British Columbia & Alberta: The Best Slopes for Beginners & Levelling Up

Banff downtown, skiers crossing, Alberta

Four of Canada’s most popular ski resorts, are British Columbia’s Whistler Blackcomb, the largest ski resort in North America, and Alberta’s Banff Sunshine, Lake Louise and Mount Norquay, all three world-class resorts part of the celebrated SkiBig3 area, but what do they have to offer beginners? In this post we look at where first time skiers should start their journey on the slopes and where best to level up.

From Baby Slopes To Expert Terrain, Whistler Blackcomb has it all!

Skiers walking through Whistler village, British Columbia

With plenty of green runs spread across both mountains Whistler Blackcomb is the ideal starting point for anyone who is new to ski, and once you’re on way to feeling comfortable on the slopes, there’s a good split between beginner, intermediate and expert terrain, making the resort a great place to level up, too.

It’s best to sample each of the mountains in turn. Starting with the Whistler area, head for the short green run off of the Olympic Chairlift – a sensible next move if you’ve already mastered the magic carpet zone.  On the Blackcomb side, the Yellow Brick Road is another wise choice. Just hop on the Magic Chairlift to enjoy a smooth wide run with plenty of room to practice turns. When you’re ready to step things up a gear again, take the Whistler Gondola to the mid station, then ski the green Lower Olympic run all the way to the bottom.

Still beginner trails but with fabulous views from 3,800 feet that are worthy of some more challenging runs, head to the top of the Whistler Village Gondola. From there, ski from Upper Whiskey Jack to Lower Whiskey Jack or Upper Whiskey Jack to the Pony Trail.

A big plus, the resort’s special slow areas afford new skiers time to learn without feeling pressured, and on the monitored slow zones anyone who is skiing too fast will have to forfeit their ski pass. The many easy and wide slopes also make the Whistler Blackcomb resort a must ski for beginners.

Outside of ski you will be surprised at the sheer number of activities. Sled on air, and go snow tubing at the Bubly Tube Park, discover Vallea Lumina, a multimedia night walk, enjoy a sightseeing ride on the Peak-to-Peak Gondola, or go snowshoeing amongst the ancient cedars, and even feast on a Canadian Campfire Cookout. If you are ready to get your adrenaline pumping, snowmobiling, zip trekking and even bungee jumping are some of the more exhilarating adventures on offer.

There’s also a thriving arts scene at the resort, so dive into one of the many exciting spaces using the Go Whistler Tours app, and connect with Whistler’s nature, culture and people.

SkiBig3 For More Opportunities To Learn & Level Up

Skiing into Banff Mountain Lodge, Alberta

Banff Sunshine is very beginner friendly. It’s packed with over 11 miles of designated green runs and you’ll be able to perfect those first curves on its numerous wide open slopes.  First up, try quiet Meadow Park on the edge of the resort. Levelling up here is fun, as there are a few tress you can choose to work your way around. Rock Isle Road is another exciting contender for ski newbies. Its varied terrain will certainly challenge the uninitiated, and you’ll have plenty of freedom to practice making turns.

Mount Norquay is a small intimate resort with a local feel, making it very family friendly, and a dream for first timers. Intermediates will also enjoy the area and the many opportunities to progress once you’ve awakened your inner powder hound; green slopes, blue cruisers, steep black moguls and double-black natural terrain packed into its 4,200 acres. There is a learning area serviced by a magic carpet, and the Cascade, a beginner chair, gives you access to some sweet and easy greens, for example Zoomer, where you can turn without the crowds – another plus for beginners at Norquay. If you’re levelling up, progress to Spirit lift (get off at the mid-station) for more short green runs, including the Phantom and Abracadabra.

The base area at Lake Louise is a good starting point for beginners, and never ever skiers will truly appreciate Sunny Side – also known as the magic carpet.  Wide and well-groomed, it’s a great place to get a taste of mountain skiing and at the same time you’ll be bedazzled by the amazing views. Sure to make confident first timers feel accomplished, the Pika on the backside of Lake Louise Resort is a fabulous place to test out your freshly acquired skills – the top of this green run making you feel as though you have attempted a black.

Take a break from ski, and go ice skating on Lake Louise, which comes complete with its own ice castle (rebuilt every year), set off on a winter’s hike up Tunnel Mountain for breathtaking views over the Bow Valley and downtown Banff. and for a truly exhilarating snow-venture try tubing at Mount Norquay, home to Alberta’s longest tube lanes. Dog sledding, snowshoeing and even helicopter tours are other options outside of ski at these three popular resorts.

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.