So, what’s it to be this year? The usual chairlift — or a heated number warming your cockles all the way to the top? Plain-Jane snow or soft, silky champagne powder? The back of another long queue or a straight schuss from slope to chairlift seat? The majestic Alps — or the truly awe-inspiring Canadian Rockies, whose rugged peaks pinnacle at 3,954 metres? There really is no contest. Everyone should ski the Rockies at least once — and in this reliably snow-blanketed expanse of wilderness, there’s challenge enough for all. For beginners, it’s hard to imagine a more amenable setting than Lake Louise, North America’s largest ski area.
You can find your ski legs on gentle blue slopes, then graduate to long cruising reds, with glorious views all the way down — or wind your way through picturesque glades, schussing in and out of snow-laden trees. For more advanced skiers, Fernie’s five huge bowls beckon skiers, snowboarders and powder hounds alike, with unique snow conditions and vast swathes of fresh ‘dumps’ in this, the Champagne Powder Capital of Canada — promising the treat of creating your own tracks day after day.
And for the ultimate thrill-seekers there’s also the uniquely Canadian experience of cat skiing — or hitching a ride via helicopter to the dizzying heights of some of Canada’s untouched peaks — with pristine powder and one of the longest vertical drops in North America beckoning below.
And at the end of a hard day’s skiing^ what better than some apres-ski indulgence in some of the most iconic hotels in the world? You can wake up to fabulous views at the Fairmont Lake Louise; pamper carving-weary calves at the luxurious Rimrock Resort Hotel’s dreamy spa; or luxuriate in the positively baronial Fairmont Banff Springs hotel, in the heart of Banff National Bark, where the award-winning Willow Stream Spa soothes the body and spectacular mountain views soothe the soul.