Best spring skiing in Canada from Quebec to BC
Think morning ski, afternoon ski boot dance party in the patio
Here are the top spots in Canada where the spring skiing spirit is embraced.
Mont Sainte-Anne, Quebec
At Mont Sainte-Anne, spring skiing festivities have been a tradition for decades and it shows. It’s an entirely distinct season with substantial charms. Throughout March and April, there are special festivities every weekend for spring skiers including a variety of live bands, BBQs at the summit, sugar shacks, and, yes, free hot tubs at the base of the mountain. It’s just a wonderful festive atmosphere that highlights what it’s all about.
The Big 3 of the Canadian Rockies
Look no further to satisfy spring skiing desires than the venerable Canadian Rockies resorts Sunshine Village, Mt. Norquay and Lake Louise. With a ski season that normally extends well into May, as soon as the mercury peaks its little head above zero, the festivities get rather exuberant at the base of the all three hills in the Banff-Lake Louise area. Here, daytime temperatures average around 8 degrees in April and up to 14 in May, while the snow remains. It’s the longest non-glacial ski season in North America and it makes for some pretty serious fun.
Festivities at Lake Louise Ski Resort include the legendary Shake the Lake party that includes the Kokanee Kup pond-skimming event during the day, and a big dance party at the Lodge of Ten Peaks. Lake Louise closing weekend celebrations are slated for May 4-5, 2019. Get in your last runs of the year, then hit Kokanee Kabin for live music and a, let’s say festive, atmosphere.
For something more family-oriented, Mt. Norquay will be open for spring skiers until April 22 and even offers a special Easter celebration on the slopes for the little grommets in the family on Easter weekend.
Just down the highway, Banff Sunshine Village offers up the longest season extending all the way to May 20. And, it has Bacon Fest, May 4, which includes something called a Bacon Strip Sprint and the crowning of the King and Queen of Bacon. So. There’s there. There is also the annual Slush Cup, a nine-decade tradition at Sunshine, held on closing day (May 20). Think pond skimming and a big party.
Kicking Horse Mountain Resort
Up in charming Golden, BC, Kicking Horse adds to the spring skiing conversation with its season-ending celebration Sunsplash Funk Fest running April 5-6. The weekend includes an action-packed weekend with indie rock bands, beer gardens and always a crowd pleaser, skiers and snowboarders challenge crossing a slushy pit of water and ice. And then there’s the Dummy Downhill, where creative-type folks build something to slide down the slopes over a jump and, well, crash for the amusement of the throng of spring revellers (photo: Jeff Bartlett, Tourism Golden).
Fernie Alpine Resort
Circle April 13 and 14 on the calendar and head to Fernie Alpine Resort for their epic season-ending party Fernival. The massive blow out includes a closing weekend of skiing as well as the annual Raging Elk Powder Pedal Paddle Relay Race that sees one to five people ski, bike, paddle and run in this fun, competitive race and plenty of live bands and ski boot dancing. On day two, it’s time to get wet with the Coca Cola Slope Soaker followed by a performance by festival headliner Five Alarm Funk.
It’s impossible not to include Whistler in a conversation about spring skiing. It is at the top of anyone and everyone’s list, and last year the season on the glacier didn’t even finish up until mid-July! The largest resort, an actual glacier, and a huge base mean that the spring ski season will be epic this year as will the party at the base of the hill as it is every year.
And, of course, it wouldn’t be spring in Whistler without the World Ski & Snowboard Festival, April 10-14. This event features numerous amazing competitions such as the Saudan Couloir Race Extreme, a big air contest, and of course, fun events such as the Slush Cup. But, there is also a slew of evening events ranging from speakers and art shows to films and an amazing lineup of live music headlined by Michael Franti & Spearhead. Bring costumes, bring sunscreen, just make sure to bring yourself.