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From the coast to the powder highway, these half-dozen resorts will keep you in fresh snow all season long
British Columbia is a haven for ski enthusiasts, offering a diverse range of resorts, each with its own unique charm and attractions. From world-renowned destinations to family-friendly hills, there’s something for every level of skier or snowboarder. Additionally, for those who prefer a day filled with relaxation, brunch, spa treatments, and shopping, the resorts cater to a variety of leisure activities beyond the hill.
Whistler Blackcomb is a name that resonates with ski lovers globally. As the largest ski area in North America, it boasts an impressive variety of terrain, including 200 runs, inbounds backcountry, bowls, glaciers, and tree trails. The Peak 2 Peak Gondola is a must-do unforgettable journey, presenting panoramic views as it connects the peaks of Whistler and Blackcomb mountains.
But as much as Whistler is known for its world-class downhill winter sports, it’s also renowned for its European-style village, complete with cobblestone pathways and an array of boutique shops, including the newly opened French brand BA&SH—which offers effortlessly cool fashion.
In the village and not far beyond, you’ll find five-star hotels like The Five Seasons and The Fairmont Chateau Whistler, which offer a seamless blend of luxury and comfort, providing guests with exceptional services and stunning views of the mountain landscape. These hotels encapsulate the essence of Whistler’s upscale mountain living, where every detail caters to an exquisite and memorable stay.
And if hitting the spa is more your speed than hitting the slopes, there’s an abundance of spas to choose from. One of our favourites is The Scandinave Spa, which offers services such as rejuvenating massages, a Eucalyptus steam room (it’s as great as it sounds), and saunas where you can hear the fire crackle.
This luxury mountain resort is brimming with life, offering elevated fine dining experiences at establishments like Araxi Oyster Bar, Red Door Bistro, and new to the mix but already boasting rave reviews, Wild Blue (we’ve heard the Truffle pasta is a MUST and the cocktails are divine), as well as a nightlife scene that pulses with energy. It’s a place where après-ski is taken to another level, inviting visitors to plunge into an experience that blends outdoor adventure with upscale comfort and style.
Panorama Mountain Resort, set in the heart of the Canadian Rockies, rivals the pristine natural beauty of the Swiss Alps. This alpine jewel offers a serene and unforgettable escape, capturing the ambiance of quaint mountain towns in Europe, and making it an ideal retreat for those seeking a blend of peace and breathtaking landscapes.
The resort is known for its enormous vertical drop and expansive skiable terrain, which spans nearly 300 acres and caters to all skill levels, particularly appealing to hardcore riders. For adrenaline seekers, RK Heliski offers helicopter trips to private areas, where you can glide down untouched powder without any lift lines.
Enhancing the alpine experience beyond the slopes, Panorama’s range of outdoor activities, such as snowshoeing and Nordic skiing, plunges guests into the breathtaking wilderness of the Rockies.
The resort’s village is an intimate, pedestrian-friendly haven, with plenty of cosy accommodations, shopping, and 13 dining options. These include the modern Italian Alto Kitchen & Bar, Fireside Cafe—known for its excellent pastries and freshly roasted beans from Kicking Horse (located in Invermere)—and Elkhorn Cabin, a historic venue that serves traditional Swiss raclette and Glühwein (mulled wine), a must-try while enjoying the sweeping mountain views.
Adding to the European vibe are the resort’s distinctive hot pools, the largest in Canada, which create a tranquil and rejuvenating atmosphere, and being surrounded by picturesque mountain views is certainly a plus. These elements combine to make Panorama not just a skiing destination, but a holistic mountain retreat where tranquility and adventure coexist in harmony.
Big White Ski Resort in British Columbia is a top family destination, known for its substantial snowfall, averaging over 300 inches annually. Compared to other large mountain resorts, Big White offers affordable lift tickets, making it a compelling choice for families seeking a budget-friendly ski vacation without compromising on quality.
This resort caters to families with a variety of winter activities, including a massive outdoor skating rink, ice climbing, scenic gondola rides, and an engaging Kids’ Centre. Ski Canada has dubbed this centre the “Best Resort Feature for Kids in Canada,” where young skiers and snowboarders can enjoy fun and educational programs. Additionally, if mom and dad want to hit the slopes without the kiddos, Tot Town Daycare is available for children aged 18 months to 5 years.
Enhancing its family-friendly atmosphere, Big White hosts “Free Tips at the Magic Carpets” every Friday evening. From 3:30 to 7:00 pm, the Ski & Board School offers complimentary guidance from professional instructors to budding skiers and snowboarders. This initiative focuses on teaching beginners the basics of skiing and snowboarding, such as stopping and changing direction.
With accommodations to suit every budget and family size, a variety of restaurants to please even the pickiest little eaters, and terrain for all skill levels (especially appealing to powder enthusiasts), Big White solidifies its status as the perfect family mountain resort.
Located close to Penticton, Apex is celebrated for its dry, fluffy powder and sunny skies. With an average wait time of just two minutes at the lifts, it’s an ideal destination for those seeking less crowded slopes. The resort’s northeast-facing aspect preserves the quality of its light powder snow, ensuring pristine conditions for extended periods. While Apex caters to all skill levels, it’s particularly known for its challenging steep rides, and locals often say, “If you learn on Apex, you’ll be able to ride anywhere.”
Apex Mountain Lodge, conveniently located right on the mountain, offers ski-in and ski-out rooms. For those seeking a bit more room, their charming (and spacious) rustic cabins are also available for rent. Despite being a smaller village, Apex provides everything you need within easy reach, including a grocery store, mountain shop, and rental shop.
Unique shopping experiences await at The Artists Den, filled with handcrafted artwork, pottery, paintings, soap, and surprisingly, good coffee, pastries, and flatbreads. Another favourite is Peak Sweets, full of confectionery bliss (and where you’ll feel like a kid in a candy store, alongside your actual kiddos).
The village’s five dining options cover all the bases: The Gunbarrel Saloon, a pub serving hearty meals (the Poutine is a must-try); Longshots Steakhouse, offering casual fine dining with an innovative menu and complex cocktails; The Edge Bistro, perfect for your morning cappuccino and grab-and-go soups & sandwiches; and Steezy Slices in the village cafeteria, providing quick and delicious pizza, hot dogs, poutine, and more.
For those seeking an intimate skiing experience without compromising on quality, Apex Mountain Resort is an unbeatable choice.
Red Mountain Resort
Red Mountain Resort, often overlooked yet a gem among ski destinations, boasts expansive terrain of over 3,850 skiable acres. This ‘friendly giant,’ as the locals call it, caters to all levels of riders and is distinguished by its crowd-free slopes and lineups. It is particularly appealing to experienced riders due to its location in the Monashee mountain range, known for high snowfall and quality terrain, perfect for cat and heli-skiing, both of which the mountain offers.
The resort features seven unique dining experiences, including Keen Coffee & Wine for a relaxing beverage, Rafters – celebrated as the top-ranked ski area bar in North America, and Taco Rojo, known for its must-have, mouth-watering Mexican street food.
Regarding accommodations, the resort offers an abundance of options like slopeside Slalom Creek, ideal for families of any size, to the tranquil Constella cabins, which provide a nature-immersed experience. On the higher end of things is the award-winning Josie hotel in Rossland, which receives our vote for a must-stay hotel. Not only is the architecture and decor fabulous, the bartenders whip up handcrafted cocktails, and cuisine at The Velvet Restaurant and Lounge rivals the best Michelin star restaurants in Vancouver, and all this is set against breathtaking mountain views.
Red Mountain is one we recommend to visit now, before its faultless reputation starts drawing in the crowds.
Kimberley Alpine Resort
Kimberley Alpine Resort, tucked away in the Canadian Rockies, offers a skiing experience that’s uniquely its own. The resort’s terrain, spread over 1,800 acres, features 80 named runs and glades, catering to a wide range of skill levels. What sets Kimberley apart is its light, dry Purcell powder, which provides exceptional skiing conditions. The resort’s northeast orientation helps in maintaining this pristine snow quality for longer periods, making it a haven for powder enthusiasts.
Kimberley also stands out for its family-friendly focus. The resort goes beyond just skiing to offer a variety of winter activities, including the family skating rink, night skiing, events and kids après activities, and live music in the Stemwinder (a bar and grill located on the mountain) for the adults. This emphasis on inclusivity and variety ensures that everyone, from the most avid skiers to those just looking to enjoy the winter scenery, finds something to love at Kimberley Alpine Resort.
What truly sets Kimberley apart is its enchanting Bavarian-style town. This charming aspect of the resort adds an extra layer of allure, offering a cozy, European feel that complements the mountain experience. Visitors can meander through the pedestrian-friendly village, enjoying the quaint architecture and warm hospitality that reflect this unique Bavarian influence.