Skiing in Canada

Canada is the perfect country to have a thriving ski industry. Firstly, the geographical location of the country means that it is all situated above 41 degrees north. This means that during the winter months the entire country will generally experience some form of snow fall.

There are numerous mountain ranges which considerably reduce the odds of snowfall during the winter months and provide ideal slopes for people to ski down from. These factors are essential for a skiing industry to exist and few countries in the world have better and larger natural areas.

The country has one of the most famous ski resorts in the world, and that is Whistler. Located in the Pacific Ranges of the Coast Mountains in British Columbia, the resort lies 125 miles north of the city of Vancouver.

Skiing in Whistler

Each year Whistler attracts over 2 million visitors for both its winter and summer activities. In 2010 it was used to host the Alpine activities for the Winter Olympic Games, and it is now the largest skiing area, with the slopes on Whistler Mountain and Blackcomb Mountain being connected by the “peak 2 peak” gondola.

This resort that attracts the rich and famous is quite a new one, it opened only in 1966 and, before that, the only other visitors to the place were fishing tourists who came to take advantage of the abundant supplies of fish in the local region. The opening of the ski area came with the widening of the roads all the way from Vancouver. It had previously taken 6 hours to complete the journey to the mountain.

Another popular ski resort in Canada is Mont Tremblant that is located in the Laurentian Mountains of Quebec, and it is one of the oldest mountain ranges in the world. The resort opened in 1939 and has numerous slopes of various difficulties that are serviced with numerous ski lifts and a gondola.

Long before ski resorts were created, the people were finding ways of moving on the snow and those who had migrated from the Nordic countries shared their skiing knowledge with the local population. Many of the major towns and cities at the start of the 20th century would have the local population greet the new snowfalls by scaling local hills, attach home-made skis and then ski back down.

In 1914 Emile Cochand created the first ski resort in the whole of North America. He was a ski instructor and would bring in his students in by horse-drawn sleigh to his small resort in Chalet Cochan which is 15 miles south of Ste-Marguerite in Quebec. Quebec isn’t the region that is most popularly visited by overseas skiers, yet there are over 70 resorts in the region that serve the local population from cities such as Montreal. The Appalachian Mountains are home to a number of these ski areas and these locales receive both winter and summer visitors.

World Cup skiing at Lake Louise

One of the country’s most famous resorts is Lake Louise which is located in Banff National Park in Alberta. It is 35 miles to the west of town of Banff and its remote location is reflected by its closeness to the ice fields at Parkway. The resort is home to the opening leg of the FIS Alpine Ski World Cup Circuit with races being run continuously since 1993.

Although skiing has been active in the area since the 1920s, the resort opened its first lifts in 1954. The area is vast, with 4200 acres of skiable land available. The mountains that provide the slopes are part of the Slate Range, and their snow record plus their average heights of 3000 metres means that the resort is both a reliable entertainment and a popular destination.

There are over 170 ski resorts that are spread extensively across the country. The very nature of Canada means that the vast majority of Canadians can ski which, in turn, ensures that the resorts are well supported by domestic tourism.