AlbertaAdventure & SportsSnow

10 Alberta Ski Resorts For Exhilarating Rocky Mountain Adventures

By , October 23rd, 2018

Featured image courtesy of Banff & Lake Louise Tourism / Jake Dyson

Alberta’s soaring Rocky Mountains are prized by skiers and snowboarders alike for their powdery, uncluttered slopes and breathtaking scenery. Ski above the treeline on Banff’s Mount Norquay for mountaintop views that reach for miles. Glide through wide forest runs flanked by towering pine, spruce and fir trees and pause between runs to admire glittering lakes and tree-covered slopes. The season lasts from early November right through to May.

Whether you’re heading on a family or friends’ trip to Jasper National Park or planning a romantic ski break to Lake Louise, Alberta’s resorts offer accommodation and amenities to suit every nature-loving traveller. We’ve taken our pick of some of the most enticing ski resorts around, ranging from a 19th-century castle-style hotel to traditional log cabins and a resort set in a national park. These resorts cater for all levels—whether you’re trying your ski legs out for the first time or you’re whizzing down black runs.

 

10 Alberta Ski Resorts

A Rustic Mountainside Alberta Ski Resort in Banff National Park

[stars number="3"] Buffalo Mountain Lodge — Banff

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Situated among nine acres of old-growth forest, Buffalo Mountain Lodge is tucked away on Tunnel Mountain. In this serene patch of land, your wake-up call will be the soft sounds and gentle movement of the surrounding wildlife.

The hotel’s interior is rustic and airy, with exposed wooden beams and high ceilings for a down-to-earth, cozy feel. Rooms are homey and comfortable, each with an inviting fireplace to warm your toes at the end of the day, and many with a balcony or patio for snowy views. Replenish your energy levels after an active skiing day with a hearty meal at the Sleeping Buffalo restaurant for Rocky Mountain cuisine, such as grilled beef tenderloin, bison striploin or braised short ribs.

While the hotel is in a quiet and peaceful setting, you’re only a 15-minute drive from the centre of Banff if you’re looking to head out for some well-deserved mugs of hot chocolate. The ski slopes are also within easy reach. Mount Norquay, with lively downhill slopes and a mixed-terrain park for freestylers, is also a 15-minute drive. Sunshine Village, with three mountains of diverse terrain, is just 30 minutes away by car.

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A Contemporary and Illustrious Alberta Ski Resort in the Centre of Banff

[stars number="3"] Elk + Avenue — Banff

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Located in the centre of the Town of Banff, Elk + Avenue has comfortable, affordable guest rooms—many with snowy mountain views. Designed in a contemporary-meets-rustic-mountain style with minimalist furnishings, this hotel feels modern and fresh yet homey at the same time. Earthy browns and reds contrast with neutral-coloured walls and white sheets throughout your room for a warm, welcoming feel. Wake up refreshed and ready for a good breakfast to set you up for an adrenaline-filled day of white powder. The on-site restaurant, Ricky’s All Day Grill, specializes in hearty, fulfilling breakfasts, including French toast with berries and fruit salad, along with seven different kinds of Eggs Benny.

When it’s time to hit the slopes, Elk + Avenue is a 15-minute drive from Mount Norquay, with 60 ski trails over 190 acres. While there are plenty of beginner pistes, it caters for experts too—the area’s famous for being a training ground for young up-and-coming, highly-skilled alpine racers.

After an exhilarating day on the mountain, soothe tired muscles in the hotel hot tub and sauna to let the steam ease away aches and pains for the next day. Afterward, snuggle down with a mulled wine or hot chocolate at the hotel’s front patio, just off the bustling Banff Avenue and under the shadow of Mount Rundle.

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An Alberta Resort with Ski-In/Ski-Out Accessibility

[stars number="3"] Sunshine Mountain Lodge — Banff

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Sunshine Mountain Lodge is the only ski-in/ski-out hotel in Banff, putting you right on the doorstep of nearby trails. It’s located 18km west of the Town of Banff, sits virtually in the centre of the Sunshine Village Ski & Snowboard Resort and stands at an altitude of more than 2,100 metres.

Rustic-style guest rooms with floor heating are made for cuddling up and getting toasty warm—some come complete with fireplaces and/or balconies. If you’ve got the family in tow or you’re just looking for something more spacious, the double-height lofts have both a king- and queen-size bed on different levels. Remote-controlled shutters open to reveal Lookout Mountain through 27-foot-high windows.

If you’ve still got energy left over after a day on the slopes, head to the on-site gym, which is packed with cardio machines and weights, or unwind in the dry sauna. Alternatively, go for a good soak in Banff’s largest open-air hot pool. For spa pampering, head to the Verde Day Spa for treatments such as a bespoke aromatherapy facial or an Indian head massage. At dinner time, listen to live background music as you fill up on Applewood-smoked meats at Mad Trapper’s Smokehouse or try the Creekside Bar and Grill’s thin-crust pizza.

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An Alberta Ski Hotel Known as the Castle in the Rockies

[stars number="4"] Fairmont Banff Springs — Banff

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The iconic Fairmont Banff Springs is hard to miss: it’s a 19th-century castle-style resort sitting against the backdrop of imposing alpine peaks. Accommodation is a mix of cozy rooms and spacious suites, all elegantly and warmly styled in shades of cream and beige. Shuttles run regularly to the Big 3 ski resorts—Mount Norquay, Sunshine Village and Lake Louise Mountain Resort—each 10 to 40 minutes away with runs for beginners and a host of options for intermediate and advanced skiers.

Whether you’re taking a morning off the slopes to rest your muscles or you’re relaxing after a long day of energetic red runs, the Willow Stream Spa—which draws from the local natural hot springs—is ideal for pampering. Rejuvenate in the aquatic and fitness centre or take to the bowling lanes. The hotel also hosts year-round activities. From golf on a championship course and horse-riding in the summer to skiing and snowshoeing in the winter, there’s always something active to take part in.

With more than a dozen restaurants and bars on site, refuelling with dinner and drinks will be one of the highlights of your day. Warm up in the Waldhaus Pub & Patio and get acquainted with their menu, which offers tempting and unique refreshments like the Butterscotch Bite, a mix of Alberta Premium Dark Horse whisky, butterscotch schnapps, hot chocolate, whipped cream and caramel. Afterwards, indulge in gourmet dining at the 1888 Chop House, which is known for its prime cuts of Alberta beef and sustainably-sourced wild game.

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Panoramic Vistas from This Mountainside Alberta Ski Resort

[stars number="4"] The Rimrock Resort Hotel — Banff

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The Rimrock Resort Hotel provides luxury accommodation and facilities in a captivating mountainside setting with panoramic views of the surrounding landscape of Banff National Park. Drive through the charming town of Banff to reach your nearest slopes for skiing and boarding. Mount Norquay is a 20-minute drive away and has 60 runs of varying levels, from wide-open gentle glades to challenging chutes and mogul runs.

Guest rooms range from intimate and comfortable to spacious one-bedroom suites, many with a fireplace, a balcony and dual-aspect mountain views. At dinner time, head to the on-site acclaimed Eden for fine French cuisine. If you’ve had a particularly active day or it’s a special occasion, treat yourself to an impressive Chef’s Tasting Menu to savour sumptuous delicacies like tempura oyster with black caviar and caramelized white chocolate and champagne.

The hotel’s full-service spa and leisure facilities are ideal for recharging. As you relax, take in the woodland views from the indoor pool and hot tub or expel toxins in the steam room and dry sauna. The spa centre is a pampering haven; try the hot basalt stone and aromatherapy massage to melt away lingering tensions. Alternatively, facials like the Sublime Skin Deluxe Lift aim to renew, plump and firm skin.

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A Lake Louise Alberta Ski Hotel with an Emerald Lake View

[stars number="4"] The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise — Lake Louise

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Set against the backdrop of the world-famous emerald lake, pristine glacier and soaring Banff mountain peaks, The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise is an icon of the Canadian Rockies. This luxury resort is a hive of activity throughout the year, from local hiking and canoeing in summer to winter-season skiing and snowboarding, frozen-lake skating and snowshoeing.

Guest rooms are elegant yet relaxed, with mesmerizing views of Lake Louise and the mountains to wake up to. Start your morning breathing in fresh mountain air during one of the hotel’s guided mountain tours. Afterwards, treat yourself to a deep tissue massage in the day spa or work out in the health club.

For those itching to be the first out on the pristine white slopes, drive 10 minutes and you can hit the slopes at the Lake Louise in the morning to carve some of the day’s first tracks. With 4,200 skiable acres, there are beginner, intermediate, and expert runs from every chairlift. Consider hiring a Fairmont ski guide if you’re new to the resort and need help getting around or picking the right trail for you.

In the evening, sip on a full-bodied red wine in the Lakeview Lounge and marvel at the serene beauty of the lake and Victoria Glacier. Dining options include European Alpine cuisine at Walliser Stube, which offers authentic Swiss fondue for a cheesy treat.

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Authentic Log Cabin Life at This Alberta Ski Resort Hotel

Baker Creek Mountain Resort, Lake Louise

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Baker Creek Mountain Resort offers traditional log cabins and suites in a charming village-style woodland setting. Inside, relax on a leather chair in front of the wood stove or stone fireplace—you may even find a moose head on display above the mantle to really make you feel like you’re in the mountains. Complete with a fitness centre, quaint kitchens and plush log-frame beds, this hotel has what you need for a comfy, indulgent stay.

On-site, there’s an excellent restaurant if you’re taking a night off cooking. The Bistro is open all day, with breakfast offerings that include the truffle mushroom Benny with wild mushrooms, Grana Padano cheese, poached eggs, truffle oil and micro greens.

The resort is located between Lake Louise and the Town of Banff on the Bow Valley Parkway—a quieter alternative to the Trans-Canada Highway. Admire the Rocky Mountain scenery during the 15-minute drive to Lake Louise and its thousands of snow-covered acres for skiing and snowboarding, a freestyling terrain park and a multi-lane tubing park.

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A Full-Service Lodge near Marmot Basin at this Alberta Ski Resort Hotel

[stars number="4"] Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge — Jasper

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Situated alongside Lake Beauvert, Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge encompasses 700 acres of Jasper National Park. With modern guest rooms in the main lodge and cedar cabins scattered throughout the landscaped woodlands, this resort can accommodate parties from couples to well over 10 people.

If you’re looking for a romantic retreat, consider Athabasca Cottage (the honeymoon cabin) for an intimate getaway with a king-size bed and rustic fireplace. Don’t miss the nature-inspired Fairmont spa for a pampering facial treatment or massage. Alternatively, if a huge group celebration is in the works, Milligan Manor has a spacious living and kitchen/dining area, eight bedrooms and a veranda.

To keep up your energy levels, choose between sushi, Italian cuisine, steak and seafood options available across the lodge’s three main restaurants. If you’re in a signature cabin, you can even order a private barbeque.

Less than 20 minutes’ drive away (via the lodge’s shuttle) lies Marmot Basin, with 86 named ski trails over five mountain faces. With a reputation for uncrowded slopes, novice skiers and snowboarders can build up their skills here on gently winding runs. More experienced adventurers, on the other hand, can get their blood pumping in high-alpine bowls and chutes. Back at the hotel, there’s a gym and pool on-site if you want to stretch out your muscles at the end of the day.

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Alberta Ski Resort Hotel on Banff’s Doorstep, Handy for Cross-country

[stars number="4"] Solara Resort and Spa – Bellstar Hotels and Resorts — Canmore

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Solara Resort and Spa, a five-minute drive from central Canmore, has comfortable condo-style accommodation, with all suites featuring private balconies, fireplaces and spa-style bathrooms. Granite countertops support high-end, stainless steel kitchen appliances, inviting you to stay in one night to cook up a feast after a full day in the fresh mountain air. The feel of luxury is almost palpable with hand-crafted wood, stone, leather and metal decorations, and oversized windows let in natural light from the Rocky Mountain setting on the edge of Banff National Park.

When the last chairlift has shut and it’s time to head home, indulge in restorative on-site spa services like a facial or massage to really rub out those knots and knead your muscles. Alternatively, wind down and warm up in the steam room, hot tub or indoor pool, or stretch and strengthen any aching joints by taking a pilates class. Personal training sessions and physiotherapy are also available.

Outdoors, the mountain slopes await. For cross-country fans, Canmore Nordic Centre Provincial Park is a 12-minute drive away. Trails here range from quiet forest paths to challenging biathlon routes, plus an exhilarating 6.5km illuminated night-skiing track. For downhill enthusiasts, Mount Norquay is about a 30-minute drive away.

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A Laid-back, Chalet-inspired Alberta Ski Resort

[stars number="2"] Banff Gate Mountain Resort — Canmore

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Banff Gate Mountain Resort, which stands among the pine forests of Pigeon Mountain on the edge of Banff National Park, has over 40 chalets that make for a comfortable, back-to-nature vacation in the Rockies. Rustic wood-panel walls and darkened wood furnishings echo the forested surroundings. The chalets cater to small groups and families of up to six people and have facilities to match: they come with fully equipped kitchens with living and dining areas to stay in and whip up a nourishing bowl of pasta. There’s even a balcony barbeque for outdoor grilling to alpine views. If you’re lucky, you might spot a deer or two while you’re checking that the burgers are cooked.

For downtime in between racing down the slopes, the resort has plenty of on-site recreation options such as an indoor pool, hot tub and games room. If you’re looking to stretch your legs one morning, take a stroll along one of the hiking trails that wind around the children’s play areas.

The nearest skiing to the resort is a 15-minute drive away at Canmore Nordic Centre Provincial Park, which features cross-country trails to suit all abilities. For downhill and snowboarding, head to Mount Norquay and Sunshine Village—both resorts are 30 to 40 minutes by car—for some of the world’s most pristine glade runs, thrilling chutes and formidable moguls.

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