Written in collaboration with Expedia.ca
The leaves are still changing colour, but it’s not too early to begin planning your next winter ski holiday at one of Canada’s fantastic ski resorts. Here are some of the best family-friendly mountains in Canada.
The biggest ski resort in Canada has also been voted the best, number one ski destination in North America by SKI Magazine, again. Whistler Blackcomb ranks very high on the family-friendly scale as well, for good reason. From their Family Certified programs, to the variety of over 8,000 acres of skiable terrain, to the Magic Castle on Backcomb and Tree Fort on Whistler, to the fun, non-ski options of zip lining, snowmobiling and snow-tubing, family and kid boredom isn’t any option in Whistler.
The Whistler Kids ski school program emphasizes fun and learning, with skiing and snowboarding lessons for kids as young as 3 and up to 18. There’s also licensed child care for babies and toddlers in the Village. Day-long school camps allow parents to enjoy a day out on the slopes, or at the spa, for some all-important couple time. And of course, the variety of shopping, dining and accommodation choices (found easily on expedia.ca) in Whistler Village will ensure that every child can enjoy après-ski hot tub time and great food beyond chicken fingers (if desired) during your holiday.
The second biggest ski resort in Canada offers Okanagan charm, dry powder, and great amenities for skiing families. The three mountains of Sun Peaks Resort feature a wide variety of ski runs, including beginner greens, wide glades and steep double-blacks. The terrain park at the base of Sundance Mountain is great fun for kids wishing to do tricks, and is also close to the snow tube area. You’ll feel faintly European strolling through the pedestrian-friendly village, which is dotted with ski shops, great restaurants and even a small grocery store. Many condos and hotels are ski-in, ski-out, and are fully kitted out with kitchens and hot tubs.
Big White receives an annual snowfall of 24.5 feet of dry, fluffy snow, known as Champagne Powder. It’s wonderfully light stuff, which makes for truly amazing ski conditions that are the envy of much of the country. The resort also has great family-friendly amenities, such as skating, snow-tubing, snowshoeing, and even ice-climbing. The excellent ski school allows you to find and choose an instructor based on language or country of origin, and utilizes a Flaik GPS tracking system to keep kids safe. The lovely village atmosphere boasts many restaurants and great ski-in, ski-out accommodation choices for every family budget.
A ski holiday with views of iconic Lake Louise and the magnificent Rocky Mountains is a family vacation win. The unique layout of Lake Louise Ski Resort features accessible terrain for everyone in the family. Friends and family members of every ability can ski together with green, blue and black runs off of every chair. The resort is the biggest in the Canadian Rockies, and features 1,700 hectares (4200 acres) of skiable terrain. When the kids tire of the slopes, they’ll enjoy sliding down the Sunny Tube Park, or enjoying hot chocolate and sn acks in the Ten Peaks Food Court or Slopeside Coffee Bar. There’s complimentary bus transportation from Lake Louise hotels, as well as fee-service bus transportation from nearby Banff and Canmore.
Ontario’s largest mountain resort, Blue Mountain in Collingwood features a compact, walkable village, 42 ski trails from beginner to double black diamond, plus terrain parks, magic carpets and high-speed lifts to get you back up the mountain in double-quick time. The ski school features daily camps for kids 3 years and up. When you’re not on the slopes riding, everyone will enjoy the Ridge Runner Mountain coaster, the Hike N’Tube tube zone, the centrally located skating rink, or the Plunge! Aquatic Centre. There are over 1,000 accommodation unit options to choose from for every family budget. Add in the wide variety of familiar and eclectic family-friendly cafés and restaurants in the Village, as well as shopping options galore, and you have the makings of fun winter family holiday.
The jewel of the Laurentians, Tremblant has winter fun activities for the whole family that go well beyond the ski hill. Located just 1.5 hours from Montreal, the resort also offers alpine touring, ice skating, sliding and dog-sledding as just some of the things to do during the winter season. The Snow School features friendly lessons with an emphasis on safety, including the wearable Flaik GPS tracking system for young kids, and fun, educational trail areas like the TAM-TAM Zone on the South Side of the mountain. Parents will appreciate the variety of spa facilities, and the walkable, picturesque pedestrian village with restaurants, cafes and shopping close at hand.
A short 30-minute drive from Quebec City and you’re on the slopes of pretty Mont-Sainte-Anne. The mountain features more than 500 acres of skiable terrain and 71 trails, 19 of which are light for spectacular night skiing throughout the season. The resort daycare takes in kids as young as six months, and the TELUS Learn to Ski & Ride program teaches the kids the ins & outs of conquering the bunny hill. Other winter activities include snowshoeing, ice skating, dog sledding and even a ski museum. Unique to this region, Mont-Sainte-Anne also runs a traditional sugar shack off of La Pichard family ski trail. Everyone will want to stop in for a sweet taste of hot maple taffy.
Photo Credits: C. Laroye