Extend your season with the longest ski seasons in Western Canada
On April 10, 2022 I was still skiing powder. UPDATE: on April 16, 2023!
Real, boot-top blower: see the banner photo above as proof. It’s easy to forget that while cities like Edmonton and Calgary are dusty and brown in early spring, Western Canada’s mountains are still white and beautiful long into April and even May.
How can you find stashes like this for yourself? Simple: head to the ski resorts with the longest ski seasons in Alberta and BC, now and every chance you get.
Alberta's and BC’s longest ski seasons
Across Western Canada, many resorts are open until mid to late April; these include Fernie, Kicking Horse, Revelstoke, SilverStar and Whistler in BC, and some of Alberta's non-mountain ski areas. See our ski resort closing dates listings for Alberta and BC to check on your home hill's slated last day.
But the hills that are open longest stretch the season out into May. While dates vary slightly year to year, high base elevations, cooler temperatures and consistent precipitation in the Alberta Rockies generates a great climate for long ski seasons.
BC typically has more snowfall but shorter seasons due to its warmer climate, with one or two exceptions.
Ski resorts with the longest seasons in Western Canada
- Marmot Basin, May 1, 2023
- Lake Louise, May 7, 2023
- Sunshine Village, May 22, 2023
- Whistler Blackcomb, May 22, 2023
While it’s not a full guarantee, you can expect that these ski resorts will likely hold onto their snow longer. Of course, if you’re really seeking the best snow, it’s always wise to check the snow conditions before you go.
mid-November to early May
While prepping this story I came across an older piece I’d written back in 2016, exploring the reasons behind Marmot’s spring abundance. Ski Canada magazine editor Iain MacMillan was there that season for the magazine’s annual ski test.
He had this to tell me: “it was winter up top and spring in town. What else could you ask for?”
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“More than anywhere else in North America, it reminds me of the Alps. Lots of flavour, colour and flair you just don’t get at a purpose built resort. To have an actual living, working town with great streets full of vibrant shops and restaurants so close makes it a gem.”
Seven years later, here we are again talking April powder, and not much has changed in Jasper. An epic hike into Stinson's, one of Marmot Basin's new chutes in Marmot Cirque (opened 2023), delivered the manna this season.
Hard to beat those tailgate vibes, too. McMillan sure hit the nail on the head there.
Lake Louise Ski Resort
mid-November to early May
Lake Louise brings the party to spring skiing with its Mount Slushmore pond skimming classic on Apr 29 and their annual Cardboard Box Downhill Derby for closing day on May 7. Few things beat hanging out on the Banded Peak Basecamp deck, facing southwest towards the sun and soaking in some live tunes after a day of shredding.
mid-November to May Long weekend
Sunshine Village is Alberta’s longest season owing to its high base elevation. It’s the only ski resort in Western Canada where you have to take a passenger gondola up to the base of the resort. And of course, it is famed for having the most legendary slush cup in the region, which typically caps the year on May Long weekend, this year May 22, 2023.
late November to mid-May (main resort)
As the only lift-accessed, glacier-based ski terrain in Canada, Whistler wins for the longest extended ski season in Canada (if we're counting freestyle camps). You could argue that technically it’s a different season of skiing, since there is a brief interruption between the normal season and the spring/summer glacier skiing season.
But skiing is skiing and the glacier scene at Whistler is a good time.
As the crowds tail off into April and the days get warmer, there’s nothing like being one of the last skiers and snowboarders on the hill. The spring skiing vibes are some of the best, with fewer crowds to contend with, warmer weather to enjoy and some great shredding still for the taking.
Not to mention ski hills tend to make an effort to amp up the fun with concerts and events to entice the faithful to extend their season and get in just one more day of riding. Take my advice, you won’t regret it.