Canadian Rockies Winter Sports

Seven world-class ski resorts perched among the high peaks of the Canadian Rockies come alive each winter. The largest, and Canada’s second largest (only Whistler/Blackcomb is larger), is LAKE LOUISE, overlooking the lake of the same name in Banff National Park. Banff’s other two resorts are SUNSHINE VILLAGE, sitting on the Continental Divide and accessible by gondola, and NORQUAY, a resort with heart-pounding runs overlooking the town of Banff.

Kananaskis Country is home to NAKISKA, a resort developed especially for the downhill events of the 1988 Winter Olympic Games. MARMOT BASIN, in Jasper National Park, has minimal crowds and a maximum variety of terrain. Across the border in British Columbia, KICKING HORSE MOUNTAIN RESORT is a big hill with an even bigger reputation for its challenging terrain, while PANORAMA appeals to all levels of ability.

For more details on Canadian Rockies winter sports, click through these pages:

Banff National Park Winter Sports

Jasper National Park Winter Sports

Canmore Nordic Centre

Kananaskis Country Winter Sports

Lake Louise Winter Sports

Canadian Rockies Heli-Skiing

Commercial helicopter operations are banned in the national parks of the Canadian Rockies, but two surrounding heli-ski operators provide transfers from Banff and Jasper. One such company is R.K. HELI-SKI, which is based on the west side of the mountains at Panorama but provides daily transfers from Banff and Lake Louise for a day’s heli-skiing or boarding high in the Purcell Mountains. The only other company that offers day trips is ROBSON HELIMAGIC, based west of Jasper at Valemont, which operates on the northern boundary of Mount Robson Provincial Park.

The town of Banff is the headquarters for the world’s largest heli-skiing operation, CMH (403/762-7100 or 800/661-0252), although the skiing and boarding terrain is accessed from 12 upscale lodges scattered throughout eastern British Columbia. Seven-day packages begin at around $6,800 per person, rising to more than $9,000 in the high season.

Other Canadian Rockies Winter Sports

Many hiking trails provide ideal routes for CROSS-COUNTRY SKIING, and many are groomed for that purpose. The largest concentration of groomed trails is in Kananaskis Country. Other areas are Banff, Jasper, Kootenay, Waterton, and Yoho National Parks. The CANMORE NORDIC CENTRE was developed for the 1988 Winter Olympic Games and is now a public facility. The townsite in Waterton Lakes National Park all but closes down for winter, but this park is one of the most enjoyable spots for a skiing sojourn. Anywhere you can cross-country ski you can snowshoe, a traditional form of winter transportation that is making a comeback. Sleigh rides are offered in Banff, Lake Louise, and Jasper.

Winter travel brings its own set of potential hazards, such as hypothermia, avalanche, frostbite, and sunburn. Necessary precautions should be taken. All park information centres can provide information on hazards and advise on current weather conditions.