It's all about the powder--every thrill-seeking skier knows that. The fluffy white stuff can transform a good day on the slopes into a great one. If only finding those secret stashes were a little easier than bribing a local.
Thankfully Canada is home to world-class resorts offering consistent deep snowfall, with plenty of opportunities for snow-seekers to find untracked turns on each new mountain. Our resorts are also great to build confidence in powder thanks to large, well-marked ski area boundaries meaning all terrain within these ropes and signs are checked by ski patrol and avalanche risks are monitored. For the more experienced (and safely equipped) riders, off-piste areas offer a magical playground.
(This upcoming 2022/23 ski season brings with it health and safety protocols to ensure continued safety across Canada's slopes with COVID-19. Visit resort websites to familiarize yourself with any advanced ticketing, upload procedures, on mountain dining experience, social distancing protocols and mask requirements.)
From alpine bowls to remarkable steeps and tree runs, drop into these 11 deep powder runs in Canada--adventure is guaranteed.
Flute Bowl - Whistler Blackcomb
In North America's largest resort Whistler Blackcomb, the best way to find fresh tracks is to earn your turns. Whistler Mountain's hike-in-hike-out Flute Bowl offers a legitimate backcountry feel without the need for avalanche safety training. After a 30-minute pack from the top of Harmony Express chairlift, drop in from an epic cornice or ski to the south side for a (usually) mellower entrance. Alternatively, consider Fresh Tracks for an on-mountain breakfast and exclusive access to the mountain before the general public.
Sun Rype Bowl - Big White Ski Resort
With 7.5 metres of snowfall every year, Big White Ski Resort is a spacious intermediate-friendly expanse known for collecting Okanagan champagne powder. To make the most of it, ride the Gem Lake Express and take Kalina's Rainbow to the Sun Rype Bowl. Finish with some tight turns where the bowl eases to trees, then carve back to the chairlift on a swooping groomer.
Attridge Face - SilverStar Mountain Resort
When the flakes are falling, head out early thanks to the convenience of ski-in-ski-out skiing at SilverStar Mountain Resort. Head straight to Attridge Face, a classic black-diamond run that weaves through trees on the front side. A quick ride back up the Alpine Meadows Chair makes for fast powder laps before the area gets tracked-out.
Gil's Hill - Sun Peaks Resort
British Columbia's second largest ski area, Sun Peaks Resort offers steep chutes, treed expanses and glades. Long renowned by backcountry enthusiasts, Gil's Hill is now officially in-bounds--fully patrolled and avalanche-controlled--though this steep, 200-hectare glade stays mostly untracked thanks to its hike-in access. Get the full experience and ask a local for their favourite line; sharing the best of Gil's is a mountain tradition started by the run's namesake, Gil Marini.
Cedar Bowl - Fernie Alpine Resort
Tucked in the southeastern corner of British Columbia, Fernie Alpine Resort is a playground for serious powderhounds. But it's the Fernie locals' motto that sets the tone: "Haul Back. Boom! Repeat." They're talking about Cedar Bowl--fall-line paradise on a powder day, with natural rollers and huge views. And the motto? It refers to the Haulback T-Bar, which scoots skiers 460-vertical-feet back to the top of Cedar Bowl for repeat laps (boom!). Once you've made the most of the resort's five bowls, head to the historic and eclectic downtown to shop, eat and drink or just chill out.
CPR Ridge - Kicking Horse Mountain Resort
Kicking Horse Mountain Resort in Golden is BC's highest resort and is renowned for its steep and gnarly high-alpine chutes and its light, champagne powder--but the mountain is also rich in fun, fast glades and smooth, gentle groomers. Step off the Golden Eagle Express and carve the downy powder of double-black-diamond CPR Ridge and move further out as the ski patrol opens each successive zone. The glades on the right side are your best bet. But all roads down will funnel back to the speedy groomer leading to the gondola base...only after nearly 1200 vertical metres below your first turn!
Geneva - Kimberley Alpine Resort
Halfway along the ultimate winter road trip on "The Powder Highway", you'll find Kimberley Alpine Resort outside Cranbrook. It boasts more bluebird days than any other BC resort and its conditions make it a great choice for families and experts alike. From the top of the Easter Triple Chair, an easy groomed traverse leads to the gladed Black Forest, one of North America's largest tree skiing areas and home to Kimberley's best billows. Here, drop into the locals' choice a run dubbed "Geneva"--it's sure to be a leg burner.
Whitehorn 1 - Lake Louise Ski Resort
Named after its iconic neighbouring lake, Lake Louise Ski Resort offers a powder-filled paradise for adventurous skiers and riders. If you wake to a fresh dump, ride up the Summit Platter to the Back Bowls as soon as the lifts open. Hang a right at the top and head straight to the gate, and continue the steep ride down through Rodney's Ridge. First-tracks on steep-and-deep Whitehorn 1 await at arguably the best powder run in the Canadian Rockies. On the right day, it's better than the backcountry. For something more accessible, try Sunset Terrace from Top of the World Glacier Chair for spectacular views of the valley.
TeePee Town Shoulder - Banff Sunshine Village
At ski-in-ski-out Banff Sunshine Village, enjoy the warmth of a heated chair lift before enjoying some of the lightest and driest powder in the region. Ride the beautiful TeePee Town chairlift and then follow Ecstasy Run until it joins with The Shoulder run. Here you can have your pow and eat it too! Some trees provide powder protection while still allowing lots of room to move. Alternatively, book a SkiBig3 Private Guide to show you the ropes and find you the best deep-snow slopes on any given day.
Tres Hombres - Marmot Basin
Nestled in the stunning Jasper National Park, Marmot Basin is rated one of the most affordable mountain resorts and not just because it offers one of the longest seasons in North America. Enjoy fresh lines on what only feels like pillow tops across most runs, but expert riders should head to recently opened Tres Hombres area. Drop in via a few select granite 'gates' and discover a series of chutes, bowls and cliff drops on the backside of the main ski area. Bragging rights only once you hit the exit run.
Les Bouleaux - Tremblant Resort
With easy access from Montreal and Quebec City, Tremblant Resort sits within the treeline of the Laurentian Mountains. After a snowfall on Tremblant, locals head to Versant Soleil ("Sunny Side") to ski Les Bouleaux ("The Glades"). Tucked away beneath Les Soleil Chair and accessed from Ryan Haut, this tree-skiing area is notoriously tough to locate but well worth the effort. Ski your heart out before heading into the village for a host of other winter adventures including dog sledding, ice climbing and winter biking.
La Belle - Mont-Sainte-Anne
A short drive from Quebec City, Mont-Sainte-Anne boasts incredible ski conditions across three sides of the mountain, including the highest vertical drop for night skiing in Canada. On the South Side glade, La Belle ("The Beauty") lives up to its elegant name. Enjoy freshies on the steep enough to be exciting, yet mellow enough to be welcoming. Make turns through a well-spaced mixed-wood forest with breathtaking views of the St. Lawrence River beyond-- formidable!
Ready to hit the slopes? Check out Ski Canada for more information.