Canmore comes alive in the winter months, as adrenaline-seeking pilgrims from all over the globe trek into the adventure capital of Alberta. Winter at The Courtyard at Stewart Creek is full of promise, and skiers are spoiled for choice, with Canmore at the heart of the ski action in the Bow Valley.
White sprays of snow and exclamations of delight surround the mountain village at least half of the year. Skiing and snowboarding are in full force on the Canmore slopes from mid-November through mid-May, and the powdery snow is the primary attraction.
All Canmore winter activities are amazing, but what else would you expect in a former Olympic venue? The Canmore Nordic Centre, for instance, was first built to host the 1988 Winter Olympic Games events, including the biathlon, Nordic combined and cross-country skiing events.
The ski slopes are Canmore’s crowning glory, and there are four spectacular destinations right on The Courtyard’s doorstep: Mount Norquay, Banff’s Sunshine Village, Nakiska Ski Area and Lake Louise.
Price packages are competitive, and there is a considerable variety of passes available at each resort. Whether you are here for a day or the entire season, you will find a suitable pass.
(30 kilometres from Canmore)
Under half an hour’s drive from Canmore, Mount Norquay is a top-class winter sports destination. It has been around a while and is proud of its heritage, hosting the longest-running annual ski race in Canada.
Family-oriented, they have valued the lighter side of winter sports since their 1926 inception. The “Magic Carpet Ride” is for beginners, for example, where first-timers cruise along to their heart’s content. There are bumps, ski lines on the steepest parts, and plenty of tubing fun to have here.
The classic Terrain Park is fully-equipped with rainbows, fifteen boxes and a battleship box. Norquay also frequently hosts one of the only night skiing opportunities in the Bow Valley, with lit runs on Fridays and Saturdays. There is also spectacular sightseeing from atop the “North American Chair,” which is guaranteed to take your breath away.
Banff’s Sunshine Village
(40 kilometres from Canmore)
This resort is only fifteen minutes from Banff and is part of the national park, which is marked as a UNESCO World Heritage destination. They have an impressive seven-month long ski season and are fully-equipped to cater to any ski level. Even if you don’t ski, you can enjoy the views and amenities, like the outdoor hot pool or the spa.
Sunshine Village is a large area (3,300 acres), and their Delirium Dive terrain is hot on the lips of adventurous skiers looking for a challenge. There aren’t many places where it is possible to ski in both Alberta and British Columbia on a single ski run.
There is also plenty of well-groomed beginner and intermediate level runs, too.
Many a cold patron also appreciates The Teepee Town quad lift, a fairly new feature at Sunshine Village. It has wind protection, footrests, and heated seats to enhance the experience.
(56 kilometres from Canmore)
Nakiska country is certainly beautiful, and its upper mountain courses present a great challenge for more experienced skiers. In fact, many of the pros and Olympic teams train here all season long. While the adults test the slopes, the young ones can explore a large beginner area, with an excellent team of instructors keeping them entertained.
Nakiska resort is popular with Canmore locals and city visitors, being one of the closer slopes in the Rockies to Calgary. The resort is always working on new ideas to expand the terrain, like the stunning yet challenging Monster Glades, for a more accessible experience at all levels.
Always conscious of the environment, Nakiska has employed a new cooling system for the snowmakers, saving a whopping 800 gallons of water per minute!
(80 kilometres from Canmore)
Last, but certainly not least, is Lake Louise, one of the largest ski areas in North America. Just less than an hour away from Canmore lies 4,200 acres of pristine skiing and snowboarding in the heart of the Rockies.
There are suitable areas for each skill level, from beginners to experts, so it is both a world-class skiing and snowboarding destination and a family-friendly facility. There are beginner, intermediate and expert ski runs available from each chair, so skiing together is possible. They’re open six months of the year.
The Lake Louise Sightseeing Gondola floats you up to 2,088 meters for panoramic views of the Canadian Rockies in all its winter glory. It is truly spectacular from way up there. Don’t forget the camera!
Canmore was made for skiing! Where are your favourite slopes in the area?