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Powder Highway best route, most skiing

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

I live in Utah planning a trip to BC to ski the Powder Highway. Theres going to be 4 of us. Thinking of driving/maybe pulling a small camper? Dates March 15 until around April 1. I was wondering if anyone could give me advice. Cheep places to stay good backcountry tours? Pretty much what route is going to give us as much powder skiing as we can handle plus really seeing B.C for what its worth. Were all a bunch of billy goats with lots of backcountry experience.  Seeking B.C's big lines. Im looking at doing a few nights in the Ymir hut system. Request from one of our athletes. So if that could be included it could help!




post #2 of 6

Check out the latest issue of Skiing Magazine.  They do a whole feature on the Powder highway.

post #3 of 6

Guided or Unguided? Catered? There are a lot of options for huts, from luxury to literally a steel box. 


-Looking to save some $ and slog in, or heli in? Sleds? 


-Terrain? High alpine, glades or Glacier? Exposure or skipping?


Any lift access?  


How much driving do you want to do. 

post #4 of 6
Thread Starter 

Looking for Unguided/Don't want to spend a lot$ kinda on a budget.  No sleds , 

Terrain/High Alpine, good long lines, were all skiers who tour in Utah almost daily w/lots of backcountry experience. Route finding , etc.  Don't mind a good slog... But can be persuaded with a ride anytime if the price is right. Want to ski Red Mtn as well. Totally willing to dish out a few bucks for a good hut trip . Driving is not a big deal either. 

post #5 of 6

The majority of the mountains around Rossland(red) and nelson offer little alpine. Treeline is around 6500ft and most of the peaks are in the 7k range. Things change considerably as you go a little further North. 


The interior is a funny place. The roads follow valley bottom, and there are too many mountains, to even see the real mountains. You'll catch a glimpse of one here of there, but for the most part you will be in the "foothills". There are tons of forestry roads that can get you to the goods, but you will need a sled or a very strong will to get there. From the car touring options, look at Kootenay Pass. or Rogers. Of course there are options from the resorts as well. 


Huts are the way to go, and the best way to ski BC. The Alpine club of Canada huts are cheap, although they are rustic. Bring your own sleeping bag etc. 


If it were my trip, 


1. Red Mountain

2. Whitewater

3. Jumbo Pass Cabin

4. Revelstoke

5. Rogers pass - Asulkan or Wheeler hut. 


Then come back down the same way. (or head back through golden and fernie)



The Jumbo Cabin will require a flight in, has huge mountains(the biggest), but the hut is on the ridge and I would imagine most of the skiing done is short shots around the cabin(1-2k vert). Although there are 4-5k lines in every direction. The Jumbo snowpack is more continental, fairly similar to UT. Jumbo will give you isolation, but a lot of it has been logged, hardly pristine wilderness. Which spoils the view, but offers fun skiing.  The cabin is usually available.


The Asulkan hut at rogers, is popular. Has big lines, and glaciers at your doorstep. The snow is stickier than jumbo, and steep lines will be more filled in and the pillows that form on everything will be a refreshing change of pace. Plus the glacier skiing is at your door step Rogers is popular  and accesible by car, so you will see other people. There is no logging. 

post #6 of 6

I've just returned from a week long tour of the Powder Highway, with stops at Red, Whitewater, Revelstoke and Kicking Horse. If you want to combine some time at the latter two resorts with some backcountry touring, I'd recommend you consider staying at the Wheeler Hut in Rogers Pass (http://www.alpineclubofcanada.ca/facility/wheeler.html) and use that as a base for trips west to Revelstoke (about an hour's drive) or east to Golden and Kicking Horse (about one and a half hours.) There is excellent touring right from the hut, including a route up to the Asulkan hut and beyond (http://www.alpineclubofcanada.ca/facility/asulkan.html). The Wheeler hut is about a 15 or 20 minute skin from the Asulkan parking lot, yet feels further from civilization than that. Maps, permits and advice are available a few miles east of the parking lot in the Rogers Pass Discovery Centre. (http://www.pc.gc.ca/lhn-nhs/bc/rogers/visit/visit2.aspx).


At the southern end of the PH you could make Castlegar your base. It ain't purdy, but it's centrally located between Red Mt. in Rossland and Whitewater in Nelson. You can also head up to Kootenay Pass from Castlegar for some road-side powder runs. If you want to stay some place purdy, give Nelson a try. For a sense of the touring options around Red, Whitewater and Kootenay Pass you could check out the Backcountry Skiing Canada website (http://www.backcountryskiingcanada.com/)


If you drive from the Red/Whitewater end of things up to Revelstoke there are some good touring options a bit north of New Denver, via Bonanza Road and the Shannon Creek Forest Service Road. Shannon Creek takes you up into the Valhalla Mountain Touring tenure, though it's a bit of a slog. At New Denver you can head east toward Kaslo where, mid-way, you'll come across the remains of Retallack, now the site of first rate cat skiing (pricey) and excellent self-propelled touring on the north side of the highway (e.g. Mt. Brennan). Alternatively you could drive north from Nelson toward Kaslo and head into Kokanee Glacier Park. If you are willing to buy a guidebook for the area, check out Chic Scott and Mark Klassen's guide to the Columbia Mountains (Summits and Icefields 2: Alpine Ski Tours in the Columbia Mountains). That will give you the best sense of the routes, as well as details on all the huts. One look and you may never go home.

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