Flying down the mountain, plunging through fresh powder and weaving around sky-scraping trees, I think, “Wow, Alberta has the best skiing and snowboarding in the world!” At least, I would be thinking that if I was actually doing it and not just dreaming about it.
Let’s face it. Not everyone is ready to hurl themselves down the world’s best in the Canadian Rockies, myself included. If you’re like me, it’s definitely worth visiting some of Alberta’s not-so intimidating local slopes. Rural ski areas offer great value, fewer line-ups and a place to practice before graduating to the alpine big leagues.
Starting Out or Starting Over
Maybe you’re just learning to ski or snowboard, or it’s been a while since you strapped on the old planks. Or maybe you want to introduce your little ones to skiing without breaking the bank or worrying they’ll get swallowed up by a massive mountain. Whatever the case, Alberta’s rural ski hills are calling your name.
Away from our mountain parks, there are more than 20 ski areas with terrain for all skill levels, not just my own personal favourites – beginner zones and bunny slopes! These calm corners are much more accessible and ideal for taking up skiing or snowboarding with your whole family. Almost all the hills offer equipment rentals and a ski/snowboard school and some include private lessons.
Calling all Freestylers
Several of the rural hills also have state-of-the-art terrain parks complete with half pipes and even natural luge tracks. These are great places to practice your tricks, catch some air, and if you’re feeling gutsy, take a shot at the 360.
Ski by Night
Inhaling the crisp night air as I carve, or more precisely, snowplow my way down the slopes is something I really enjoy. One of the biggest perks of rural ski hills is night skiing, which adds a whole new dimension of excitement, not to mention convenience – there’s nothing better than getting in a few runs after a long day parked in front of a computer.
Speed down the slopes bouncing over the bumps on an inflatable tube at a snow tubing park – a thrilling addition to family-friendly fun at several rural ski resorts. Snow tubing is an exciting activity that is fun for all ages and abilities and the best part is, there’s a tow system that pulls you and your inflatable tube back up to the top of the hill.
No matter where you are in the province, there’s a hill nearby, so it’s easy to get outside and enjoy Alberta’s coolest season.