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Budget ski land in BC?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

Hey all, 


Now that I've finished my three month stint at Whistler, I've decided that BC is the province for me! So long, Ontario! 


I'd like to buy some land somewhere in BC near a ski hill and build a house. However, I have very limited funds. So given my situation, what would people suggest? 


My priorities are as follows: 

Low cost. I can afford land up to $50,000 (if I push it). (as an aside: it's really frustrating to see so much cheap land in Quebec and Ontario...)

Must be within a 45 minute drive of a ski hill. 10 minutes preferred. 

Good snow required. (e.g. Silver Star, Big White. No Panorama.)

Lots of terrain preferred. I'm ok with vertical of only 1500ft if the snow's consistently awesome and there's tons of fun terrain. 

Long season preferred. (E.g. Nov - May.)


I realize I'm asking for a lot. But hopefully there's something out there. It seems anything in the Okanagan's unlikely (Big White/Silver Star/Sun Peaks), same thing with Revelstoke or Kicking Horse. Any hidden gems? What are Red Mountain, Apex, and Whitewater like? 


Thanks! Any ideas appreciated.

post #2 of 7

50K for anything close to a decent ski resort might be tough.  Salmo has a little hill.



Trout Lake would be nice, but you would have to tour.

post #3 of 7

How much land are you looking for?  I would look around Red Mountain first based on personal preference, Whitewater is a great hill but the Nelson area will probably be more expensive than Rossland/Trail, never been to Apex..  If you don't mind a border crossing each day you can also look at land just south of the border, that area has hit some tough times and there may be deals to be had.

post #4 of 7

Salmo's not too far from Whitewater and Red Mountain.


Nelson is expensive.


You might be able to get an old trailer in Ymir...


Whitewater has only 1300 feet of lift-served vertical. Backside runs to the access road (hitchhike back up) can exceed 2,000 feet.


Whitewater only got 345 inches of snow during the 09/10 season. Only. By Whitewater standards, it was a pretty mediocre year.


Whitewater is a vastly different creature than Whistler, Big White, Tremblant, etc. Old-school day lodge, great food, earn your turns. The families are mostly locals, with the occasional group from Washington or Idaho. Some of the most "core" skiers at Whitewater are over 80 years old. Others are 10 years old. Still others are 24 and hike for big turns and big air.


There is no snowmaking. The season is on the short side, generally running early to mid-December until mid-April, with plenty of do-it-yourself skiing after that.


There's lots of terrain, but it requires some work on your part to get to most of it. Don't ever go alone, always be prepared for self-rescue, pay attention to snow stability, aspect, etc.


Find "Sinners," a short feature that appeared at the Banff Film Festival a few years ago. Watch it.


It isn't Whistler. It's different.

post #5 of 7

I don't know much about BC real estate, but if Salmo is affordable, it would be a pretty decent location.


As JHCOOLEY mentioned, it is close to both Red and Whitewater.


Red is one of my favorite resorts. It isn't big by Whister Standards, but it has nearly 3000 vert and varried terrain. Because most of the mountain is tree skiing, it offers dozens of unique routes per face.


I have enjoyed my trips to whitewater as well. They get more snow than Red, and the trees there are also a lot of fun. It is a pretty small place though, so I think most locals would spend a lot of time in the backcountry.


Salmo is also close to the summit of the Salmo-Creston highway, which provides access to some nice backcountry.


...and there is the little town hill.



On the downside, I don't know if there is much (anything?) to do in town. Your closest major airport is in Spokane, and that is a bit of a trek. Most of your shopping would have to be done in Trail, Castlegar, or Nelson...



Another option to consider is Crowsnest Pass in Alberta (on the BC boarder) or Sparwood in BC. These locations are less than an hour from Castle Mountain in AB and Fernie in BC (and a small town hill). Both are great hills with very distinct personalities. This region always seems to be on the cusp of becoming a major tourist destination for weekenders from Calgary, but it should be more affordable than Fernie, and there are likely some deals to be found.

post #6 of 7

Anywhere you go in B.C. there will be cheaper real estate than Whistler except downtown Vancouver and Revelstoke. But any building lots for 50k I would guess would be unserviced and very rural and no where near a ski resort.


Why don't you buy a winterized RV. Fernie has an RV Park right near one of the lifts. I think Revelstoke has a RV Park that is open year round and a short drive to the mountain.

post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 

Thanks all.


I might end up choosing the Rossland area then. Seems like the least expensive... Dano: a winterized RV sounds fun, but I need to be able to work from home on non-ski days. It was a good idea though.


Why couldn't prices be similar to Quebec where you can buy a plot of land for 10K? Ah well... 

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