The Ultimate 10-Day Mountain Collective Road Trip

Travel to Canada - What to Expect

The Ultimate 10-Day Mountain Collective Road Trip

A winter road trip in Canada should be on everyone’s bucket list. Especially a Mountain Collective road trip. With an Ikon Pass you can access all three SkiBig3 resorts, Revelstoke and Red Mountain. With a Mountain Collective pass, you can access 2 days at 5 of Canada’s best ski resorts for a total of 10 days shredding the Great White North!

Plus, if you want to extend your trip, you can purchase additional days at 50% off the window ticket rate at all Mountain Collective resorts that land on your itinerary. 

So what’s the best route? How can you see and ski it all in one epic Canadian Rockies road trip? Here is the route we suggest with some tips for driving in Canada, helpful border info, and some must-see spots on any winter road trip in Canada. 

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Banff Sunshine (open for 7 months, November through May) is one of the stops on the ultimate Canadian Mountain Collective road trip. | Photo at Banff Sunshine by John Price

How to get to Banff, Alberta

Option 1: Fly and then drive

We recommend starting your Mountain Collective road trip from Calgary, Alberta (AB). If you fly into the Calgary International Airport (YYC), many rental car companies offer comfortable and safe 4-wheel drive options that are perfect for a Canadian Rockies road trip. 

For this road trip itinerary, you can choose to do a return trip to Calgary or you can choose to extend your trip and end it in Revelstoke, British Columbia (BC). Not to mention you could turn this 10-day itinerary into a 12-day and end your trip at Sun Peaks Resort, near Kamloops, BC. 

TIP: In general, rental car companies charge more if you pick up and drop-off in different locations – so we recommend the round trip! 

Option 2: Drive across the border

If you’re keen to use your own wheels, Western Canada has many border crossing points in the provinces of British Columbia (BC) and Alberta (AB). 

If you’re driving from Salt Lake City, UT: Try crossing the Canadian border at Carway, AB. From Salt Lake City, it’s about a 13-hour drive that will take you straight to Calgary, AB, where you can start the Canadian Rockies road trip outlined below.

If you’re driving from Portland, OR: Try crossing the border at Kingsgate, BC. It’s about a 13.5-hour to Calgary, AB, where you can start the itinerary below. Alternatively, try crossing the border at Sumas, BC. It’s an 11-hour drive to Revelstoke, BC, and you can start this itinerary in reverse.

If you’re driving from Seattle, WA: Try crossing the border at Sumas, BC. It’s about an 8-hour drive to Revelstoke, BC, where you can start this Mountain Collective road trip in reverse. 

We recommend starting this Mountain Collective Road trip in Calgary, Alberta. 

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It’s a shorter drive than you think to cross the border and tap into Canada’s world-class snow. | Photo by Tom Holmes via Unsplash

Tips for driving in Canada

  • Rent a 4-wheel drive vehicle (a standard or intermediate SUV will work best)
  • Upgrade to include winter tires – you’ll need them!
  • Travel with a small shovel (to dig out of snowy situations)
  • Pack a snow scraper/ice brush
  • Keep a conversion chart on-hand, in Canada, gas is measured in $/litre instead of gallons
  • Drive slow and give yourself extra travel time when conditions are snowy or icy 

 

The Ultimate 10-Day Mountain Collective Road Trip Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Calgary and drive to Banff

  • Fly into Calgary International Airport (YYC), and pick up your rental car. Make sure you get a medium to large SUV with winter tires. (Mountain roads can get pretty snowy!).
  • Grab a box of assorted Timbits from Tim Hortons for the road. You’re in Canada, after all.
  • Drive from Calgary into the mountains. It takes 1 hours to drive from the Calgary city limits to Banff and the drive is absolutely beautiful. Watch as the mountains get bigger and bigger on either side of you.
  • When you reach the gates of Banff National Park, you’ll need to purchase a Parks Canada Parks Pass for the time you plan to spend in the national park. 
  • When you arrive in Banff, check into the Hidden Ridge Resort – this charming apartment-style hotel (featuring full kitchens suites) will be your home base for the next few days. 
  • Stretch your legs and walk into town to grab a bite at Three Bears Brewery. They’ve got delicious, gourmet pizzas, micro-batch brews made in-house, and a 25-foot pine tree (indoors). 
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Three Bears Brewery is one of Banff’s hottest new hangouts. They’ve got a beer garden and a retractable roof! | Photo by Banff Hospitality Collective

Day 2: Heated chairlifts and hot springs 

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Banff Sunshine is home to the TeePee Town LX chair lift – Canada’s only heated chair lift!

Day 3: Black diamonds and bowling

  • Before your second day at Banff Sunshine, fill up with a hearty breaky at The Prow in the Buffalo Mountain Lodge. Their Canadian Back Bacon Benny and Wild Boar Sausages will fill you up!
  • On the slopes, take it up a notch and explore the many fun black diamond chutes off of Goat’s Eye Express Quad or practice your park hits at Banff Sunshine’s Springhill Terrain Park. 
  • After a huge day on the hill, enjoy some well-deserved beers and bowling at High Rollers – a favourite local hang out with old-school arcade games at 48 craft beers on tap. 
Banff High Rollers, photo by Grant Gunderson
Banff High Rollers, photo by Grant Gunderson

Day 4: Off to Panorama 

  • And just like that, it’s time to hit the road again. Wake up early and drive west up the Trans Canada Highway until taking a turn on the 93 South. You’ll arrive at Panorama Mountain Resort in about 2 hours.
  • Enjoy exploring new terrain at Panorama Mountain Resort. Notice how the Canadian Rockies change the farther west you go on this Mountain Collective road trip.
  • If you need a break, don’t miss the chance to dine at Panorama’s Elkhorn Cabin – known for its alpine fare and spectacular views. If you’re a group of 2-6 you can share their famous Raclette, made in the Swiss tradition.
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Panorama Mountain Resort is only a 2-hour drive from Banff and Lake Louise. | Photo by Panorama Mountain Resort

Day 5: Explore natural hot springs 

  • One of the coolest parts of the area surrounding Panorama Mountain Resort is all of the natural hot springs. 
  • Choose to use your second Mountain Collective pass day shredding at Panorama Mountain Resort, or if your legs are feeling sore, take a half-day to soak in the steaming blue waters of the Radium Hot Springs, nestled in the iconic Sinclair Canyon. 
  • TIP: If you want a real Canadian adventure, try soaking in the Lussier Hot Springs. Tucked down a logging road – only locals know about this free spot!
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The Radium Hot Springs is a 30-minute drive from Panorama Mountain Resort. | Photo by Radium Hot Springs, Parks Canada

Day 6: Welcome to Revelstoke

  • Set your alarm early – it’s time to get Revelstoked! It’s about a 3-hour drive from Panorama Mountain Resort to Revelstoke.
  • Put on your ski boots on en-route because you won’t want to waste one-second of shredding Revelstoke Mountain Resort. This incredible mountain is known for having the longest vertical in North America!
  • For lunch, make sure you grab yourself Canadian poutine and a Mt. Begbie Brewing Co. lager (this local brewery is a locals favourite for a reason!).
  • At the end of the day, check-in to the Sutton Place Hotel – Revelstoke Mountain Resort’s ski-in on-mountain accommodation and tuck into some crisp white sheets. 
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The Sutton Place Hotel is comfortable, family-friendly ski-in accommodation at the base of Revelstoke Mountain Resort. | Photo courtesy of Revelstoke Mountain Resort by Hywel Williams

Day 7: Revelstoke to Emerald Lake Lodge

  • Time to use your second Mountain Collective pass day at Revelstoke. By now your legs should be screaming or crushing double blacks – either way it means you’ve been having a fun time. 
  • After a full day on the slopes, check out and hit the road. Your next stop is going on a digital detox to Emerald Lake Lodge, about a 2 ¾ hour drive from Revelstoke. 
  • With century-old fireplaces and hand-hewn timber walls, Emerald Lake Lodge is a gorgeous collection of cabins, near Field, BC, that’s off-grid and full of history.
  • Disconnect for a night and cozy up by the roaring wood-burning fire. The stars are brighter than you’ve ever seen out here.
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Emerald Lake Lodge is an off-grid escape, only 30 minutes from Lake Louise Ski Resort. | Photo by CRMR

Day 8: Insane views at Lake Louise Ski Resort

  • Welcome back to the Canadian Rockies. After your brief boogie into BC, it’s time to carve against the backdrop of Alberta’s most epic scenery – the famous Lake Louise itself! 
  • Lake Louise Ski Resort is known for its impressive, expansive terrain and killer vertical drops. But it’s not all gnarly – Lake Louise Ski Resort offers intermediate terrain off of every lift meaning everyone in your group can explore the mountain at their own pace. 
  • For a break from the slopes (and breath-taking views) sit down and dine at Whitehorn Bistro for lunch. Make sure you get a seat by the window to overlook the famous Victoria Glacier. 
  • When it’s time to slide down the hill for dinner and an apres, dining at the Walliser Stube is a must. Located in the impressive Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, “the Stube” serves a decedent traditional Swiss fondue, curated cocktails, and dark-wooden decor reminiscent of the Swiss guiding history from which Banff National Park was discovered.
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Lake Louise Ski Resort is known for its expansive terrain and epic vertical drops. Play on the backside or explore the new West Bowl. | Photo by Jillian Tester

Day 9: Check-in to a cozy cabin

  • Time to get in those turns, this is your second day at Lake Louise Ski Resort on your Mountain Collective pass. 
  • Start your day with a homemade scone and chai latte from Trailhead Cafe, in Lake Louise Village, and then head to the mountain. 
  • Today, we recommend exploring West Bowl, Lake Louise Ski Resort’s new free ride zone. Open in the 2020/2021 winter season, West Bowl is a huge area (like 480 acres huge) of new terrain on the west face of Whitehorn Mountain. And yes, you’ll need a full day to explore – it has more powder stashes than you can count!
  • For lunch, slide into the Banded Peak Base Camp patio and order a big ol’ burger, because hey – you’re still on vacation! 
  • By the end of the day, you’ll be tired (trust us) and you’ll want somewhere quiet to rest. We recommend Baker Creek Mountain Resort, about 20 minutes down the road from Lake Louise Ski Resort, on the Bow Valley Parkway. These cozy, private cabins are so quiet and the frosted mountains are so still, you’ll want to spend hours sitting around the fire and sharing stories from your entire trip.
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Baker Creek Mountain Resort is just 20 minutes down the road from Lake Louise Ski Resort. It’s got an outdoor hockey rink, fire pits, fat bikes and epic ice sculptures! | Photo by Marc James

Day 10: Visit Mt. Norquay for half price

  • It’s your last day before you head back to Calgary to fly or drive home. Think you’ve got one more mountain in you?
  • Mt. Norquay, known as the oldest ski resort in the Canadian Rockies (open in 1927) is a hidden gem, and is a bonus mountain that can be tapped using your SkiBig3 Mountain Collective Pass. For 50% off the SkiBig3 window ticket rate, this low-key mountain offers incredible snow, a laid-back vibe, and family-friendly terrain just 10 minutes from the Town of Banff, AND….completes your full circle for the SkiBig3 Trifecta Challenge.
  • Spend the day skiing or tubing down its lightning-fast tubing lanes – the longest tubing lanes in Alberta
  • Spend one more night in Banff, this time right downtown at the Moose Hotel & Suites, and stroll down Banff Ave. soaking up every last second of Banff’s unique, modern mountain town vibes.
  • For your last dinner in Canada, there’s no better place to celebrate than Park Distillery Restaurant + Bar (the only distillery in a Canadian national park). Make sure you bring home a bottle of their craft distilled gin or vodka as a souvenir. Your friends will love you for it!
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Pick up one of Park Distillery’s craft spirits as the perfect Canadian souvenir. Park Distillery is the only distillery in a national park in Canada! | Photo by Banff Hospitality Collective

How to make your trip a 12-Day Mountain Collective road trip

Add 2 days at Sun Peaks Resort

If you’ve got extra time for your Mountain Collective road trip – add on Sun Peaks Resort, near Kamloops, BC. This will turn your 10-day itinerary into a 12-day. Sun Peaks Resort is known as Canada’s biggest ski area with a charming village and long, wide groomed runs. With your Mountain Collective pass, you get 2 days at Sun Peaks Resort so use them well (if you have time to add on these extra days). 

Who needs to go home if the snow’s this good, right?

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Make your 10-day Mountain Collective road trip a 12-day trip by adding on days at Sun Peaks Resort, near Kamloops, BC. | Photo by Sun Peaks Resort

We can help make it happen

Ready to make the road trip of a lifetime happen? Our vacation specialists can help you book. Should you need a bit more flexibility with your travel plans this winter our no-questions-asked cancellation policy for both lift tickets and packages allows for free changes and full-refund cancellations until 3-days before arrival. Mountain Collective pass holders can access all Ski & Stay discounts with SkiBig3 without the lift ticket bundling requirement. To book your winter ski vacation or secure your multi-day lift tickets, call 1-844-754-2443 to speak with a reservation specialist or go online to access some exceptional Ski & Stay Package deals.

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