Spring skiing is a popular activity at ski resorts throughout Canada. And while most Eastern dwellers travel west in March to experience the soaring mountain ranges and deep snowpacks, many eastern resorts also have the corn-like conditions skiers and snowboarders covet. Spring skiing is especially popular because, even though there's snow up high, temperatures can be downright balmy, making it fun to ski shirtless and or in a bikini top. Keep in mind, however, that March break for the public schools in Canada and Reading Week for university students will be the busiest times to travel, which can equate to long lift lines.
But in general, fewer crowds, package deals, and long daylight hours make it worth it to usher out the ski season with a bang.
Spring skiing is a lesser phenomenon in Eastern Canada than it is out West at resorts like Whistler, Banff, or Revelstoke. Ski resorts in the eastern part of Canada (like in Ontario and Quebec) have shorter ski seasons and lower alpine terrain. Even still, these resorts make snow all season long, allowing trails to be covered through March and sometimes into April (during a good snow year).
Popular resorts in Ontario, Quebec, and a few ski spots in the Canadian Maritimes and Newfoundland offer spring ski deals in March and April that will cost you far less than their western counterparts. So if you don't need extreme elevation or a long journey to enjoy a family ski vacation, Eastern Canada—with resorts like Mont Tremblant, Mont Blanc, Le Massif, and Mont-Sainte-Anne—is a good choice.
The interior provinces of Saskatchewan and Manitoba have no shortage of winter snow or ski resorts. Among them, Wapiti Valley Ski & Board Resort in Saskatchewan has 15 trails, multiple terrain parks, and 310 meters of elevation. They're even open one night a month for night skiing. Table Mountain, also in Saskatchewan, offers night skiing, as well, and hosts a Ski and Ride Camp smack dab in the middle of March break.
As a relative newbie, Asessippi Ski Area and Resort in Manitoba claims they have the best snow sports facility from Thunder Bay to Calgary. With 27 groomed runs, ranging from beginner to expert, one quad chair, and two triple chairs, this interior Canadian resort doesn't skimp on their infrastructure. Don't miss the resort's Big Air Snowboard Championship mid-March.
The Canadian Rockies
Whistler gets all the hype, but Lake Louise and Fernie, arguably, have better snow. In fact, March storms are numerable in the Rockies, turning spring conditions to powder snow.
Mountainous Alberta boasts three of the biggest ski draws in the province: Lake Louise Mountain Resort, Sunshine Village, and Mt. Norquay. The "Big 3" are all located in Banff National Park, a region famous for its light (and plentiful) powder snow conditions. Lake Louise and Sunshine have long spring ski seasons, too, with Sunshine remaining open through Victoria Day in May. And Lake Louise—with its 4200 skiable acres—is one of the largest ski resorts in North America. Visit all three, then round out your stay with a dogsled (and wildlife viewing) trip through the park.
Fernie Alpine Resort gets 11 meters (37 feet) of snow a year, so there will be no shortage of it, come spring. Known for its legendary powder, natural hot springs, and small-town pubs, the town of Fernie (and its super friendly Canadian locals) will make you wish you lived there.
Moderate spring temperatures in coastal British Columbia make spring skiing a dream. And, at just two hours north of Vancouver, Whistler Blackcomb's season can last until June. However, check the weather before you book, as spring rain and warm temperatures can deteriorate the snow conditions.
Grouse Mountain, just outside of the city, gives spring breakers the best of both worlds: good spring skiing and snowboarding conditions, as well as a hopping city nightlife. The views from the top are fantastic, the ski and snowboard park are of professional quality (in true Northwest flavor), and you can even ski 15 lighted runs at night.