Ski Resorts Near Calgary


Last week I wrote a blog posting about the new movie Inception and its potential effect on the closed down Ski Hill of Fortress Mountain. Writing the article got me thinking about going skiing, which I did and it was glorious, so I started looking into the current state of affairs at the ski hills that can be found locally, and not so locally. I suspect that the information will be valuable to any powder hounds currently leashed up in the city, so here’s a bit of an informal snow report. I’m also going to briefly describe the differences between the resorts, and I’ll also mention current ticket prices, more for any visitors for the city who may be unfamiliar with the local options for powder-hogging.

Sunshine Village

Sunshine is definitely the premier ski hill in the area. Of all the hills in Alberta, Sunshine is the one that has earned international renown. Ticket prices are cheaper this year than they have been in the past. Adults pay $76.14, Youths pay $54.28, Seniors $61.86, children and riders just using the gondola only pay $26.42. At the time of this article’s publishing they have a snow base of 107 cm. The terrain is a mix of both easy and hard runs, but there are far more blue runs than there are black diamonds. Sunshine has phenomenal snow and great access, but for more experienced riders there is really only one run that’s of interest. That run is the Jewel in the front-country crown of Sunshine, Delirium Dive. Currently the Dive is not open for skiers/boarders due to all the explosives they’re chucking down it in an effort to improve the avalanche conditions by bombing the snowpack back to the Stone Age. Don’t go down that run just yet. You may get exploded.

Lake Louise

At just under three hours, Lake Louise is a bit of a drive from Calgary. However, of all the ski resorts nearby it is the largest with 4200 acres of skiable terrain. It has the best balance of easy to difficult runs, it gets decent snow (93 cm right now), and the tickets are more or less the same cost they are at Sunshine. Adults pay $75.95, Seniors and Youths pay $54.95, and children pay $24.95. Lake Louise is a great choice for anyone looking to do some easy access backcountry skiing. As you can tell from the map I link to earlier in this paragraph, several of the lifts deposit you on some ridges that offer easy access to some lovely, powdery bowls. The only thing to remember is that you need beacons, shovels, probes and the appropriate avalanche training to safely access these winter wonderlands.

Mount Norquay

Mount Norquay is located across the TransCanada highway from the town of Banff. As such, it is the local’s favourite for the town, and the hill runs itself accordingly. Norquay is the smallest ski resort in the area, except for Calgary Olympic Park, and has the less challenging terrain than either Sunshine or Lake Louise. However, they are also a very economic decision, and they are the only ski hill in the region that offers hourly rates and night skiing on Fridays. All in all this is a great hill to go and spend an afternoon or early evening, or to go and practice a few turns on before hitting up the bigger resorts later on in the season.


While it will be opening shortly, on December 5th, Nakiska is currently only open to the public on the weekends. Being located much closer to the eastern foothills of the rockies, Nakiska typically has less snow than the other resorts located a bit deeper in the mountains. Currently, they have a base of 71cm. The terrain at Nakiska is varied, but slants more towards the easy side. It’s a great place for families to go skiing as there is a lot of novice, and kid, friendly terrain. Tickets are relatively cheap, Adults pay $64.95, Seniors pay $51.95, Youths $44.95, and Children only pay $19.95.

Canada Olympic Park

C.O.P. was built for the 1988 Winter Olympics, it is a world class facility for almost every winter sport where the primary agent of propulsion is gravity. It has facilities not only for skiing, but also for bobsledding, lugeing, ski jumping, skeleton, etc, etc. Because of this, it is a bit of a ‘Jack of all trades’. You certainly can go skiing there, but it isn’t the primary focus. Being located within the city of Calgary C.O.P. also gets a very small amount of natural snow compared to the larger resorts out in the mountains. However, with tickets starting at $5 and capping at $39, it is very inexpensive to go tear things up a little.


Source by Jonathan Meier

Agnes Brown

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