I grew up snowboarding on the ski hills of British Columbia, Canada and even met my now husband, Lloyd in one of these ski season towns. There's something really special about mountain town life that really makes every day feel like a dream!
I have done many seasons as an adult and travelled to ski towns all over, but most don't even come close to how Canada does ski season.
If you're thinking about doing a season for yourself in Canada, here's the top 5 places I would recommend posting up for the best snow, activities, seasonal work, nightlife, people and more.
Revelstoke (also known as Revy) is best known has the highest vertical mountain in North America. The ride from the top of the mountain to bottom takes about 45 minutes.
The city of Revelstoke itself embodies a full cozy Canadian ski town perfectly. Although the location of Revelstoke is probably its biggest down fall, often having all roads to and from the city being closed due to avalanches, crashes, flooding, weather etc. being "Revelstuck" is a common term for those that choose to reside in the city.
However, if you are someone who prefers does not like the city and prefers a small town vibe then this is the perfect spot to be, seemingly cut off from the rest of the world. The biggest near by city in Kelowna.
There are many small businesses and family owned businesses in Revelstoke, however it is rapidly growing.
Revelstoke Mountain Resort is one of the biggest employers in the city and they employ people from all over the world making it a great place to meet new people.
You also have neighbouring mountains like Kicking Horse in Golden, BC about 1 1/2 hours away and Lake Louise/ Banff about 2 hours 35 minutes away.
For our season we did in Revelstoke we used Kijiji to find a 6 month lease and paid about $1000 for a 2 bedroom basement suite in 2018.
#4 Kimberley BC
Kimberley BC is an extremely under-rated ski town in Canada. The small town is known for being the "Bavarian City of the Rockies" as much of the architecture has a Bavarian influence. You'll find really cool, cozy boutique shops, cafes and restaurants in what they call the main part of town the "The Platzl".
The ski hill is an awesome hill to learn on, speaking from experience, this is the mountain I grew up on.
Although you can be more extreme, one of my favourite aspects of Kimberley ski hill is the amount of fun, cruisy runs they have available on the mountain.
The feeling of Kimberley is also really safe, and welcoming. You'll find people from all over that have made Kimberley their home.
Rent is also much more affordable in Kimberley as apposed to other ski towns and would be suitable if you are looking to do a season without spending all your savings.
There really isn't much night life here, but plenty of incredible dinner spots to try (I reccommend pedal and tap for their famous mucky fries you won't regret it).
Kimberley is pretty secluded, but you do have Fernie Mountain Resort only an hour away and Banff/ Lake Louise only 2 hours away.
#3 Banff/ Lake Louise
Probably one of the most famous tourist spots in Canada, but definitely still worth doing a season, Lake Louise has some of the best skiing or snowboarding you will ever do.
Not to mention some of the best bars, restaurants and cafes as well.
Rent is pretty pricey here, but worth it for the incredible views of the mountains right from the main street in town.
The vibe of Banff isn't as local as Revelstoke and Kimberley and more suited to those wanting to just do a temporary season. If you're into nightlife this is the place for you.
A couple places we always visit while we are in Banff are Magpie and Stump and Touque. Thank us later.
#2 Nelson BC
Nelson has to be the most under-rated ski town in Canada. Not only does it have 3 mountains within a 2 hour radius, it's also very close to the USA border making it very easy to duck down across the line!
The city itself has a wonderful old school hippy vibe to it, with many people in the city being very outdoorsy, connected to nature and just overall welcoming and kind.
You'll find people from all over in this little town, it's so easy to meet people. Rent however is the biggest challenge here if you want to do a season. We recommend connecting with people on Facebook rental groups for Nelson before you come. Rent is also on the pricier side but not as expensive as Banff.
There are some really cool family owned businesses in Nelson, many craft breweries, glass blowing shops, crystal shops, and a huge music scene can be found in Nelson.
Its like a hidden gem that slowly being discovered, I grew up going to Nelson as a child and it's always held a special place in my heart. I think Nelson is somewhere many call home as it's a great place to heal and be away from the rest of the world.
Whistler has been one of the most popular ski destinations in Canada for years. One reason being its close proximity to the ocean and the city of Vancouver. You can have the best of both worlds here, a quiet life in the mountains and be able to spend the day in the city.
Whistler has a few downfalls however, one being that its nearly impossible to find accomodation. Most homes and townhouses or condos have been purchased for Airbnb use only so many places are completely empty outside of peak season. Which leaves not many options to those who rent, expecially seasonally.
However, if you do manage to find a home there is so many options of things to do here. Night life is a 10/10. Many people from all over the world flock here to experience the nightlife in Whistler. There are tons of bars, restaurants and cafes at the foot of the mountain with epic fireplaces and patios to sit on and watch the busy foot traffic.
Even though Whistler cost of living is very high, it is worth it for the best ski season experience in Canada.