New festivals are taking off

Panorama Mountain Resort is jumping on the ski hill music festival train with its very first—The Panorama Mountain Music Festival (March 17 to 19). Musical acts including Jim Byrnes, Leeroy Stagger and 100 Mile House are set to take the stage. Just a couple hours away, the Fernie 4 Film Fest is back. From April 11 to 16, aspiring North American filmmakers will create four-minute films, starring four riders, all filmed on the slopes of Fernie Alpine Resort—the best are screened and the audience chooses a winner.

Ski hills are becoming more kid-friendly

This winter, B.C.’s Sun Peaks is debuting an impressive NHL regulation-sized outdoor skating rink and is set to host a variety of events and activities for all ages through the season. Over at Big White, near Kelowna, the award-winning Kids Centre has been upgraded to provide more room for kids to play before their ski lessons. And Lake Louise’s sweet snow-tubing area is now even better thanks to the addition of firepits, lounge chairs and a s’mores station.

The Snowbombing Festival is coming to Canada

If you’re looking for a killer party this winter, look no further than the Snowbombing festival. This massive European festival, which has been luring huge crowds to Mayrhofen, Austria, for the past 17 years, is making its Canadian debut at Sun Peaks Resort from April 6 to 10. The highly anticipated event promises to be epic, with musical stages set in the forest, trail-side pool parties, DJ battles and, of course, ski and snowboard competitions. Book early—like, now.

Snowbombing festival

Snowbombing festival

The Banff Gondola got an extreme makeover

The Banff Gondola and its upper terminal building underwent a mega $26-million makeover this fall. The real standout is the expanded viewing deck that offers even better views of the Banff townsite, the Bow Valley and the Rocky Mountain peaks. New dining options include Sky Bistro and the marketplace-style Northern Lights Café. There’s also the Above Banff Theatre, a multi-sensory space that gives viewers an eagle’s-eye look at sites around the park.

Read more: Five Things to Experience at the New Banff Gondola Summit

Banff has a new hotel

Banff rarely sees the addition of new hotels, so the Moose Hotel & Suites is a big deal. The property features standard rooms and suites, an Italian restaurant (Pacini) and a full-service spa. And, for those whose idea of après is a little less rowdy, the rooftop health club is the perfect place to unwind. Take a dip in the indoor swimming pool, warm up in the sauna or soak up the mountain views from one of the two outdoor hot pools.

Golden is getting a brewery

Ski towns are no stranger to the microbrewery—Banff Ave. Brewing Co., Jasper Brewing Company and Canmore’s The Grizzly Paw Brewing Company, to name a few—but Whitetooth Brewing Co., set to open this month, is a first for Golden, B.C. Evan Cronshaw is leading the brewing, starting with six beers (all ales), including the Blower Pow IPA and the Belgian-inspired Icefields Pale Ale. Pop by the new spot for a flight of beer or fill a growler to take away.

Photo by Scott Foster

Photo by Scott Foster

Hill-hopping in Quebec just got easier

Quebec’s biggest hills, including Le Massif de Charlevoix, Mont-Sainte-Anne and Mont-Tremblant Ski Resort, have partnered to make hopping from hill to hill even easier—season-pass holders can purchase two four-day lift tickets for only $50. And the St. Lawrence Summits partnership between Le Massif, Mont-Sainte-Anne and Stoneham Mountain Resort means one ticket gives you access to all three of these Quebec City-area ski hills (when you spend a night in a partner hotel).

There’s more terrain to explore

B.C.’s best hills are giving you even more room to roam. Panorama Mountain Resort’s Taynton Bowl was once only accessible by heli-skiing, but, thanks to a new entry trail and massive glading expansion, everyone can experience this stunning area. Meanwhile, Kimberley Alpine Resort has partnered with Boulder Hut Adventures to offer ski touring—a helicopter takes guests from the resort’s base to the backcountry to explore 15,000 acres of untracked powder.

Canada’s national parks are free

In honour of Canada’s 150th birthday, Parks Canada is giving everyone a really big gift: free access to all of the country’s national parks, starting in January. This is a particularly big deal for the ski hills out west as many of the resorts, including Sunshine Village and Lake Louise Ski Resort, are located inside national parks. Check out Parks Canada’s website for more details.

Blue Mountain is turning 75

Ontario’s Blue Mountain Resort is turning 75 this ski season and is throwing a year-long party to celebrate—throughout the season expect historic installations, activities and events. A big, family-friendly celebration is scheduled for Jan. 21 and 22, which will feature live music and entertainment in the village along with a nighttime torchlight parade at the ski hill.