In British Columbia’s Kootenay Rockies, nature looms large. Here, wild landscapes and granite monoliths have long drawn adventurists — in the late 1800s, it was prospectors in search of gold; today, it’s pioneers of a different sort, many bearing skis and boards, and a hunger for fresh powder.
There’s little doubt, then, why this southeastern corner of the province proves such a draw: the adventure here is concentrated along the oft-travelled Powder Highway, where eight lift-service alpine resorts mingle with more than 10 Nordic ski destinations, nearly two dozen snowcat and heli-ski operators, plus a complement of more than 20 backcountry lodges. Heli- and cat-skiing were born here, and it’s where a flurry of winter resorts offer remarkable, and remarkably varied, mountain experiences, chock full of warmth and charm.
One such stop: Fernie, a historic mining town that is now a ski mecca whose population nearly doubles during the winter season. Here, adventurists can make tracks in Fernie Alpine Resort’s legendary powder, a playground that includes 1,000 skiable hectares (2,471 acres), 142 runs and five alpine bowls. As a bonus, après-ski, Fernie-style, is easily achieved with a pint of locally brewed Kokanee at The Griz Bar.
And that’s just a taste of what’s on offer along BC’s Powder Highway. At Revelstoke Mountain Resort, for example, skiers and boarders can revel in powder and make tracks along heart-thumping steeps. Further south, whole new realms of possibility await at RED Mountain Resort, where the addition of a state-of-the-art Legacy Training Centre showcases the resort’s desire to school downhillers within a landscape that redefines the steep and deep. Down-to-earth options tempt along this road trip, too: a road trip to nearby Kimberley Alpine Resort is sure to charm skiers and boarders of all ages, thanks to family-friendly amenities that include the resort’s Owl Learning Area, a skating rink and a Kidz Corner, where little ones can join a dance party, sign up for Wii nights and even decorate their favourite ski helmet.
And there’s more: a mix of high-adrenalin adventure and family-friendly fare await at additional top-notch resorts situated along the Powder Highway, including Kicking Horse Mountain Resort, Panorama Mountain Resort, Whitewater Ski Resort and the Fairmont Hot Springs Ski Area. PowderHighway.com