The Powder Highway 101

The Powder Highway 101

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Just like the "Stairway to Heaven", the Powder Highway is the road to a one-of-a-kind adventure on skis or on a snowboard.

Located in the southeastern corner of British Columbia, also know as the Kootenay Rockies region, the Powder Highway refers to the area that boasts the highest concentration of alpine resort, backcountry, cat, heli and nordic skiing/riding in the WORLD!

"Powder": as a reference to 'Powder Snow' or POW! Quantity and Quality: 18 metres (60 ft) on average annually of something that’s not just ordinary powder snow; but Champagne Powder, a very light, dry, fluffy and cold snow.

"Highway": as a reference to a route, road or itinerary. A circle route calling for an ultimate road-trip. Along this route, one can find unique, quaint, funky ski towns, breathtaking sceneries, magnificent mountain passes and ferry rides.  With NO TRAFFIC, just yourself, your ski gear and the open road. 

"How Big": It’s absolutely gigantic. The defined tenure area is 3,125,460+ ACRES. Locally known as the "Kootenays" this ski/snowboard mecca is west of Alberta's ski resorts and east of the BC's Okanagan ski resorts, featuring the big mountains in the Canadian Rockies and Columbias (the Purcells, Selkirks and Monashees).

"What Resorts": The Powder Highway is made up of 80+ ski operators along the route, including:

8 Alpine Ski Resorts
~ Fairmont Hot Springs Resort
~ Fernie Alpine Resort
~ Kicking Horse Mountain Resort (Golden)
~ Kimberley Alpine Resort
~ Panorama Mountain Village
~ Red Mountain Resort (Rossland)
~ Revelstoke Mountain Resort
~ Whitewater Ski Resort (Nelson)

27 Backcountry Operators/Lodges
Adrenalin Descents (Golden); Amiskwi Lodge (Yoho); Assiniboine Lodge (Mt. Assiniboine); Battle Abby Backcountry Lodge (Golden); Blanket Glacier Chalet (Revelstoke); Boulder Hut Adventures (Kimberley); Campbell Icefields Chalet (Golden); Golden Alpine Holidays (Golden); Ice Creek Lodge (Winlaw); Icefall Lodge (Golden); Kootenay Backcountry Guides (Nelson); Mistaya Lodge (Golden); Mt. Carlyle Lodge (Winlaw); North Valley Huts (New Denver); Powder Creek Lodge (Nelson); Purcell Mountain Lodge (Golden); Revelstoke Alpine Adventures; Revelstoke Ski Touring; Selkirk Lodge (Golden); Selkirk Mountain Experience (Revelstoke); Sol Mountain Touring (Clearwater); Sorcerer Lodge (Golden); Summit Mountain Guides (Nelson); Talus Lodge (Invermere); Valhalla Mountain Lodge (Nelson); Valhalla Mountain Touring (Hills/New Denver) and Valkyr Adventures (Fauquier).

14 Cat-Ski Operators
Baldface Lodge (Nelson); Big Red Cats (Rossland), Chatter Creek Mountain Lodges (Golden); Fernie Wilderness; Great Northern Adventure Skiing; Island Lake Catskiing (Fernie); K3 Cat Ski (Revelstoke); Keefer Lake Lodge (Cherryville); Monashee Powder (Coldstream); Mustang Powder Cat Skiing (Malakwa); Retallack Lodge (New Denver); Selkirk Snowcat Skiing (Meadow Creek); Valhalla PowderCats (Nelson) and White Grizzly Adventures (Meadow Creek).

3 Community Ski Clubs
Summit Lake (Nakusp); Salmo and Wapiti (Elkford).

18 Heli-Ski Operators
Chatter Creek Mountain Lodges (Golden); CMH Heli-Skiing (8 lodges throughout the region); Eagle Pass Heliskiing (Revelstoke); Great Canadian Heli-Skiing (Golden); Kingfisher Heliskiing (Cherryville); Mica Heliskiing (Revelstoke); Purcell Heli-Skiing (Golden); RK Heli-Ski (Panorama); Selkirk Tangiers Heli Skiing (Revelstoke); Snowwater Heli-Skiing (South Slocan) and Stellar Heli-Skiing (Kaslo).

14 Nordic Clubs/Centres
Blackjack Ski Club (Rossland); Castlegar Nordic Club; Dawn Mountain Nordic Trails (Golden); Kicking Horse Ski Club (Field); Fernie Alpine Resort; Kimberley Nordic Club, Lake O'Hara Lodge (Field); Nelson Nordic Ski Club; Nipika Mountain Resort (Radium Hot Springs); Panorama Nordic Ski Centre; Revelstoke Nordic Club; Sol Mountain Touring (Revelstoke), Talus Lodge (Invermere) and the The Whiteway (Invermere).

In addition to these world-class skiing and snowboarding venues, a journey along the Powder Highway is sure to provide unique encounters with passionate locals and snow enthusiastis from all over the world.  Plus tasty local craft beers, amazing dining, cozy lodge and a wide variety of mineral hot springs to beautifully compliment this one-of-a-lifetime experience.   Explore the Powder Highway... your road to winter! 

Top photo by David Gluns.

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Tags: Canadian Rockies Columbia Mountains Explore Canada ExploreBC The Kootenays