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Best powder resort in Canada?

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 

Title says it all. Where to go to if I visit Canada and prime target is powder. We are no family so it does not have to be family friendly. Also nightlife is no issue. It's powder powder powder. Reachable by lift access (no heli, eventually some cat-skiing). Preferable not so crowded.


post #2 of 15

I haven't done much skiing in Canada, but it sounds like you're looking for something in the Powder Highway region ( It's got eight resorts overall, plus dozens of heli- and cat operations in the greater region. Interior BC is known for having Canada's best quality, most abundant powder.


Again, this more from reading than riding, but I've heard that Whitewater in Nelson is the place to be for powder. I've also heard good things about Red Mountain and Revelstoke.


Hopefully, one of many Bears that have more experience up north will chime in.

post #3 of 15

I second JoeUT; anywhere on the Powder Highway is a winner.  If you want to escape the crowds and enjoy nice, long runs and open powder bowls, I'd say Revelstoke and Kicking Horse are good options.  


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post #4 of 15

Canada has some mountains that are known for great powder skiing, but the real powder Meccas in North America are in the United States.


Canada does not have many resorts that average 400 inches or more of snow. Our snowiest hills are Whitewater, near Nelson, and Shames and Powder King in the north. I really like Whitewater, but it is kind of small. Many locals use it to access great backcountry skiing. I haven't been to Northern BC, but these "resorts" also seem to be backcountry launching places.


Other resorts that receive a fair bit of snow include Revelstoke, Fernie and Whistler. Whistler actaully gets a lot of snow, but it can be wet and competition for powder is feirce. Fernie has had some epic seasons, but many seasons aren't that spectular. Rain can be an issue at Fernie, and their avalanche situation is tricky----meaning the best terrain is slow to open up. I haven't been to Revelstoke (yet) but it seems as though elevation could be a minor issue.


Red, Castle, and Kicking Horse get a resepectable amount of snow, and competition for it is pretty light. Casle is high and cold enough to avoid most of the rain that Fernie gets. It is virtually deserted midweek, and won't get skied out on the weekends. Kicking Horse can be a solid choice as well. Red's stashes can last for days, but it's low elevation makes rain a concern.


The Okanagoan Resorts have reliable snow, but their stats aren't that impressive. I tend to view Big White, Sun Peaks and Silver Star as "family" resorts.


It never snows at Panorama.


The Alberta areas, apart from Castle, are also quite dry.


While there isn't a perfect powder destination, the snow can be really good if you time it right. If I was planning a trip to Canada to ski powder I would choose between 4 areas:




Revelstoke/Kicking Horse



I don't know if Whistler has cat skiing nearby (they have Heli for sure), but the other resorts are near great catskiing ops.

post #5 of 15
Thread Starter 

Thanks all! The info is really helpfull!


@Manchester81: I know the powder Mecca's are located in the US. However I am considering emigrating and looking for a place I could make a living as a fire-fighter chief. Unfortunately this seems impossible in the US. Canada though seems to have more open borders for skilled/educated people who are willing to work hard. Ski area is of course not most important but very nice to have around :-)


Thanks all and have a merry Christmas and a good 2011!



post #6 of 15

Whitewater, Red mountain, Fernie, Revelstoke, Hemlock,

 Whitewater gets really good snow, and plenty of it, Very consistent snowfall, but the terrain that can be accessed by lift is very limited. Good backcountry options.

Red Mountain is remote. Excellent snow quality, some of the best terrain at any resort ive been to. Great glades. Can get busy as it is right beside the town of Rossland and not far from Trail. Slow lifts, but the powder here is worth it.

Fernie. Can be incredible at times, And horrible others. Fast lifts, but this resort is very popular and can get unbelievably busy on powder days. and powder days come consistently. not my favorite resort for terrain, but its managable. the snow is always good high up, but once you get to about mid mountain it can get messy. Good bowl skiing.

Revelstoke. Overrated. Good snow, but way exagerrated. apperantly they have an average snowfall of 60 feet annually, but its really much less. Snow here is good quality though. even way down near the base. but with that also comes a disadvantage of frigid temps near the summit frequently. the feel here is wierd. theres the locals, which are nice, but there is also the glitzy im the best crowd starting to take over.

Hemlock. Underrated. My personal favorite. it NEVER gets crowded here, becuase it is in the shadow of whistler. EXCELLENT snow every year. Ive never had a bad day here. Kind of small compared to other resorts, but the snow completly makes up for it. Recommend it.

post #7 of 15

I travel to interior B.C. every year:


I agree with Manchester81's analysis.  I would note that Whitewater may not be so small anymore with this year's new lift that should about double lift accessible acreage.


Revelstoke averages 375 inches at 6,000 feet, about the same as Fernie.  Probably more reliable with less rain,  though the lower mountain at Revy definitely gets rain, at least a couple of major events last season. 


Castle is my favorite lift served area up there.  For Fernie/Castle you have Island Lake cat skiing and a couple of smaller places.  There are many within easy distance of Nelson if you opt for Red/Whitewater.

Edited by Tony Crocker - 12/31/10 at 10:15pm
post #8 of 15
Originally Posted by manchester81 View Post

Fernie has had some epic seasons, but many seasons aren't that spectular. Rain can be an issue at Fernie, and their avalanche situation is tricky----meaning the best terrain is slow to open up.




Revelstoke/Kicking Horse




He hits Fernie dead on.  There is Island Lake and Powder Cowboy catskiing right there.  The mountain????  Well, they claim to be a powder capital but after three years in Fernie I can say I get in twice the powder here at Bachelor.  (oregon??  Don't tell anyone)

post #9 of 15

never heard of Hemlock till this post. What are the length of runs there like compared to Whistler?

post #10 of 15

if you are looking for short lift lines and powder kicking horse is perfect in my opinion

post #11 of 15

Hemlock has much shorter runs compared to Whistler.  They have applied for planning to expand the ski area to around 8 times its current size.  It will be exciting if they pull it off, but it won't happen overnight.

post #12 of 15
Originally Posted by powpow16 View Post

if you are looking for short lift lines and powder kicking horse is perfect in my opinion

Be careful. Kicking Horse is great if they have plenty of snow. If they don't, it's not so nice. Today's snow report for Kicking Horse shows 46". That isn't enough, but it could get much better in the next couple of weeks.

post #13 of 15

Be aware that employment can be problematic in the British Columbia interior. The people who already live here want to keep the good jobs. The Nelson Fire Chief has been here for years, and has a replacement ready to step in if he wants to retire.


It's not impossible to immigrate (I did), but in order to offer you a job, the employer has to show that they couldn't find a Canadian for the job.

post #14 of 15

I was just in kicking horse that day after christmas for a week and they got about a foot of fresh snow and it was good just occasional rocks super bowl was awesome tho

post #15 of 15

As Tony said, Whitewater now has Three (count 'em, 3!) chairlifts and nearly twice the lift-served terrain (nearly 1,500 acres) that they had before.


I like Whitewater, of course, but it can't compare to some of the western majors in sheer size.


Even though it's "small" and has only three chairlifts, it's bigger than anything in the east.


At Whitewater, most skiers do a little work to earn their turns. One lift can serve a large area accessed by traverse. This means it takes a while to get skied out.


It also means that it might be a long time before anyone finds you if you get into trouble, especially if you're skiing trees somewhere.

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