The best winter escapes in Canada for families that love to ski or just play in the snow

Looking for a family vacation that teens will love as much as toddlers? A getaway that will take your kids away from their devices and into nature? A family tradition of adventure and fun that will continue for decades? Then look no further than a ski resort. And don’t worry if you’ve never skied or snowboarded before. Lessons are available for all ages. Though be warned: Kids learn fast, and they might be ripping down gnarly slopes while you’re still cautiously snow plowing down green runs. At least that’s how it worked for this writer. But our family ski vacations hold precious memories of thrilling adventures, awe-inspiring mountain scenery and fun times spent together at fabulous resorts like these ones. Here, our list of the best Canadian ski resorts for families.

Whistler Blackcomb: Whistler, British Columbia

Whistler Blackcomb

Whistler Blackcomb Mountain Views

Named one of National Geographic’s top ski towns, Whistler offers an impressive 8,100 skiable acres and 200 runs with terrain for every age and ability. You may think with that size, it would be impersonal, but it’s exactly the opposite with a super friendly vibe and a pedestrian village to stroll around in that is bursting with restaurants, shops and entertainment.

The PEAK 2 PEAK gondola offers an 11-minute ride between Whistler and Blackcomb mountains with the most jaw-dropping views imaginable. Top-notch instructors not only teach skiing and snowboarding, they can also instruct your family on the luge or bobsleigh at the Whistler Sliding Centre.

Where to stay? Four Seasons Resort Whistler is ideal for families with a ski-in/ski-out location, heated outdoor pool and spacious rooms and suites. Its Den Townhouse features three rooms, a private whirlpool, two balconies and full kitchen with dining area. Kids are catered to with welcome treats, child-sized robes, spa treatments for kids and a kid’s club.

Four Seasons Resort Whistler Library Room

Four Seasons Resort Whistler Library Room

Four Seasons Resort Whistler Outdoor Spa

Four Seasons Resort Whistler Outdoor Spa

Children’s programming: Options include licensed childcare for younger kids aged 18 months to 4 years, Kids Adventure Club for children aged 3 -12 and Kids Night Out, which provides evening supervision so parents can enjoy a night out on their own. Several family entertainment areas like Tree Fort, Magic Castle, Tube Park and Gaming Lounge provide spaces for fun for the whole family.

Kids will love: Whistler the Marmot, the resort’s mascot, who represents the spirit of Whistler, and is often seen at events and festivals in the village. Or you may glimpse the real thing as these burrowing critters call the Whistler area their home.

Silverstar Resort, Okanagan, British Columbia

The colourful village looks like a fairy tale amid the snowy peaks of the Monashee Mountain range

Located midway up the mountain, this colourful village looks like a fairy tale amid the snowy peaks of the Monashee Mountain range. The atmosphere is reminiscent of an inter-generational clubhouse where young families, cool snowboarders and retired folks alike mingle and play together.

The sheer size of the ski terrain, with four distinct mountain faces, means uncrowded slopes and lifts. For thrill seekers, the back side of the mountain has 1, 900 acres of steep black and double black runs while beginners can meander through a winter wonderland on scenic green runs.  Nordic skiers have 105 kms of some of the best trails in the country. What every skier appreciates is the champagne powder snow that the resort is famous for (a whopping 23 feet falls annually).

Where to stay? Snowbird Lodge is a deluxe condo unit with a full kitchen, fireplace and even a private hot tub. Amenities also include a 24-seat theatre, gym, kid’s playground and a ski-in ski-out location.

Children’s programming: Activity Adventure Camps feature skiing or snowboarding in the morning and a range of activities in the afternoon. The campers in the Ski and Ride Adventure Camp spend all day on the slopes improving their technique as they explore a variety of terrain. 

Kids will love the mini snowmobile track with specially designed skidoos that are easy to control and navigate.

Club Med, Charlevoix, Québec

Landscape view, Club Med Charlevoix

Newly opened in December of 2021, Club Med’s first Canadian resort provides families with a carefree, all-inclusive mountain experience with sweeping views of the mighty St. Lawrence River. At 2,526 feet, Le Massif’s vertical drop is the longest in Canada east of the Rockies. Also impressive is its wilderness setting located within a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve and edged against our country’s longest river.

Children’s programming: At the Mini Club for kids over 4, Great Organizers (AKA staff who are referred to as GOs) lead kids in all sorts of creative activities like shows, baking workshops and pancake parties. There’s even a circus class if your little acrobat would like to try trapeze, trampoline or juggling. Ski lessons, like the club, are part of the all-inclusive package.

Where to stay? The resort’s ski-in/ski-out accommodation has 302 rooms, including spacious family rooms with two separate bedrooms and 25 suites with two bathrooms, two bedrooms, a living room and a wide balcony. All meals, alcoholic drinks, amenities like their indoor and outdoor pools, Nordic spa and even taxes and tips are included in their price.

Kids will love riding a Rodel, a traditional wooden sled, down a wildly fast 7.5 km trail.

Blue Mountain, Collingwood, Ontario

Modelled after Whistler, the village has numerous restaurants, bars and shops as well as an outdoor fountain and a stage, where music and special events are held. During winter there are 40 + ski and snowboard trails as well as sleigh rides, snow shoeing, snowmobiling, skating and tobogganing. 

Children’s programming: Half- or full-day ski lessons are available for kids three and up, with or without daycare. You can also choose 45-minute private lessons for kids ages two to five. When not on the slopes, kids can spend hours at Plunge, an aquatic center with indoor-outdoor pools, a splash pad, and hot tubs.

Where to stay? The Westin Trillium House provides excellent service for families with full amenities and a special welcome bag with treats for kids. They can also hang out in the Blue Discovery Room, where ‘Kids Specialists’ will entertain them. Babysitting services are also available. Rooms and suites are all equipped with a kitchenette, dining area, gas fireplace and private balcony. The large outdoor heated pool with jacuzzi is just what mind and body craves after a day on the slopes.

Kids will love Ridge Runner, a mountain coaster that twists and turns for over a kilometre downhill reaching speeds of up to 42 km/hour.

Banff’s Sunshine Village, Banff, Alberta

Imagine skiing at a resort in Canada’s first national park, 7, 200 feet high on the Continental Divide, with a 360-degree view of the Rocky Mountains. Sunshine Village offers all of this plus a seven-month ski season stretching until late May and an average of 30 feet of snow in a season. You can even ski in two provinces (Alberta and British Columbia) in a single run.

Children’s programming: Daycare services are offered for kids aged six months to five years. Certified instructors teach ski and snowboarding tailored to kids of different ages and abilities. The Kids Night Out program provides a fun evening for kids aged 3 to 12, so parents can enjoy time for themselves. 

Where to stay? Located right in the village, Sunshine Mountain Lodge provides the only ski-in/ski-out experience in all of Banff National Park. Family-friendly suites with spacious and comfortable rooms can accommodate families of all sizes with some featuring separate sleeping areas for kids and private balconies with views of the surrounding peaks. The lodge often organizes special activities for kids like movie nights and arts and craft sessions.

Kids will love: the chance to brag to their classmates that they saw Mt. Assiniboine, the highest peak of the Canadian Rockies

Mont Tremblant, Quebec

Mont-Tremblant village and landscape views

Also named one of National Geographic’s top ski towns, its European-styled pedestrian village, diverse terrain and range of activities and events attracts 2.3 million people annually. In addition to their skiing and snowboarding on their 102 trails, there’s every imaginable winter activity from skidooing and dogsledding to skating, cross-country skiing, fat biking, ice climbing, ziplining, ice fishing, tubing and sledding.

Children’s programming: The Kidz Club Daycare welcomes ages 1 to 6 and for older kids aged 4 to 12, there’s the Mont Tremblant kid’s club with a wide range of indoor and outdoor activities. Ski and Snowboard lessons for all ages and abilities are taught by experienced instructors. Off the slopes, the Aqua Club will keep the family entertained with its four water slides, 35 interactive water games and indoor hot tub.  

Where to stay? The ski-in/ski-out Fairmont Tremblant offers spacious rooms and suites, many with kitchenettes and separate rooms. Family hotel activities include the family bonfire and igloo experience, guided nature walks and a games room. 

Mont Tremblant View

Fairmont Tremblant landscape views

Fairmont Tremblant Interior

Fairmont Tremblant Interior

Kids will love Mission Laser, an interactive experience that lets kids immerse themselves in a video game-like atmosphere, where they work together to succeed in their mission. 

Kicking Horse Mountain Resort, Golden, British Columbia

Kicking Horse Mountain Resort

Kicking Horse Mountain Resort

Hard-core ski families who live for the gnarliest of black diamond chutes and off-piste adventures will be in heaven at Kicking Horse with its abundance of advanced and expert runs and exceptional backcountry access. Yes, there are beginner trails, too. Just not that many. Not that it matters as less avid or even non-skiers will appreciate the resort’s proximity to no less that six national parks (Banff, Glacier, Kootenay, Yoho, Mt Revelstoke, and Jasper) and the opportunity to ogle at what one local described as an ‘infinity pool of mountains’ while dining at Eagle Eye. At 7,705 feet, it’s Canada’s highest elevation restaurant. 

Children’s programming: Daycare services provide supervision for children aged 18 months to 5 years with the option to add on an adventure hour for 3 to 5 year-old to get them hooked on mountain sports young. Kids clubs and snow schools have programming for kids up to 12. And all ages will revel in the thrills at the dedicated tubing park.  

Where to stay? Glacier Mountaineer Lodge suites and townhomes can accommodate families of all sizes. Its convenient location, with an onsite ski and snowboard rental shop and just a short walk to the lifts, means it’s faster and easier to hit the slopes in the morning. 

Kids will love Boo, the orphaned grizzly bear, who makes his home on the 20-acre bear refuge on the mountain.

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