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Trail Map
Trail Map
Summit Map:
Silver King:
Nordic Trails:

Average Annual Snowfall (Tony Crocker): 389"


Castlegar Airport

Queen City Shuttle Service from Castlegar Airport and Nelson, B.C.

Spokane Airport

Queen City Spokane Shuttle 

Nelson to Spokane and back, starting December 1st, 2010

Price: $120 one way

Shuttle leaving Thursdays and Sundays

  • Nelson - Hume Hotel at 7:00am

  • Castlegar - Canadian Tire at 7:40am

  • Rossland - Powder hound at 8:15am

  • Leaving Spokane airport (Alaska terminal) at 11:45 and arriving in Nelson at 4:00pm

Whitewater is located about 20 minutes from Nelson, B.C. Head south out of Nelson along highway 6 (towards Salmo). Travel for approx. 12 km until you see the sign for Whitewater. Turn left and head up the mountain for another 6 km. Park and enjoy!
Driving Distances:

Castlegar  41 km   25 miles

Creston    14 km   68 miles

Spokane, WA   237 km   142 miles

Osoyoos  261 km   157 miles

Penticton  321 km   193 miles

Kelowna    338 km   203 miles

Kamloops  454 km   272 miles

Banff, Alberta  496 km   298 miles

Calgary, Alberta  624 km   374 miles

Vancouver  657 km   394 miles


Road Reports


Ferry Schedules


Gravity Adventures Ski Shuttle runs between Nelson and Whitewater daily

(250) 505-4921


There are no on slope accommodations, but numerous affordable Ski and Stay packages are available at these accommodations:
Name Description Maximum Occupancy Price Range

Alpine Motel & Suites

1120 Hall Mines Road
Nelson, BC



The closest motel to Whitewater Ski Resort and Nelson's downtown, economy rooms and suites with or without kitchen facilities, fireplace suites, jacuzzi suites and large family units. See their Ski Packages.   $85


The Dancing Bear Inn

171 Baker Street
Nelson, BC



Award winning hostel, centrally located in historic downtown Nelson, The Dancing Bear offers a variety of shared and private room accommodation suited to singles, couples, families and groups. Book online!   $78

Hume Hotel

422 Vernon Street
Nelson, BC

877-568-0888 or

Nelson's heritage hotel since 1898, formerly the Heritage Inn, has recently undergone a major exterior renovation, free hot breakfast, The General Store Restaurant, The Library Lounge, Mike's Place Pub, Spiritbar and a Liquor Boutique   $104

Mountain Hound Inn

621 Baker Street
Nelson, BC


Powder  Hound – $ 76 PP: 1 night in a Standard room & 1 lift ticket- Based on Double Occupancy.

Deep & Sleep – $81 PP: 1 night in a Deluxe or Double Deluxe (2 beds)  room & 1 lift ticket- Based on Double Occupancy.

Stay & Play - $73 PP: 1 night in a Double Deluxe room & 1 lift ticket – Based on Triple Occupancy.

Mountain Madness - $69 PP: 1 night in a Double Deluxe rooms & 1 lift ticket- Based on Quad Occupancy.


The New Grand Hotel

616 Vernon Street
Nelson, BC

888-722-2258 (Toll Free)

Free "to-go" breakfast and Internet. Room packages go from single with shared bath for $42 to suites with kitchens for $101/double occ.

Stay & Ski Packages information coming soon!

$12/extra person, children under 12 stay free, pets $10  

A great deal if you're planning to ski or ride a few times a season but not enough for a season pass.
New Glory Ridge Chairlift opens this season!

Learning Centre


Guest Services


Rental/Repair Shop

Good: Nelson's funky ski town vibe
Better: 40 feet of snow!
Best: Gateway to some of the best snowcat and heli-served backcountry terrain and snow in the world

Whitewater gains notoriety in the national ski magazines and ski film scene. Today, skier visits are climbing steadily as skiers and riders search out an alternative to the larger resorts. Expansion plans for the future are modest and will only come with skier demand. The ambiance and reputation of Whitewater's charm will be closely guarded.

Snow making percent
Lifts-Surface Lifts-Magic carpet
Lifts-Surface Lifts-Rope tow
Lifts-Surface Lifts-Poma
Lifts-Surface Lifts-T bar
Lifts-Surface Lifts-J bar1
Lifts-Chair Lifts-Single
Lifts-Chair Lifts-Double2
Lifts-Chair Lifts-Triple1
Lifts-Chair Lifts-Quad
Lifts-Chair Lifts-High speed quad
Lifts-Chair Lifts-Five person
Lifts-Chair Lifts-Six person
Lifts-Chair Lifts-Eight person
Lifts-Coggle train
Lifts-Total number of lifts4
Lifts-Total lift capacity
Trails-4-Expert only
Trails-5-Terrain parkRail Park
Trails-6-Half pipe
Runs-Steepest run
Runs-Longest run
General-Base elevation1380'
General-Vertical drop2044'
General-Mountain range
General-Annual skier visits
General-Back country access
General-Total area in bounds1317 acres
General-Snow making coverage
Model Name/TypeMPNEAN/UPC


Pros: Family friendly, conveniently close for residents of Nelson, inexpensive, good snow much of the time, uncrowded.

Cons: Small, visually unimpressive (i.e. no stunning mountain vistas), short runs.

I've skied at Whitewater a dozen times or so over the last ten years, half of these occasions in the last two years. I've obviously been a visitor on these occasions and thus haven't had the advantage of local knowledge when assessing Whitewater. What I do have is some perspective on skiing elsewhere.


Whitewater seems a perfect small town ski hill. It is very close to Nelson, the nearest town of any size, and affords the local residents with a relatively inexpensive, hassle-free ski experience. The standard of average skiing ability is unusually high, perhaps because Whitewater isn't a destination resort which attracts very many once-a-year skiers. The snow quality is often very good, and the lift lines tend to be very short, which is good since many of the runs are also very short.


I'm left with the impression local skiers are over-the-moon in love with Whitewater so I'm somewhat reluctant to register my lukewarm assessment of the skiing experience there. One can feel like an outsider encountering a religious cult when skiing at Whitewater where everyone I've spoken to seems to think the skiing is some of the best in the country or even some of the best in North America. I've learned to stop asking people if they've skied anywhere else.


I've spent more time skiing at Whistler-Blackcomb than any other ski hill, though I've also skied extensively throughout the Alps and Western Canada. This may explain my preference for bigger mountains, with significant alpine zones and longer runs. It might also explain why I'm baffled by the extravagant praise heaped upon Whitewater's food services. The food in the lodge is indeed better than the fare found at many Canadian ski hills, but compared to slope-side food service in the Alps, the cafeteria-style food offerings aren't anything to boast about.


I'm also puzzled by those who praise the sidecountry skiing. Excellent? Blackcomb's sidecountry is excellent. Jackson Hole's even more so. Zermatt's and Chamonix's are legendary. I can't see how the term 'excellent' even applies.


To be fair, Whitewater is a tiny ski hill in a small local market. Given that, it does a remarkable job of providing residents with worthwhile skiing at an affordable price. But it's not the Jackson Hole, St. Anton or Whistler some locals seem to take it for.


Pros: Great tree lines, good steeps, excellent sidecountry, new lift reduces need for hitchiking, great food

Cons: small day lodge

Whitewater, British Columbia, outside of Nelson, offers real skiing, unpolluted by the Wally World syndrome that affects so many large destination resorts. There's no gloss, no glitter, no snowmaking and no detachable express chair lifts. There are many ungroomed lines, mostly in the trees, but some wide open. There are cliffs, rocks, drops, stumps and logs. And there's usually enough snow to cover most of those, um, "features," allowing you to ski over them or off them, sometimes without even noticing that they're there.


There are even a few groomed runs, and the quality of the grooming in the last couple of years has been very good, with very few surprise ridges between adjacent passes of the groomer. The addition of the Glory Ridge chair (a fixed grip triple down the fomer Backside) has allowed Whitewater to add some nice long cruisers covering 2,000 vertical feet.


Groomed runs, great as they are for kids and intermediates, are not the reason many people come to Whitewater. They come for the powder and the terrain. They come for endless tree lines. They come for Terra Ratta and Catch Basin and Backside Bowl. They come for un-named stashes everywhere and snow that's still soft days after the last storm. They come to hike and climb to fresh tracks.


The food is like nothing you've seen at a cafeteria-style day lodge anywhere. There are the usual burgers and fries, along with Canadian poutine (fries with cheese curds and gravy - the Heart Stopper Special). There are vegetarian wraps, chicken souvlaki, the Ymir Bowl, the Glory Bowl. The daily specials really are special.


OK, enough hyperbole.


Whitewater now has three chairlifts with a total vertical drop of about 2,000 feet. The base of the Glory Ridge triple is at about 4,700 ft, the lodge is at about 5,400 ft, and the top of the Summit chair is at about 6,700 ft. These elevations are fairly high for the BC interior, which makes Whitewater more resistant to winter rain than some of the lower areas. Still, it can happen.


Whitewater has a substantial "earn your turns" component. While it's not necessary to skin up and climb, there are only three lifts to serve something like 1,400 skiable acres, and that's just the in-bounds terrain. It's common practice to traverse from the tops of the lifts for a few minutes to get to the run you want. This means that it takes a while for some runs to accumulate more than a few tracks. I've found essentially untouched sections at 2:00 in the afternoon!


Many runs have no apparent entrance. There's a sign, but no obvious cut run - just tracks going into the trees. If you're a tree skier, there's space enough. If you're not, maybe a different run would be a better choice.


Like all ski areas, Whitewater has good days and bad days. Sometimes they report 8 inches (20 cm) and you go up there to find that it's 12" or 15" in the woods. Sometimes it rains and makes it ugly for a few days. Sometimes (but not often), the wind blows. Some days, rockers are the tool of choice; other days, carvers might be best.


Whitewater does not currently offer daycare (2010-2011 season).


There is no nightlife at the ski area, but it can be pretty good in Nelson.


Whitewater's location near Nelson makes it easy to combine a trip to Whitewater with a trip to Red Mountain or a day with any of several nearby cat skiing operations. Of course, if the snow is good at Whitewater, you can get very nearly a cat skiing experience without cat skiing prices.


Play it safe. Don't ski alone in the woods.


Pros: the food!, great snow, nice trees, backcountry access

Cons: small

 Whitewater is a cool little hill located outside of Nelson, one of the regions most interesting town.

Whitewater's claim to fame is its great snow. Apart from Powder King, WW is the snowiest non-costal hill in Canada's west.

It also has great tree skiing and decent pitch.

And the best daylodge food anywhere.

But the hill is really small, with only two old double lifts. Most local skiers use the lifts to access great backcountry terrain.

Not a huge hill (1300 feet I seem to recall) and not so big that you can't hit most of it in one or maybe two days, but it's all at high altitude and there's plenty of fresh Kootenay powder.   It's about an hour from Red, so if you're in the area already and want a change of scenery, it's an excellent venue.