As champagne powder starts to blanket the Kootenay Rocies, the mountains begin to lure us with their call. Along the Powder Highway, ski resorts, backcountry lodges, shops and restaurants are gearing up for the upcoming season. And with a La Niña weather pattern promising to bring a deluge of snow, the stoke is running high!
Throughout the Kootenays there’s plenty of new options to explore. Whether you want to check out the latest in on-the-mountain accommodations or sample some new craft beers, a trip to the Powder Highway has you covered.
One of the most unique on-mountain experiences this winter is the Constella Cabin Collective at RED Mountain Resort in Rossland. Combining a cozy cabin experience with a nearby clubhouse’s amenities, these six cabins situated in Paradise Basin on Granite Mountain let you stay high up the hill under the stars.
If you’re planning a weekend in Revelstoke Mountain Resort, be sure to check in at Basecamp Revelstoke (in Revelstoke), the latest boutique hotel opening from Basecamp Resorts. Featuring architecture inspired by the surrounding mountains, the 32-room hotel with completely self-sustaining suites is ready to welcome guests starting in early December.
Snowwater Heli Skiing has added two new ways to access their incredible terrain this winter. If you’re short on time, give their one-day heli-ski trip a go. With pick up and drop off in Nelson, this is the fastest way to get the heli-skiing experience. And if you prefer self-propelled adventure, enjoy the new three or four-day heli-assisted ski touring trips based out of their lodge in the middle of the Bonnington Range.
For your post-adventure après, check out the Kootenays newest brewpub, Erie Creek Brewing Company in Salmo, BC. Give their latest on-tap offering, Iron Mountain IPA, a try. Other new brews around the region include the Black Current Sour Dark Horse, Snowblind Belgian-Styple IPA and the Thunder Meadows IPA, at Fernie Brewing Company and the Black Diamond IPA at Tailout Brewing in Castlegar, brewed to celebrate their first anniversary.
To assist you with which businesses are open along the BC’s Powder Highway, these communities maintain lists of their businesses: Castlegar, Cranbrook, Columbia Valley, Fernie, Golden, Kimberley, Nelson Kootenay Lake, Revelstoke and Rossland.
~ 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 this winter season. 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 this winter 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).
~ Family Fun on the Powder Highway
~ How BIG is the Powder Highway?
~ Learn to Ski or Snowboard on the Powder Highway
~ Our Kootenay Mountain Culture
~ Planning your Powder Highway Trip: Local Tips
~ Powder Highway 101
~ Quintessential Powder Highway Winters
~ Stay Local, Support Local in the Kootenay Rockies
Top/cover photo courtesy of RED Mountain Resort
Words by Mark Locki. Mark is a photographer and writer based in Kimberley, BC. An avid traveller throughout the Kootenays and abroad, he enjoys exploring the natural world, camera in hand, seeking out compelling stories. He’s often found deep in the backcountry, running, climbing or on skis, challenging himself to discover new scenes and viewpoints.