Feel The Festival Vibe On Your Ski Holiday

The end of season Slush Cup is held at Banff Sunshine (c) Dan Evans Photography

British Columbia’s Whistler Blackcomb and Alberta’s SkiBig3 resorts, including Banff Sunshine, Lake Louise and Mount Norquay, are world class ski and snowboard destinations. They also offer fabulous events throughout the season, with opportunities for you to ski, celebrate, and on some occasions compete, all in the one holiday.

An added plus for skiers who are bringing their non-skiing partners, there will be much more to see and do outside of hitting the slopes. So, whether you are looking to put your skiing talent to the test or simply kick back and have fun, take a look at our pick of the best events, including the largest annual winter sports and music festival in North America.

Mix Ski With Revelry At One Of Alberta’s SkiBig3 Resorts

Skijoring at Banff Snow Days (c) Shannon Martin

Banff Snow Days is a chance for everyone to frolic in the snow for 12 days straight, the event held annually in January. In the early days of the festival, Canadian and international artists carve impressive sculptures from enormous blocks of snow; head to Bear Street to view their finished masterpieces. Also part of the festivities, athletes from Skijour Canada showcase their horse-riding and ski stunt skills in downtown Banff. For the quintessential Canadian experience, try skating on Lake Louise, the rink complete with its own fairytale ice castle.

Couple at Cliffhouse Bistro, Mount Norquay (c) Banff & Lake Louise Tourism/Paul Zizka

One of Mount Norquay’s many events, and held in the month of February, Lifts of Love is an opportunity for skiers and snowboarders to find their soulmate on the slopes. Single strangers pair up and take a ride on a high speed quad, with guests having just two or three minutes to see if sparks fly on the snow. When the lift reaches the top, daters have the option of continuing their conversation, or they can head back to the bottom and find someone new. The evening also includes an Après Ski Mixer with live DJ at Norquay’s Lone Pine Pub.

Mountain skier, Lake Louise

Taking place annually in March, Lake Louise’s Big Mountain Challenge is a thrilling test for anyone interested in freeriding the ski resort’s most difficult terrain. Competitive skiing and snowboarding with no set course, all entrants are judged on skill, tricks, jumps and clean riding, on what is around a two-minute ride from top to bottom. There are ski and snowboard categories for both men and women who are age 18+, and as of 2023, there is a new Masters Category for those aged 40+.

Banff Sunshine, Slush Cup, SkiBig3

Winner of Travel Alberta’s “Event of the Year,” Alto award, Banff Sunshine’s end-of-season Slush Cup is legendary. The event was initially conceived as a dare back in 1928, when two friends happened upon a fresh pond of meltwater while skiing what is now Banff Sunshine Village. Traditionally celebrated on the last day of the season, you can expect non-stop entertainment as entrants try to cross the full length of an ice-cold pond (in the craziest costumes) on skis or a snowboard. Participants should be at least 18 years of age. Spectators are encouraged to dress in colourful attire – neon retro ski apparel is the way to go.

Experience Mountain Culture At Whistler Blackcomb

Whistler Blackcomb’s Fire & Ice event

Presented in partnership with the Resort Municipality of Whistler and Tourism Whistler, Whistler’s free ​​Fire & Ice event is a fabulous offering of pyrotechnics, music, live entertainment and world-class freestyle skiing and riding. Whistler Blackcomb Snow School’s finest pros and local athletes put on a high-octane performance as they show off their tricks, including jumping through a 16-foot ring of fire. Running on a weekly basis from early January through to early March, it brings Skiers Plaza to life, the signature event celebrating the resort’s mountain culture.

Whistler Blackcomb, Peak to Valley race

Whistler Blackcomb holds a number of top-notch races each year, including the annual February Peak to Valley race. The longest Super G event of its kind in the world, teams of four are challenged over the space of two days to race down Whistler Mountain on a 5km run with twists and turns around 180 GS gates. The unique course usually begins on the Whistler Saddle and finishes at Dusty’s in the Creekside. A dinner and awards ceremony at the Roundhouse Lodge complete the event.

​Whistler’s World Ski & Snowboard festival (WSSF)

In the spring, ​​​​​​Whistler’s World Ski & Snowboard festival – or WSSF as the locals like to call it – brings an exciting vibe to the resort. Said to be the largest annual winter sports and music festival in North America, it has often been billed as the snowsport industry’s version of Burning Man. The event is packed with ski and snowboard competitions, music, films, art, and of course, a lively après ski scene. Held at the helipad at the top of Emerald Express chairlift, highlights include, air competitions in Skiers Plaza, the Whistler’s Retro Day Slush Cup and the Saudan Couloir Ski Race Extreme – the steepest ski race in the world, the stuff of Whistler legend.

The only question now is, “Will you be there​?​

Experts for over 30 years with an expansive first hand knowledge of where to ski and where to stay in Canada, call us on 020 8776 8709 or email us at ski@frontier-travel.co.uk.