Sure there’s Whistler. There’s Tremblant. There’s Fernie. When dropping these names, the expression, “been there, done that,” comes to mind. But what about the resorts you haven’t heard of? Where are the resorts that don’t attract everyone? Where are the hidden gems of the Canadian ski scene?
These seven spots will answer all of your questions.
Manning Park Resort
Just a three-hour drive from the Vancouver International Airport, Manning Park Resort is a little gem that few have heard of and even fewer have skied. Situated right in the Cascade Mountains, the area enjoys an average snowfall of 546 cm, and has 140 acres of skiable terrain. With a tubing park, a terrain park, 432 vertical metres, and plenty of green circle and black diamond runs, there’s truly something for everyone here.
Just two hours from Vancouver, Hemlock Valley Resort is a quaint little resort in the Coastal Mountains, with about 400 metres of vertical drop. It’s a family friendly place with a great ski school, and also features a terrain park and tube park. There are 35 runs, ranging from beginner to expert, with a number of accommodations close by.
Hudson Bay Resort
There’s probably a reason you’ve never heard of this place—it’s pretty far off the beaten track. Located in Smithers, BC, not many are just going to be “passing through” this area. But Hudson Bay Mountain is a killer place to ski. With 533 vertical metres and an average snow depth of 180 cm, there’s plenty of pow to go around. New this year is a run that drops a full 1150 metres and takes you right into town.
Quebec’s Mont Sutton is a special place. Owned and operated by the Boulanger family since the 1960s, it was the original visionary, Real Bounlanger, that guaranteed the success of the resort. He envisioned tree-skiing everywhere, and that’s what Sutton is today—a labyrinth of runs through beautiful forest. But it isn’t just for experts—some of the kids terrain at Sutton will instill a love of skiing “sous bois” that young ones will never lose. If you’ve never been to Sutton, it’s time to change that.
Located on the eastern shore of Lake Superior in the Algoma lake-effect snowbelt, Searchmont Resort’s 336-centimetre annual average snowfall is the highest of any Ontario resort. The 213-metre vertical drop is also among the province’s highest, which means the views are incredible, and the mountain is relatively empty (even on weekends, line-ups are almost non-existent). It’s usually a few degrees colder than nearby Sault Ste. Marie, so if it’s raining in town, it might be snowing at Searchmont.
Just outside of Corner Brook, Newfoundland—a small community bursting with culture—is Marble Mountain. Featuring 519 metres of vertical drop, Marble is home to the highest peak in Atlantic Canada, and its 39 runs and 230 acres of skiable terrain is suited for beginners and experts alike. With west winds blowing in off the Atlantic, this place gets absolutely dumped on with snow—an average of five metres per season. On clear days, you’ll get incredible views of the azure waters surrounding the Bay of Islands.
Kimberley Alpine Resort
The resorts in the Kootenays get a lot of hype. Places like Fernie, Nelson, Red Mountain, and Whitewater are constantly featured in ski media. That’s because they get walloped with snow, and the terrain is some of the best in the world. But there’s a little resort in the Kootenays that always gets forgotten: Kimberley Alpine Resort. The locals, of course, are absolutely fine with that, because what they have is a great family-friendly resort that features everything the other resorts have without all of the people. A vertical rise of 751 metres, 1800 skiable acres, and a yearly snowfall of 400 centimetres make this a serious contender for your ski vacation dollar. And if you happen to be there during a sun-pit celebration, you may just become a lifer.