Backcountry Skiing in Canada: 10 Best Destinations

Discover Canada’s top ski locations for backcountry adventures

|February 26, 2020
Jessie is your basic nature lover with a particular interest in all things water. From the high peaks of the Himalaya's to the lush depths of the Amazon, she's hiked some of the the world's greatest trails.

Want to go backcountry skiing in Canada? Canadian mountainscapes are perfect for snowy adventures! We’ve gathered information on the best slopes, the freshest powder, and the most incredible scenery here.


Woman skiing in Canada

Each year, people travel far and wide to go backcountry skiing in Canada. Adventurous skiers head high into Canadian mountainscapes to find the best slopes, the freshest powder, and the most incredible scenery.

Prime backcountry skiing in Canada includes everything from the Canadian Rockies to the Northern Appalachians. While top-tier skiing is possible in the east, western Canada’s ski resorts are hands-down the most popular for backcountry skiers. This is especially true in Alberta and British Columbia, where the country’s greatest mountains are found.

HERE ARE THE 10 BEST PLACES FOR BACKCOUNTRY SKIING IN CANADA

1. Whitewater Ski Resort, BC

Whitewater Ski Resort Mountain

Whitewater is a mid-sized ski resort close to Nelson, BC — a small town in the Selkirk Mountains. The resort’s alpine forest is perfect for tree skiing and its backcountry slopes attract beginner and advanced skiers alike.

Whitewater’s alpine terrain is also covered by dry, top-notch powder. Plus, you can easily access all backcountry terrain by a lift located directly beside the resort.

The resort is famed for its annual Kootenay Coldsmoke Powder Fest. Spend three days partying, competing, and yes, skiing, with other backcountry lovers as you take in Nelson’s unique mountain culture.

2. Golden, BC

Kicking Horse Resort Canada, BC

The Golden area in British Columbia is an ideal place to access the best of the Selkirks, a set of mountains linked to the Columbia Mountains.

Experienced skiers descend into Golden’s winter playground to enjoy deep chutes, pillow lines, and tree skiing. You can find easy access to backcountry skiing at the nearby Kick Horse Mountain Resort.

Want to avoid the crowds? Golden is also an excellent choice for people who want to be surrounded by top backcountry nature without the bustle of other skiers.

3. Revelstoke Mountain Resort, BC

Revelstoke Mountain Resort at sunset

Revelstoke Mountain Resort is host to North America’s longest vertical slope, lots of power, and a wide variety of terrain. If you’re looking for good backcountry skiing near Kelowna, BC, the resort is only a 2.5-hour drive by car.

Hit the resort’s high-speed lift to access some of the best backcountry spots in the area. From challenging groomers to alpine bowls, the terrain at Revelstoke is sure to please even the most adventurous thrill-seeker. 

4. Rogers Pass, BC

Man skiing in Rogers Pass, BC

Rogers Pass in Glacier National Park is a no-brainer when it comes to backcountry skiing in Canada. Couloirs, tree skiing, glaciers, bowls — it has it all. And yes, the power is dry, untouched, and plentiful.

Depending on where you go, the terrain at Rogers Pass is suitable for all skill levels. It’s also a hotspot for skiers because of its long winter season and huge amounts of snow.

For your safety, anyone skiing at Rogers Pass must have a Winter Permit. The permit system keeps backcountry skiers safe from the artillery fired for highway avalanche control in the area.

5. Whistler Blackcomb, BC

People Skiing at Whistler Blackcomb, BC

Whistler Blackcomb isn’t only one of the world’s best ski resorts — it’s also home to Canada’s most epic backcountry terrain.

A big perk of the resort is that you can easily get to its shred-worthy glacier and couloir landscapes. At Whistler, you can also find complex and challenging alpine slopes. 

Looking for backcountry skiing close to a major Canadian city? Whistler Blackcomb is a popular choice for backcountry skiing near Vancouver, which is only a short 1.5-hour drive away. 

Although the resort is one of the biggest in North America, it’s often packed with people. Keep this in mind if you’re looking to avoid skiing near crowded areas.

6. Duffey Lake Road, BC

Duffey Lake Road Highway 99

Duffey Lake Road is a backcountry area roughly 80 km (50 miles) northeast of Whistler. The road is an excellent alternative to Whistler’s crowded slopes and offers easy access to a slew of tree skiing and alpine paths.

Since Duffey Lake Road winds its way straight into backcountry terrain, skiers can easily seek out places to hit the slopes.

Make sure to check the daily avalanche conditions at Duffey Lake before you go. Mountain avalanche control can cause occasional road closures and dangerous conditions.

7. Sunshine Village Ski Resort, AB

Woman skiing at Sunshine Village Ski Resort

Sunshine Village Ski Resort is a Rocky Mountain ski area inside Banff National Park. It’s considered a family-friendly backcountry option and boasts the best powder in Banff.

Skiers of all levels can venture onto the slopes of Sunshine Village. The resort is perfectly suited for beginners, but also has steep angles and deep alpine terrain fit for the most advanced skiers.

Sunshine resort is also one of the best ski areas near Calgary. You can easily swap Calgary skyscraper views for Sunshine Village’s high peaks in under two hours.

8. Lake Louise Ski Resort, AB

Downhill skiing at Lake Louise Ski Resort

Lake Louise is another great backcountry skiing location in Banff National Park. The ski area is best known for its alpine bowls and tree skiing.

Lake Louise Ski Resort offers some of the best family skiing in Canada. On top of skiing, it’s also a wonderful place to enjoy signature Canadian wilderness and fun outdoor activities. You and your family can do everything from lake paddling to mountain biking.

A word of caution: the terrain at Lake Louise is not to be taken lightly. Its complex geography requires skiers to use extreme caution when selecting where to shred, so be sure to plan your route ahead of time.

9. Chic-Choc Mountains, QC

People on Chic Choc Mountains

The options for Canadian backcountry skiing start to dwindle as you head east of the Rockies. But that doesn’t mean backcountry skiing in eastern Canada isn’t possible.

The Chic-Choc Mountains are a set of mountains on the Gaspé Peninsula. They’re a section of the Northern Appalachian Mountains and offer the best backcountry skiing in Quebec.

Feel as though you’re skiing out west as you glide along couloirs and weave through prime alpine terrain. The area also boasts spectacular views of St. Lawrence River — the third-longest river in Canada.

10. Gros Morne National Park, NL

Downhill skiing at Gros Morne National Park

Though many skiers don’t think of Atlantic Canada when they think of backcountry skiing, Gros Morne, Newfoundland has the perfect conditions for backcountry fun. The park’s backcountry features include coastal mountains, alpine highlands, and heavy snowfalls.

You won’t find any marked backcountry routes at Gros Morne. Skiers are encouraged, however, to safely plan their own paths and make the most out of the region’s dynamic terrain.

Before you hit the slopes, it’s strongly advised to check the weather at Gros Morne National Park. Atlantic Canadian temperatures are inconsistent at best. Sudden thaws are often followed by freezing temperatures, which largely affects the area’s snow conditions.

Planning an epic skiing trip in Canada? Explore the country’s most amazing slopes on a backcountry ski group tour!

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