Best Winter Ski Resorts in Canada

Red Mtn

What’s red and white with powder all over? The two top ski resorts in the West Kootenays of course. With Whitewater and Red Mountain just an hour away from each other, you don’t have to go far on a Kootenay road trip for an unbeatable ski getaway.

The nearby mountain towns of Nelson and Rossland are the home communities for these two fabled ski resorts. With a mix of heritage charm, distinctive accommodations, a lively apres-ski scene, and impressive mountain backdrops, Nelson and Rossland are often recognized as the best ski towns in Canada: 2012 Powder Magazine and 2020 USA Today. Or it might also have something to do with the acclaimed skiing in their backyard.

Just 20 minutes from Nelson, Whitewater Ski Resort serves up some of the finest lift-access powder skiing in the world. Perched way up in the alpine at a base of 1646m, the resort receives an average of 40 feet of snow each year. Three mountain faces are home to dozens of runs, including oodles of tree skiing terrain with secret powder stashes. If you fancy the backcountry, the resort offers unbeatable access to some serious big terrain on the shoulders of Ymir Mountain and beyond.

No wifi or cell service means the emphasis is on reconnecting with your immediate surroundings. Whether you’re in line for the next chair or one of Whitewater’s signature meals, conversation and good vibes flow naturally. Gathering intel for which runs to hit means asking around instead of scrolling your screen. Don’t miss soaking up the ambiance in the lodge with a locally brewed cup of Oso Negro coffee or craft brew and some of the finest ski resort food in the country from Fresh Tracks.

While you’ll find cell service and loads of modern amenities at Red Mountain Resort (including a brand spanking new chairlift and a boutique slopeside hotel), its small-town charm and alpine heritage are still part of the appeal. Home to the first chairlift in Western Canada, the resort has steadily expanded over the years to meet the demands of powder hounds from Rossland and beyond.

With over 3,850 acres of skiable terrain, it’s in the Top 10 of the largest ski resorts in North America. And with 8 chairlifts and minimal crowds, you’ll feel as though you have the place to yourself. An average snowfall of 760cm and mild -4C temperature makes for ideal conditions that are the goldilocks of the skiing world; not too cold, not too mild, just right.

Wide-open groomers, secret stashes of powder in sweet tree runs, and $10/run cat skiing provide plenty of variety. Multiple eateries will tempt your taste buds, including the historic Rafters, one of the best ski resort bars in North America. Stay in style and convenience at a ski chalet or the recently opened slope side Josie Hotel.

With a combination of acclaimed ski towns and that famous Kootenay coldsmoke powder, it’s easy to embrace your true patriot love for Canada’s winter wonderland at Whitewater and Red Ski Resorts.

To learn more about alpine ski resorts in the area visit the local tourism websites.