A look at 2 must-visit ski-resorts in Canada

by admin on February 13, 2013

Some ski-resorts are renowned worldwide – and canada is certainly host to a number of resorts which attract tourists year after year, no matter how long the flight. Utter the word “Whistler” to any snowboarder or skier and see their smiles grow as they imagine the BIG snow, guaranteed powder and remarkable beauty which big Canadian resorts deliver.

In this post, we take a quick look at Whistler and Banff – two gems for skiers and snowboarders in Canada.

Whistler Ski Resort

Whistler

What began as a locals’ ski area in 1966 has become one of the biggest ski-resorts in north-America, visitors to the resort could be forgiven for feeling like they are in an Alpine ski-resort. It has that feel, the scale, glaciers and scenery, great woodland runs, huge bowls and basins – while offering the allure of consistently good snow, year after year. Whistler and Blackcomb together form the biggest area of slopes, with the longest runs, in North America. The itself lies at the base of its two mountains, Blackcomb and Whistler. Getting to the resort is quick and painless with Vancouver on Canada’s west coast around 110k from the resort.

Whistler and the Olympic Games

As recently as 2010 Whistler resort was host to the Winter Gmes, with competition venues including Whistler Creekside at the Whistler Blackcomb ski resort, the Whistler Olympic Park, the Whistler Celebration Plaza and the Whistler Sliding Centre.

Whistler for Foodies

Foodies love the resort due to some impeccable restaurants including ‘Steep’s Grill’ (reservations recommended) located in the Roundhouse Lodge on Whistler Mountain gives the opportunity for guests to enjoy fine wines and exceptional food (made with locally sourced food produce) and offers table settings with views which are simply breathtaking. Also of note for a completely different vibe altogether is the establishment of Belgian-waffle specialist ‘Crystal Hut’ – a warm, snug log cabin accessible atop the Crystal chairlift on Blackcomb Mountain. The views are stunning.

Getting around

Getting to the slopes is done in one of two ways. The first is via a two-stage ski-gondola (with a capacity for ten people) which rises over 1000 metres to Roundhouse Lodge. The second route is to take one of the quad lifts (these are a lot faster than the gondola).

Whistler for Snowboarders

The terrain parks for snowboarders in whistler are always found in the top-ten lists of snowboarders worldwide, and have also featured in many of the latest snowboarding bio-pics. Freestyle ‘boarders usually flock to Blackcomb (home of the 7m high Olympic half-pipe and a mini-pipe) whereas novices will be happy and at home at the Blackcomb Terrain Garden. which features some smaller rails and boxes. Other facilities in the resort for snowboarders include the (usually busy) Nintendo park, home to the freestylers and advanced riders. Beware – you need to wear a helmet, sign a disclaimer and get a special pass to ride here. Beginners needn’t worry – there;’s a park just for beginners too!

Banff Ski Resort

Banff Ski Resort

Less than an hour and a half drive from Calgary airport (and what a scenic drive it is along the Trans-Canada Highway!) – Calgary is another great Canadian ski destination – and not as ‘hectic’ as Whistler (due to it’s increased popularity following the Winter Olympics). – and the resort will keep skiers and boarders alike entertained on and off the mountain. The resort is open for six months of the year (from December to May), and with an average snowfall of 30ft it’s pretty snow-sure in Banff, Skiers and boarders can enjoy huge variety to three ski-areas with just one pass, and good transport links in and around the nearby resorts

For skiers & snowboarders

The resort offers plenty of combinations of high open bowls and woodland trails. The scenery has an Alpine feel, and the resort is snow sure,with an impeccable snow-record. With four remarkable mountains and protected by two national parks, skiers and boarders are guaranteed to have guaranteed powder days in some of the most perfect ski conditions on the planet. The tri-area lift pass covers a huge ski area: Mt. Norquay, Sunshine Village and The Lake Louise Ski Area

Non Ski activities in the Resort

In terms of non-ski activities to keep you and the family amused when you tire of the slopes , you can enjoy an ice-walk through the Johnston Canyon, which is a simply beautiful winter trek through a backdrop of peaks and glaciers through what can seem like a fantasy land, complete with turbulent swelling rivers and plunging waterfalls. Perhaps some dusk skating at nearby Lake-Louise to end the day? Everyone in your group will surely enjoy the opportunity to strap on some ice-shoes and take a tour of the back-country (making sure to avoid the bears!).

Where to Eat
The full-service Chimney Corner Lounge is for skiers and boarders looking to relax in a lavish room with an impeccable view of the slopes and mountain peaks as well as numerous nooks and crannies, in which to relax with a drink. For family or group dining, it doesn’t get much more relaxed than at Village’s Alpine Grill, with self-catering facilities including hot and cold water, a microwave and a little picnic area. Both resorts have become exceptionally popular with tourists from the United Kingdom since the Winter Olympics. A week in Whistler (flights, accommodation and transfers included) via UK ski company InteractiveResorts costs as little as £1000 ($1561) per person, with prices likely to decrease significantly towards the end of the 2012/13 ski season.

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