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Ski hill opening days in Alberta, British Columbia

A list of Western Canada's ski hill opening days.

WESTERN CANADA – The forecast says snow and Western Canada ski hills are ready to go.

In Alberta, skiers looking to hit the slopes need to look no further than Banff National Park, where a trio of ski hills will be among the earliest in Canada to open for the 2023-24 season (scroll down for list of Western Canada ski hill opening days).

Mt. Norquay Ski Resort is tentatively set to be the Great White North’s first to welcome the public Friday (Nov. 3). In the past week, 35 cms of new snow has dumped on the ski resort, located adjacent to the Banff townsite.

“Our team is just as excited as all the skiers and snowboarders out there itching to get on snow. We push hard to open because we love to ski and ride,” said general manager Andre Quenneville.

On Saturday (Nov. 4), Nakiska Ski Area in Kananaskis Country is aiming to open up to the crowds.

“Canadians love skiing,” said “Powder” Matt Mosteller, vice president of the Resorts of the Canadian Rockies. “It is so good for you, getting outside and in the mountains. One of the few sports that people of all abilities can do at the same time and entire families can enjoy this sport together, getting everyone active and engaged in a lifetime tradition.”

Sunshine Village tentatively set its opening day for Nov. 9 and Lake Louise Ski Resort is Nov. 10.

With the Alpine World Cup not coming to Lake Louise this year, the ski resort said it is focusing on its snowmaking capacity toward the runs.

Marmot Basin, in Jasper National Park, is on pace for a Nov. 9 opening day, while Castle Mountain, near Pincher Creek, is forecasting Dec. 1.

Calgary Olympic Park opens Nov. 24.

In British Columbia, Sun Peaks, north of Kamloops, is set to be the province’s first to open Nov. 18.

Whistler Blackcomb and Big White Ski Resort are scheduled to open to ski enthusiasts Nov. 23, while SilverStar Mountain Resort, near Vernon, is aiming for Nov. 30.

On Dec. 2, a trio of B.C. ski hills are set to open including Revelstoke Mountain Resort, Fernie Alpine Resort and Apex Mountain Resort.

On Dec. 8, three more hills will welcome skiers including Panorama Mountain Resort, Kicking Horse Mountain Resort, and Whitewater Ski Resort. The following day, Red Mountain Resort will open.

Kimberley Alpine Resort is aiming for Dec. 15.

El Niño winter forecast

All signs point toward an El Niño weather pattern for Banff National Park, Kananaskis Country and across Western Canada this season, meaning generally milder conditions, but the type of snowfall varies from region-to-region.

“What that generally means for Western Canada for the winter months is a warmer than normal pattern as well as slightly drier than normal conditions,” said Justin Shelley, weather preparedness meteorologist with Environment and Climate Change Canada in a previous interview with the Outlook.

El Niño occurs every two to seven years and can last up to 18 months.

For the past few years, the weather cycle Western Canada has been in is a La Niña, which has the opposite effects of the El Niño. Typically, a La Niña cycle is better for snowfall in the Bow Valley.

Tentative opening days for the 2023-24 season


Nov. 3: Mt. Norquay, Banff

Nov. 4: Nakiska Ski Area, Kananaskis Country

Nov. 9: Marmot Basin, Jasper

Nov. 9: Sunshine Village, Banff

Nov. 10: Lake Louise Ski Resort, Banff

Nov. 24: Calgary Olympic Park, Calgary

Dec. 1: Castle Mountain, Pincher Creek

British Columbia

Nov. 18: Sun Peaks, Kamloops

Nov. 23: Whistler Blackcomb, Whistler

Nov. 23: Big White Ski Resort, Okanagan Valley

Nov. 30: SilverStar Mountain Resort, Vernon

Dec. 2: Revelstoke Mountain Resort, Revelstoke

Dec. 2: Fernie Alpine Resort, Fernie

Dec. 2: Apex Mountain Resort, Okanagan Valley

Dec. 8: Panorama Mountain Resort, Panorama

Dec. 8: Kicking Horse Mountain Resort, Golden

Dec. 8: Whitewater Ski Resort, Nelson

Dec. 8: Mount Washington Alpine Resort, Courtenay

Dec. 9: Red Mountain Resort, Rossland

Dec. 15: Kimberley Alpine Resort, Kimberley

Jordan Small

About the Author: Jordan Small

An award-winning reporter, Jordan Small has covered sports, the arts, and news in the Bow Valley since 2014. Originally from Barrie, Ont., Jordan has lived in Alberta since 2013.
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