The Snow Report
A smallish, reasonably priced Canadian resort in the Kootenay Rockies, Panorama’s 99 trails span 4,000 vertical feet over 2,847 skiable acres. The majority of its trails are geared toward mid-level athletes. If you’re into more than just downhill, though, there are two terrain parks, a brand-new tube park, snowmobile adventures into the basin, heli, Nordic, and snowshoeing.
The staff here is 500 strong during peak season, and a 24-hour front desk provides bell services. The snow school employs multiple Level 4 instructors and offers a CSIA-licensing program for those who want to learn to teach skiing. Absolute beginners can take the “Discover” class ($199 for a full day).
A free village gondola gives views that are, well, panoramic. All the lodging in town is ski-in/ski-out, a huge advantage of such a dense layout. A hundred hotel and hostel rooms are available for rent, plus some 300 condo and townhome units, one deluxe mountain home, and exactly no winter campsites. The Pine Inn recently got a $1 million update, perhaps to assuage all the people online complaining about its inadequacy.
Also in the village: a staffed kids’ program, a spa, a few shops, a couple of pubs, and eight restaurants, all of them ski-bum-casual except for woodsy Greys, which gets fine dining right. In late February, everything comes to life during Mountain Mardi Gras, part of a roster of local parties that also includes an early-spring carnival and a cowboy-themed stampede fest.
The environmental policies here send mixed messages: Panorama has expansions planned into untouched habitat and doesn’t make explicit efforts to protect wildlife. And the mountain’s snowmaking water is sourced from a local stream, not the municipal supply. But it does have energy-conservation and recycling programs, and uses solar power. If the green efforts continue, Panorama might end up higher on these types of lists in the future.
CONTACT: (800) 663-2929, panoramaresort.com
SEASON: Early December to mid-April
TICKETS: General: $73 (discounted for groups of 10 or more), children: $30, ages 65 and older: $60, ages 4 and younger: free