Canada is a great destination for winter adventurers any year, but in the coming season, mountain resorts across the country will offer exciting new experiences while the U.S. dollar remains strong with its northern neighbor.
At both well-known resorts and under-the-radar mountains, expanded terrain, new guided adventures and soon-to-open boutique lodgings make Western Canada worth considering for your winter ski or snowboard travels.
Here are a few of the season’s highlights.
A 10-passenger gondola opening on Whistler’s Blackcomb Mountain will transport skiers from the Blackcomb base — the most convenient starting point for guests at the Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star Four Seasons Resort Whistler — to the mid-mountain Rendezvous Lodge, where you can access terrain for all levels of skiing and riding. You also can connect to the Peak 2 Peak Gondola (a 2.7-mile ride between Blackcomb and Whistler mountains) and then to Whistler Gondola, creating the first direct three-gondola connection in the world.
In partnership with adventure company Head-Line Mountain Holidays, Four Seasons Resort Whistler also is launching an extravagant culinary experience this winter dubbed The Blue Room. A helicopter flight across Canada’s southernmost ice field will transport you to a frozen cave. At a private table inside the cathedral-like cavern, you’ll savor a lavish five-course menu that starts with Krug champagne and British Columbia’s Northern Divine caviar served on snow — a one-of-a-kind experience to share with someone special.
Red Mountain Resort
One of Canada’s first chair lifts made its way up the slopes at this Rossland, British Columbia, resort back in 1947, but the mountain destination along the province’s “Powder Highway” has since been largely only visited by in-the-know skiers . Luckily, all that’s about to change with the grand opening of The Josie Hotel.
Slated to debut slope-side in late November, the ski-in, ski-out retreat will bring the resort and its 4,200 acres of terrain into the spotlight by offering boutique lodging and a new mountainside dining destination.
Decked out in a modern palette of creams, browns and golds, the best of the 106 accommodations face directly onto the snow-capped peaks. With a dedicated ski concierge and a slope-view spa, The Josie will also house window-lined The Velvet Restaurant and Lounge, helmed by chef Marc-André Choquette, formerly of Vancouver’s Four-Star Hawksworth Restaurant.
Kicking Horse Mountain Resort
If you’re looking to challenge new terrain, look to this peak where Canada’s largest resort expansion is underway. Located in Golden, eastern British Columbia, a three-hour’s drive (or convenient shuttle) from Calgary, Kicking Horse is adding access to a new alpine bowl and more than 600 skiable acres.
If that’s not enough adventure, book a day or more with Purcell Heli-Skiing, which runs small group helicopter experiences that depart directly from Kicking Horse Resort.
Off the trails, dine at Canada’s highest restaurant, Eagle’s Eye, which sits at 7,700 feet surrounded by views of the nearby terrain.
Note, too, that you can pair your holiday with skiing at dozens of other mountains worldwide, now that Kicking Horse — along with Whistler-Blackcomb — is part of Vail Resorts’ Epic Pass program.
Within the Canadian Rockies’ Banff National Park, three resorts collectively known as SkiBig3 — less than two hours from Calgary International Airport — recently partnered to introduce you to the highlights of each area.
Banff Sunshine, Mt. Norquay and Lake Louise Ski Resort have created new guided adventures catering to intermediate and advanced skiers and snowboarders with a day-long excursion at each mountain. You’ll skip the lift lines, get personalized coaching and learn where to find the best conditions as you explore these Rocky Mountain resorts.
At the end of the day, book a soak in the calming complex of hot pools at the nearby Four-Star Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel to soothe your muscles and get you ready for your next outing.
Guides will lead you by snowshoe into the backcountry, exploring different areas of both Banff and Yoho national parks, while introducing you to the region’s plants, wildlife and terrain. Tours are available for all levels and hot chocolate is always included.