Downhill Fun Around Alberta

By Iain MacMillan

Before you head to the mountains, polish your turns (and save some dough) at these AMARewards partner hills.

CANYON SKI RESORT & RECREATION AREA (Red Deer)
Vertical: 538 feet
Runs: 21
Lift ticket: $40
Rising from the banks of the Red River, 10 minutes from the city, Canyon Ski Resort has been a pioneer in artificial snowmaking since 1960, a fact that led to national team racers training here. Similar to many ski areas in central and eastern Canada, it’s less of an actual “hill” and more of a “valley” that drops at all angles below the expansive prairie. But with a consistently strong racing and terrain park heritage, Canyon remains one of Alberta’s biggest little ski areas.
+ AMA Rewards: Save 10% on all lift tickets

SUNRIDGE SKI AREA (Edmonton)
Vertical: 140 feet
Runs: 14
Lift ticket: $37
Sunridge Ski Area is a prime destination for anyone who wants to learn to ski or snowboard. Lessons for skiers and snowboarders, groups or private, are Sunridge’s bread and butter. Located on the North Saskatchewan River in Edmonton’s northeast corner, the former Hidden Ridge at Strathcona Science Provincial Park has been pumping out new skiers and boarders since 1980—and for the last 15, distracted them with tubing options as well.
+ AMA Rewards: Save 10% on regular-price lift tickets

SNOW VALLEY SKI CLUB (Edmonton)
Vertical: 130 feet
Runs: 8
Lift ticket: $35
Edmontonians have been skiing locally for more than a century, and Snow Valley Ski Club—which started running in the 1940s—has long been a key part of the scene. A leader in ski and snowboard instruction, Snow Valley offers downhill enthusiasts of all ages a place to learn and improve. A true “city hill” (just off Whitemud Freeway on 119 Street), it’s even reachable by local bus.
+ AMA Rewards: Save 10% on all day passes and on regular-price merchandise at Snow Rider Ski Shop

NITEHAWK RECREATION AREA (Grande Prairie)
Vertical: 580 feet
Runs: 10
Lift ticket: $22-$37
With a lengthy season (November to early April), 250 acres of terrain and a strong snow-sports school (complete with experienced instructors who can teach you how to hurtle down a luge track), Nitehawk is a can’t-miss destination in Grande Prairie. Created in 1960 by the Grande Prairie Ski Club, the hill moved in 1972 and has since morphed into a year-round recreational area that offers plenty of healthy outdoor distractions.
+ AMA Rewards: Save 10% on regular-price lift and tube zone tickets; 15% on three-week lesson programs

RABBIT HILL SNOW RESORT (Edmonton)
Vertical: 300 feet
Runs: 11
Lift ticket: $30
The biggest city hill in Edmonton, Rabbit Hill Snow Resort is a so-called “breeder” ski area that’s started plenty of skiers and snowboarders down the right track, including several Canadian Demonstration Ski Team instructors. A tight-knit team environment is fostered by Rabbit Hill’s award winning Snow School where tens of thousands of school kids how to ski and snowboard each year.
+ AMA Rewards: Save 15% on full-day lift tickets and ski/snowboard rentals, as well as three-day lessons

CASTLE MOUNTAIN (Pincher Creek)
Vertical: 2,833 feet
Runs: 104
Lift ticket: $69
Probably the country’s best-kept ski secret, Castle Mountain’s combination of challenging terrain, dry Alberta snow and exceptional Rocky Mountain beauty make it a must-ski destination. A favourite for strong intermediate skiers and up, Castle’s in the same league as bigger hills like Lake Louise. With basic base area accommodation and an inviting après-ski scene, Castle feels like a private club. On-hill cat skiing is just icing on an already tasty cake.
+ AMA Rewards: Save 10% to 15% on regular-price daily lift tickets