Move out of the way, summer. You can take that sunshine and warm breeze with you, because it’s nearly ski season and we’re ready to fly down some mountains. It’s not hyperbole to say that Canada is known for hosting some of the best ski resorts in the world, and each year proves this point time and again. When you’re ready to get those ski poles out of the closet and into the light, give your equipment a workout on these top slopes of 2016:
Opening Day: November 24, 2016
Whistler Blackcomb is already regarded as one of the best ski resorts in Canada. In fact, it recently won the title of North America’s number one resort by “SKI Magazine” for the third year in a row. With 200 runs, three glaciers, and over two dozen alpine bowls, the terrain is ample for everyone from snow bunnies to pros. This year, the resort is focusing on improving the learning areas, with two new carpet lifts to ease the pedestrian traffic and 32 new snow guns to get the slopes up and running faster. The Roundhouse Lodge has been upgraded too, and is now large enough for 250 more seats. There’s also a brand new gourmet grilled cheese stand, which will offer trendy ingredients inside of the cheesy slices. Warm grilled cheese and a cup of soup next to the snowy mountains? Yes, please!
Revelstoke Mountain Resort
Opening Day: December 3, 2016
With the longest vertical slope in North America (at 1,713 m), Revelstoke Mountain Resort knows a thing or two about epic skiing. Plus, this BC ski resort is the only one in the world that offers a mix of lift, heli, cat, and backcountry skiing all from one home base. For the 2016/2017 season, the resort has joined the Mountain Collective Pass, which is one ticket that gets you two days in 14 different ski resorts around North America. And, to make it even easier to hit the slopes, there is now a winter-only direct flight path from Vancouver to Revelstoke that lands about 1 km from the resort. Pay attention to your PTO: These flights leave on Thursdays and Sundays only.
Lake Louise Ski Resort
Tentative opening day: November 10, 2016
Lake Louise Ski Resort is, without a doubt, one of the best ski resorts in the country. This is why the World Ski Awards has handed over the title of Canada’s Best Ski Resort to Lake Louise from 2013 to 2015, and the streak looks to continue. With 145 marked runs and back bowls, it’s one of the largest and most scenic ski destinations in Canada. For the 2016/2017 season, this Alberta ski resort is offering an upgrade to its menu options, as the Whitehorn Bistro and Whisky Jack Lodge were recently bumped up to Ocean Wise status. This accreditation is given only after a six-step application and inspection process to see if the restaurant is serving sustainable seafood. See? Go ahead and treat yourself to a second round of shrimp.
Tentative opening day: November 24, 2016
Some resorts have a few awards they can stick on the wall from time to time; Mont Tremblant can brag that it’s been named best ski resort in Eastern North America for the past 18 years in a row by “SKI Magazine.” Why is this Quebec ski resort so highly regarded? The 96 runs on four different slopes give a little something to every skill level. That said, it’s often a favourite among families looking to teach the next generation how to pie. Perhaps this is why the recently opened Tam-Tam Zone—a play area with snow sculptures and footbridges—is one of the most popular spots on the mountain. Look for new additions in the zone this season and teach little Johnny that running into a person is not the proper way to hit the brakes.
Opening Day: TBA
Located an hour outside of Toronto, Horseshoe Resort has long been a popular spot for city dwellers looking to escape the red lights of traffic and hit the scenic trails. The 29 Alpine runs and 45 km of trails offer a window of wild for city slickers—with cocktails just around the bend when it’s time to head in. The resort recently redesigned the Terrain Park area for ultimate skiing power, and is preparing to open its new high-speed, six-person chairlift in time for the 2016/2017 season. It’s one of the best Ontario ski resorts for a reason.
RED Mountain Resort
Opening Day: TBA
RED Mountain Resort is that dive bar outsiders ignore but that secretly hosts Gatsby-style parties every weekend. It’s the oldest ski resort in Western Canada and holds on to its hidden gem label as tightly as possible. This is why they’ve recently thumbed their noses at the idea of big ownership, and are allowing the general public to own a piece of the land, chairlifts, condos, snow machines, and everything else that goes with the resort. The campaign name? “Fight the man. Own the Mountain.” And if you’re more about runs than revolutions, simply strap onto your skis and hit any of the 65 runs.
From new lifts to sustainable food, this winter is poised to be the best ski season yet. Grab onto your poles and snap those ski goggles in place. Let’s do this.