Most of the developed winter recreation areas are in the southern half of British Columbia  and in the Canadian Rockies . Whether you’re a total beginner or an advanced daredevil, you’ll find slopes to suit. The price of lift tickets is generally reasonable, and at the smaller, lesser-known resorts, you don’t have to spend half your day lining up for the lifts. Generally resorts are open December–April. The best known of the British Columbian resorts is Whistler/Blackcomb , but others scattered through the southern interior provide world-class skiing and snowboarding on just-as-challenging slopes. The best of these include Big White Ski Resort , Silver Star Mountain Resort , Red Mountain , Whitewater , Fernie Alpine Resort , and Panorama Resort ; and Sun Peaks Resort. Banff National Park  is home to Canada’s second largest resort, Lake Louise , as well as Sunshine Village  and Ski Norquay . Nakiska  (vicinity of Calgary ) was developed for the 1988 Olympic Winter Games.
Alternatives to resorts are also available. If you’re an intermediate or advanced skier or snowboarder, you can go heli-skiing and heli-boarding in the mind-boggling scenery and deep, untracked powder of the Coast and Chilcotin Ranges, the central Cariboo Mountains, and the Bugaboos. The world’s largest heli-ski operation is CMH Heli-skiing (403/762-7100 or 800/661-0252, www.cmhski.com ), which includes almost limitless terrain over five mountain ranges accessed from 11 lodges. Mike Wiegele Helicopter Skiing (250/673-8381 or 800/661-9170, www.wiegele.com ) offers heli-skiing and heli-boarding in the Monashee and Cariboo Mountains from a luxurious lodge at Blue River.
Another, less-expensive alternative is to hook up with one of the many Sno-Cat operations in the province. Sno-Cats are tracked, all-terrain vehicles (similar to snow groomers but capable of carrying passengers) that can transport skiers and snowboarders up through the snow to virgin slopes in high-country wilderness. British Columbia has been a world leader in this type of skiing, and many operators are scattered through the province. Revelstoke Mountain Resort (250/837-2188, www.discoverrevelstoke.com ) offers the best of both worlds—this alpine resort in central British Columbia offers lift accessed skiing and boarding, plus cat- and heli-skiing.
Thanks to its location amid some of the continent’s most consistent powder snow, Island Lake Lodge (near Fernie , 250/423-3700 or 888/422-8754, www.islandlakelodge.com ) has gained a reputation for both its Sno-Cat skiing and boarding and its luxurious lodgings.