By Rob Lloyd

Skiing in Canada: The Powder Highway

Wednesday, November 30th, 2016 1773

The Powder Highway is an iconic stretch of mountains in British Columbia that has one of the highest concentrations of ski resorts in North America and receives some of continent’s best snow. It’s no wonder this spot is much sought after by ski and snowboard enthusiasts from around the world.

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Regardless of how many of the resorts we’ve featured you plan on visiting, renting an SUV is recommended. The weather around these parts can make driving conditions difficult– once you get into the mountains you’ll be glad you rented something a little more rugged. One of the main points of entry to the Powder Highway is from Calgary where you can fly into their international airport, enjoy some of Canada’s finest steaks and the next day, head out for the hills.


Red Mountain Ski Resort

Rossland, British Columbia

Red Mountain Ski Resort British Columbia chairlift

Lifts to the top of Red Mountain. Photo by Murray Foubister

Red Mountain Resort in Rossland is known for being one of the original ski resorts in Western Canada. Despite being one of the oldest resorts in the country, it also offers some recently updated facilities including new slopeside accommodation. Red Mountain consists of over 2600 acres of skiable terrain and another 1600 acres for hiking and as a result offers lots of opportunities for those in search of fresh tracks on a large variety of terrain.

trivago hotel pick: Best Western Plus Columbia River Hotel

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Spacious, clean rooms and a hot breakfast every morning. Photo taken from trivago.

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The Best Western Plus Columbia River offers excellent budget friendly accommodation located on the Columbia River just outside the nearby mining-era town of Rossland. The hotel offers guests a complimentary hot breakfast every morning including some outstanding Canadian bacon and eggs plus loads of fresh baked breads and pastries, waffles and fruit. Onsite you’ll also find a hot tub and the fabulous Foxy’s Fine Food & Drinks dining lounge, great for apres-ski drinks and bites. The hotel is situated a short 20 minute drive from Red Mountain Resort.

Panorama Ski Resort

Panorama, British Columbia

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Panorama is known as one of the smaller resorts on the Powder Highway but makes up for that by offering its guests unreal amounts of snow, world-class services and lots of other activities besides simply downhill skiing at their 2800 acre resort. Other activities which are popular at Panorama include heli-skiing, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. Those new to Panorama are often happy to find out that despite its small size, there are many slopeside accommodation options available and even more dining options.

trivago hotel pick: Panorama Vacation Retreat at Horsethief Lodge

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At liberty to lounge in your private living room. Photos courtesy of Horsethief Lodge

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Horsethief Lodge offers ski enthusiasts the ability to make it up the slopes within minutes of waking up. The 2-bedroom guest quarters can comfortably sleep up to six adults making the Lodge the perfect homebase for your whole ski gang to hang. Bring that one foodie friend of yours–the suites come with a fully-equipped kitchen for whipping up meals and spacious living and dining room for relaxing post ski-time. You’ll also get free access to the Panorama Springs pools and free rides up the gondola to the Upper Village and Mile 1 Quad.

Whitewater Ski Resort

Nelson, British Columbia

Whitewater Ski Resort British Columbia

Blue skies and fluffy snow give Whitewater its fantastic reputation. Photo by Jennifer C. CCBY

Whitewater is so special it merited a mention by Powder Magazine as “one of the best powder mountains on the continent.” The resort is situated just outside of Nelson and gets an incredible 40 plus feet of light, fluffy snow per year. To accompany this volume of powder, it offers snow seekers over 2000 feet of steeps to ride and over 1,180 acres of skiable terrain. Finally, another big part of its appeal to ski fanatics is that it’s slightly off the beaten path— a real utopia for those who prefer to avoid long lift lines and large crowds.

trivago hotel pick: Alpine Inn

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Cozy and quaint and only a short drive to the slopes. Photo taken from trivago

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If you’re looking to sleep as close as possible to both Whitewater Ski Resort and the town of Nelson, this European-styled Alpine Inn is a lovely and budget firendly option. Some of the suites can accomodate up to six guests and many have their own kitchen facilities, fireplaces and jacuzzis. The Inn is also dog-friendly and features free WiFi and free curbside parking in front of the rooms.

Revelstoke Ski Resort

Revelstoke, British Columbia

Revelstoke Ski Resort BC

From atop the mountain of Revelstoke. Photo by Alex.Mounsey CCBY

Revelstoke is another resort renowned for its abundance of fresh snow with an annual fall of over anywhere between 480 – 720 inches. Besides that, it also offers an almost unbelievable 5,620 vertical feet of skiable terrain and some incredibly long runs, the longest of which, Last Spike, lasts slightly over 9.5 miles from top to bottom! This resort is relatively new but offers an impressive 3,120+ acres of skiable terrain and some incredible heli-skiing options.

trivago hotel pick: The Sutton Place Revelstoke Mountain Resort

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Ski-in and Ski-out straight into Sutton Place. Photo taken from trivago.

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Ski out in the morning and ski straight into the evening at the  Sutton Place Hotel Revelstoke Mountain Resort. The condo-style hotel has plenty of ski and bike storage and each unit comes with a full kitchen and the added benefit of a washer and dryer. Balconies offer beautiful vistas across the mountains and the sloped and a heated underground parking facility makes it easy to get your car going even in the most frigid of Canadian temperatures. Take a post-ski dop in the year-round outdoor heated pool or one of the three outdoor hot tubs and light up your suites gas fireplace when nightfalls for the ultimate cozy experience

Kicking Horse Ski Resort

Golden, British Columbia

Kicking Horse Ski Resort BC

Home to the incredible Champagne powder. Photo by Zach Dischner CCBY

Kicking Horse is known for having one of the continent’s highest vertical drops at an incredible 4,133 feet! This resort, just outside of Golden, offers 106 runs on 2800+ acres of skiable terrain. Add to that an average of 24 feet of some of the lightest and driest powder on the planet and there is no wonder why it’s often referred to as the “Champagne Powder” capital of the world. Another thing to note is that it’s only a 2.5 hour drive away from Calgary. Some of the bowls here are out of this world, so it comes highly recommended if you’re in the area.

trivago hotel pick: The Palliser Lodge

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Dramatic snowy landscape nestles the Palliser Lodge. Photo taken from trivago.

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For those who covet the opportunity to be the first on the slopes running through the Champagne Powder of Kicking Horse, the Palliser lets you ski in and out with ease. All the suites feature full kitchen and private balconies. Book a suite with a private hot tub and you’re set on the road to relaxtion post first day back on the hill. Ski equipment storage is also available.

Fernie Ski Resort

Fernie, British Columbia

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Fernie is one of Canada’s most beloved mountain resorts. Photo by Owen Richard CCBY

Fernie boasts over 37 feet of annual snowfall. If that wasn’t enough, it also houses five massive bowls, a huge vertical and endless glades. The historical town of Fernie offers countless dining and nightlife opportunities for those looking to indulge in a little apres-ski action. If you’d like to try something besides skiing you can try your hand at curling, ice skating, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, cross-country skiing and even take on a romantic sleigh-ride dinner. I loved Fernie, not just the mountain but the because the town has a great vibe which adds to the whole experience.

trivago hotel pick: Best Western Fernie Mountain Lodge

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Cozy and quintessentially Canadian, the Best Western is an excellent Fernie hotel pick. Photo taken from trivago

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Wake up to a postcard view of the Canadian Rockies and a free hot breakfast at the Best Western Fernie Mountain Lodge. With an easy eight-minute drive to the slopes, the Best Western’s cozy and spotless rooms allow you to rest up before tackling the mountain. For those in need of a post-ski fuel up but lacking the energy to wander into town, the onsite Boston Pizza and Sports Bar hits all the right notes. If you’re looking to unwind privately, grab a bottle of red or a six pack from the on-site liquor store.

Kimberley Ski Resort

Kimberley, British Columbia

Kimberley Ski Resort BC skiing

Clear runs all the way down Kimberley. Photo by Robert Tadlock CCBY

Kimberley offers over 1,800 skiable acres of terrain and 80 runs for adventure seekers– the Black Forest is a veritable heaven for expert skiers and snowboarders alike. The resort also offers night skiing and a plethora of other activities including snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, dog sledding, snowmobiling and helicopter tours. If you’re not ready to hit the hay after a long day on the slopes, be sure to look into their movies, bowling and ice skating opportunities.

trivago hotel pick: Mountain Spirit Resort & Spa

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A welcoming lobby at the Mountain Spirit Resort. Photo taken from trivago.

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For a truly decadent yet environmentally friendly ski lodge experience, treat yourself to a stay at Mountain Spirit Resort & Spa at Kimberley Alpine Resort. Ski straight into their heated ski locker room or wait for your friends to finish up their runs in front of the massive lobby fireplace. Make friends fast in the 30-person hot tub or swim laps in the four-season outdoor pool. A variety of room configurations allows for bigger groups and longer stays and you can feel guilt free about cranking that thermostat should you get chilly since the resort is heated using environmentally conscious geothermal heating. 


As you can see the Powder Highway offers an incredible amount of powder, varied terrain and different activities for the adventurous snow seekers who make the trek to come visit. Besides that, just driving along the highways themselves is an experience which offers some incredible scenery and something to consider for all those serious about their snow.

Did we forgot your favorite BC ski spot? Let us know in the comments! 


*Cover image by Owen Richard CCBY

Rob Lloyd
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After liquidating everything in his life to travel the world indefinitely and find a new favorite place on earth, Rob Shabl is still chasing the dream. He created his blog, Stop Having a Boring Life to document his endless trip around the world in real-time and give readers an idea of what it’s like.