1. Fernie, BC
My home base – Fernie is a magical little town in the heart of BC. To say that it’s one of the Kootenays best-kept secrets may be a stretch, after all, everyone who skis knows Fernie, and here are a few of the reasons why I love it so: This quaint town’s Main Street is home to amazing restaurants and great shops where you can grab a coffee from Roof Top Roasters and then head over for a delicious bagel at Big Bang Bagels (Pro tip: Switchback Salmon is my fav)! The hill itself has the decade-long “old side” versus “new side” debate as to which side is better but to me, it really depends on the day and the visibility. The conditions at Fernie offer up a copious amount of pow days (legend has it that the Griz sends powder from the skies above). For me, the ultimate ski time is January. With challenging terrain all around the mountain, you can find pockets of untouched powder hidden all over the hill and some truly unreal tree skiing. My personal favorite runs are Boomerang or Decline. To finish off your big pow day, the après ski at the Griz is unparalleled. Renowned for its atmosphere, delicious piled-high nachos, generous pitchers of beer, and, if you’re lucky enough, naked table sliding.
2. Whitewater, BC
Nestled in the vibrant and quirky town of Nelson -one of the coolest towns in BC- Whitewater is a foodie’s paradise. The day-lodge is world-renowned for its amazing food selection and countless Whitewater cookbooks that have spawned from it. The ski hill has unrivaled snowfall where you can expect DEEP pow with some of the most accessible, lift-accessed backcountry terrain anywhere. With multiple ridges and endless choices and you will need more than one day to truly appreciate this mountain and all of its stashes. My personal favorite run is Giddy Up gully. The recipe is pretty simple: mix in an eclectic town and cool people to a ski vibe like no other and you’ve got the perfect recipe.
3. RED Mountain, BC
In the sleepy town of Rossland lies one of the coolest little ski hills in Canada. HUGE and frequent snow dumps hammer the hill often. Red is of the oldest ski hills in North America and the culture is laid-back and ski-oriented, the resort was built on an old mine where there are secret chutes to hop in and out of, but be careful to not fall in! Red Mountain has been named one of the Top 10 terrain territories in North America and for good reason! Bonus points: Red offers a unique $10/run cat-skiing option which is unheard of elsewhere. If you’re looking for unreal tree skiing, Red Mountain is paradise. Voted the most underrated resort, you’ll want to find out for yourself what makes this ski hill one of the ultimate hidden gems in North America.
4. Revelstoke, BC
If you’re looking for some huge snow and some of the best skiing and sledding in Canada, Revelstoke is the place. In a vibrant town with cute cafes and ski shops, it’s the ultimate ski mountain town. With over 120 years of skiing history, the town truly celebrates winter in all its forms. Revelstoke holds the single-season record for the most snowfall in Canada at 24.47 meters (963 inches) so if you’re looking for snow, this is your Mecca! At Revy you’ll also find some of the longest descents in North America. Get your legs ready because, with 1713m of vertical, every run at Revelstoke seems never-ending (which I’ll never complain about on a powder day!).
5. Lake Louise, AB
One of the larger hills in Alberta with over 160 runs, The Lake offers endless terrain and trail options for both beginners and experts. Louise boasts one of the earliest starts to the season so you can get on snow earlier than almost anywhere in the Rockies. Let’s not forget the annual Lake Louise Winter Start every November and early December where Lake Louise hosts the F.I.S. World Cup and where you can join in on the action and watch the world’s best racers scream down the mountain and cheer them on with the traditional cowbell. This majestic mountain offers four different faces to choose from including The Back Bowls, The West Bowl, The Front Side, and Larch, and let’s not forget the brand new Summit Chair! Louise offers plenty of terrain to discover that will keep you exploring for days on end. Only a two-hour drive from Calgary, Lake Louise is a world-class hill with lots to offer everyone… Including some pretty amazing events!