Top ski resorts in the Kootenays and Canadian Rockies to find legendary powder

Home to celebrated mountain ranges like the Rockies, Selkirks and Purcells, the region also boasts world-famous ski resorts

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Kicking Horse Mountain Resort views.

Spectacular vistas like this are part of the outdoor adventures beckoning at ski resorts across the Kootenay region. — Photo courtesy Kicking Horse Mountain Resort Facebook page

It’s no secret that the Kootenay region offers up some of the best skiing and snowboarding in North America. Consistent snowfalls, legendary powder and some of the most scenic and spectacular mountain ranges in the world make the area a must-visit destination for winter-sport enthusiasts.

Check out our list of world-famous (and not so famous) Kootenay region ski resorts and get your powder on!

East Kootenay

Elkford - Wapiti Ski Club

It may be smaller than many of the big mainstream ski resorts in the area, but the Wapiti Ski Club still offers a great outdoor experience for visitors. There are 14 runs, suitable for all skill levels. Entirely operated by volunteers, the ski club is an excellent choice for families and people who are looking to avoid the big crowds.

Annual snowfall: 350 cm (137 in)
Number of lifts: 1

  • T-Bar

Number of runs: 14
Equipment rentals: Yes, ski and snowboard rentals are available. The rental shop also provides waxing, edge sharpening and repair services to skis and snowboards.
Lessons available: Yes, ski and snowboard lessons are available for all ages and abilities Lessons are offered in both private and group formats.
Amenities: A day lodge with concession facilities is on site.
Health & Safety: The Wapiti Ski Club has decided not to enforce vaccine passports for the 2021/2022 season, but all COVID rules will be strictly enforced, including wearing masks. Refusal to do so will result in being asked to leave. 

Fairmont Hot Springs - Fairmont Hot Springs Resort

Winter means fun at Fairmont Hot Spring Resort! Featuring a family-friendly ski hill with 13 runs and tube and terrain parks, the resort is a great option for those looking to spend a laid-back day in the mountains. The Ski Chalet provides delicious dining options for hungry bellies before they get back to hitting the slopes.

People skiing down a hill at Fairmont Hot Springs Resort.

The Fairmont Hot Springs Resort offers up some great skiing, in addition to the world-famous hot springs. — Photo courtesy Fairmont Hot Springs Resort

Elevation: 1,584m (5,200 ft)
Annual snowfall: 254 cm (100 in)
Number of lifts: 3

  • platter lift (Happy Trails)
  • Pony Express Lift
  • triple chair (Sundance)

Number of runs: 12, ranging from beginner to expert
Equipment rentals: Yes, ski and snowboard rentals are available.
Lessons available: Yes, lessons are available for all ages and abilities, including private lessons.
Amenities: The Ski Chalet offers dining options and, of course, there’s the world-famous Fairmont Hot Springs to relax in after a long day of skiing.
Health & Safety: Physical distancing and masks are required when purchasing tickets, in lift line-ups, while loading and riding the lifts, all indoor spaces and the parking lot. Lockers and on-site storage are unavailable this season. 

Fernie - Fernie Alpine Resort

Known as one of the snowiest ski destinations in Canada, Fernie Alpine Resort attracts skiers and snowboarders from around the world. The resort sees an average of 11 m (37 ft) of snow annually and is a top spot for adventure-seekers and powderhounds. Another top draw for visitors is the nearby City of Fernie, which boasts a friendly, laid-back mountain culture and is a hotspot for dining and entertainment.

Elevation: 2,134 m (7,000 ft)
Annual snowfall: 899 cm (354 in)
Number of lifts: 10

  • 2 high-speed quad chair lifts
  • 2 quad chair lifts
  • 3 triple chairlifts
  • 3 surface lifts (1 T-bar, 1 tow, 1 conveyor)

Number of runs: 142, ranging from beginner to expert. The resort features more expert terrain compared to similar size resorts.
Equipment rentals:  Downhill and cross-country skis, snowboard, shoeshoe and fat bike rentals are available.
Lessons available:  Yes, lessons are available for all ages and abilities.
Amenities: Fernie Alpine Resort offers a variety of ski-in/ski-out lodging, dining and shopping options.
Health & Safety: The 2021/2022 season will require showing proof of full COVID-19 vaccination to access all lifts (chair lifts, gondolas & magic carpets) and indoor facilities. 

Golden - Kicking Horse Mountain Resort

The Kicking Horse Mountain Resort offers up 1,133 hectares (2,800 acres) of spectacular terrain, ranging from steep bowls to soft and gentle slopes, making it a great choice for all skill levels. There’s a  ski-in/ski-out village that provides a selection of resort amenities. Not to be missed is a visit to the Eagle Eye restaurant—at its lofty 2,346-metre (7,697 ft) perch, it’s known as Canada’s most elevated dining experience.

Elevation: 2,505m (8,218 ft)
Annual snowfall: 749 cm (295 in) 
Number of lifts: 5

  • 8-passenger gondola (Golden Eagle Express)
  • 4-Passenger fixed grip chairlift (Catamount)
  • 4-passenger fixed-grip quad (Stairway to Heaven)
  • 2-Passenger fixed-grip chairlift (Pioneer)
  • surface lift (Pony Express)

Number of runs: 128+, ranging from beginner to expert.
Equipment rentals: Yes, ski, snowboard and snowshoe rentals are available.
Lessons available: Yes, lessons are available for all ages and abilities.
Amenities: Kicking Horse Mountain Resort offers a variety of lodging, dining, shopping and services in the heart of the Village Plaza.
Health & Safety: The 2021/2022 season will require showing proof of full COVID-19 vaccination to access all lifts (chair lifts, gondolas & magic carpets) and indoor facilities. 

Kimberley - Kimberley Alpine Resort

A family-friendly resort, the Kimberley Alpine Resort features terrain that’s suitable for all skill levels. Surrounded by the Selkirk and Rocky Mountains, the resort offers 80 runs—ranging from beginner to expert—and has over 729 hectares (1,801 acres) of skiable area. The resort is known for its consistent and abundant snowfalls and glorious sunny days.

Elevation: 1,982 m (6,500 ft)
Annual snowfall: 399cm (157 in)
Number of lifts: 5

  • 1 high-speed quad (North Star Express)
  • 1 triple chair (Easter)
  • 1 double chair (Tamarack)
  • 1 T-Bar (Owl)
  • 1 magic carpet

Number of runs: 80, ranging from beginner to advanced.
Equipment rentals: Downhill and cross-country skis, snowboard, fat bike and snowshoe rentals are available.
Lessons available: Yes, for all ages and abilities. Kimberley Alpine Resort pros are certified and trained in alpine skiing, snowboarding and snowshoe tours.
Amenities: Kimberley Alpine Resort offers a variety of ski-in/ski-out lodging, dining and shopping options.
Health & Safety: The 2021/2022 season will require showing proof of full COVID-19 vaccination to access all lifts (chair lifts, gondolas & magic carpets) and indoor facilities. 

Panorama - Panorama Mountain Resort

Set amongst the stunning scenic mountain ranges of the Purcell and Rocky Mountains, the Panorama Mountain Resort is a favourite ski destination for serious skiers and families alike. Offering a laid-back, friendly atmosphere, the resort features plentiful sunny days and snowfall. For the less adventurous souls, relax in the resort hot pools, take a snowshoe trek or enjoy a twirl at the Panorama Resort ice skating rink.

Skier at Panorama Resort, mountains in background.

Panorama Mountain Resort features awe-inspiring views of the Purcell and Rocky Mountain ranges. — Kerry Shellborn photo

Elevation: 2,451m (8,038 ft)
Annual snowfall: 520 cm (204 in)
Number of lifts: 10

  • 10 lifts & 1 alpine snowcat shuttle
  • 1 village gondola
  • 2 express quad chairs
  • 2 quad chairs
  • 1 triple chair
  • 1 double chair
  • 1 platter
  • 2 carpet lifts
  • 1 monster X

Number of runs: 135, ranging from beginner to expert. About 50 per cent of the runs at Panorama are suitable for beginners or intermediate skills, making it ideal for families.
Equipment rentals: Ski and snowboard rentals, as well as fat bikes, ice skates and snowshoe rentals are available.
Lessons available: Yes, lessons are available for all ages and abilities.
Amenities: Panorama Mountain Resort offers a variety of ski-in/ski-out accommodations, on-hill and mountain-top dining establishments, and shopping.
Health & Safety: Proof of COVID-19 vaccination must be presented to enter village food & beverage establishments, but is not currently required outdoors or to ride chairlifts or surface lifts (excluding Monster X). Masks are mandatory in all public indoor spaces for people aged 5 and older. 

West Kootenay

Grand Forks - Phoenix Mountain Ski Area

The Phoenix Mountain Ski area is a community-owned ski hill with 15 different runs, ranging in difficulty from beginner to expert. The ski area also offers popular night skiing. Phoenix Mountain is a not-to-be-missed destination for the ski and snowboard crowd who seek a quieter and less-crowded outdoor experience, as well as families.

Aerial view of the Phoenix Mountain Ski Area.

The Phoenix Mountain Ski Area in Grand Forks offers up lots of exciting terrain to explore. — Photo courtesy Skiphoenix Instagram page

Elevation: 1,463m (4,800 ft)
Annual snowfall: 889 cm (350 in)
Number of lifts: 2

  • T-Bar
  • Rope tow

Number of runs: 15
Equipment rentals: Yes, ski and snowboard rentals are available.
Lessons available:  Yes, private and group lessons are available for ages toddlers to teens.
Amenities: The Phoenix Lodge offers a cafeteria and rental shop.
Health & Safety: Proof of COVID-19 vaccination is required for entry to the cafeteria and deck as they are licensed areas. Masks for all guests are mandatory when in lift lines, while loading and riding the lifts, inside all buildings and during all ski and snowboard lessons. 

Nakusp - Summit Lake Ski & Snowboard Area

Affordable skiing and boarding for the whole family—what more could you want? Despite its smaller, low-key size and feel, the Summit Lake Ski & Snowboard area still boasts a lot that larger-size resorts also offer. There are eight trails—ranging from a bunny hill up to expert runs—qualified instructors and staff on-hand and equipment available to rent.

Annual snowfall: 381 cm (150 in)
Number of lifts: 2

  • T-bar
  • Rope tow

Number of trails: 8
Equipment rentals: Yes, there’s a ski shop with rentals (skis and snowboards) available.
Lessons available: Yes, lessons with qualified instructors are available.
Amenities: There’s a day lodge with cafeteria facilities located at the Summit Lake Ski area, but the cafeteria is currently closed for the 2021/2022 season.
Health & Safety: Contact tracing is in effect—all skiers and boarders must sign in. Masks must be worn from the lift lines to the top of the lifts, as well as in indoor spaces. Lockers and storage areas are unavailable for the 2021/2022 season. 

Nelson - Whitewater Ski Resort

With its local ski-hill vibe, Whitewater Ski Resort is anything but pretentious. It boasts some of the best annual snowfall numbers and has a nice selection of runs, ranging from beginner to expert. Slopes are generally uncrowded, the atmosphere is family-friendly and prices are affordable for a fun outing.

Elevation: 2,046m (6,710 ft)
Annual snowfall: 1,219 cm (480 in)
Number of lifts: 4

  • double chair (Silver King)
  • quad chair (Summit) 
  • triple chair (Glory Ridge)
  • handle tow (Hummer) 

Number of runs: 82
Equipment rentals: Ski, snowboard and snowshoe rentals are available.The rental shop also provides tuning and equipment repairs.
Lessons available: Yes, both private and group lessons are available for all ages and abilities.
Amenities: Day lodge and dining facilities are available at the resort, including a cafe and pub.
Health & Safety: Proof of COVID-19 vaccination is required for all indoor dining spaces, but not to ski/snowboard and use the lift systems. Masks are mandatory in all indoor spaces. 

Revelstoke - Revelstoke Mountain Resort

With the highest lift-accessed vertical of any resort in North America, the Revelstoke Mountain Resort attracts die-hard, serious adventure enthusiasts from around the world. Legendary snowfall and equally legendary runs make the resort one of the most popular destination spots in the region. While many of the resort’s 75 runs are designated as intermediate or advanced levels, there’s still plenty to offer less skilled skiers and families, including a terrain park and kid’s area.

Elevation: 2,467m (8,091 ft)
Annual snowfall: 1,049 cm (413 in)
Number of lifts: 6

  • 8-passenger Leitner-Poma high-speed gondola (Revelation) 
  • 4-passenger Leitner-Poma high-speed chairlift (Stoke) 
  • 4-passenger Leitner-Poma high-speed chairlift (Ripper) 
  • 4-passenger Leitner-Poma high-speed, fixed-grip chairlift (Stellar) 
  • magic carpet conveyor lift, located outside the Mid Mountain Lodge (Little Bit) 
  • magic carpet conveyor lift accessing beginner area and tube park at the Village Base - (Turtle Creek) 

Number of runs: 75
Equipment rentals: Yes, ski and snowboard rentals are available.
Lessons available: Yes, lessons are available for all ages and abilities.
Amenities: Revelstoke Mountain Resort offers a variety of lodging, dining, shopping and services in the heart of the resort.
Health & Safety: Both guests and staff must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to ski or snowboard at Revelstoke Mountain Resort for the 2021/22 season. Masks are required in all indoor areas, including the Revelation gondola. 

Rossland - RED Mountain Resort

At RED Mountain Resort, the terrain is spread out over 1,558 hectares (3,849 acres) and provides a huge variety of slopes and features, making it a popular pick for everyone from ski bums to families with small children. RED Mountain Resort provides a relaxed and friendly atmosphere, and whether you’re looking for the ultimate challenge or just an easy day on the slopes, it can be found at this resort.

Elevation: 2,075m (6,807 ft)
Annual snowfall: 760 cm (300 in)
Number of lifts: 8

  • 5 chairlifts
  • 1 T-bar
  • 1 magic carpet
  • Mt. Kirkup snowcat

Number of runs: 119
Equipment rentals: Yes, ski, snowboard and snowshoe rentals are available.
Lessons available: Yes, lessons are available for all ages and abilities.
Amenities: The RED Mountain Resort offers a wide variety of ski-in/ski-out accommodations, dining, shopping and services at the resort, including a cafeteria, pub and childcare services.
Health & Safety: Proof of COVID-19 vaccination is required to enter any indoor space at the resort, including rental shops, retail stores, locker room and guest services as well as all dining facilities. At this time, vaccination will not be required to access the mountain, ski lifts or any other outdoor facilities or activities. Masks are mandatory in all indoor areas. 

Salmo - Salmo Ski Hill

Entirely run by volunteers, the Salmo Ski Hill provides excellent skiing opportunities for all ages and skill levels. It’s well known for its night skiing, and the hill boasts varied terrain—from gentle slopes and groomed runs to racing courses and half-pipes. Runs range from novice to expert levels and there’s a bunny hill area for beginners. Both rentals and lessons are available from qualified ski instructors and there’s a lodge that provides dining opportunities on the hill.

Elevation: 944 m (3,100 ft)
Annual snowfall: 300 cm (118 in)
Number of lifts: 2

  • T-Bar
  • rope tow

Number of runs: 5
Equipment rentals: Yes, ski and snowboard rentals are available.
Lessons available: Yes, group and private lessons are available for beginner and novice skiers. Please book in advance as lessons are currently limited to two students. 
Amenities: Dining facilities and a rental shop can be found at the The Salmo Ski Hill Lodge. 
Health & Safety: Masks are mandatory in the lift lines, on the lift, around the base area and within the lodge and rental shop. Access to the lodge will not be available for getting dressed or storing bags/gear.

Salmo Ski Hill

It may not be as big as some the more well-known ski destinations, but the Salmo Ski Hill is well worth a visit. — Photo courtesy Salmo Ski Hill Facebook page

Julie Matchett

Julie Matchett is a writer and content coordinator for KPI Media. She ranks as a 7 on the Introversion vs. Extraversion scale out of 100, which might help to explain why she chose a career of quiet contemplation as opposed to public speaking. View all of Julie Matchett’s articles

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