshine. The on-mountain Sunshine Mountain Lodge is the only on-mountain ski lodging in Banff National Park and its incredible for a family ski holiday in the Canadian Rockies.
Panorama Mountain Resort in BC offers families a convenient slope side village – very well designed with condo suites in the Panorama Springs Lodge, a huge outdoor hot tub and slope views, right on the mountain. Panorama has plenty of skiing for the family, 2,847 acres with a long 4,019′ vertical, and beautiful scenery. Be sure to ski the family to lunch at Elkhorn Lodge for a Swiss chalet style lunch.
Kicking Horse Mountain Resort in BC is quite new, having opened in 2000. This ski resort in the Purcell Mountain range is “kick butt” with 4,133′ vertical and a swift base to summit gondola, and 85 in-bound chutes. A small village with condo style suites in the Glacier Mountaineer Lodge at Kicking Horse is ideal for families, you can walk to childcare, ski school, the gondola, etc. The kids will love that Boo the bear lives in a 22-acre preserve in the middle of the ski terrain, fenced in and usually hybernating of course.
Revelstoke Mountain Resort in BC is home to the biggest vertical in North America at 5,620’, and 3,121 acres of skiing, so save this resort till your kids are big boys and girls. Revelstoke’s two high alpine backcountry bowls and 65 long trails are best suited for advanced and expert skiers. Revelstoke Mountain Resort offers lift and trail skiing as well as cat skiing and heli skiing all from one ski resort base – a cool bonus. Stay in the mountainside village at Revelstoke at Sutton Place, with condo suite style accommodations a few steps from the Gondola, the tubing park and the heated pool.
British Columbia’s smaller ski resorts Fernie and Kimberley on the Powder Highway offer a less busy, more affordable ski vacation, with still size-able ski acreage and compact mountain villages and a friendly vibe – with condo-lodging, casual dining and kids activities all within a snowball’s toss.
Quebec’s Best Family Ski Resorts
Tremblant Ski Resort is like an animate alpine ski village – Disney World on snow. Tremblant’s delightful base village has loads of lodging, colorful shops and charming cafes – very French and family friendly. Tremblant’s ski slopes cover all three sides with wide scenic trails, glades, and a few steeps all featuring splendid views of the surrounding Lake Tremblant and the Laurentians. Aqua Club La Source is a kids après ski heaven – an indoor themed water park with slides, splash pool, waves and rope swings in the heart of the village. Parents will like Tremblant’s upscale dining and après ski bars, evening childcare might be in order.
Le Massif will fascinate the kids, since you start your day skiing from the summit of this Quebec ski resort, to sea level. Le Massif ski terrain was once served by a school bus! Now Le Massif’s modern lifts are efficient, the views are fabulous, and the food at the Summit Lodge is delicious – your kids won’t find frozen chicken fingers here – everything is natural and made on premise. Le Massif’s 2,000′ vertical descends dramatically towards the St Lawrence Seaway. Cirque du Soleil former owner Daniel Gauthier bought Le Massif – so it’s well run, and fun! Take the kids on Le Massif’s crazy sledding run, 2,000′ vertical down a ski trail on a wooden sled called a Rodel! Enjoy the fresh air, the French ambiance, the cuisine and unique lodging at nearby Le Massif’s Hotel Germain Charlevoix. From the hotel you take a train in the morning to the ski slopes – how very European!
Mont Sainte Anne just a half hour from Quebec City is great ski mountain for families with one central base, served by a 2,625’ gondola to the summit, a pro ski and snowboard school, breathtaking views of the St Lawrence Seaway River, and night skiing for kids with lots of energy. Mont Sainte Anne is a three side mountain with well-groomed trail skiing and a few exciting Sous Bois – glades. You can lodge on mountain at Chateau Mont Sainte Anne in the ski village or drive the 30 minutes back to the beautiful historic French city of Quebec and stay at the luxurious Château Frontenac.
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