Top 15 Kootenay-Powder Highway Insider Tips: 2017/18 Season

Top 15 Kootenay-Powder Highway Insider Tips: 2017/18 Season

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#1 – Time to hit the road: Road Trip on the Powder Highway

The ultimate ski road trip is found in the Kootenays. This powder-seeker trip travels deep into the heart of the Rocky and Columbia (Purcells, Selkirk, Monashee, Valhallas) mountains. Eight lift-service resorts, 27 backcountry lodges, 14 cat-ski operators, 18 heli, 14 Nordic clubs/centres, 3 Community Ski Hills and other winter operators (i.e. snowmobiling, dog sledding, fat biking & more) will not disappoint!

#2 – Ice-Skate on the "World's" longest ice-skating trail!

The Whiteway on Lake Windermere, in Invermere is a 34-km groomed track that runs all the way around the lake and connects the towns of Invermere and Windermere.  The Whiteway has tracks for classic Nordic skiers, a groomed skiing track and cleared ice-skating track - plus at the Invermere entrance there are clear sheet for curling and hockey.  Plus fat biking, ice-fishing and kite-skiing are available as well!

The Whiteway entrance at Invermere, photo by Shannon Harrison

#3 – Cat-ski for a mere $10? Yes, you can!

It’s a few quick turns from the top of Grey Mountain Chairlift at RED Mountain Resort to the Mt. Kirkup Cat Skiing pick-up spot. You can ski/ride right past the sign amount the trees if you weren’t paying attention. If you’re lucky enough to spot it, toss the drive a cool $10 and jump in. Listen to the instruction carefully and study the trail map as you creep along the snow-cat trail to the slopes of Mt. Kirkup. Pick your line - open runs or tree skiing on advance terrain. (The cat operates from 10:30am – 2:30pm daily, conditions permitting.)

 RED Mountain Resort, photo by Kari Medig

#4 – Burn your thighs down the longest-lift-serviced vertical in North America

Canada’s newest ski destination, Revelstoke Mountain Resort, gives skiers and snowboarders access to the continent’s longest lift-serviced vertical at 1,712 m (5,620 ft.). The best part? The village base is only 512 m (1,680 ft.) above sea level, which means you won’t be short of breath plowing through the nine to 13 m. (30-45 ft.) of powder the resort see on average each season.  New flights to Revelstoke (from Vancouver) make it easier to reach this world-class ski destination too!

Revelstoke Mountain Resort, photo by Ian Houghton

#5 – The Powder Highway is the birthplace of heli-skiing!

Over 50 years ago, Hans Gmoser – legendary climber, mountain guide and backcountry skier, whisked a few intrepid skiers into the Bugaboo Mountains by helicopter. Soon after, the first commercial heli-ski operation in the world was up and running.  The Kootenays is home to 18 heli-ski/snowboard operators.

#6 – Night ski North America’s Longest Lit Run

If you prefer to ski/snowboard under a canopy of stars, a trip to our Purcell Mountains should be on your list. Ride up Kimberley Alpine Resorts North Star Express and ski/ride down the longest night-skiing lit run on the continent!

#7 – Ski Hut-to-Hut

Panorama Mountain Resort’s rustic cabins and huts offer retreats for the weary skier. Mile 1 Hut, Elkhorn Cabin and private helicopter fondue parties at the Summit Hut await.  For a more backcountry adventure, experience the hut-to-hut ski touring options with Golden Alpine Holidays, Selkirk Mountain Experience and Valkyr Adventures.

Elkhorn Cabin at Panorama, photo by Kari Medig

#8 – Paraglide on skis from atop of two resorts along the Powder Highway

The FlyingMax at Panorama Mountain Resort and Revelstoke's Paragliding at Revelstoke Mountain Resort both offer tandem paragliding off the peak of both mountains. Soar with the birds and experience the freedom of paragliding.

Paragliding at Panorama Mountain Resort (with the Flying Max), photo by Shannon Harrison 

#9 – Be the first to stay in our newest Backcountry Lodge or On-Mountain Property

The Eagle Pass Heli Ski backcountry lodge is a luxurious 12-bedroom lodge offers specific gear drying and tuning rooms, is equipped with its own private Heli pad, a private executive chef on-hand to create healthy gourmet meals with locally sourced ingredients, dining room and full bar presenting a brilliant local and international wine menu.  While, RED Mountain's The Josie Hotel - a modern, architecturally unique 106-room hotels offers luxury accommodation, a world-class restaurant and lounge, indoor & outdoor dining options with fire pits, event, conference & meeting rooms, a large function desk, a fitness facility, a boutique spa and ski/activity concierge services - will open in mid January 2018. 

#10 – Snowshoe Under the Stars

Experiences the Kootenay Fondue Experience at the Kimberley Alpine Resort.  A guided snowshoe tour is topped off with a chocolate fondue at the historic Kootenay Haus, near the original T-Bar line.  

#11 – Sample Ice-cold Spirits from Around the World

The new Ice Bar in the Lizard Creek Lodge at the Fernie Alpine Resort is made of carved ice blocks! Enjoy vodka from 20 different locations from around the world in this elite bar experience. 

#12 - Ride in a Snowcat (without having to ski/snowboard)

All packages with Island Lake Lodge in Fernie, BC include a return shuttle to the Lodge via snowcat, a gourmet 2-course lunch, access to their private spa hot tub and snowshoe rental. Take advantage of the surroundings and snowshoe around our spectacular lake.

#13 – Dine or sip a hot/cold beverage at Canada's highest elevated restaurant

At 2,347 m (7,700 ft) the Eagle Eye's Restaurant at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort. The restaurant plays host to several special dining experiences such as their Winter Dinner Series (food-pairing), Christmas and New Years Eve. In addition to dining, it also home to two luxury suites, where you can sleep on top of a mountain with all the amenities of a high-end hotel.  

#14 - Glide through the 'pow' on Two-Wheels

This newest winter adventures, Fat Biking, is available at the Fernie, Kimberley and Nipika Mountain Resorts (as well as groomed-trails in the community of Golden).  Check out their dedicated, single-track groomed fat biking trails for notice, intermediate to expert riders. 

Fat Biking at Trickle Creek Resort in Kimberley, photo by Shannon Harrison

#15 - Unleash your Inner Ski Bum

Uptracking at the Fernie Alpine Resort is available and is gaining popularity. Uptracking is when you skin up the mountain (
climb on skis or a snowboard) on their safe and approved route.  Get your first-tracks in the morning, before the even lifts open!   

Honourable Mention

Experience an all inclusive backcountry ski expedition! This experience is easy and comfortable. Overnight ski touring trips in large heated expedition tents in the backcountry near Golden, BC with Adrenaline Descents.

Top photo by Dave Best - Eagle Eye's Restaurant at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort, story idea inspired by #exploreBC

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Tags: Canadian Rockies Columbia Mountains Explore Canada ExploreBC The Kootenays

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