Canada has incredible resorts to live the alpine dream for a season. Here are our top 10 Canadian resorts at which to work a winter season.
At number 10, Sun Peaks is a British Columbia resort around 45 minutes north of Kamloops with the second largest skiable terrain in Canada. A cruiser’s resort, with runs so wide it’s like playing on a runway and so few crowds it feels lonely up there, Sun Peaks also delivers a friendly vibe and a solid night on the town, minus the hardcore boarders and skiers.
Big mountain terrain and a small community vibe. It’s all about the riding at Castle – head elsewhere for nightlife. But the incredible terrain which includes amazing chutes and drop-offs has seasonal workers on the mountain every moment they aren’t working, while the small number of staff means you instantly become part of a great community.
If being one of the biggest resorts in Canada wasn’t enough, how about powder that is considered to be among the best in the country? Throw in the fact that the resort is super empty during the week, given Fernie has a focus on holiday-makers rather than day-trippers, as well as a cool old mining town and you have the makings of an excellent season.
Popular especially with Australian seasonal workers, the snow at Big White is plentiful while the skiable terrain is the third biggest in BC. The terrain is intermediate heavy and there is also has a decent terrain park for those days when the conditions up the hill aren’t spectacular. The vibe among staff is very international and, for those coming from overseas, the fact that so many international staff come through each season means they are nicely set up to accommodate foreign workers and make the transition to working overseas an easier one.
Red Mountain is a bit hick, a bit back country, and a little bit rickety. Some of the chairlifts could do with an upgrade. But that's the point of Red Mountain. It's all about the snowboarding and skiing... and it's got some amazing terrain to offer in the form of chutes, steeps and some of the best backcountry in BC. The nearby town of Rossland is also among the best ski towns in Canada due to the friendliness of locals and the fact that everyone is psyched to get on the hill as much as possible.
Located in the Kootenay Rockies region of BC, Whitewater is the classic counterculture ski resort. The locals are unified by their conscious decision to step out of the rat race and into a community where it is not uncommon to see businesses close on a powder day so the owners and staff can go riding. Meanwhile, the backcountry riding at Whitewater is absolutely awesome and will have you hiking and looping your favorite lines again and again.
With over 85 in-bound chutes, Kicking Horse has some of the best lift-accessed terrain in North America. Also, the small crowds means the best terrain is rarely tracked out giving you freshies all throughout the season. The nearby town of Golden is an established town that was already in place before the construction of the resort, meaning you get to live in an authentic BC community among beautiful alpine peaks.
Banff is the base for three ski resorts in the region – Lake Louise (45 mins drive), Sunshine Village (25 mins drive) and Banff Norquay. While Norquay is a small local’s resort, Lake Louise and Sunshine are both truly world class, with famous Canadian big mountain terrain and rocky lines to keep you satisfied the entire season. When you then consider that Banff is just about Canada’s premier winter tourist town and the bars and nightlife kick on every night of the week – well – you have all the ingredients for a great season.
With just a few lifts at the resort, you could be forgiven for thinking that, on paper, the terrain at Revelstoke is a bit so-so. But once you get to the mountain, you quickly realise that having the largest vertical drop in the country, abundant snow and incredible hike-to terrain is why so many seasonal workers want to work at Revelstoke each season. The secret of how awesome working at Revelstoke is definitely out.
Unquestionably Canada’s best overall resort, and still the most popular resort in Canada at which to work a season, Whistler simply has it all. Truly enormous terrain, the most in North America by a margin, some of the best terrain parks imaginable, a huge contingent of staff both international and local across the resort and businesses in town, and a non-stop energy in the village throughout the season. The après-ski and nightlife also ranks as the most thriving in Canada with parties and dancing every day and in every corner.