Nestled in the southern reaches of British Columbia’s Selkirk Mountains, Whitewater is the ski resort that time forgot.
There’s no WIFI or cell reception. No ski-in ski-out condos. No village with overpriced, pretentious shops. The chairlifts are old-school, and the undersized lodge could fit inside a jewelry store in Aspen. Yet Whitewater may just be one of the best resorts that you’ll ever visit.
Snow, deep snow, is the first reason. With an average snowfall of 40 feet per season (you read that right), a powder day at Whitewater causes skiers to speak in hushed and reverent tones. There's a reason Powder Magazine calls Whitewater "One of the best powder mountains on the continent." Actually, 40 good reasons.
You’ll find big resort terrain at Whitewater—steep and sprawling—but in a small resort package. Ymir peak, fittingly named after the Norse frost giant, looms over Ymir bowl—a perfect horseshoe of chutes and glades. The bowl is serviced by two double chairlifts (no heated gondolas here), while a triple chair on the back side provides access to tree skiing that seems too good to be true.
But Whitewater's merits aren't limited to snow and terrain. Its little lodge serves up shockingly good food and may be the only ski resort cafeteria with a world-class cookbook series. Once you've tasted the signature Glory Bowl, the menus at every other resort will forever disappoint. It's that good.
No doubt, Whitewater’s magic is due partly to nearby Nelson, a quirky town that oozes a laid-back vibe. Long known as an escape for draft dodgers and counter-culture misfits, Nelson is now known for its amazing food, friendly b&bs, and prolific arts scene. Browse for old books. Shop for records. Enjoy elk bourguignon at BiBo—a big city restaurant with a small town charm.
Recently voted by Powder Magazine as the “Best Ski Town in North America,” Nelson is clearly no longer a secret. But industry praise doesn't seem to faze the locals. And why should it? Up at Whitewater, there's more than enough snow for everyone.
Photo: Skiwhitewater.com & B.Meier