The Powder Highway is a region in interior British Columbia, Canada which offers some of the best skiing in the Canadian Rockies.
Located in the southeast corner of British Columbia, the Powder Highway connects seven incredible ski resorts and offers the possibility of experiencing the ultimate multi-destination ski road trip. The area also has the highest concentration of heli and cat ski operators, some of which operate right out of the resort.
The BC Powder Highway starts at Highway 1 which takes you to Kicking Horse. Turn south onto Highway 95 and there’s Panorama and Kimberley. Keep going south until you hit Highway 3 where you can do a small detour to Fernie. Then head west on Highway 3 to Red Mountain with a minor detour via Whitewater, and then head north up to Revelstoke.
The area is famous for its pristine powder snow – and they get lots of it! Typically, the Powder Highway resorts average around 30-40 feet of snow each year – so skiers can often find fresh powder runs three or four days after the last snowfall.
The ski resort has one of the longest vertical drops in North America – a staggering 4,133 feet. Trademarked as the “Champagne Powder Capital of Canada”, Kicking Horse is blessed with some of the lightest and driest powder snow in Canada. Combine that with 106 runs that span across 2,800 plus acres of lift served terrain (including 80 inbound chutes) and you have an ideal destination for keen intermediates and advanced skiers.
Once you’ve got your ski legs back at Kicking Horse, then you can add on the ultimate winter adventure – a day of heli-skiing. Purcell Heli-Ski is one of Canada’s leading heli-ski operators and specialise in single day heli ski adventures. The heli-plex is located in Golden just a few minutes away from the resort.
Kicking Horse is easily accessible just 2.5 hours from Calgary.
Travelling from Kicking Horse, Panorama Ski Resort is some two hours away by car. Roughly 75% of Panorama’s runs are suitable for beginners and intermediates. Picture wide open groomers that wind back into the purpose built village. The charming alpine village offers lots of slopeside accommodation and is home to Canada’s largest outdoor slope-side hot pools. For black diamond runs advanced skiers will head to Taynton Bowl, a former heli-skiing area that is now included within the official Panorama boundary.
Panorama is also the perfect resort to try out heli-skiing for the first time. You can try a day of heli-skiing with RK Heli Ski which offers single (or multi) day heli skiing starting at 3 run packages.
Nearly 90 miles further down Highway 95, you’ll find Kimberley. The Bavarian style ski resort offers 80 runs and 1,800 acres of skiable terrain, including the expert skier terrain, Black Forest. But there’s plenty of terrain for beginners and intermediates, especially on North Star Mountain including the resort’s longest trail, Ridgeway at four miles. Night skiing is also available here at the weekends.
Fernie is famous for its pristine powder and averages 37 feet of snowfall each winter.
With 2,500-plus skiable acres, the resort offers a powder playground across five spectacular bowls, endless ridges and sheltered glades. Off the mountain, Fernie has two vibrant village centres. The base of the ski area offers a range of restaurants and après-ski bars, and downtown Fernie, a short shuttle ride away, overflows with historic charm. The vibe is laid back and the views are spectacular.
If you’re looking to try out some backcountry adventures while visiting Fernie, you can try a day of cat-skiing with local operator, Fernie Wilderness Adventures. Backcountry transceivers and lunch is included each day and fat skis are available for rental.
Red Mountain feels like a bit of a secret – an undiscovered gem of a ski area. The mountain and the neighbouring mining-era town of Rossland are famous for being one of the original ski towns in Western Canada.
Red Mountain offers plenty of unspoilt skiing without any of the glitz you might find in some of the more famous North American resorts. What you will find here is plenty of quiet trails covered in pristine powder snow, lots of space to enjoy fresh turns and no lift lines!
Skiers and riders enjoy a 2,912 foot vertical drop and 2,600-plus lift-serviced acres (with an additional 1,600 acres of hike-to terrain) so there’s plenty of room to enjoy fresh tracks run after run. Though the resort is renowned for its steep expert terrain, Red Mountain also offers plenty of great cruiser runs and some of the best tree skiing in Canada.
It’s also a great place to try backcountry skiing and you can book a day with Big Red Cats, which is the largest cat ski operation in Canada. Big Red Cats provides backcountry access to over 19,000 acres across 8 mountains set in the spectacular Monashee mountain range.
Whitewater Ski Resort boasts an average of 40 feet of light, dry snow annually. The ski area features more than 2,000-plus feet of steeps, deeps, chutes, bowls and glades across its 1,184 skiable acres. The area feels like lift-serviced backcountry style skiing and is considered to be one of Canada’s best powder mountains. This is another quiet, unspoilt, no frills ski area which is all about the snow. If you’re looking for more activities, then the nearby town of Nelson (25 minutes away by car) is a genuine mountain town where you can book both Cat skiing and Heli-ski adventures with local operators.
Revelstoke offers the longest lift-served terrain in North America, an incredible 5,260 vertical feet. It’s longest run, Last Spike, winds down the mountain for an amazing 9.5 miles!.
Revelstoke has extensive skiing with two alpine bowls, unforgettable gladed terrain and a wide variety of cruisers serviced by an eight-person, high speed gondola and high speed quad chairs. The resort has an ambitious expansion plan which will see it become one of North America’s mega resorts.
For the ultimate Revelstoke based adventure, explore one of the most famous heli-skiing territories in Canada with world class heli-operator, Selkirk Tangiers Heli Skiing.
Kicking Horse > Panorama (1hr 50m | 94 miles)
Panorama > Kimberley (1hr 40m | 88 miles)
Kimberley > Fernie (1hr 20m | 73 miles)
Fernie > Red Mountain ( 3hr 50m | 208 miles)
Red Mountain > Whitewater (1hr 25m | 59 miles)
Whitewater > Revelstoke (3hr 55m | 167 miles)
Revelstoke > Kicking Horse (1hr 55m | 102 miles)