Best of the Best: 2017

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Ski Canada Magazine recently released their “Best of Skiing in Canada 2017” list, covering everything from the best deals to the best bangers and mash, with a bit of everything in-between. Here are our top 10 from the list:

BEST IDEA

Selkirk Snowcat Skiing (f.k.a. Selkirk Wilderness) was the ultimate trendsetter when it introduced the concept of snowcat-skiing to the world in 1975—and there’s been no looking back. Whether you’re taking your spouse and kids (16 and up) for the ski holiday of a lifetime or you’re joining your regular gang of guys for another epic week, Selkirk hit the mark when it got to choose its huge stash of light, dry B.C. powder, spectacular open terrain and gently spaced trees—and then introduced gourmet dining, cloud-like sleeps and never-ending likes on social media photos. Still unique in the industry, SSS’s relaxing five-day, six-night program pushes no one out the door early and ensures that each season sells out, often by September.

BEST FOOD FARE

Whitewater cooks it up like crazy in the West with one sell-out cookbook after another. In the East, Le Massif mountain-top dining does delicious cuisine with nothing fried and generous serving sizes. Chef Guy Bessone and his brigade enjoy pro­ducing pastries, char­cuteries and a wide range of Charlevoix dishes like tourtière and ragoût de boeuf.

BEST FREEBIE

With free entry this year to all national parks, including Banff and Jasper, there’s never been a better time to ski Marmot Basin, Lake Louise, Sunshine Village and Mount Norquay than 2017. Happy birthday to us!

BEST WELCOME

Across the country the Canadian Ski Council’s Never Ever Day in January (or, in Quebec, Ma Première Fois) introduces our sport to future skiers and snow­boarders for $25, which includes a lift pass, lesson, rentals and helmet. One of the biggest red carpets is at Camp Fortune in Chelsea, Quebec, near Ottawa. Fortune regularly has more than 2,500 beginners in seasonal lesson programs and teaches thousands more in after-school programs and private lessons every year.

FASTEST SCHOOLROOM IN THE WEST

Red Mountain is now the official Western Ca­nadian Training Centre for the National Ski Academy, a Ministry of Education-inspected private school, granting high school credits for Grades 9 to 12—and creator of ski racers by the dozen. The NSA celebrates its 30th an­niversary this year in Collingwood.

BEST WEIRD THING

Quebec’s ASSQ’s cold box. To explain to downtown Montrealers that -20° in winter is not that cold—indeed it’s normal—the Cold Box invited folks to test what -20° feels like inside a closed box. We’re wondering about those fans in the back of the box. Did they simulate windchill of -40° for authenticity?

COMEBACK FOR ONTARIO SKIERS WHEN PROVOKED

With five six-packs and seven other lifts, Blue Mountain’s uphill capacity blows away the rest of the west. By comparison, Revelstoke, with the biggest vertical in North America, pumps 6,000 skiers per hour uphill vs. Blue’s 26,750.

BEST EXCUSE FOR A FOUR-DAY WORKWEEK

The Friday season pass at Mont Sutton, $168 no restrictions, all categories.

MOST PROMISING TECHNOLOGY

Snowmaking can be an art at the best of times, but Industries Samson of Lévis, Quebec, can help. The company’s 50-tonne snowmaker is portable and produces 110 cubic metres of snow per day—in weather up to 15°! Given it takes a lot longer to melt than make, Samson may actually lengthen our future ski seasons despite our challenging starve-or-feast forecasts.

BEST NEW FLIGHT

The one-hour direct flight from Vancouver to Revelstoke on Pacific Coastal, the only resort in the world to offer lift, cat, heli and backcountry skiing from one village base. With an airstrip notorious for being fogged in, backup transport from Salmon Arm and Kelowna is already worked into the business plan.

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