As snow settles over the mountains and valleys in the Kootenays, winter enthusiasts journey along the Powder Highway in search of deep pow, cozy mountain towns and unforgettable experiences. Whether you’re strapping on a snowboard or skis for the first time, or brushing up on your technique – these legendary resorts are the perfect spot to learn.
Fairmont Hot Springs Resort
~ Fairmont Hot Springs
This family mountain is the ideal setting to learn to ski or snowboard. Whether you’re a novice adult, a young learner or even an experienced skier or boarder looking to brush up on your skills, theirSnow School has the right program for you.
New for the 2020/21 season – The Resort has adapted a “Health and Safety Promise to You” that flows throughout their entire resort, on and off the mountain.
With Kimberley’s great fall lines, this mountain is perfect place to learn how to ski or snowboard. Let the professionals at the Telus Winter Snow School teach you how to confidently cruise down the mountains epic groomed terrain or tackle the moguls on the backside of the mountain.
New for the 2020/21 season – The resort is offering private lessons and “bubble” group lessons, to help you get the most out of your mountain experience. Learn more!
Learn from the pros – whether you’re a first-timer or seasoned vet, their qualified Ski & Ride Instructors can help you build confidence while making your learning experience fun and memorable.
New for the 2020/21 season – Programs will run daily with pre-registration required. You can expect staggered start times and smaller groups. All day and special programs will not include lunch or après ski components this year. Learn more!
New last season (2019/20) at Red Mountain Resort is the Topping Creek Chair, the expansion has added an additional 121 hectares (300 acres) and 300 m (1,000 ft.) of vertical terrain below Grey Mountain.
The Topping Creek Chair links up the top of Silverlode Chair, with the bottom of the Grey Chair and delivers 7 new intermediate runs. The new terrain accesses some of the best snow on the mountain thanks to the southeast aspect, with options for testing your skills off-piste with tree skiing, or exploring some of the new runs such as Golden Dawn and Madhouse. (In the need for more ski/snowboard lessons, check out RED’s Fall Line School.)
New for the 2020/21 season – All lessons must be booked in-advance and paid in-full at the time of booking. In accordance with the COVID-19 guidelines, RED has decreased group sizes to ensure physical distancing. Learn more!
The newest lift, the Stellar Chair at Revelstoke Mountain Resort opened 3 beginner and 3 intermediate runs high up on the mountain – providing expansive views and prime snow. The new expansion covers an additional 130 m of vertical, the mellow grade making it a great spot to perfect your turns and techniques before tackling the bigger terrain available at Revelstoke Mountain Resort.
No matter which ski resort you journey to this winter on the Powder Highway, there’s opportunities for skiers and snowboarders of every skill level to build confidence on the slopes – so that you can spend even more time shredding.
New for the 2020/21 season – Private lessons will be available for ages 4 and up (while group lessons will not be offered with the exception of Kids Weekend Programs). Learn more!
Photo by Royce Sihils at Revelstoke Mountain Resort
~ Take extra time to research and plan your trip in advance. Many of our tourism businesses and services have adopted new COVID-19 protocols and changes to their schedules or policies to ensure your safety. You’ll want to become familiar with them ahead of time.
~ If you normally travel with extended family or with several friends, consider travelling in a smaller group. Travelling with fewer people makes it easier for you to practise physical distancing in public, and may have less of an impact on the destination.
~ Consider a slower travel pace to help curb the spread. Instead of checking in and out of multiple destinations during one trip, choose one or two destinations and one/two accommodation properties for your entire trip (and explore all the things to do & see nearby).
~ 5 Things to Do with the White Stuff
~ Family Fun on the Powder Highway
~ Funky Finds on the Powder Highway
~ How BIG is the Powder Highway?
~ Keeping it ‘Ol School’: Our Community Hills on the Powder Highway
~ Powder Highway 101
~ Road Tripping the Powder Highway Like a Ski Bum
~ Stay Local, Support Local in the Kootenay Rockies
~ What’s NEW on the Powder Highway?
Words by Ashley Voykin. Cover/top photo at Fairmont Hot Springs Ski Resort by Bram Rossman.
Ashley Voykin is a landscape and outdoor adventure photographer in the West Kootenays. Her work focuses on big mountains, small towns and exploring those spaces. Committed to capturing local landscapes in a new way, she can often be found chasing Northern Lights late into the night and finding new views of endless lakes and mountains around the Kootenays.
(Original story published in winter 2019.)