Skiing in the Kootenay Rockies, BC: Spend the Winter Exploring the Canadian Rockies, Western Canada
Winter skiing season in the Kootenay Rocky Mountains, BC, makes for a wonderful resort getaway. Encompassing the southeastern region of British Columbia, the snow has been called “Champagne powder.” On top of that, the Revelstoke Mountain Resort is in the midst of becoming the longest ski run in North America and the Cranbrook Airport is being transformed into the new Canadian Rockies International Airport.
The hundreds of kilometres of trails groomed for cross-country skiing are easily accessible from the six major resorts of the region: Fernie Alpine Resort, Kicking Horse Mountain Resort, Kimberley Alpine Resort, Red Mountain Resort, Panorama Mountain Village Resort and Whitewater Winter Resort. Heading outside of these resorts, though, gives a real taste of tranquility as adventurers can ski across frozen lakes and abandoned homesteads.
The birthplace of Cat-Skiing over 25 years ago, the Kootenay Rockies continue the tradition by consistent upgrades and expansions. Reach the mountain peaks in a heated snowcat and experience the 12-18 metres (40-60 feet) of snowfall each year. Visitors can plan weeklong tours of all-inclusive comforts or arrange day trips on their way to explore the region.
The Kootenay area has seemingly unlimited options for backcountry skiing. There are luxury fly-in retreats, rustic lodges and lodge ski touring as options, all while encountering the snow capped mountains and serene silence that this region is known for. The wilderness to explore is massive and 40 kilometres (25 miles) of it is groomed for the winter skiing season.
Also founded here in 1965, heli-skiing made its first appearance during the first ever commercial heli-skiing week. Whether preferences are for private tours or a full high-end accommodation with gourmet dining¸ tour operators have it covered. With 9-18 metres (30-60 feet) of snowfall annually over the Monashees, Rockies, Selkirks, Purcells and Valhallas Mountain ranges, a helicopter ride to the top makes the journey down all the more breathtaking.
Girl Ski Program
Running since last winter, the Girl Ski Program encourages women to participate and run the predominantly male sports of cat- and heli-skiing. Island Lake Lodge group, near Fernie, is where the action is and accommodates women in a four-star environment. The packages they offer are some of the most luxurious in the Canadian Rockies.
Skiing isn’t the only snowbound activity in the area. The region has developed other programs just as exciting. Snowmobiling in towns such as Revelstoke, Golden and Elkford attract thousands of eager visitors willing to cut up the backcountry. Dog Sledding is another treat, especially in Elkford during the annual Wildnerness Classic Sled Dog Derby & Festival. And don’t forget about snowshoeing, where beginners and experts alike can slice out their solitude and peace surrounded by winter wonderland scenery.