When I was little I used to be enamoured by snow globes. Shaking them I’d delve into a world of make-believe wondering if I’d ever find a place as magical. Now that I’m older and have visited many mountain towns—abroad and in Canada—I realize that a snow globe and make-believe is not required to create an enchanted winter moment filled with ice skating, snow-topped trees, tobogganing, and little mountain towns trimmed with lights. You can find several snow globe scenes here, on our Canadian soil, in the summits that rise up over our Northern landscape.
If you have soft spot for the resort-town-meets-snow-globe setting, join us as we head for the hills in search of winter wonderlands stocked with Jack Frost’ed activities.
Since travelling to mountain resorts outside of our local jurisdictions is tricky right now, let’s access our child-like wonder, dream about our Canadian snow globe resorts, and file away any faraway options for future trips. Please also check provincial and federal guidance as travel protocols continue to evolve. Find out what to expect and how to find flexible travel on the Expedia COVID-19 travel guide.
Nestled in the mountains 90 minutes from Vancouver, Whistler is a powder-coated paradise with all the fixings. Consistently crowned the number one ski resort in North America for its size and stature, the mountain retreat has matched its non-skiing offerings with an Olympic-sized roster of snow-tivities, as well as a city-level restaurant scene.
Ratcheting up its creativity and scaling back its crowds, this year, Whistler is reimagining wintertime. One of the most delicious offerings is the soon-to-launch snow globe dining (never in my wildest dreams did I imagine eating in a snow globe!). At once private (for your pod) and posh, the Fairmont Chateau Whistler’s Snow Globe Dining Domes are adorned with mountain-chic decor featuring fur throws, plush cushions, and twinkly fairy lights in soothing wintertime hues. Here, guests can book a five-course menu paired with featured beverages.
Nearby, 15 kilometres of snowshoe trails surround the town, there’s snowmobile adventures for all ages (even mini-snowmobiles for kids!), and in the wilderness edging Whistler’s nighttime glow, find Vallea Lumina, an enchanted forest light show. Right in town, a skating rink anchors Whistler’s Olympic Plaza, and fresh-up this year is the Snow Zone tobogganing hill and play area. From high-octane ziplining, bobsleigh, and heli-tours to peaceful trails or a soak in a therapeutic outdoor spa, there’s something for every mountain personality (and budget).
Also in British Columbia, saddle-up to SilverStar Mountain Resort, a brightly-painted and picturesque mountain resort five hours from Vancouver (or one hour from Kelowna). Known for its champagne powder—the kind that makes your skis or snowshoes feel like they’re floating—the resort packs a lot into its 3,282 acres of alpine adventure.
From the ski-in, ski-out village access Canada’s largest daily groomed cross-country ski network counting beginner to expert trails, and everything in-between—even Fido can join you for select loops. Also on the wow-factor end of resort activities is the 2.5-acre natural ice rink at Brewer’s Pond. This icy pad is perfect for playing hockey, skating like Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir (or at least trying!), or warming up fireside after a skate. Finally, don’t miss snow-biking (with oversized and softer tires to accommodate stability and grip), snowshoeing along 15 kilometres of single-track trails, winter tubing at Tube Town, or for the romantics: horse-drawn sleigh rides.
Recognized across the world as a Canadian winter icon, Lake Louise Ski Resort thrills on and off its 4,200 acres of mountaintop terrain. Resting high in the Rocky Mountains, the resort is just under three-hour drive from Calgary through farmland and up alpine roads.
To say that Lake Louise has your winter covered is an understatement. Beyond its excellent slopes, ascend to one of Banff National Park’s most perfect viewpoints aboard the Lake Louise Sightseeing Gondola to see Canada’s winter beauty in its rawest form—think monumental peaks, deep valleys, and ancient glaciers.
Nearby, other swoon-worthy winter musts include ice skating atop one of the most legendary lakes on Earth: Lake Louise; guided ice climbing up frozen waterfalls; or ice fishing in one of the many frozen lakes that dot the region. Oh, Canada!
In its 80th season, Blue Mountain Resort is hailed as one of the best ski slopes in Ontario. Rooted in the belief that “outside is where the action is,” its town and pastimes deliver on this promise.
Located two hours North of Toronto, the resort is perched on the cusp of the Niagara Escarpment giving it eye-popping views from several vantage points. One spot to take in the beauty of the region and relax in the quietness of winter is Scandinave Blue Mountain, a multi-acre outdoor thermal spa (we just wrote about it!). For something a little more upbeat, families (or couples) will love dashing through the snow (literally) on horse-drawn sleigh rides. And, if you’re up for an adrenaline rush paired with some exercise, check out the slope’s Hike N’ Tube experience. The catch: You’ve got to earn your ride down by hiking up.
Finally, you’ll want to hike a little anyway once you take a gander at the menu for the Yeti food truck, luring hungry mountaineers with loaded poutine and frosty treats (though, we suggest you stick with the warmer fare unless it’s a bluebird day!).
As Québec’s premier mountain resort for skiers and non-skiers alike, Tremblant is conveniently located in the heart of the Laurentian Mountains between Montréal, Québec and Ottawa, Ontario.
Known by insiders as the best mountain in the East, many feel like visiting this winter show-stopper is like being at a French ski resort (sans transcontinental travel). Here, the joie de vivre vibe starts in the colourful pedestrian village (pictured at the top), which, not-surprisingly, takes its dining very seriously. An impressive menu of crêpes, raclette, fondue, and charcuterie will inspire you—and your waistline—to keep very active.
Speaking of adventures that keep your calories in-check and appetite high: dog sledding is a great full-body workout when you consider driving your own team of huskies through the pine forest. Snow-tubing will also get your heart pumping—especially when there are eight pistes to test for your favourite descent! Other top winter diversions include skating, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, helicopter tours, winter paintball, and even a build-a-bear outpost for kiddos.
What Canadian snow globe retreat appeals to your child-like wonder?[Lead photo by ©Tremblant, Whistler photo by Tourism Whistler, SilverStar photo by Destination BC/Blake Jorgenson, Lake Louise photo by Travel Alberta, Blue Mountain photo by Blue Mountain Resort, Tremblant photo by ©Tremblant]