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A Return To Fairmont Hot Springs

  • Michael 

I sit here in the lodge at the Fairmont Hot Springs ski hill, cold beer at hand, pondering the white, shining world before me. It’s white. You know, from all the snow…

We’ve been coming here off and on since Zachary was a wee sprog. It’s become a bit of a Spring Break tradition for us, broken up by Covid, Disneyland dancing, and more Disneyland dancing. If not for those events, we’d be coming to here every Spring Break.

So where the heck is Fairmont Hot Springs? Well, it’s certainly not very close to our home on Vancouver Island! It’s about a 12 hour drive from our home, ferry time included. Fairmont sits along the western slope of the Rocky Mountains, South of Golden, in the Columbia Valley.

Fairmont Hot Springs
Fairmont Hot Springs, BC. Almost Alberta…

The Ski Hill At Fairmont Hot Springs

We’re here for a week, and the main activity for us is skiing. And since we haven’t been here for a couple of years, I’ve learned that the ski hill has changed ownership as of last year. Why does that matter?

Well, I’m kinda amazed at how quiet it is here. I had a conversation with a staff member, and learned that the new owners have done little marketing for the ski hill. So I’ve decided to do my bit, and let y’all know about the great ski destination that is Fairmont Hot Springs! So feel free to share this post far and wide. And I don’t receive any kickbacks for sharing my thoughts on this destination. Though I think I should…

Now, we could head to Panorama, just west of Invermere, for premier skiing. But we like our little ski hill right here in Fairmont. It’s the perfect family ski spot, and just up the hill from our little mountainside villa. And while it’s not the biggest ski hill around, it provides a variety of runs from beginner to expert.

Fairmont Hot Springs Ski Trail Map

Take a Lesson

The hill has a vertical drop of 1,000 feet (305 meters), so it’s not like a Whistler (vertical drop is 5,020 ft, 1,530 m). As I mentioned, this is a family ski hill. There are runs for every level of skier. And even if you’ve never skied before, they’ve got you covered. The Ski School staff are skilled and very friendly.

Our German International Student, Matilda, had never skied before. She took a 90 minute beginner lesson and developed the basic skills and a level of confidence that got her on the hill and skiing on her own. Matilda said her instructor was encouraging and attentive. And that’s been our experience with other students and our own kids in the past.

Matilda with her new skills
Matilda carving the hill with her new skills.

The Lifts

Fairmont ski hill has two different lifts to get you up the mountain. First, the Happy Trails Platter is a t-bar style lift that takes you up to the top of a short Green (easy) run, called Cowboy. There’s also access to a couple of other runs from the top of the Platter.

The Happy Trails Platter Lift at Fairmont Ski Hill
The Happy Trails Platter

And the remainder of the 14 runs are accessed from the Sundance Triple Chair. It’ll take you to the top of the mountain, the jumping off point for everything from beginner to advanced runs.

The chairlift gets to the top in about 7 minutes, providing you with a lovely, expansive view of the Columbia Valley and the Purcell Mountains on the west side of the Valley.


We don’t own our own ski gear. But we just don’t ski enough to make it worthwhile. In fact, just about the only time we ski is when we’re in Fairmont Hot Springs. Additionally, we saw no point to getting the kids their own gear while they were still growing. So we rent.

The Rentals Shop at Fairmont is great. They have everything you need, including all the winter gear you forgot at home.

As well, the staff is terrific, led by Lona, the Rentals Manager. She remembers us every year. Maybe she doesn’t really, but she always pretends she does…

The rental shop at Fairmont Ski Hill
The Rental Shop

Moreover Lona and her wonderful staff also do repairs, so you’ll never be left short on the hill. They have all the necessary equipment to get you back on your boards, and if you need to rent, they get you fitted and outfitted in no time. Always friendly, and always with your needs in mind. I can’t say enough about the Rentals staff.

The rental rates are very reasonable, and you’ll save more by renting consecutive days. You can even take the gear to other ski resorts, as long as it’s back by 10:00 AM the next morning. Here’s a breakdown of their rates, as of 2024.

Fairmont Ski hill rental rates

Gear Storage? Maybe…

If you stay at the Fairmont Hot Springs Lodge or the Villas, you should be able to store your gear at the mountain. They have a storage room for those guests, but we couldn’t find a staff member with keys at the end of our ski days. Twice! So I wouldn’t put to much faith in that. Maybe be prepared to pack your gear back to wherever you’re staying.

The Bonus To Skiing At Fairmont Hot Springs

I haven’t mentioned it yet, but the lift ticket prices are very reasonable. Not only will you pay considerably less than at other ski facilities, but your lift ticket includes a free entry to the Fairmont Hot Springs pools at the Lodge! Everyone else pays $16 to get in (except Lodge guests), so this is a great bonus.

The pool at Fairmont Hot Springs
The view from one of three pools at Fairmont Hot Springs.

The Hot Springs consist of three different pools, each with different water temperatures. The warmest measures about 102 degrees F. The springs are natural mineral springs that are plentiful throughout the Rockies and the Columbia Valley. For more info on the hot springs, check out this earlier post.

Fairmont Hot Springs Skiing Is Worth The Drive

Heading out to Fairmont is always a highlight of the year for us. Everyone looks forward to the fresh mountain air, the beautiful view from our accommodations, the day trips to Banff or Lake Louise. But it’s mostly for the skiing. For us, the long drive is absolutely worth it. I mean, for me the road trip is no big deal. It’s a road trip, after all. I love me a good road trip!

In short, if you’re looking for a nice, casual spot with great views, cheap lift tickets, and friendly staff that make it easy to get away from your normal daily life, come to Fairmont Hot Springs. For us, almost a perfect Spring Break location.

For more details on accommodations and other tidbits of information, check out their website here.

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