Canada’s top ski towns are spread across the country from coast to coast, with some outsanding options in a number of provinces. Most of the alpine communities on the list are part of full-service resorts, complete with a compact village vibe so that guests are perfectly content to stay and appreciate their surroundings even when they’re not on the slopes.
All of these ski towns either have a shuttle service or gondolas in their town center to take skiers and snowboarders to the peaks. They also have plenty of activities that are easy to reach at any time of the year.
Here are the top ski towns in Canada to live and visit, in no particular order:
Rossland, British Columbia
In southern British Columbia in the Kootenay region, a short distance from the Washington border, Rossland is a ski town with much more than alpine skiing. Whether it’s fat biking in the winter or golfing in the summer, the all-season community has more than enough to keep visitors busy any time of the year.
RED Mountain Resort is just a few minutes away, with a shuttle providing access from Rossland for a nominal fee. The resort is known for its tree skiing and advanced slopes, though there are enough beginner runs for the entire family to enjoy.
As the home to the world’s largest cat skiing operation, it would be a shame to visit Rossland and not even sample the backcountry snow. Cross-country skiing, curling, and snowshoeing round out the outdoor winter activities, with swimming and ice skating available any time of the year.
In the summer, visitors can be found fly fishing, ziplining, and trail running, but there’s another activity that has brought wide recognition to the town. Rossland became one of the early adopters of mountain biking on trails when locals followed the trails of abandoned miners and railways. Today it’s touted as the “Mountain Bike Capital of Canada.”
The town, incorporated as a mining town in 1897, has a population that hovers around 3,500. While Rossland’s shopping is primarily limited to supplies and ski-related items, there are a few boutique shops and a wide range of dining options.
Walking along Banff’s pedestrian-friendly streets, it’s obvious that the mountains are the true star of this ski town. The alpine architecture is surrounded by peaks visible from nearly every vantage point.
Banff may be surrounded by mountains, but it’s also a ski town surrounded by Canada’s first national park. In the warm weather, Banff visitors enjoy canoeing on the Bow River, rock climbing in the national park, or exploring the area on horseback.
Winter is perfect for skiing at Norquay, about fifteen minutes away. A bit further, skiers and snowboarders can test the slopes of Banff Sunshine. A free shuttle takes visitors to either resort at any time of the year.
The town began with the discovery of hot springs, when railroad workers noticed steam coming from a cave. The Banff Upper Hot Springs have been drawing visitors to the area for more than a century when the town was created as a resort destination.
It’s because of the railroad that Banff exists, and the railroad is still a part of the ski town. Trains bring visitors through the mountains on a scenic journey from Vancouver.
Revelstoke, British Columbia
On the banks of the Columbia River, the small ski town of Revelstoke is an oasis in the middle of the Columbian Mountains. The town tucked in the valley is surrounded by incredible mountains, bringing the outdoors into every view.
Getting to Revelstoke Mountain Resort is easy with the winter shuttle, which provides access for a nominal fee. Many hotels offer free shuttles between the ski area and downtown. The resort’s ski and snowboarding slopes are best for advanced skiers and snowboarders, with heliskiing and cat skiing available for those ready to tackle even more powder.
In the summer, the shuttle is available for free to visit the mountain. Rent a mountain bike and explore the green slopes, or get a Play All Day Pass to experience fun activities like the Pipe Mountain Coaster, Aerial Adventure Park, ziplining, and disc golf.
Revelstoke is the site of the first ski jump on the continent, a location that has been abandoned yet can still be explored. Walk along the lake, take a ride in a canoe, visit the waterfalls, or go paragliding when the snow melts.
The town may feel isolated from the rest of the world, but the population continues to grow and now boasts more than 8,000 residents. Cultural exploration awaits with three museums, an art gallery, and an outdoor art space, plus Art Alleries which transform the downtown alleys into galleries. Musicians can be found performing at various notable locations throughout the summer.
The town was founded in 1880 by railroad workers and today its architecture is a mixture of old log structures to contemporary buildings. Because of its remoteness, there are a high number of lodging and dining options in Revelstoke, plus a number of craft breweries.
Mont Tremblant, Québec
The lovely pedestrian village of Mont Tremblant is reason enough to visit this ski town in the Laurentian Mountains of Québec. Shopping, activities, and dining come together to make it an ideal four-season destination. Tremblant began as a logging community, then became a national park. Today its population of nearly 10,000 residents celebrates more than 80 years of skiing on the mountain.
At any time of the year, ride the gondola to the top of the mountains or visit the casino connected at the edge of the pedestrian village. Gondolas depart the village center to each of the two ski peaks of Mont Tremblant and Mont Blanc.
The peaks combine to form Mont-Tremblant Resort, with downhill skiing, alpine skiing, and ski parks. At the base, it’s easy to find ice skating, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, dog-sledding, and cross-country skiing.
The summer is full of activities including horseback riding, an alpine luge, cycling, and golfing. Visitors can spend time on the lake and beach with swimming, pedal boats, kayaks, and canoes.
The village has its own fairy-tale atmosphere, with high buildings and hilly cobblestoned streets. Name-brand stores are mingled with local boutique shops, and dining options are plentiful for those who stay at the number of condos, chalets, cottages, and hotels in the village.
Whistler, British Columbia
To Canada’s far west, the slopes of Whistler Blackcomb are well-known as some of the best in the country. Whistler Village at the mountain’s base is a ski town hangout with plenty to explore any time of the year.
Whistler is a former Olympic site, with the torch and rings still present and former venues full of activities. It’s no surprise then that the area is home to many more extreme activities that generally can’t be found at other ski towns, and certainly not all in one place. The town has an estimated population of 12,309 in 2022.
In the winter, most people spend their time on the slopes of the largest ski resort in Canada but that’s not the only fun to be had in the outdoors. Snowshoeing, snowmobiling, ice climbing, and snowcat skiing are perfect ways to spend a winter day. For an incredibly unique experience, Whistler also offers bobsledding and is the only place in Canada where anyone can try this Olympic sport.
When the snow melts, many visitors shift to Lost Lake for fishing, beaching, and boating. Look for wildlife throughout the area during the summer, or try ziplining, bungee jumping, or rock climbing. Whistler’s bike park is the top lift-accessed bike park in the world, with the biggest rideable terrain on the continent and boasting more than 70 trails.
Nearly a hundred dining options are located around the village. A large number of these restaurants pride themselves on using local ingredients. Shopping ranges from small local boutiques to name-brand stores, but there’s always something for everyone.
Blue Mountain Village, Ontario
Although the dream for Blue Mountain Village started in 1941, construction for the ski town didn’t start until 2000 and isn’t finished yet. The walkable village is filled with condos, hotels, retail shops, and restaurants, with access to activities and events every day of the year.
Blue Mountain Village was designed to look like a European ski town with a mixture of old-world styles and stone streets. Its position adjacent to the Blue Mountain Resort keeps skiing top of mind even though there are a wide range of other activities in the full-season resort community.
Shops, dining, and lodging are situated around a small pond, which features paddle boating in the summer and skating in the winter. The four-season ski town has sleigh rides, snowshoeing, golf, ropes courses, rock climbing and zip lining. Hiking trails are well-marked and the town’s year-round Aquatic Center includes a water park.
While the ski slopes at Blue Mountain may not be the most challenging and its hills the most daunting, it benefits from easy accessibility. The community is only a few hours north of Toronto, and every amenity is only a short walk.
Canada’s ski towns are enjoyable to visit even without any snow. All are extremely walkable and easy to navigate, and all have a wide range of activities for the whole family.
From extreme sports to an evening at a casino, each of these locations in the mountains of Canada has something for visitors that can’t be found in most ski towns. When planning a vacation at any time of the year, these alpine communities have everything a visitor needs plus so much more for everyone.