6 Best Ski Resorts in Alberta, Canada

Alberta is home to the best Rocky Mountain skiing in Canada. The following ski resorts in Alberta feature massive mountains, high elevation skiing, and the most INCREDIBLE mountaintop views.

In this post I’ll outline the 6 best ski resorts in Alberta, each resort’s stats, and a bunch of other good-stuff you’ll want to know before you hit the slopes.

Before I get into my list of the best ski resorts in Alberta, don’t forget to check out my list of the 10 best ski resorts in British Columbia.

Now, without further ado, let’s go skiing!

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This post contains affiliate links; see my full disclosure. If you click these links and make a purchase you’re supporting The Holistic Backpacker. Thanks for your support & happy adventuring! – Taylor 



Best Ski Resorts in Alberta: Location


Ski Season in Alberta

Ski resorts in Alberta actually feature the longest ski seasons in Canada! Sunshine Village in Banff has the longest season stretching from early November to late May – 7 whole months of skiing.

There are a million factors that affect snowfall, temperatures, and conditions, but the following is what you can generally expect for each month of skiing in Alberta:

  • Early season – early season is November to December. During these months you can expect a whole mix of weather and snowfall. Generally at higher elevation resorts though (like Sunshine and Lake Louise) conditions will be more than suitable for riding.
  • Coldest months/best snow – January and February are the coldest months of Alberta’s ski season. You’ll find the best snow during these months, but you’ll also have to deal with a lot of low-visibility days and ridiculous temperatures that can reach -40 before windchill. In January 2021 Sunshine Village shut down for multiple days because it was too cold to run the lifts and gondola.
  • Peak season – February to April is the best and most popular time of year to ski in The Rockies. During these months you’ll find a great amount of snow, decent temperatures (especially closer to spring), and have less icy conditions.
  • Spring skiing – March to May will have significantly warmer temperatures as well as many more bluebird days. The only downfall to skiing in spring is that you never know what snow conditions you’re going to get. You’ll discover that conditions are frequently icy and/or slushy.
Holiday Skiing

If you can, avoid skiing during the holidays. The reason being that resorts are busy and the lift lines are long. To maximize your ski time, try to ski mid-week and stay away from any major event; Christmas, March break, University reading weeks, New Years, etc

Sunshine Village – best ski resorts in Alberta, Canada

best ski resorts in alberta


More Information: Skiing in Alberta

Best Place to Ski in Alberta

The best place to ski in Alberta is 100% the Rocky Mountains. Here you’ll find all the good white, fluffy snow and BIG mountains. Some of the most popular ski resorts in Alberta are those of SkiBig3 in Banff. If you’ve never heard of SkiBig3 or are wondering what the best ski resort in Banff is, I’ve compared the resorts and explained all your options in this post.

Best Lift Ticket for Alberta Ski Resorts

You have the option of purchasing individual lift tickets at each ski resort you visit, however if you plan to visit multiple resorts it can get quite expensive. Instead, you may want to purchase a ski pass that includes days at multiple resorts. Here are a few options:

  • EPIC Pass – the EPIC pass is partnered with Nakiska as well as the following British Columbia ski resorts: Kicking Horse, Fernie, and Kimberly.
  • IKON Pass – the IKON pass is partnered with the SkiBig3 resorts in Banff (Sunshine Village, Lake Louise, and Norquay) as well as the following ski resorts in British Columbia: Revelstoke, RED Mountain, and Cypress Mountain.
  • Mountain Collective – Mountain Collective is partnered with Sunshine Village and Lake Louise. You can also ski at the following resorts in British Columbia: Panorama, Revelstoke, and Sun Peaks.

You do have to purchase these passes early in these season, as they’re sold in limited quantities.


Ski Trips in Alberta/British Columbia

Looking to experience multiple resorts on your next Alberta/British Columbia ski trip? Why not take a guided ski tour!

10 Adventures offers skiing, hiking, and adventure tours worldwide. They have various ski tours around both British Columbia and Alberta. In particular, their ski tours include lift passes, National Park passes, transportation, accommodations, an expert guide, and various other dining and excursion experiences. Here are their best tours around BC and Alberta:

Using a tour company for your ski trips alleviates the planning, gives you the chance to meet like-minded people, the chance to learn all the local secrets, and the trip is led by an experienced guide who can show you all the best spots to ski at the resorts you’re visiting. Tours are ideal for solo travellers or for those who want to pack up and go, rather than spend time planning.


6 Best Ski Resorts in Alberta

6. Nakiska Ski Area
best ski resorts in Alberta, Canada
Nakiska – #6 best ski resort in Alberta (photo by: travelalberta.com)
Quick Facts:
  • Location: Kananaskis Country, Alberta
  • # of named runs: 79
  • # of lifts: 4
  • Skiable area: 1,021 acres (413 hectares)
  • Top Elevation: 2,260m (7,415ft)
  • Vertical: 735m (2,412ft)
  • Average snowfall: 2.5m (8.3ft)

Nakiska Ski Area is a small ski resort in Alberta located in the beautiful Kananaskis Country. Before we get into Nakiska’s pros and cons, make sure you take a minute to check out all my trail guides for Kananaskis; this is my favouriteeeee hiking destination in the Rockies!

Nakiska has mostly intermediate terrain, however their “intermediate” level is much easier than other ski resorts in the Rockies; this makes Nakiska great for beginners and families. The groomers at Nakiska are wide and flat which is excellent for speed runs. The resort typically isn’t busy which means minimal, if any, waiting in lift lines.

A highlight of Nakiska is the “monster glades” area. This terrain is more advanced. I unfortunately didn’t get to ski this part of the mountain because it closed much earlier in the season compared to rest of the mountain; something to keep in mind if you’re planning a spring ski trip.

NOTE: as of 2021, all visitors of Kananaskis need a Kananaskis Conservation Pass.

Highlights
  • Located in the beautiful Kananaskis – my FAVOURITE hiking destination in the Rockies
  • Not crowded, typically no lift lines

best ski resorts in alberta

Helpful Information
5. Mt. Norquay
best ski resorts in Alberta, Canada
Norquay – #5 best ski resort in Alberta (photo by: banffnorquay.com)
Quick Facts:
  • Location: Banff National Park, Alberta
  • # of named runs: 60
  • # of lifts: 4
  • Skiable area: 190 acres (77 hectares)
  • Top Elevation: 2450m (8,040ft)
  • Vertical: 503m (1,650ft)
  • Average snowfall: 3m (10ft)

Norquay is one of the SkiBig3 ski resorts in Alberta. Norquay is a teeny tiny resort located just minutes from the town of Banff and is considered the “ugly duckling” of the Banff ski resorts… Poor Norquay.

The resort does have some really great attributes that shouldn’t be overlooked though. For starters, Norquay has minimal lines, it’s great for beginners/families, and it’s the cheapest ski resort in Banff. Norquay is also the ONLY ski resort in Banff that offers night skiing.

Since it’s the least popular ski resort in Banff, Norquay is the best place to go on a pow day. The other SkiBig3 resorts (Sunshine Village and Lake Louise) are so busy that fresh tracks disappear almost instantly. At Norquay, you can chase fresh tracks throughout the majority of the day.

More: Plan Your Trip to Banff: A Step by Step Guide

Highlights
  • Least busy ski resort in Banff
  • Steep – great for pow days
  • Only resort in Banff that offers night skiing
  • Cheapest ski resort in Banff
  • Best tube park in Banff
Helpful Information
4. Castle Mountain Resort
best ski resorts in Alberta, Canada
Castle Mountain Resort – #4 best ski resort in Alberta (photo by: newschoolers.com)
Quick Facts:
  • Location: Westcastle Valley, Southwest Alberta (1hr from Waterton Lakes National Park)
  • # of named resorts: 94
  • # of lifts: 6
  • Skiable area: 3,592 acres (1,454 hectares)
  • Top Elevation: 2,273m (7,463ft)
  • Vertical: 863m (2,833ft)
  • Average snowfall: 9m (29.6ft)

Castle Mountain is the best ski resort in Southwest Alberta. The resort is actually quite massive and features 2 skiable mountains full of expert terrain, chutes, alpine bowls, and cat skiing. There’s also 2 terrain parks for all the park rats out there.

Castle Mountain is totally one of those ski resorts in Alberta that flies under the radar. Everyone typically flocks to the big names like Sunshine Village and Lake Louise, however Castle’s continuous fall line runs (some of the longest in North America, by the way) should not to be overlooked.

Highlights
Helpful Information
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3. Marmot Basin
best ski resorts in Alberta, Canada
Marmot Basin – #3 best ski resort in Alberta
Quick Facts:
  • Location: Jasper National Park, Alberta
  • # of named runs: 91
  • # of lifts: 7
  • Skiable area: 1,720 acres (696 hectares)
  • Top Elevation: 2,612m (8,570ft)
  • Vertical: 914m (3000ft)
  • Average snowfall: 4.4m (14.5ft)

Marmot Basin is the northern neighbour to the Banff ski resorts. This resort totally took me by surprise and ended up being a sweet place to ride!

Marmot has tons of expert terrain and tree runs that’ll fuel any adventurer’s passion for riding; the double blacks over at Eagle East were my favourite. Aside from expert terrain, Marmot offers plenty of groomers that are suitable for new and intermediate riders. Plus, there are multiple terrain parks.

I hit the jackpot the day I skied at Marmot – it was a massive powder day. The snow conditions were unreal, however it was an absolute whiteout which made navigating a new resort’s expert terrain a littleeee unnerving.

The only thing I wasn’t a fan of at Marmot was that a lot of the good drop in spots required a bit of hiking. You won’t catch me DEAD hiking around in ski boots. On a positive note, this means you can chase fresh tracks all day long.

More: Best things to do in Jasper

Highlights
  • Incredible expert terrain
  • Lots of tree runs
  • Multiple terrain parks
Helpful Information
2. Lake Louise 
best ski resorts in Alberta, Canada
Lake Louise – #2 best ski resort in Alberta
Quick Facts:
  • Location: Banff, Alberta, Canada
  • # of named runs: 164
  • # of lifts: 11
  • Skiable area: 4,200 acres (1,700 hectares)
  • Top Elevation: 2,637m (8,650ft)
  • Vertical: 991m (3250ft)
  • Average snowfall: 4.29m (14ft)

Lake Louise is another massive and world renown ski resort in the Canadian Rockies that features all types of terrain. 

I personally think Lake Louise’s inspiring vistas might top the list for most beautiful ski resort in Alberta. The resort is truly breathtaking and features great mountain-top patios where you can take it all in and really appreciate the beauty of the Canadian Rockies. 

Lake Louise has high speed lifts and long fall line runs. The front-side of the mountain features chill runs great for beginners and families, whereas the backside has steep bowls and chutes that are perfect for experts.

More: Plan Your Trip to Banff: A Step by Step Guide

Highlights 
  • Biggest ski resort in Alberta 
  • Steep chutes
  • Big park features 
  • Freakin’ beautiful views
  • Free shuttle to and from the town of Banff.
Helpful Information 
1. Sunshine Village
best ski resorts in Alberta, Canada
Sunshine Village – #1 best ski resort in Alberta, Canada
Quick Facts:
  • Location: Banff, Alberta, Canada
  • # of named runs: 120
  • # of lifts: 12
  • Skiable area: 3,358 acres (1,359 hectares)
  • Top Elevation: 2,730m (8,954ft)
  • Vertical: 1,070m (3,514ft)
  • Average snowfall: 9m (29.6ft)

Sunshine Village was my home mountain when I lived in Banff. Maybe I’m biased, but I 100% think this is the best ski resort in Alberta. Sunshine is located high up in the Canadian Rockies which means it gets a pretty gnarly amount of powder throughout the season.

This massive resort has diverse terrain for all ability levels and incredible views (my favourite part). One of the coolest things at Sunshine are the opportunities to ski out of bounds and in world renown free-ride zones; Delirium Dive and Wild West.

The vibe at Sunshine is so positive and it’s just 20 minutes away from the bustlin’ little mountain town of Banff. If you’re planning to ski in Alberta, definitely add Sunshine Village to your bucket list. Here’s my local’s guide to skiing Sunshine Village to give you a better idea of what skiing at Sunshine is like.

More: Plan Your Trip to Banff: A Step by Step Guide

More: Explore Banff National Park

More: 30+ Things to do in Banff in Winter

Highlights 
  • Massive and diverse terrain
  • Backcountry style skiing on resort
  • Amenities, restaurants, and services up in the village (by the way, Sunshine has its own village – not at the base of the mountain)
  • Free shuttle to and from the town of Banff
  • Multiple terrain parks 
Helpful Information 

Next I’ll go over a few “honourable mentions” for ski resorts in Alberta that didn’t quite make the “best” list AND my top 3 picks for ski resorts in British Columbia.

best ski resorts in Alberta


Explore My Skiing Adventures

Here are a few of my latest skiing guides and adventures, but you can find more


Honourable Mentions: Best Ski Resorts in Alberta

The following resorts didn’t quite make the list of best ski resorts in Alberta, however they each offer something a little unique. This “unique” factor may be geographic location, night skiing, impressive stats, etc.

  • Fortress Mountain: located in Kananaskis, Fortress Mountain boasts the highest base elevation in Canada. The resort is only open for cat skiing tours.
  • Canyon Ski Resort: this is Alberta’s largest non-mountain ski area. It’s located just 10 minutes from Red Deer, it’s perfect for families, and the resort offers night skiing.
  • Hidden Valley: there isn’t anything overly impressive about Hidden Valley. The resort however is located right next to the prairies which makes it much more accessible than the Rockies for those that live far away.

best ski resorts in Alberta


Best Ski Resorts in British Columbia

Guide to the best ski resorts in British Columbia.

British Columbia is by far one of the BEST Canadian provinces to ski in. The BC ski resorts feature big mountains, vibrant ski towns, and great snow. I’ve got a complete guide to the best ski resorts in British Columbia here, but the following ski resorts are easily my top 3 picks:

1. Whistler Blackcomb 
Best ski resort in British Columbia (BC), Canada
Whistler Blackcomb – #1 best ski resort in British Columbia (BC), Canada (photo by whistler.com)
Quick Facts:
  • Location: Whistler, British Columbia (BC), Canada
  • # of named runs: 200+
  • # of lifts: 32
  • Skiable area: 4,757 acres (1,925 hectares)
  • Top Elevation: 2,182m (7,160ft)
  • Vertical: 1,530m (5,020ft)
  • Average snowfall: 11.8m (38.9ft)

Alright folks, Whistler Blackcomb is by far the best ski resort in British Columbia (BC), Canada. The resort is absolutely massive; it’s the biggest ski area in the world outside of Europe. It honestly doesn’t even compete in the same league as other Canadian ski resorts.

Whistler Blackcomb is comprised of 2 mountains connected by the famous Peak 2 Peak gondola; you’ll want to ski here for a minimum of 2 days to experience both mountains. The lift system is high tech and efficient, there’s mountain top dining all over the resort, and so much terrain you’ll never run out of slopes to explore. My favourite thing about Whistler is actually the ice cave (glacier) located on the resort. Here are directions for how you can ski there.

Whistler ice cave
Whistler ice cave 

A little bit about Whistler’s terrain: Whistler Blackcomb offers everything. Park rats, newbies, and experts will all find terrain they love here. Whistler has easy/long groomers, steep backcountry style bowls, professional level parks, technical tree runs. You name it, Whistler has it. 

The only downfalls to Whistler are the massive crowds and the (sometimes) wet snow which makes the slopes icy. Some people actually call Whister “piss-ler” because of this hahaha.

Highlights:

best ski resorts in alberta

Helpful Information:
2. Revelstoke Mountain Resort (Revy)
Best ski resort in British Columbia (BC), Canada
Revelstoke (Revy) – #2 best ski resort in British Columbia (BC), Canada (photo by Powder Hounds)
Quick Facts:
  • Location: Revelstoke, British Columbia (BC), Canada
  • # of named runs: 75
  • # of lifts: 1 gondola, 5 lifts
  • Skiable area: 3,121 acres (1,263 hectares)
  • Top Elevation: 2,225m (7,300ft)
  • Vertical: 1,713m (5,620ft)
  • Average snowfall: 13.7m (45ft)

Revelstoke is IT! I absolutely loved Revelstoke when I visited. The pow is deep, the runs are steep, and crowds are minimal. Revelstoke is definitely a resort for more advanced skiers though, so if you’re new to the sport you may want to consider going elsewhere for your winter getaway.

Revelstoke has wicked tree runs off the Ripper chair; this is actually where a lot of professional riders film their promo shots. The 3 alpine bowls are insanely steep, have cliff drops, and powder so deep you might actually drown. Pack your fat skis!

One thing I can tell you from experience – your legs will be SCREAMING after riding Revy’s deep pow for a day. 

*Revelstoke often experiences inversions. This means you’ll have variable visibility ranges depending on where you’re at on the mountain. Many days the higher sections of the mountain will be foggy with low visibility, whereas the lower areas on the mountain will be completely clear.

Highlights:
  • The resort offers cat skiing and heli-skiing 
  • Revy is home to deep, deep powder 
Helpful Information:
3. Big White (Biggie)
Best ski resort in British Columbia (BC), Canada
Big White (Biggie) – #3 best ski resort in British Columbia (BC), Canada (photo by kelownanow.com)
Quick Facts:
  • Location: 1 hour from Kelowna, British Columbia (BC), Canada
  • # of named runs: 119
  • # of lifts: 16
  • Skiable area: 7,355 acres (3,052 hectares)
  • Top Elevation: 2,319m (7,606ft)
  • Vertical: 777 m (2,550 ft) 
  • Average snowfall: 7.5m (24.5ft)

Big White (AKA “Biggie,” or “Big White Out” due to frequent white out conditions) is the ultimate on-mountain resort which is why it ranks #3 on the list of best ski resorts in British Columbia (BC), Canada. Big White is legitimately its own (massive) town up on the mountain and has a great aprés scene.

One of the most famous things about Big White are the “snow ghosts” which are the snow blasted trees that resemble those in Finland. 

Big White isn’t necessarily “the” resort for advanced riders, however the mix of party life, village atmosphere, and diverse terrain makes it a win-win for everyone. Here you can find cruisey groomers, steep alpine bowls, plenty of tree runs, and a sick terrain park.

Highlights:
  • Big White offers plenty of activities outside of skiing and snowboarding 
  • Big White has a massive terrain park full of unique features ranging from S to XL
Helpful Information:

More: 10 Best Ski Resorts in British Columbia (BC), Canada

Happy adventuring!

Taylor ♡


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About The Author


Hey! I’m Taylor – the voice behind The Holistic Backpacker.

After moving to Banff National Park in 2020 I became an outdoor adventure enthusiast and vowed to never stop exploring.

I’m now focused on travelling the world and seeing everything our beautiful home has to offer.

I created The Holistic Backpacker so I could share my adventures and help connect people like you with the same amazing experiences.

I am also an advocate for the environment and do as much as I can to take care of our planet.

Get to know me and my story more here 🙂

I can’t wait to share my adventures with you!

Keep Up With My Adventures!

Sign up for my newsletter and stay up-to-date with my latest adventures, gear guides, and eco-resources.

Taylor ♡