The 2012-13 winter ski season is well underway in the Canadian Rocky Mountains. Home to one of the longest ski seasons in North America, Alberta’s Canadian Rockies ski resorts are already open, thanks to early snowfall bringing record early season conditions.
The province of Alberta is one of the few places on earth blessed with the conditions that create the legendary, airy “champagne” powder revered by skiers and boarders worldwide.
Mt. Norquay, Sunshine Village, Lake Louise Ski Area and Marmot Basin are all located within Banff and Jasper national parks, respectively. The alpine towns of Banff and Jasper have all the amenities, from luxurious accommodation in genuine mountain lodges or fairy tale castles to fine dining, shopping, and plenty of après-ski. Nakiska is nestled in the heart of the Canadian Rockies in picturesque Kananaskis Country, only 45 minutes from the vibrant city of Calgary. Castle Mountain is located 2.5 hours south of Calgary near the picturesque town of Pincher Creek.
Visitors can combine skiing with dogsledding, snowshoeing and ice canyon walks to round out their authentic Alberta experience.
Top destination ski resorts
Mt. Norquay – Located just minutes from downtown Banff, Mt. Norquay was the first resort to open in Canada for the 2012/13 ski season on October 25. Mt. Norquay features five lifts and 190 total acres of skiable terrain in the peak winter season. The resort’s tube park is especially popular for families.
Nakiska – The second resort to open in Canada was Nakiska on October 26 featuring four lifts and 1,021 acres of terrain. Nakiska was host to the XV Winter Olympics and features some of Alberta’s best cruising and carving runs.
Sunshine Village - Alberta’s longest ski season—extending through May—can be found at Sunshine Village which opened on November 9 and features 12 lifts and 3,358 acres of skiable terrain. Sunshine Village offers the only ski in/ski out accommodation in Banff National Park, Sunshine Mountain Lodge. The resort receives an average 33 feet of snow per year.
Lake Louise Ski Area - With one of Canada’s most photographed vistas, Lake Louise Ski Area also opened on November 9 and features eight lifts and 4,200 acres of skiable terrain on four mountain faces. Lake Louise is a long-time host of the FIS Ski World Cup Alpine events, which attract top international competitors such as America’s Lindsey Vonn.
Marmot Basin – Four hours from Alberta’s capital city of Edmonton, is Jasper National Park’s Marmot Basin resort. Open on November 9, it offers over 1,675 acres of powder terrain with 3,000 vertical feet of skiing and snowboarding. This winter Marmot offers a new School House Learning Area with improved features for beginners.
Castle Mountain – Rounding out the bigger resorts in Alberta and opening in mid-December is Castle Mountain which is known for its expert terrain and 2,850 skiable acres. Castle Mountain also offers one of the few cat skiing operations in western Canada. Expanded runs this season make the adventure into unlimited backcountry powder even more thrilling.
Alberta has 28 ski resorts to choose from. Discover all of them at Go Ski Alberta.