Hidden gems: six ski resorts off the beaten path

Hidden gems: six ski resorts off the beaten path

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Canada is home to some of the world’s most famous skiing and snowboarding destinations—Whistler in British Columbia and Banff in Alberta to name just two. But with over 9 million square kilometers of landmass in the country, there are plenty of off-the-beaten-path locales where the slopes are purer and less crowded. Getting there, though, for the faint-of-heart. Without access to major airports or highways, some of these destinations require a highly-equipped vehicle, like a new Volkswagen with 4MOTION® All-Wheel Drive. With its always-on technology, 4MOTION® uses sensors to continuously monitor and analyze driving conditions – automatically responding and transferring power to individual wheels when they need it most. The Volkswagen Tiguan, Atlas, and Golf – including the GolfSportWagen, Golf Alltrack, and Golf R – can ensure powderheads access all across the great wintery north, beginning with these TK-# mountains.

Selkirk Lodge

Billed as “British Columbia’s Premiere Backcountry Lodge,” Selkirk is one of 22 lodges available through the Alpine Club of Canada. Members of this club gain access to some of the most explosive skiing, snowboarding, and climbing destinations across the country. Be forewarned: many of these lodges are in avalanche zones and require glacier-crossing gear to access, though others are somewhat more easily accessible. The brave trekkers who make their way across the Albert Icefield will find waiting for them a chalet located at 2,200 meters with solar power and “limited internet access.” Selkirk can book seasons in advance, and the visiting population is controlled, making this one of the more exclusive destinations on the list. Nevertheless, those wild conditions mean you’ll only want to approach this resort fully prepared. Remote snowy roads are best handled by an always-on all-wheel-drive system like 4MOTION® All-Wheel Drive from Volkswagen, which intelligently responds to unexpected conditions by transferring the torque (or power) to each individual wheel as needed.

Marble Mountain

The city of Corner Brook on the island of Newfoundland is the country’s snowiest city, with an average snowfall in the months of December and January alone of 1.98 meters. Marble Mountain, at the head of the Appalachian range, boasts some of the best snow conditions in Atlantic Canada, with the highest vertical drop on this coast, a high-speed lift, and “the most beautiful lodge in the world,” according to Powder Magazine. The mountain isn’t far from Deer Lake Airport, and a trip by car requires crossing the provinces of Quebec, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia, ending with a ferry through Marine Atlantic.

Fernie Alpine Resort

Those who are over the crowds at Whistler should consider the nearby Fernie Alpine Resort, the highest resort and largest alpine bowl in the Canadian Rockies. Fernie is more family-friendly than other resorts on this list, and is easily accessible from Calgary airport. But that doesn’t mean getting there is a breeze. In winter months, British Columbia mandates the use of winter tires on most roads, a necessity given the steep slopes and other dangerous road conditions that lead up to this resort. Even though the road there is mostly highway, visitors will be thankful for their 4MOTION all-wheel-drive.

Le Massif

With some of the best powder in Quebec Province, Le Massif is located about an hour’s journey along the St. Lawrence River north of Quebec City, making it a perfect destination for Québécois. Le Massif is less popular than Mount Tremblant, meaning purer snow and fewer people to compete with on the slopes. Drivers of the Volkswagen e-Golf will be pleased to know the eco-friendly lodge offers electric charging on-site.

Revelstoke Mountain

Revelstoke may not be as well known as Whistler and Banff, but it boasts the longest vertical in North America: 1,713 meters. The closest major city is Calgary, located a mere 4.75 hour drive away, but Revelstoke Mountain Resort notes that the drive is a scenic one: “Traveling from the east, you’ll pass through two National Parks in the Selkirk Mountains, featuring views of white-water rivers, pristine forests, dramatic peaks, and impressive glaciers. Traveling from the west, your journey takes you through the scenic Okanagan Valley.” Importantly, they also note that car renters should request their vehicle be outfitted for winter conditions—not a worry for those in a Volkswagen equipped with 4MOTION® All-Wheel-Drive.

Heli-Skiing in the Monashee Mountains

Heli-skiing has long been the domain of only the most daring skiers, given that it requires literally jumping from a helicopter into untarnished snow that’s who-knows-how-deep, often in avalanche country. The Monashee Mountains in British Columbia are home to a number of heli-skiing companies, including some who operate tours for intermediate-level skiers. Among them are Eagle Pass, which runs in exclusive terrain of over 1,570 square kilometers. Located near Revelstoke, the driving conditions are much the same.

With these six resorts as your starting point, there’s no limit to where you can go. Some of the best powder in the world is spread across the country, and all you need to get there is a Volkswagen equipped with 4MOTION® All-Wheel-Drive, capable of climbing mountains in even the most demanding conditions.