The snow in Ontario has been pretty much non-existent. I’m not complaining about one of the mildest winters on record, but it’s definitely put a damper on ski season. Usually by February, we would have gone in search of a new pair of goggles and racked up a few weekend trips to the hill. This season, finding ski- and snowboard-worthy slopes requires far more planning.
With the dollar dipping way low, the best options for freezing cold fun and après-ski pleasure are right in our own backyard (or a short flight away). The top resorts in Canada draw us in with incredible mountains, and keep us there with sleek spas, outdoor baths and maple sugar shacks (if you’re burning all those calories on the hills, living off hot maple taffy rolled in fresh snow is totally okay).
Here are the most stylish mountains to visit—and the spas that will take care of you afterward.
This winter marks the 50th anniversary of Mont-Sainte-Anne. Only half an hour outside of Quebec City, the resort is an easy trek to make on weekends and worth it for all the extras: dog sledding, snowshoeing, ice canyoning and paragliding (even if you’re just watching everyone else do it).
If you’re in it for the skiing: Beginners are taken care of by a team of 150 instructors at the ready for group and private lessons. If you’re already a pro, there are 71 trails and 4 snow parks to shred. If you still haven’t had enough by sunset, 19 runs stay open late for night skiing.
If you’re in it for the spa: Soak in the steam baths, sweat in the Finnish saunas and take quick dips in the cold pools at the Le Nordique Spa and the Spa des Neiges which looks out over a frozen Ile d’Orleans. Be sure to book a deep tissue massage, even if you spent the entire day pool-hopping.
Lake Louise, Alberta
Nestled in Banff National Park, the views of the frozen lake and glacier are legendary. It’s so beautiful that it’s Bachelor-worthy; the show hosted an episode there in 2013.
If you’re in it for the skiing: The top elevation soars over 2500 meters, meaning there’s everything from thrilling double black diamond to easy green level runs.
If you’re in it for the spa: Find a spot near the giant fireplace at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise for a personalized pot of hot chocolate before heading to the spa for a Rocky Mountain Mineral Scrub.
Nelson, British Columbia
The quaintest of the three, Nelson is packed with cute coffee shops, art galleries and Victorian heritage buildings. Lots of fresh flakes means downhill, cross-country and heli-skiing are worth braving the cold.
If you’re in it for the skiing: Hit the Kootenay Coldsmoke Powder Festival which runs from February 19-21st where you can work on your skills with instructors and scope out the photography competition.
If you’re in it for the spa: Dip into one of seven hot springs bubbling up along the Kootenay Rockies to soothe sore muscles. Ainsworth has a mineral cave that reaches a steamy 42 degrees.
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