Deep in British Columbia’s Purcell Mountains, Panorama is a diverse ski resort that is family friendly and heaven for powder skiers. The virtually car-free village is set over two levels that are linked by a free gondola. From Calgary airport, the scenic 3 hour 45 minute transfer is worth the journey through Banff and Kootenay National Parks. On busier days, there are around 3,000 guests across the 3,000 acres, meaning there is an acre per person. This makes Panorama the resort with the most space per skier and ensures a crowd-free family ski holiday without jostling lift queues, common in Europe during peak weeks.
With a dedicated Discovery Zone for beginners and children where the lifts are slower and slopes are wide, it’s a fantastic place to build your confidence. Once turns have been perfected, there’s a suitably named ‘Show Off’ green run. Located under the swift Mile 1 chairlift, you could lap it for hours. On Saturday nights and special occasions, the piste is open until 8pm for night skiing.
Parents that are experienced skiers can leave their children in the safe hands of the instructors, knowing that all runs lead back to the nursery slopes. The piste map is extremely easy to navigate, so you won’t get lost and popping back for lunch en famille is no trouble. What’s more, learners aren’t restricted to the bottom of the mountain. Even at the highest point – the 2,365 metre-high Panorama Mountain – the blue ‘Get me down’ provides an alternative to the more daring black diamond runs.
The Mile 1 Express lift takes you to the top of the terrain park. Ski down Horseshoe on the right hand side, here you can watch skiers and snowboarders master the jumps and features. Continue on to Campbell’s Canyon, a gentle green that weaves between snowy pine trees.
Panorama has one of North America’s biggest verticals at 1,300m. Alongside the beginners’ slopes and cruisy runs, there are plenty of challenging routes. Due to its location in British Columbia, Panorama is snow-sure and has some epic terrain for off-piste powder days. Head up the Summit Quad chairlift to the top of the mountain where you are spoilt for choice with the Extreme Dream Zone, Sun Bowl and Taynton Bowl. Formerly heli-ski terrain, Taynton Bowl is now within the ski area and avalanche patrolled.
New in 2018 and expanded for 2019, Panorama’s Monster X Snowcat shuttle allows access to the far reaches of Taynton Bowl. Operating on Thursday’s, Saturdays and Sundays between January and March, skiers are transported to the best powder spots across the bowl. RK Heliski specialise in taking out first-time powder skiers and provide wider skis or snowboards to make cruising through powder easier. Hire an instructor or venture out on your own to explore a variety of epic off-piste runs and uncover terrain inaccessible by the lifts.
Panorama ski resort is split into Upper Village and Lower Village, both linked by a free gondola. The Upper Village Condos have luxurious ski-in ski-out accommodation, made up of six residences that are fully equipped. Each of them has complimentary access to the ice skating rink, outdoor hot pools, water slides and hot tubs.
A little further down the mountain, Lower Village Condos has more intimate accommodation in the middle of the village. Great for families, the fully-equipped Lower Village Condos sleep between four and six guests. These self-catered studios and apartments offer you the flexibility to spend your time as you please.
Wee Wascals has a childcare centre for children between 18 months and five years, as well as offering a combination of childcare and ski school for children of three and up. This includes daily activities, a list of babysitters and out-of-hours care.
Panorama is home to Canada’s largest on-mountain hot pools that are just what’s needed after a day’s skiing. There are several pools of varying temperature on the slopes of Toby’s Creek, where you can watch skiers swish past. Get a bird’s eye perspective of the Purcell and Rocky Mountains on a tandem paraglide. Then, discover your surroundings by fat bike or snowshoe, or try to skate gracefully across the rink.
For a memorable dinner, jump into a helicopter that circles resort and drops you at Summit Hut for a fondue evening. Start with drinks by the campfire before tucking into a creamy cheese fondue, followed by a indulgent chocolate fondue.
To find out more about a crowd-free family ski holiday in Panorama, please see here.