With winter on the horizon, we have skiing on the brain, but we may still be at bunny slope level. That’s why we asked the Canadian Freestyle Ski Association to help us discover Canada’s best mountains to get our schussing on.
X-Games and Olympic Bronze Medalist Kim Lamarre, World Championships Silver Medalist Cassie Sharpe, Olympian and World Championships Silver Medalist Travis Gerrits, and World Champion and Olympic Silver Medalist Mikaël Kingsbury gave us their expert insight on prime Canadian ski destinations.
Whistler Blackcomb, Whistler, BC
“The mountain diversity, the nature, and the town itself are simply great!” — Kim Lamarre.
“It’s like a second home to me. It is a really nice mountain.” — Mikaël Kingsbury
At the top of their lists was Whistler Blackcomb. The resort is frequently named #1 and boasts the most skiing terrain in North America, with 200 marked runs, 8,100 acres, and 16 alpine bowls.
Off the slopes, there is no shortage of things to do. The village is a pedestrian-only oasis nestled at mountain base. Easy on the eyes, it offers abundant shopping, world-class dining, and vibrant nightlife. Tipplers can take the Blackcomb brewery or distillery tours, which offer complimentary food and roundtrip transportation. Famous visiting DJs pack the nightclubs, and renowned chefs, such as Nick Cassettari at Alta Bistro, ensure restaurant goers are well fed.
Festivals and events keep things lively year-round, including Pemberton Music Festival, Whistler Village Beer Festival, the Canadian National BBQ Championships, and the legendary First Night New Year’s Eve celebration.
Kicking Horse Mountain Resort, Golden, BC
“The variety of extreme terrain and accessibility was remarkable,” — Travis Gerrits
The ski resort has the fourth-highest vertical drop North America, and the gondola has no mid-station, so you ski the whole run each time. It is known for some of the best snow conditions in the world and bears the nickname, “Champagne Powder Capital of Canada.”
It’s easy to experience another side of skiing here. You can hike to ski, with many trails to choose from at varying degrees of difficulty. Or, learn an ancient method and join a telemark skiing clinic. The resort also has facilities for tubing, ice skating, heli-skiing, and gondola sightseeing.
Eagle’s Eye restaurant, at 4,000 feet, boasts unforgettable panoramic views. High, wood-beamed ceilings and a big stone fireplace lend an air of cosiness, while the huge picture windows keep things light and scenic. Other après-ski options range from spa and wellness retreats to pubs and bars, and there are hot springs just an hour to the south.
Golden, British Columbia, is happily situated near six National Parks. The four strongly distinct seasons make it a stunning visual experience all year round. Two beautiful rivers—the Columbia and Kicking Horse—freeze over in the winter then teem with life come spring and summer.
Canada Olympic Park, Calgary, Alberta
“COP is also a great spot to shred of you’re learning to ride park or pipe. Fast laps on the chair and a super fun setup!” — Cassie Sharpe
The park was a venue for bobsleigh, luge, and ski jumping in the 1988 Olympics, and it’s the only of its kind to continue to function for competition, training, and recreation. Just 15 minutes outside Calgary, its half-pipe is the only North American one within city limits.
In the summer months, the trails are used for mountain biking and hiking. The park hosts summer camps, with a focus on sport and adventure. Zip-lining, bobsleighing, and bungee trampolines will keep your heart racing. For a little more adrenaline, ride the Skyline Luge, a wheeled gravity ride that will have you barreling down 1,800 metres of continuous downhill track.
Delve into history and visit the Sports Hall of Fame and Museum. Fifty interactive exhibits honour Canadian sports heroes. Check out the award-winning galleries to see the 95,000 sports artifacts, 3D simulations, and touchscreen ski lessons.
For more on the interview with these skiers check out the article at Canadian Freestyle Ski Association.