From champagne powder to epic drops, to terrific après ski, these ski resorts are fabulous
Fernie Alpine Resort, Fernie
Locals try to keep it secret but Fernie Alpine Resort is the champagne powder, dynamite and fuse of the Kootenay Rockies. What’s the explosive attraction? Five alpine bowls, epic chutes, knife ridges, and the new Polar Peak Lift, offering 1,082 metres (3,550 feet) of vertical. The National Geographic agrees, calling Fernie one of the best winter trips of 2012 and one of the world’s 25 best ski towns.
Other Activities: cat skiing, snowboarding, snowmobiling, Nordic skiing and heritage tours.
Local tip: For an après ski treat, try Beanpod Chocolate. From bean to bar, it takes five days to make a traditional batch. Expect nirvana.
Big White Ski Resort, Kelowna
BC’s Okanagan region is renowned for wine, but it is Big White Ski Resort’s snow – the "Best Powder in North America” according to Condé Nast Traveller – that sticks with riders. Family oriented with a famously friendly village, it’s a ski-in, ski-out dream. Just get up and go cruising some 118 runs, including snow-covered glades.
Other Activities: TELUS Terrain Park, tubing park, skating rink, dogsled tours, sleigh rides, ice-climbing tower and mini snowmobiles.
Local tip: View the fireworks twice a week from the comfort of your chalet hot tub.
Sun Peaks Resort, near Kamloops
Sun Peaks Resort is a family whoop-up renowned for great powder, quick lifts and short line-ups. Take your pick of 122 runs across 3,678 acres, the second-largest skiable terrain in BC. Off the slopes you can poke around the lively European-style village. Under starlight, try the fondue dinner, enjoy live music and then ski down donning a headlamp.
Other activities: snowboarding, cross-country skiing, dogsledding, snowshoeing, snow biking and sleigh rides.
Local tip: Meet up with Canadian ski legend Nancy Greene Raine on the slopes – 1968 Olympic Gold Medalist at Grenoble, France.
Kicking Horse Mountain Resort, Golden
With runs called Unnecessary Roughness and Epiphany, Kicking Horse Mountain Resort is advanced terrain adrenaline. Some call it heli-sking at lift prices but there are plenty of beginner runs and intermediate cruisers, too. Stats tell the story: alpine powder, 128 runs, four bowls and 85 in-bound chutes.
Other Activities: Tubing, heli-skiing, Northern Lights Wildlife Wolf Centre and climbing gym.
Local tip: Stop into the Eagle's Eye Restaurant for hot chocolate or a gourmet meal at 2,350 metres (over 7,700 feet).
A-list celebrity famous, Whistler/Blackcomb isn’t resting on its laurels. Less than two hours from Vancouver, you’ll find more than 200 trails – 11 km (7 miles) is the longest – and more skiable acres than any other resort on the continent. The après scene is alpine chalets, big open patios and award-winning dining with a European touch. And, yes, you can sometimes ski in July.
Other Activities: tube park, sleigh rides, snowcat tours, heli-skiing and zip-lines.
Local tip: Bring your gear (camera or ski) on the PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola for stunning views in any season.
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