Skiing hot spots across Canada
Vacay.ca has teamed with Hotels.com to create a series of articles, including Vancouver and Toronto’s best hotels for romance and the best hotels for chocolate in Canada. Deputy Editor Rod Charles takes a look at some of the best hotel skiing experiences in Canada for 2016.
Story by Rod Charles
Vacay.ca Deputy Editor
A new year is underway and many people are searching for the best places to ski in Canada while there is still time. When it comes to ski choices Canadians are spoiled and the truth is it just isn’t possible to list every worthy ski-friendly hotel in the country. That said, we’ve put together a few ideas that should give you something nice to look forward to in 2016.
FAIRMONT TREMBLANT, Mont-Tremblant, Quebec
Two years ago I went to Mont-Tremblant and stood on skis for the first time in 20 years. I nervously expected that I would be the latest YouTube sensation, a helpless and sorry snowball rolling down the mountain while children pointed and laughed.
However, a funny thing happened on the way to my powdered nightmare – I didn’t fall off the mountain, the children were having too much fun to notice me, I managed to stay on my skis and low and behold – I had a wonderful time. My guide knew every inch of the mountain and was kind enough to show me the ropes and help me find my groove. Never thought I would say this, but move over Erik Guay, there isn’t enough room on this mountain for both of us.
The slopes are conveniently located next to several hotels in the beautiful village, which is also teeming with restaurants, coffee houses and shops. If you’re not a seasoned skier no worries – you will have no problem discovering your rhythm and there are tons of people who are more than happy to help you if you’re suffering from a rhythm deficiency.
For those who are seasoned, I guarantee that you will have no problems finding challenging, stomach-churning trails that would probably make a billy goat blush. When your day is done, you can look forward to enjoying all the delights the town has to offer.
Hotels.com Genuine Guest Reviews: 4.5/5.0
Location: 3045 chemin de la Chapelle
Hotels.com Room Rates: As low as $227 per night. Click here, or call 866-539-0036.
Tip For Beginners: If you are planning on trying a ski vacation, two pieces of advice – don’t be afraid to go and don’t be afraid to ask.
I’ll never forget the look of exasperation on the face of the man at the equipment counter when he saw my lovely little Toronto city gloves. “Your fingers will freeze and fall off,” he grunted in disbelief. “Here, take mine.” He handed me two of the thickest skiing gloves I’ve ever seen and the joke is my fingers still almost froze and fell off. Had a great time, though. Remember, people are friendly and they are there to help you have a wonderful time.
THE FAIRMONT CHATEAU LAKE LOUISE, Lake Louise, Alberta
The legendary Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise offers world-class cuisine and spa treatments. The only thing better is Lake Louise itself, a glacial lake within Banff National Park. When the skiing is over, lose yourself in the hustle and bustle of the village. Banff has great places to eat after a day on the slopes, including Grapes Wine Bar and Eden.
Vacay.ca Top 50 Restaurants in Canada Suggestions: The closest restaurants are in Calgary. These include Charcut Roast House (2013, 2014, 2015), Model Milk, Calgary (2013, 2014) and Avec Bistro, Calgary (2015).
Hotels.com Genuine Guest Reviews: 4.3/5.0
Location: 111 Lake Louise Drive
Hotels.com Room Rates: As low as $320 per night. Click here, or call 866-539-0036.
FIRST TRACKS LODGE – WHISTLER, Whistler, BC
You simply can’t discuss skiing – at least in Canada – without talking about Whistler, North America’s largest ski resort. Sea-to-Sky came first in the 20 Best Places to Visit in Canada for 2016, and a big reason for that is because this is Whistler’s 50th anniversary.
You’re skiing in the footsteps of some pretty big ski shoes when you tackle these mountains. Whistler was the site of many events at the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.
Even if the reality is you’re never going to get near the Olympics (except by watching on television) it’s fun to ski on the same trails that Canada’s amateur athletes did.
The famous Whistler Blackcomb Ski Resort is 4.2 km away from First Tracks Lodge, so you’re going to need wheels to get around.
Hotels.com Genuine Guest Reviews: 4.8/5.0
Location: 2202 Gondola Way, Whistler
Hotels.com Room Rates: As low as $456 per night. Click here, or call 866-539-0036.
THE SUTTON PLACE HOTEL REVELSTOKE MOUNTAIN RESORT, Revelstoke, BC
Whistler tends to overshadow Revelstoke and that’s a shame, because this winter wonderland has a lot going for it, including North America’s greatest vertical drop.
According to the website, Revelstoke holds the Canadian record for snowfall at 80 feet, and the Resort’s slopes are blanketed in an average of 30-45 feet of powder every winter. Last year, Revelstoke placed second on the 2015 Vacay.ca 20 Best Places to Visit list, a ranking that attests to its high-calibre and unique adventure sports offerings. Sutton Place Hotel Revelstoke Mountain Resort, with 207 guest rooms, is one of several nice hotels in the area but at 4.7/5.0 boasts one of the highest Hotels.Com genuine guest review rankings.
There is over 120 years of skiing history in Revelstoke, but the history doesn’t stop at the slopes. Revelstoke isn’t just an outstanding ski destination, it’s also near where The Last Spike was nailed, an act that linked our country together with rail. Located near Revelstoke is the Last Spike Historic Site where CPR President Donald Smith secured the final tie in the line at Craigellachie. Another great destination you can discover in Revelstoke is the Railway Museum, filled with information about how the railway was built and a few memorials to the hundreds of lives lost during the route’s construction.
Hotels.com Genuine Guest Reviews: 4.7/5.0
Location: 2950 Camozzi Road
Hotels.com Room Rates: As low as $362 per night. Click here, or call 866-539-0036.
CLUB INTRAWEST – BLUE MOUNTAIN, Blue Mountain, Ontario
Growing up in Grey County, the Blue Mountains were a magnet for kids in the local high schools and I have a few fond memories of road trips with high school buddies. It’s no longer just a Grey County and surrounding area secret though. Unfortunately.
A short two-hour drive from Toronto and a 40-minute drive from Owen Sound, the Blue Mountains are an outstanding and accessible vacation destination for anyone living in Ontario or flying into Toronto for a visit.
One place to enjoy your stay is Club Intrawest. Chill out at the The Lodge with some friends. Head for the Boathouse and enjoy the game room, try out the exercise facility or take a dip in a hot tub.
Vacay.ca Top 50 Restaurants in Canada Suggestions: Several in Toronto. These include Bar Isabel (2014, 2015), Bar Buca (2014, 2015) and Chantecler (2013, 2015).
Hotels.com Genuine Guest Reviews: 4.7/5.0
Location: 276 Jozo Weider Blvd, Blue Mountains
Hotels.com Room Rates: As low as $237 per night. Click here, or call 866-539-0036.