Best Ski Slopes Near...Calgary?
Calgary. Flatlands, prairies, and no mountains...at least none that any respectable mountaineer, himalayan, or sherpa would deem worth existence. Sure it gets cold, downright abominable at times with enough snow to satisfy the most fickle ski enthusiast, but what good is said snow if there is no hill to pack it on? Fear not ski bunnies and brutes, although Calgary lacks in peaks its proximity to some world class slopes keeps skiiers and boarders living in C-town from getting too antsy. Check out these short 2 to 3 hour drive (from Calgary) ski/snowboard destinations below.
Lake Louise - 2 hours from Calgary
The Rocky Mountains, "The Rockies", you may have heard of them? They're kind of big deal in the world of mountains. No mountain is worth its weight in stone unless its peak is high enough to command the heavens to dump snow on them on a consistent basis, enough to draw hundreds of thousands of people from all over the globe to its slopes. 4200 ski worthy Rocky Mountain acres makes Lake Louise one of the largest ski destinations in North America and with such coverage, diversity of this area attracts skiers and snowboarders of all calibers and skill sets, including hell-men (and women) that brave the most intense of elements and opt for heli-skiing up among the clouds, leaving the soft powders for us common folk down below.
Download this Lake Louise trail map here (courtesy of LakeLouise.Com) for a visual look at this massive expanse made for beginners and psychopaths alike.
Lift Ticket Prices (Full Day 9am-4pm)
Adult 18+ $75.95
Youth 13-17 $75.95
Child 6-12 $24.95
Senior 65+ $54.95
Lift Ticket Prices (Afternoon 12pm-4pm)
Accommodation Recommendation (high end): Fairmont Lake Louise
Accommodation Recommendation (med range): The Great Divide Lodge
Sunshine Village - 1.5 hours from Calgary
Sunshine Village is comprised of three separate mountains in the heart of the aforementioned Rockies and sits atop the Continental Divide in Banff National Park. You can ski in both British Columbia and Calgary on the same day which is simply just a cool thing to say you did (hopping back and forth..."I'm in B.C., now I'm not! I'm in B.C., now I'm not!", etc...until it irritates your companions). The ski resort expands to 3300 acres and is friendly to both beginners and hardcore enthusiasts and everything in between. Delirium Drive (not so friendly) is considered one of the top off-piste (off the beaten path, more challenging and perhaps treacherous) locations in the world. Sunshine Village is open for 7 months of the year, making it one of the longest non-glacial ski seasons in the world and the longest in Canada.
•Mighty Mite learning zone
•Green Run off Angel express chair
•Wawa chair – Meadow Park
•Standish chair – Creek Run
•Jack Rabbit chair – Larch Glade
•The green runs off Wolverine chair
Lookout Mountain via Continental Divide Express (the two province experience)
Goat's Eye Double Black Runs (8500 feet) via Goat's Eye Express
Extreme (sign your life away!)
Delirium Dive or Wild West
Lift Ticket Prices
Adult (18 years+) $76.14
Senior (65 years+) $61.86
Child (6-12) $26.42
Youth (13-17) $54.28
Gondola Only $26.42
Adult Afternoon Ticket $61.86 (12 p.m.)
Castle Mountain - 2.5 hours from Calgary
North of Waterton Lakes National Park, Southwestern Alberta
Castle Mountain may not be as well known as the predecessors on the list but its far from small in stature and is actually one of the largest ski resorts in Canada at 3500 acres with an annual average of 9 meters of snow packed on its slopes. Castle Mountain is one of the more family friendly ski resorts with some fantastic programs for the kids. However, the more advanced need not fret as Castle Mountain is the only ski resort in Alberta to offer cat-skiing (no, you cannot bring your favorite feline) which is an alternative to heli-skiing in that all-terrain "snowcat" vehicles are used to caravan seasoned skiers to lesser charted areas, Haig Mountain for those visiting Castle, to take on more challenging runs. Castle Mountain, while not receiving the recognition of Lake Louise and Sunshine Village, is one of the best kept secrets in skiing near Calgary, Alberta and a favorite of those looking to escape the crowds, bells and whistles.
Lift Ticket Prices (Full day)
Senior (65+) $50
Junior (13-17) $50
Child (6-12) $30
Albertan Student (Alberta School ID with expiry date) $56
Lift Ticket Prices (Half day)
Albertan Student (Alberta School ID with expiry date) $44
Tigers (5 and under) FREE AT ALL TIMES
Download Castle Trail Map here (courtesy of SkiCastle.Ca)
Download Chutes & Mt. Haig Trail Map here