Canada has all the same great advantages of American skiing – reliable and good quality snow, uncrowded slopes, few queues, high quality great value accommodation, friendly natives, superb ski schools and children’s facilities. As a rule of thumb, flights to Canada are more expensive than to America, but accommodation is cheaper in Canada. Consequently, a 7 night holiday in like-for-like accommodation and resorts might be a little cheaper in America, but for longer stays Canada comes into its own. Canadian resorts do not increase their prices as much as American ones for New Year, and don’t increase them at all for the American Spring Break (early-mid March) as some American ones do. Ski school is also less expensive in Canada.
Clients are often concerned about the weather in Canada. They fear it’s very cold. But you have to split Western Canada into 3 parts for weather – wet Whistler, cold Alberta and the much nicer climate of the resorts in between. Whistler is so close to the ocean that it gets a lot of rain, and although a lot of it falls as snow on the ski area, hence Whistler being so snow-reliable, the village can be damp & miserable. It’s a question of whether you want to take a chance on the weather in order to ski one of the top resorts in North America. The Alberta resorts – Banff, Lake Louise & Jasper, and to a lesser degree Kicking Horse & Fernie, can be very cold early season and even late season you might need a headband on the nicest of days. But you have to offset this against the snow nearly always being in great condition, and there’s certainly nowhere better to go for good quality late season snow than Banff. The resorts in between such as Big White, Silver Star & Sun Peaks have a better climate. Big White lives up to its name by attracting an above average amount of snowclouds so it can be quite wintry, but it’s also Canada’s most snowsure resort as a result. Sun Peaks, as the name suggests, is the best resort for good weather.
Only one airline flies non-stop to Denver and there are no non-stop flights to any of the other airports close to American ski resorts. There is a far wider choice of non-stop flights to Vancouver and Calgary, and there’s a new non-stop service to Edmonton too. Even when you have to get a second flight to the airports which access Sun Peaks, Silver Star or Big White, it’s only a little 35-45 minute hop followed by a nice short transfer to the resort. Flights to Canada also follow a more direct route over the pole so for example, Vancouver is a shorter flight than Denver, and Calgary is only 2 hours further than Boston, so Banff (1.5 hour transfer) is actually a shorter distance door-to-door than the main Vermont resorts (4 hours). Air Canada doesn’t have a premium economy option, but we do have a special offer on their executive first class which is some way cheaper than any business class flight to the American resorts.
“Canada is amazing for families. Of the 4 best family resorts in the Rockies, 3 of them are in Canada – Big White, Silver Star & Sun Peaks (Steamboat is the other). These 3 resorts are pedestrianised, and even the main street in ski-through Big White & Silver Star is a piste. The children’s facilities are great – the childcare centre in Big White is the best I’ve ever seen and the floodlit tubing hill there is surpassed only by the one at Silver Star. The resorts are much lower than the Colorado resorts in particular so kids get acclimatised quicker, and the journey tends to be a little shorter too. The villages are very compact so everything is readily to hand and all accommodation is either ski-in/ski-out or very close to it. Each resort also provides free daily ski guiding which is a real boon if one member of a family is a proficient skier and the others are all in ski school. Canadians like their private hot tubs too, so a lot of the higher end condos have them which is great for a family soak.”