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, without the flight to Europe. You drive through beautiful National Parks, some encompass ski resorts, and you see tremendous wildlife grazing on the side of the TransCanada Highway. The Western Canadian ski resorts range from well planned four season resorts, Big White, Whistler and Panorama, to more core ski areas with challenging terrain best when your kids are skiing black diamonds on big vertical mountains like Kicking Horse and Revelstoke.
In Quebec, winter carnivals, cold temps, plentiful snow, plus fun ski resorts await your family – with a French vibe, so its like a trip to the French Alps, but closer. Ski resorts Tremblant, Mount Sainte Anne and Le Massif are great for ideal families- with ski schools, lodging and après ski activities for everyone. Quebec’s Laurentian Mountains and the Canadian Rockies are host to winter activities like visiting igloos, sledding, dog sledding, and snowmobiling.
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. This Big White Mountain has tons of ski terrain for everyone, plentiful natural snow, and a beautiful on-mountain village with a wide choice of family style lodging. Big White is super family-friendly from morning till night, with après ski activities, tubing, dog sledding, family events, plus night skiing.
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. 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 into BC. Sunshine has some super steep runs off Goats Eye and Delirium Dive, but lots of ego pleasers in the sun – hence the name Sunshine. The on mountain Sunshine Mountain Lodge is the only on mountain ski lodging in Banff National Park.
Panorama Mountain Resort in BC offers families a convenient Intrawest village- very well designed with condo suites in the Panorama Springs Lodge with 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 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, 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 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 style 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.
Whistler and Blackcomb in BC is the biggest in North America. The Intrawest village at Whistler offers tremendous lodging, dining and après ski options- family friendly by day but also kind of wild at night. Whistler Blackcomb’s skiing includes 37 lifts, 200 trails and 8,171 acres up to 7,494′ so its a big place with three base villages – read: you could get lost here!
Quebec’s Best Family Ski Resorts
Tremblant Ski Resort is like an animate alpine ski village – Disney World on snow. The Tremblantdelightful base village at Tremblant has loads of lodging, fun shops and cafes – very French and family friendly. Temblant’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 down from the summit of this Quebec ski resort. Le Massif ski terrain was once served by a school bus – it’s come a long way. . 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 on a ski trail on a wooden sled called a Rodel! Enjoy the fresh air, the French ambiance, the fine food 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 base, served by a 2,625’ gondola to the summit, a great ski and snowboard school, great 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.