British Columbia is home to some of the world’s best ski resorts. Forget about overcrowded Whistler Blackcomb and check out these hidden gems instead.

Whistler Blackcomb has consistently topped ski resort rankings since 1992, when Snow Country Magazine named it the No. 1 Ski Resort in North America. The mega-resort, just 90 minutes north of Vancouver, continues to top the charts, thanks to its incredible variety of terrain, exciting off-hill activities, luxury resorts and après-ski dining and drinking options.

As a resident of the Great White North, I feel it’s my duty to let you in on a secret. Yes, Whistler Blackcomb is awesome. After all, 2.7 million visitors can’t all be wrong. But it’s not the only awesome resort in British Columbia (BC).

The same things that make Whistler Blackcomb so great - the challenging terrain, the incredible amount of powder that falls each winter, the jaw-dropping views - all exist elsewhere in the province, too… without the crowds. Do yourself a favour: skip Whistler Blackcomb this year and check out one of these gems. Just don’t tell everyone.
Big White Ski Resort

If you’re travelling with children, look no further than Big White and its world-renowned Kids’ Centre. If your child wants to learn to ski, there’s a wide variety of ski lesson options available - from full-day private sessions to what the resort calls ‘daycare plus’, in which your tot gets a full day of care with the option of adding a quick group or private lesson. Kids’ Centre staff will even pick up and drop off your child from your accommodation, which goes a long way towards making your vacation truly relaxing.

There’s also plenty for the adults. Big White is known for its champagne powder - more than 750cm of light, fluffy snow falls every year. It’s also a totally ski-in and ski-out resort, which means you won’t need a car at all.

How to get there: From Vancouver, fly into Kelowna and catch a ski shuttle up to the resort. cart scene.

Where to stay: Stonegate Resort is perfectly located in the heart of the resort, and features heated indoor and outdoor pools, private hot tubs, stunning views and more.


Kicking Horse Mountain Resort

Featuring some of the longest vertical terrain in North America, Kicking Horse is not for the faint of heart. More than half of its runs are rated black or double-black diamond. In fact, many of its single black diamond runs would be considered double-black diamond at lesser resorts. You can ski on your choice of terrain, from steep chutes to challenging tree glades.

If you prefer cruisy blues or easy greens, don’t worry, there’s still plenty here to satisfy a novice skier, and much of it is accessible by a quick and cushy eight-person gondola. Try Cloud 9 or Northern Lights; both runs take you through Crystal Bowl and link to fun, rolling groomers lower down on the mountain. Ride the gondola back up to Eagle’s Eye Restaurant - the highest in Canada — for hot chocolate and a snack, then do it all over again.

How to get there: Kicking Horse is just 1.5 hours west of Banff and 2.5 hours from Calgary. Airport shuttles are available.

Where to stay: Palliser Lodge is steps from the mountain village. It features ski in/out access and luxurious amenities. Some suites have private hot tubs.


Revelstoke Mountain Resort

Just down the powder highway from Kicking Horse lies the Revelstoke skiing area, which is growing in popularity, thanks to its incredible cat-skiing and heli-skiing. These two methods of skiing let you access more terrain than you normally could. Instead of the thousands of hectares you could access at an average ski resort, Selkirk Tangiers Heli Skiing promises more than 200,000 hectares of exclusively available terrain.

You don’t have to be a black diamond expert to indulge in cat-skiing or heli-skiing, though. Revelstoke Mountain Resort offers a cat/heli prep lesson that will teach you the secrets of skiing backcountry terrain — if you’re a comfortable blue/intermediate skier, this would be the perfect place to start. Then, try an Inside Tracks cat-skiing package or head out on a day-long powder excursion, designed for the first-time heli-skier. Think snowcovered vistas, untouched powder and your very own guide.

How to get there: Transfers are available from Kelowna and Calgary airports.

Where to stay: For the ultimate in luxury heliskiing, check out Bighorn, voted World’s Best Ski Chalet at the World Ski Awards for the past three years.


Mount Washington Alpine Resort

Imagine breathtaking views that take in Georgia Straight and the Gulf islands, all the way to the peaks of Strathcona Park — that’s what you can expect from Mount Washington Alpine Resort. It may not be the biggest or glitziest resort in BC, but its copious snow and backcountry thrills will leave you wanting more. Check out the Boomerang Quad — Canada’s first chairlift — which allows you to offload in two spots, and adds 1,600 acres of skiable terrain comprised of mostly double black diamond runs.

Families are also welcome here — don’t miss the new tube park, which can move up to 2,000 riders an hour. There’s also tobogganing, night skiing, cross-country skiing, snow-shoeing and so much more.

How to get there: Mount Washington is just 30 minutes to Comox Airport on Vancouver Island.

Where to stay: Slopeside accommodations can be booked directly with the resort, but many choose to stay in the Comox Valley, a 20-minute drive away.


Panorama Resort

This is another excellent option for families that have a variety of skiing abilities. Panorama’s new Discovery Zone, with its dedicated chairlift, creates a fun and supportive environment for novices. Meanwhile, the resort’s Summit Quad Chair offers access to the chutes and glades of Taynton Bowl, a former heli-ski terrain area that promises fresh lines every day. After a day of skiing, rest your weary legs in Canada’s largest outdoor on-mountain hot pool at Panorama Springs Lodge. Kids will enjoy the two huge waterslides and splash pad.

How to get there: Panorama is a 3.5-hour drive from Calgary International Airport and a mere 90 minutes from Canadian Rockies Airport in Cranbrook.

Where to stay: Panorama Springs Lodge offers direct access to the hot pools and waterpark, plus ski in/out access, stunning views and a convenient mountainside location.