Red, white and whoo! Home to the best ski towns and backcountry terrain in North America, adventure is calling in Rossland, Nelson and the many cat & heli-ski operators.
Grab your skis, board and outdoor gear for some of the finest powder skiing in the world. Red Mountain Resort in Rossland BC features 119 runs, 8 lifts, and 890m/2,919ft of vertical and over 3,500 skiable acres of snowy bliss. An average snowfall of 760cm and mild -4C temperature makes for ideal conditions that won’t freeze your face or have you dodging dirt.
All that terrain helps to spread out skiers and make you feel like you’ve got the place to yourself. Wide-open groomers, secret stashes of powder in epic tree runs, and $10/run cat skiing provide plenty of variety. Multiple eateries will tempt your taste buds, including the historic Rafters, one of the best ski resort bars in North America. Stay in style and convenience at a ski chalet or the recently opened slope side Josie Hotel.
The West Kootenay region is world-renowned for quality and quantity of snow. This doesn’t matter when participating in the sports, the smallest amount of snow is all you need to glide through the woods or on a track.
Castlegar is a popular snowmobiling destination. Various logging roads and trails can be accessed right in town but the most popular spots for snowmobiling are the Norns and Ladybird mountain ranges, located a 30-minute drive North of the city and where the Castlegar Snowmobile Association grooms over 70 kilometres (43 miles) of trails.
One of the huts the Castlegar Snowmobile Association manages is called Frosty’s Cabin and it is now available for overnight stays. The cabin has four bunks, a barbecue, propane and firewood and can be rented for $48 per night. You must be a member to book it or you will need to buy a pass for each sled and each day of your stay. You can find out more information about the cabin by visiting the association’s website.
Tobogganing is definitely one of the top things to do with your family in Castlegar in the winter because it’s easy, inexpensive and oh so fun! All you need is some form of downhill trajectory device, which could range from a GT Snowracer or plastic sled to a simple piece of cardboard.
An hour to the east is Nelson’s own alpine playground, Whitewater Ski Resort. Sitting way up high at a base elevation of 1,646m, the resort receives a gob smacking average snowfall of over 12m/40ft. No cell service means you can focus your attention on all that legendary powder spread over three mountain faces. Don’t miss some of the finest ski resort food going at Fresh Tracks Café and Coal Oil Johnny’s Pub, featuring innovative twists and fresh flavours. Happening hostels, boutique hotels, spacious inns, and unique vacation rentals provide plenty of accommodation choices in and around Nelson.
Backcountry skiers will find a world of possibilities in the region, from lift-access areas on the edge of Whitewater to extensive terrain at Kootenay Pass, Kokanee Creek Provincial Park and beyond. Local shops provide all the gear you need, while backcountry guides will get you to the goods safely in small groups.
The Nelson and Rossland region is also world-renowned for incredible cat and heli skiing. From day trips to epic weeklong stays at fully inclusive backcountry lodges, you’ll find some of the very best skiing on the planet with the help of these passionate local operators.
You’ll also find some mighty fine cross-country skiing and snowshoeing nearby. Just minutes from Rossland, the acclaimed Black Jack Ski Club features over 40km of superbly groomed trails. Nearby Castlegar Nordic Ski Club is located at the lofty Paulson Pass, and offers an extensive interconnected system of trails with warming huts in a remote alpine setting. Shorter loops and challenging climbs are the hallmark of the Nelson Nordic Ski Club and Kaslo Nordic Ski Club, both located a short drive from their home communities. Snowshoers will find multiple trails to explore at Strawberry Pass above Rossland.
When you’re done playing outside for the day, you’ll find our legendary ski town vibe going on at independent pubs, breweries, and restaurants. From modern smokehouses to historic taverns, trendy restaurants to top-notch alehouses, mouthwatering meals meet delicious craft drafts. With perhaps the finest powder skiing in North America, it’s easy to fill your cup with all the outdoor adventure you can handle on a Kootenay Road Trip.