A shot of Ymir Peak, which overlooks Whitewater’s 1200 acres of inbound terrain.
NELSON, BC — There is a ski destination in British Columbia where time almost stands still. It’s a place where there is no cell reception on the chair lifts, where people look you in the eye and say hello - every time - and a place where you can not only enjoy some spectacular turns but score one of the best meals you'll ever get from a ski chalet. That place is Whitewater, deep in the Kootenays, close to the funky little town of Nelson, British Columbia.
“During the 90s, when many resorts were putting in high speed quads and franchised coffee stands, we decided to go another route,” explained 22-year team member and Whitewater marketing guru, Anne Pigeon.
The folks at Whitewater choose to keep things slow and focus on their strengths: a great resort experience and a warm reception, every time. That reception comes with terrain options that are sure to please any snow seeker.
Those options DOUBLED last season with the addition of the Glory Chair.
A famous Ymir Bowl, off the chalet menu. It's been featured by the New York Times!
The new Glory terrain is full of epic features - little kickers and jumps, some cruisey blues, killer glades, and awe-inspiring views of the Kokanee Glacier and the Valhalla Mountain Range.
Whitewater has upped their game big time. They aren't a little player anymore, they are a destination that people will not only want to check out, but also make a visit to year after year.
They have inbound terrain to keep anyone busy for weeks, and for those of us who seek to take a path less travelled, Whitewater has more than enough slack-country options for the backcountry enthusiast.
One afternoon I rallied with Kirk Jensen, Whitewater’s operations manager, for a tour into the backcountry. “We have two main access points to our backcountry, one off either lift,” explained Jensen. Snowshoes, a probe, a shovel, a beacon, and an education are essential elements to any hiking experience.
Once we were geared up we sprung up the Summit Double Chair and over to one of the access points Jensen mentioned.
Zac Peetsma, dropping into a sun dog and Glory Basin.
Within a 20-minute hike we were well above the resort and looking over an area known as the Trash Shoots. The view was spectacular.
Whitewater is situated at literally the “end of the road,” and sits at the base of an epic bowl, surrounded by 360 degrees of prominent peaks and powder-packed terrain.
There is certainly an advantage to a hike; how else can you score untracked lines that would rival any cat ski operation’s offerings? The thing to keep in mind is that if you are off on a hike in Whitewater, you might just end up on the road back into the resort, which was exactly our case. But that's what friends are for though, aren't they?
Within minutes we were in a car with a ride back to the resort, looking up and over to the huge lines we just scored. Where else are you going have a hitchhiking session in the middle of your ski day?
Welcome to the Kootenay’s ... where life operates on a whole other time clock.
For more on Whitewater and their offerings, consult www.skiwhitewater.com.
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