Banff Snow

Alberta Ski Resorts Ranked & Mapped

We also rated Alberta as the best Canadian province to build a National Park and ski trip from.

List of All Alberta Ski Resorts

Skiing can get expensive. Besides equipment rentals, ski lift passes are expensive and really add up if you have a family. To combat this, multi-resort, multi-day lift passes were created to help offset this cost a bit. Buying lift pass days in bulk will usually net you around a 20% discount.

IKON is the most common multi-resort pass in Alberta with 3 associated resorts. INDY, Mountain Collective and Powder Alliance each have two.

ResortPassLocation
Banff Sunshine VillageIKON,COLLBanff, AB, T0L
Canyon Ski AreaRed Deer, AB, T4E
Castle MountainINDY,POWDPincher Creek, AB, T0K
Drayton Valley – Brazeau Ski HillDrayton Valley, AB, T7A
Eastlink ParkWhitecourt, AB, T7S
Edmonton Ski ClubEdmonton, AB, T6C
Fairview Ski HillFairview, AB, T0H
Gwynne Valley Ski AreaWetaskiwin, AB, T0C
Hidden Valley Ski ResortElkwater, AB, T0J
Innisfail Ski HillInnisfail, AB, T4G
Kinosoo Ridge Snow ResortCold Lake, AB, T9M
Lake LouiseIKON,COLLLake Louise, AB, T0L
Little Smoky Ski AreaFather, AB, T0H
Long Lake Ski HillBoyle, AB, T0A
Marmot BasinINDY,POWDJasper, AB, T0E
Medicine Lodge Ski AreaBentley, AB, T0C
Misery Mountain Ski CentrePeace River, AB, T8S
Mount Joy Snow ResortLloydminster, AB, T9V
Mount NorquayIKONBanff, AB, T0L
Nakiska SkiKananaskis, AB, T0L
Nitehawk Recreation AreaLandry Heights, AB, T8V
Pass PowderkegBlairmore, AB, T0K
Rabbit Hill Snow ResortEdmonton, AB, T6Y
Silver SummitYellowhead County, AB, T0E
Springlake Ski HillSpring Lake, AB, T0H
Sunridge Ski AreaEdmonton, AB, T6S
Tawatinaw Valley Ski AreaTawatina, AB, T0G
Valley Ski ClubAlliance, AB, T0B
Vista RidgeFort McMurray, AB, T9H
Whispering PinesWorsley, AB, T0H
WinSport (Canada Olympic Park)Calgary, AB, T3B

Explaining Our ‘Difficulty Score’

Parks & Trips created a proprietary Difficulty Score that is generated by looking at the number of easy-intermediate-expert slopes by acreage and the maximum vertical drop of the overall resort.

Our algorithm compares each resort’s metrics with all others in North America, then gives each a Difficulty Score, which we use to rank them accordingly. Resorts with a lower score are easier than those with a higher one. However, a high score does not mean that the resort does not have any easy slopes, or vice versa. This is just an overall score given to the resort based on all its metrics grouped together.

The Most Difficult Alberta Ski Resorts

Castle Mountain and Banff Sunshine are basically equals at the top of this leaderboard. They both have an identical near-80% difficulty score, but how they got there is different for each. Banff wins on vertical drop, elevation, and number of trails, while Castle Mountain wins on skiable acreage and the amount of difficult trails.

Rank ResortGreen TrailsBlue TrailsBlack TrailsDifficulty ScoreTM
#1Castle Mountain10%21%69%79%
#2Banff Sunshine Village18%26%56%79%
#3Lake Louise25%45%30%64%
#4Nakiska Ski13%59%28%58%
#5Marmot Basin38%38%25%56%

The Easiest Ski Resorts in Alberta

Many of the ski areas in our top-5 easiest list for Alberta are community “skill hills” and not really resorts in any way. The top three areas here each have zero difficult trails, and only Rabbit Hill and Valley Ski Club have over 100 acres.

Rank ResortGreen TrailsBlue TrailsBlack TrailsDifficulty ScoreTM
#1Eastlink Park100%0%0%0%
#2Gwynne Valley Ski Area70%30%0%8%
#3Innisfail Ski Hill50%50%0%13%
#4Rabbit Hill Snow Resort60%30%10%17%
#5Valley Ski Club40%50%10%21%

The Largest Ski Resorts in Alberta

Choosing the largest ski resorts is a bit of a tricky proposition. Do you look at just the summit elevation? How about the total acreage, most trails, or steepest vertical drop?

Well, we decided to combine all four of those metrics into one ranking to get the best idea, although we fully admit this is completely subjective. We’ve given you all the data in the following table to make your own decision.

Banff Sunshine comes out on top as the largest ski resort in Alberta, but it’s not a unanimous decision. Banff has the highest summit elevation and vertical drop, but comes in second for number of trails and third for total skiable acres. It’s neighbor resort Lake Louise takes second place with the most skiable acres and the second-highest vertical drop.

Rank ResortSummit ElevationBase ElevationVertical DropAcresTrails
#1Banff Sunshine Village2,730 m1,660 m1,070 m3,358145
#2Lake Louise2,637 m1,646 m991 m4,200160
#3Castle Mountain2,275 m1,411 m863 m3,59294
#4Marmot Basin2,612 m1,698 m914 m1,72091
#5Nakiska Ski2,260 m1,525 m735 m1,02171