Winter – Back Country Skiing in BC, Canada.
Imagine a place with the lightest powder snow in the world, a place with 13m+ of average annual snow fall, a place with masses of easily accessed back country skiing where fresh tracks in perfect powder are the norm not the exception.
I’m talking about Interior BC, the Kootenay region to be more precise. For those new to British Columbia or Canadian skiing heres a little information about how the snow varies hugely across the province of BC both in type of snow and amount. On the west around Whistler they get a lot of snow given the west coast location but most of the time that snow is heavy and wet and the chance of seeing the sun is ‘unlikely’. On the other side of BC in the east and where Alberta adjoins BC the snow can be much lighter but places like the popular resort of Lake Louise hardly see any snow falls, sometimes months can go by with none at all. So Lake louise can be good for a sunny piste based family ski trip, if you rap up warm, but if you want powder snow on a regular basis, forget it.
The Banff resorts, in the Rockys, also see very cold temperatures which often leads to a very unstable snow pack in respect to back country skiing.
Fernie in the southern rockies is better in regard to snow pack and can get big dumps of powder, it has a great resort however there is limited touring around Fernie and the snow falls come much less often than in the Kootenays. Fernie is also very popular with skiers from Calgary and Europe, so don’t expect to get fresh tracks unless you are very lucky.
Ok so in the middle of BC, the Kootenay region, you get the highest volume of snow even more than the west coast and it is a much drier snow. The snow in the Kootenays is famously light and fluffy, it sparkles when blown into the air from trees or the hand. Because the temperatures in the Kootenays are much more often in the +2 to -10 degrees Celsius range the snow pack tends to bond into a more stable pack, than for example the Rockies and combined with the lightness and frequency of the snow falls, this leads to many days of ideal back country conditions every season. As a bonus the Kootenays sees much less skier traffic than the more well known Canadian resort areas like Whistler, Banff, Fernie for example, due to those areas being close to the major cities and airports of Vancouver and Calgary. So to get to the Kootenays means a days travel at each end of your trip, but if your coming for Epic Back Country Skiing, your travel will be rewarded by many more excellent ski days than the closer areas.
You’ll see from our Itinerary for this trip that we break down the journey to maximise your time skiing and to minimise long travel distances.
In summary the Kootenay region of British Columbia, Canada, has the best snow in the world and easy access to it for ski touring, basically a ski touring paradise.