Home to the 1988 Olympic Winter Games, it’s no wonder that Calgary, the most populous city in Alberta, Canada, would be home to multiple ski resorts of differing levels. While the area only receives around 50 inches of snow annually, the nearby Canadian Rockies can see an outstanding 30 feet of snow!
And with six ski areas varying from a literal hill to a world-famous resort, there are plenty of slopes and trails for all levels of skiers and boarders. The Calgary region of Canada is rich in hot springs too.
Home to numerous business ventures, skyscrapers, and an economy built on energy, many would not put Calgary at the top of the list of ski locations. But within 2 hours of the city, those looking for a wintery escape can find ski areas boasting great runs as well as terrain parks, tubing, and double black diamonds.
And for those looking to bring young children, there are even daycare options available. Whatever you’re looking for from a ski resort, you will be able to find a quick drive from the downtown area.
Here are the 6 nearest ski resorts near Calgary, AB, Canada in order of driving proximity:
Nakiska Ski Area – Kananaskis: 99 km | 1.15 hours
As the closest ski area to the Calgary metro area, Nakiska Ski Area has a lot to offer both skiers and snowboarders. While pointing your GPS in this direction will save you a little drive time, you will still be in line for an excellent day on the slopes.
At Nakiska, there are more than 1,000 skiable acres with 79 marked trails ranging across beginner, intermediate, and advanced ratings. The resort has a base elevation of 5,003 feet with a top elevation of 7,415 feet, giving riders 2,412 feet of vertical to descend. In addition to numerous memorable runs, there’s also a tube park, rail park, and even a snowshoeing area if you’d like to change things up.
For experienced skiers looking for a challenge, seek out the extreme-rated Eagle Tail, which leaves from the top of the Gold Chair. Another area not to miss during a visit to Nakiska is the Monster Glades, which is a section near the top of the hill that offers runs of varying difficulty levels.
Given the close proximity to such a big city, it’s no surprise that Nakiska Ski Area can get rather busy on weekends. That being said, you can head out there during the week if you’d like to have a little more of the mountain to yourself. All in all, Nakiska Ski Area is an excellent option for beginners and expert skiers alike.
2 Mt Allan Dr, Kananaskis, AB T0L 2H0, Canada (Map) | +1 403-591-7777
Innisfail Ski Hill – Innisfail: 121 km | 1.2 hours
If you’re looking for a bit of local flavor and an experience on the slopes that is unlike what you’ll find at any premier resort, consider making a stop at Innisfail Ski Hill. What this facility lacks in size and modern amenities, it makes up for in charm and simplicity!
Innisfail isn’t the kind of place you analyze based on standard stats like vertical drop and number of lifts. But don’t worry, you’ll still have a big smile on your face at the end of the day at this ski area. And speaking of the number of lifts, those are easy to count – zero.
The only way up to the top of the hill is by using a tow rope and it might be a good idea to bring some old gloves so you don’t wear down your good ones on the ride up. Once at the top, you’ll find six main runs to take you back down, with a mix of beginner and intermediate tracks as well as a rail park. Additionally, there is also an earth-dug half-pipe, a bump track, and some smaller trails that wind through the trees.
In a sport that can be rather expensive between the gear and passes, Innisfail Ski Area offers ridiculously low rates to its visitors. Operating as a non-profit, volunteer-run facility, visitors can simply enjoy a day on the slopes less than an hour and a half away from Calgary.
60 St, Innisfail, AB T4G 1R6, Canada (Map) | +1 403-227-5155
Mount Norquay – Banff: 133 km | 1.5 hours
If you are planning an upcoming ski trip as your first visit to Calgary and the surrounding region, you don’t want to miss the Banff area. Simply put, Banff is home to some of the most incredible scenery you will find in the world. And while you might be drawn to the area by its incredible sights, the skiing is not to be missed!
At Mount Norquay, you will find a vertical drop of 1,650 feet, with the top and bottom elevations ranging from 8,040 feet down to 5,500 feet. The four lifts that serve the hill can move 7,000 people in an hour, and there are 60 runs available on the 190 skiable acres.
Those looking for a challenge at Norquay will want to head to the North American lift to check out the Memorial Bowl run. Looking for something a little easier? Deerfoot Trail offers a gentle slope for you to enjoy the beauty of the area without speeding down the mountain.
Furthermore, Norquay offers a collection of night skiing dates during the season for those looking for a different experience. If you are coming to Norquay for a family vacation, you’ll appreciate the amenities offered with families in mind. There is a tube park open for much of the season, and there is even daycare available if you have little ones who aren’t ready for the hill.
#2 Mt Norquay Rd, Banff, AB T1L 1B4, Canada (Map) | +1 403-762-4421
Sunshine Village Ski – Banff: 149 km | 1.65 hours
If you love to spend all day on the slopes exploring as many runs as possible, Sunshine Village in Banff is calling your name! With 139 runs and 3,3000 skiable acres, you could be on the slopes all day and only see a portion of what’s available here.
More than 20,000 skiers and boarders per hour can be taken up the hill through a combination of 1 gondola and 9 chairs. The top elevation of the resort reaches a lofty 8,960 feet, with the base located at 5,450 feet – for a total vertical drop of 3,510 feet. At Sunshine Village, you’ll also find two terrain parks along with gear rentals and lessons.
1 Sunshine access Rd, Banff, AB T1L 1J5, Canada (Map) | +1 403-705-4000
Canyon Ski – Red Deer County: 162 km | 1.75 hours
Leaving the Banff area and heading north of Calgary, visitors will find the Canyon Ski Resort. While you aren’t going to find the dramatic slopes and incredible Rocky Mountain views here, there is still a lot of fun to be had. In particular, Canyon Ski Resort & Recreation Area great choice for a family that wants to get out and spend a day having a blast in the snow.
Speaking of snow, one of the strengths of this resort is its snow-making capabilities. The resort can make snow to serve 95% of its 80 skiable acres, so despite the top of this resort being just 2,950 feet, you can still bank on having some snow available during the season.
There are 23 runs served by 6 lifts allowing more than 5,000 people per hour can head up the hill. Outside of the runs, there is a tube park and a terrain park to check out.
In general, this is not the ski area to visit if you are an expert skier looking for a challenge. With that said, there are still some challenging runs to check out here, including the short Karl’s Mistake and the longer Nordic Jump. On the other end of the spectrum, you’ll find plenty of beginner-friendly runs to develop your skills, such as Cloverleaf and Sundeck.
38433, Range Rd 264A, Red Deer County, AB T4E 0Z1, Canada (Map) | +1 403-346-5588
Lake Louise Ski – Lake Louise: 185 km | 2 hours
To finish up our list of ski resorts near Calgary, we visit the best-known of them all – Lake Louise Ski Resort. This destination is an annual stop on the FIS Alpine Ski World Cup, which speaks to the quality of the experience waiting to be enjoyed here.
There are 3,250 vertical feet available at Lake Louise, from the top elevation of 8,650 feet down to the base at 5,400 feet. Within that vertical drop, there are more than 4,000 skiable acres to experience – and that’s to say nothing of the simply jaw-dropping views offered at Lake Louise Ski Resort.
Additionally, you will find more than 140 marked runs served by 10 total lifts, along with the Back Bowls and the West Bowl. If you are an experienced skier or boarder who loves to put the limits, the Back Bowls are where you will want to spend a lot of time at Lake Louise. You can take the Top of the World Express to get up to this area and you’ll have your pick of Black Diamond and Double Black Diamond runs from there.
Back down closer to the base of the resort, you will find an incredible park terrain, as well as a tube park. If some in your party don’t plan to ski, there is also a sightseeing gondola offered to soak up the stunning views of the Rockies in the distance and the world-famous Lake Louise below.
1 Whitehorn Rd, Lake Louise, AB T0L 1E0, Canada (Map) | +1 403-346-5588
As you can see from the diversity of this list, the ski resort options near Calgary are as varied as they are exciting. You can go from a non-profit hill with only a tow rope, up to a World Cup stop that has runs to challenge the best skiers on the planet. Make your plan today and get out to explore the incredible skiing and snowboarding available at the base of the Rocky Mountains.
If you’ll be visiting the capital city of Alberta, located three hours north, there are some tiny family-friendly options there. You’ll find smaller ski areas near Edmonton, perfect for beginners and those brand new to the sport.