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What’s not to love about a proper Canadian mountain town?
There’s nothing quite like catching the first chair on a powder day and then doing après-ski in a pub, filled with friendly locals. You know the place; it's got offbeat decor, whacky rituals, and probably a moose head mounted on the wall.
Sure, when it comes to mountain town notoriety, places like Whistler and Banff get most of the attention (and are a must for any skier-boarder), but there are some hidden - and not-so-hidden - Canadian gems with just as much winter wonderland. Oh, and fewer tourists.
So whether your priority is hitting the slopes or soaking in some good vibes, you won't have to compromise on either in these four lovable mountain towns:
Destination BC/Agathe Bernard
Nestled in the Central Columbia Mountains, Revelstoke Mountain Resort and Revelstoke National Park are a dream for skiers who like it steep, deep and wild. At 1,713 metres, the resort boasts the most vertical in North America and has hosted several ski competitions, including the Swatch Freeride World Tour.
Heli and cat skiing are a major attraction in Revelstoke, so if big lines and untouched powder are what you’re looking for, you’ll be sure to find it here.
Do you prefer your winter activities off the hill? There are plenty of other winter rec options available, from snowshoeing to dogsledding.
Founded in the 1880s, Revelstoke’s historic, (and frankly adorable) town centre is home to a number of locally-owned cafes, restaurants and shops.
Peruse Revelstoke's quaint boutiques for stylish threads and then stroll the paved pathway that follows the Columbia River with a steaming cup of locally roasted coffee.
We wouldn't visit Revelstoke without stopping in at the Village Idiot, which serves up delicious beer and pizza, complete with ski-centric local flavour. If you're the craft beer type, Mt. Begbie is the local brewer on tap.
Destination BC/Dave Heath
A historic mining town-turned-ski-mecca, Fernie has a lot to offer. Frankly, as far as we're concerned, it gets far less attention than in deserves.
For a small mountain town in the middle of the Rockies, Fernie is big on arts and culture. Learn about the region’s tumultuous history at the Fernie Museum, be enchanted at the Lantern Festival or get stoked at the Fernie Mountain Film Festival. If you’re looking for good vibes and live music, Fernie also has open mic nights, jam nights and a concert series that runs from September to December at The Arts Station.
Probably the best thing about Fernie, though, is the skiing. Fernie Alpine Resort boasts no fewer than five alpine bowls and over 2,500 acres of skiable terrain. Self-proclaimed the “birthplace of the Powder Highway”, the resort gets as much as 11 metres of powder in a season, and its out-of-the-way location thins the crowds.
For even more untouched powder, check out one of the many Cat skiing companies that operate in the area.
Blue Mountain Village and Resort
(c) Blue Mountian Resort
With the resort celebrating its 75th anniversary this year, Blue Mountain has long been a playground for Ontario’s powder seekers. From groomed runs to glades to a terrain park, the resort offers skiers and snowboarders a number of appealing options.
Between runs or for après-ski, Blue Mountain Village offers plenty of cafés, boutiques and restaurants to keep you well-fed and well-dressed. There are also a number of accommodation options, from rustic chalets to modern condos. Visitors need only step out the front door and onto the lifts.
Scandinave Spa Blue Mountain
When you’re ready to take a break from the snow sports, pay a visit to one of Blue Mountain’s several spas. Located outdoors in a quiet forest, the award-winning Scandinave Spa, which also has locations in Whistler, Montreal and Mont Tremblant, is well worth the short drive from the village. Relax in the Finnish sauna or eucalyptus steam room, then soak in a hot bath or enjoy a luxurious massage.
Baie Saint Paul and Le Massif de Charlevoix
For the “highest vertical east of the Canadian Rockies,” head to Quebec’s Le Massif de Charlevoix. With 52 trails, and 406 acres of skiable terrain, Le Massif has something for all skill levels. For non-skiers, the resort offers snowshoeing and cross-country trails, as well as a 7.4 km-long guided sled run.
When you’re not busy skiing or sledding, the nearby town of Baie Saint Paul is the place to be. With 350 years of history, a scenic location on the Saint Lawrence River, and centre brimming with charming boutiques and galleries, Baie Saint Paul is a paragon of small-town eastern Canadian charm. Wander the narrow streets, visit the Museum of Modern Art, or learn all about the delicious history of cheese making in Quebec at Laiterie Charlevoix.
Which is your favourite Canadian mountain town?
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