When Whistler gets too crowded, go here

Posted By: The Ski Channel on November 6, 2009 10:47 am

Whistler Blackcomb is certainly a great place. Heck, they’re hosting the freakin 2010 Winter Olympics. But that’s precisely why it will be flooded with people both this season and probably next too, as the Olympic hangover will have an alluring scent. Many of you winter sports enthusiasts out there crave your alone time on the mountain. Or, at least, time with very few people around. Tyler Graham of CNN has revelead to us the great Canadian ski spots to venture to when you want your privacy with the mountain. Check out his full article here.

Kicking Horse Mountain Resort

Serious skiers go to great lengths (and often out-of-bounds) to find steep, narrow chutes like the 70 at Kicking Horse, all of which are within the borders of the resort near Golden. For the less daring, there are plenty of intermediate options, such as the 700-acre Crystal Bowl — on its own as big as the average Vermont ski area. kickinghorseresort.com, lift tickets $67.

Revelstoke Mountain Resort

At 3 years old, B.C.’s newest ski destination is still largely a secret. It’s so uncrowded you can park a stone’s throw from the high-speed gondola that accesses the biggest vertical drop in North America: 5,620 feet. When Revelstoke’s 15-year plan is completed (around 2022), the resort will encompass a whopping 10,000 skiable acres. revelstokemountainresort.com, lift tickets $68.

Panorama Mountain Village

Even with 4,000 feet of vertical rise (one of the highest in B.C.) and 2,847 acres of skiable terrain, Panorama, near Invermere, stands out most for its family-friendly amenities, like hot and cold soaking pools, and restaurants that double as entertainment. Our favorite: the old mining shack turned dining room in Paradise Basin that’s accessible only by snowmobile. panoramaresort.com lift tickets $68.

Whitewater Ski Resort

Once a gold boomtown, Nelson has a new claim to fame: its wealth of lakefront Victorian buildings, many housing art galleries, vegetarian restaurants, and tapas bars. Just outside of town, Whitewater’s unpretentious ski area consists of a dirt parking lot, two lifts, a handle tow, and a small lodge. Its kitchen, the Fresh Tracks Café, has such a following that its cookbook (with recipes for dishes like whiskey smoked-salmon chowder) is a national best seller. skiwhitewater.com, lift tickets $52.

Fernie Alpine Resort

Fernie is what every manufactured ski town wishes it was: real. The former mining hamlet’s streets are lined with century-old redbrick buildings, and the area is completely surrounded by glaciated Rocky Mountain peaks, creating a unique snowmaking microclimate that produces about 30 feet of powder each year. If a storm rolls in, consider splurging for a First Tracks pass to hit the slopes an hour before everyone else ($173 for up to five). skifernie.com, lift tickets $70.

Powder Mountain Catskiing

Multiply powder skiing x British Columbia x untracked catskiing, and the results are powder skiing heaven cubed (that’s to the third power for the non-math folks).  It’s hard to even write words about Powder Mountain Catskiing without getting immensely frustrated that I’m not… there… RIGHT NOW!

Powder Mountain last year sold all their Bombardier cats and bought Pisten Bully 300′s.  These new guys are absolute beasts of comfort, heated Cadillacs of the snow.  Of course if it’s heli-skiing you prefer, Powder Mountain has a (and if we’re talking helicopters, we have to get a little hip-hoppy) mack daddy A-Star Helicopter.


photo of fernie alpine resort courtesy of http://www.blci.ca/images/1Fireworks.jpg