What's it like doing a ski season in Canada?
With its alluring mountains, abundant national parks, year-round adventure activities, and reputation for having the friendliest people on the planet, what’s not to love?
If you aren’t convinced, the Canadian national dish consists of chips, cheese and gravy… Easily the best après ski meal around!
When planning a ski season gap year, Canada more often than not gets a mention. It has long been one of the world’s best ski destinations with famous resorts like Whistler Blackcomb, Lake Louise and Revelstoke to name just a few….
The draw of big mountains and lively ski towns such as Banff, Whistler, and Big White, make Canada a hotspot for seasonaires and travelers from around the world. There's enough après to keep you going from the moment the lifts shut at 4pm till your body stops moving at 3 am. It's the kind of place that will keep you up all night, but still get you out of bed early in the morning.
It's easy to see why so many EA Ski and Snowboard interns choose Canada to become ski and snowboard instructors.
With endless tree runs, steep lines, and terrain parks that cater from beginner to the pros the Canadian mountains offer a variety for skiers and boarders that’s hard to beat. Home to some of the largest ski resorts and snow schools in the world, whether you want to work on the mountain or in town, there are heaps of opportunities.
Once you have your Canadian working holiday visa there is so much to explore and fall in love with. Including bears, wolves and enough adventure activities to keep you entertained all year long.
The hardest part will be saying goodbye.
When is the ski season?
Typically, the ski season in Canada runs from late-November through to late-April. Depending on where you are and the weather conditions, the season may run longer or shorter. The winter season in Sunshine Village in Banff can last up to 7 Months! With Whistler Blackcomb offering summer sliding on the Hortsman Glacier, you can almost ski solidly from November till July!
Regardless of where you go in Canada, the best snowfall usually occurs between the months of December through March.
Where to go?
The beauty of doing a ski season in Canada is there's something for everyone,
The biggest and best parks in North America.
The steepest and deepest big mountain spots in the world.
Groomed runs that will put your heart in your mouth.
Here’s a quick summary of what you can expect at some of our favourite spots!
Recently voted Canada's best ski resort in the World Ski Awards. It’s arguably the most beautiful place to ski on the planet! Not only is the scenery incredible, but the terrain is too! As a location on the Freeride World tour qualifier series and the FIS alpine ski world cup circuit, Lake Louise is perfect if you want to push your riding to the limits! They also have 5 terrain parks to test your skills on.
Lake Louise village is a fairly remote and sleepy town with one bar and a bakery making up the main village. Fear not, the famous alpine town of Banff is only 45 minutes away where you will find one of the liveliest après scenes in North America!
Check out Abie Jacksons instructor story here.
It’s big... Boasting 3,121 acres of skiable terrain and the largest vertical in North America at 1,713 meters, Revelstoke is a powderhounds dream!
Revelstoke town is relatively low key in comparison to the likes of Big White and Banff. However there is an awesome community mad about shredding, with plenty bars and craft beer houses to keep you hydrated through the season.
Cypress Mountain offers the rare opportunity to live in a thriving city while working on a mountain. With 1,482 acres of skiable terrain including 6 terrain parks,19 km of cross country tracks and daily night skiing, Cypress is seriously good fun! Vancouver, famous for its beauty, seafood and cannabis culture, is a must visit if you are in North America! If you are keen to do a ski season but also want to experience a diverse and energetic metropolis, Cypress should be high on your list!
If you need some help choosing a spot drop us a line to chat to one of our training consultants.
Finding accommodation can be difficult particularly in Banff and Big White. Larger employers often provide staff accommodation which can make life a whole lot easier (and cheaper).
If you don’t get staff accommodation, go onto facebook (Or Kijiji) and join one of the local housing groups. Often you can even group up and lease an entire house or flat together!
When it comes to finding a ski season job there are generally two options;
Work on the mountain = Free ski pass (yay)
Work in town = Ride when you have a day off (or a few hours spare)
Obviously, we think that becoming a ski instructor is the best way to do your ski season in Canada (we’re probably a little biased). Seriously though - If you want to, ride every day, and take your abilities to the next level it’s definitely one of the best options. There are also tonnes of other opportunities on the mountain, in lift operations, retail and hospitality.
Working in town obviously has its perks too!
If you go by the saying “Sleep when you’re dead” and are pretty handy working behind a bar, you could find yourself able to ski all day everyday. Not bad at all!
Another option when doing your gap year (if you an afford it) is to not work at all and jump on one of our ski instructor training courses. If you really want to step your game up and see dramatic improvements in a short time this is the course for you! With options from 4,5,11 week and full season instructor courses whether you are out for a short time or a long time we've got you got you covered.
Canada is a year round adventure playground - and you are 100% likely to meet some rad people along the way, eh!
Have you heard of Canadas powder highway? It’s an area in British Columbia where deep snow, funky towns, and some of the most stash-laden, adventure-packed ski resorts in North America exist.
Terrain Parks and National Parks
Canada has its fair share of ridiculous terrain parks with Whistler Blackcomb’s so huge they are visible from space on Google Earth. It’s also home to the some of the worlds most stunning national parks so you never have to stop exploring.
People & Poutine (No stereotypes here)
Canadians are famed for being some of the most friendly people in the world, eh!
Poutine as mentioned before is the perfect quick lunch, après ski snack, or drunken munch on the way home.
Don't worry about getting your veggies in either as you get to wash that healthy meal down with a refreshing Caesar (fishy tomatoey vodka drink). Think Bloody Mary - But better.
To continue exploring what a gap year in Canada has to offer click here.