British Columbia (BC) and its neighboring province of Alberta are without a doubt some of the premier skiing destinations on the globe. BC alone is home to 13 major resorts—including FREESKIER’s nine-time #1 Overall Ski Resort—spread across 10 mountain ranges, offering up massive vertical, challenging and diverse terrain, plus an abundance of fresh pow to boot. The skiing is absolutely top-notch, yes, but we love BC and Alberta for the rich skiing culture that thrives within. Skiers are drawn from far and wide to these shred-lover’s paradises, and in addition to great days on the hill visitors can expect to find accommodations ranging from super budget friendly to ultra lavish, plus never-ending possibilities of recreational good times. And right up your alley, dear FREESKIER fans, there’s some serious partying to be had—especially in conjunction with a bevy of rockin’ springtime events that occur annually in the region.
The most reputable ski resorts in BC can be easily grouped by region. On the coast, you’ll find the likes of Whistler Backcomb—proud owner of the aforementioned #1 title. To the south, Silver Star, Big White and Sun Peaks are among the more popular offerings, while in the British Columbia “interior,” as it’s known, the famed Powder Highway winds its way through the Kootenay Rockies, linking world-class ski areas including Revelstoke, Kicking Horse, Panorama, Kimberley, Fernie, Whitewater and Red Mountain. Another 20+ ski hills are scattered about the province—these ones smaller and charming, catering to local markets.
To the East lies Alberta, and among the skiing spots here, the Ski Big 3 combo outside of Banff (Lake Louise, Sunshine and Norquay) stands out as the clear go-to. When it comes to shredding BC and Alberta the options are limitless, really. It can be downright overwhelming trying to decide where to go and what to do, but, we’re here to help.
Below, we’ve highlighted five go-to spots, each one worthy of a visit and your hard-earned dollar. Read each piece and see which write-up strikes a chord. Then, rope a buddy or two into your master plan, book those tix and get the hell up there—there’s a good chance we’ll bump into you somewhere along the way.
“With regard to size and terrain, skiers enjoy a combined 8,171 acres of terrain across WB, including 5,280 feet of vertical, 200+ trails, five terrain parks, 16 alpine bowls and three glaciers. Add 458 inches of average annual snowfall to the mix and therein lies the winning combination.”
“It’s 10:00 a.m. and I’m playing flip cup inside the Bear’s Den yurt at Fernie Alpine Resort in the southeastern corner of British Columbia. I don’t normally start my ski day by downing a party cup of Kokanee beer mid-mountain, but it’s Griz Days…”
“Beyond Wrangle the Chute, springtime shenanigans are in no short order at KHMR. The first two weekends in April (4th – 5th, 11th – 12th) offer live outdoor concerts at the base of the mountain. The annual Dummy Downhill and Slush Cup will be in full swing, and you’ll be sure to know thanks in part to the neon, retro gear lighting up the mountain day and night.”
“When it comes to spring destinations, Banff has you covered straight through March, April and even May. Nestled in one of the most awe-inspiring national parks in the world, the town of Banff is a jumping off point to three world class resorts: Sunshine Village, Lake Louise and Mt. Norquay. Each is reachable by car or public transportation and all three have their own distinct vibe that will leave you wrestling with the quandary of which one you love more.”
“It’s no doubt that a town, who for over forty years, has thrown JulyFest, one of Canada’s biggest summer fests—where teams of nun-frocked bocce players compete against bikini-clad women in cowboy hats—knows how to party in the winter. On closing weekend (April 4 and 5), KAR hosts two happening events: Spring Splash, where the fearless and numb attempt to skim across a chilly pond; and the Downhill Dummy, where home-built dummies are launched 100 meters off a jump, and cheered on by the beer-garden crowd.”
More: BC and Alberta are home to a seemingly endless array of heli & cat-skiing operations, as well. Good news: our in-depth heli & cat-skiing guide hits the web soon. Stay tuned.