Winter

Whitewater: Small Town, Big Snow

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Whitewater: Small Town, Big Snow

Article by Alf Anderson: originally posted on independent.co.uk Travel Section

A few miles from Whitewater ski resort in British Columbia you'll find a little old mining town called Ymir – more of a village really. Among the scattering of Victorian buildings is the Ymir Hotel, which dates back to 1896 and is one of the oldest hotels in the region. It has much in common with the nearby ski resort in that it is quiet, isolated and home to unexpected curiosities.
cted comes in the form of the largest private art collection in British Columbia. Guests are encouraged to browse, even if they've only popped in for a beer. In the case of Whitewater, the surprise comes in the form of some of the best snow conditions and tree skiing to be had in Canada.
Whitewater is tiny by European standards, with just four lifts, serving 78 runs, and a very modest vertical drop of 2,044ft from a high point of only 6,700ft. But there's a hidden bonus: Whitewater has an annual average snowfall of 40ft. Yes, you read correctly: 40ft. So, you can see why ski photographers and filmmakers flock here to get their action shots. In fact, the chances are that the next time you pick up a ski magazine some wild action from Whitewater will feature among the most spectacular pictures – for they enjoy leaping off cliffs in these parts. Aspiring free-riders like myself also tend to be drawn to Whitewater, even if we have no real desire to leap off cliffs. The lure of 40ft of "cold smoke", as the locals call powder, is a big draw, but the tree skiing is also among the best in Canada. And when the resort opened up a whole new stack of lift-accessed glades a couple of seasons ago, that lure became too much to resist. All of which is why I'm standing with ski local patroller Andrew Voigt at the top of Whitewater's Glory Ridge chairlift. We're about to take on one of the resort's newer gladed runs, but we stop first to admire the views, which are classic BC: forested mountains draped in snow as far as we can see and little sign of human activity other than in the resort. Towering over it all to our right is the craggy face of the 7,867ft Ymir Peak, which culminates in a perfect triangular summit. (The preponderance of the name Ymir locally comes from the fact that many of the region's early European settlers were Nordic, Ymir being the name given to the Norse frost giant.) I ask Andrew not to take me down anything too terrifying, so we begin by dropping into the easy blue of Ramble On, where the pines are widely spaced, the angle is easy and the snow is soft and forgiving. We descend diagonally on to a black called Jack Leg Glades, where the trees begin to crowd in a little more and the slope gets steeper, but it's still fun and the snow is still soft and light, then suddenly we're under the lift line and heading for the base station. It's all over pretty quickly compared to the average descent in the Alps, but the concentration involved in skiing trees – which are not often a big part of European skiing – makes the length of the slope almost meaningless. Andrew and I are living in, and for, the moment. And we're enjoying every second of it. As we ascend again on the two-person Glory Ridge chair I ask Andrew what it is that's kept him skiing here for 14 years. "It's the consistent quality of the snowfall – that simple," he says. "And the way the small-town vibe of Nelson carries up on to the ski hill." Ah yes, Nelson. Nelson is Whitewater's satellite town, about 15 minutes' drive away. There's no accommodation at the hill, just a great restaurant and bar with its own widely acclaimed recipe book, Whitewater Cooks, plus a small souvenir shop. Nelson was recently voted "Best Ski Town in North America" by readers of the influential Powder magazine, sharing the accolade with nearby Rossland, which serves the Red Mountain Resort (also well worth a visit if you're skiing in this area). Nelson's origins as a tough silver-mining and lumber town situated on an arm of Kootenay Lake are still plain to see in its historic downtown area. The mining and lumber industries eventually collapsed and, in recent years, many of the town's old buildings have been converted into coffee houses, eclectic shops and bars, restaurants and music venues, along with the restored Capitol Theatre. It reminds me of Hebden Bridge in West Yorkshire, where I grew up; a dying old industrial town in a lovely setting that has re-invented itself by attracting creative outdoor types who give the place an unpretentious, welcoming feel. Andrew is right about that small-town vibe also being present on the hill. Everyone seems to know each other and will soon start chatting to the stranger in town on the lifts and in the base lodge. They'll enthuse about the local skiing in a way that may seem just a little over-the-top when you consider how small Whitewater is. But if your ski hill enjoyed 40ft of snowfall every winter, wouldn't you get a bit excited too? Travel essentials Getting there Frontier Travel (020 8776 8709; frontier-ski.co.uk) offers a week at Hume Hotel in Nelson, with breakfast, plus a six-day lift pass, car rental and return flights from Heathrow to Cranbrook via Calgary from £2,018pp, based on two sharing. More information skiwhitewater.com

Laugh Away Your Stress at Kaslo's Winter in the Forest Festival

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Laugh Away Your Stress at Kaslo's Winter in the Forest Festival

This blog is a repost from our sister blog, 108 Healthy Things to Do

Winterfest collageThere is nothing like forgetting yourself, all your cares and worries amongst a group of fun loving people. Those participating in the human sled dog races at Kaslo Winter in the Forest definitely contributed to people's good times and laughter. The plain and simple fact is laughter is good for your health.  It relaxes the whole body by releasing physical tension.  Each guffaw boosts the immune system and triggers the release of endorphins, the body's natural feel good chemicals. The photos of Kaslo Winter in the Forest capture the camaraderie of the participants as they partook in sleigh rides, snowshoeing, X-C skiing, a street hockey tournament, a fire-making contest and the spoken word and storytelling by the bonfire. Children skied in the Jackrabbit races and vied to be "king of the mountain" on the hillock of snow built for this purpose.

Enjoying fresh bannock cooked over the fire. Enjoying fresh bannock cooked over the fire.

 

A delight in winter and the incredible setting of Kaslo, the wide-open lake flanked by majestic peaks all permeated by fresh, clean air was a recipe for health and happiness for all those experiencing the fun. All the good food didn't hurt either. Don't miss this event next year or ones like it going on in the Kootenays year round.  Keep an eye on Nelson Kootenay Lake Tourism's calendar of events to see what outdoor delights, culture and arts are available to you. Moreover, most of all remember a visit to the Nelson and Kootenay Lake area will make you smile, the first step toward a good belly laugh.  You will leave healthier than when you came. Photos provided by Daphne Hunter. ***

Get Ready for Kootenay Coldsmoke Powder Fest!

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Get Ready for Kootenay Coldsmoke Powder Fest!

Whitewater Ski Resort is getting geared up to host the 8th annual Kootenay Coldsmoke Powder Fest this weekend, February 21-23, 2014. This three day festival is a celebration of the culture of the Kootenays and its passion for powder. Powder, something that has not been as abundant this year in the West, is once again making a grand entrance to ensure that the Coldsmoke Powder Fest will be, well, just that. With 40 centimetres fallen in the past week and a tantalizing long range forecast, it looks as though guests of the festival will be guaranteed to experience the Coldsmoke that the weekend is designed to celebrate. This festival is the only event in the entire industry that offers access to such a high concentration of instruction, coaching and guiding talent as well as serious yet quirky contests and eclectic socials over a period of three days. “I am SUPER stoked about the caliber of people we have this year - the mean industry experience of the group of visiting instructors and guides we have lined up is about 20 years,” exclaims Karen Reader, coordinator of the Clinic portion of the weekend and two time podium winner of the US National Telemark Freesking Championships. With thirty-six different clinics offered for every level of skier, snowboarder or telemarkers throughout the weekend – both in and out of bounds – there really is a clinic for everyone during the festival. If the Olympics have ignited your competitive spirit, try one of our four competitions during the festival weekend: the ROAM Randonee Race (now with a new tag team category!), the Valhalla Pure Slopestyle, the Poker Run with a Race Twist, or The North Face Backcountry Olympics. Compete in all four events for your chance to be crowned King or Queen of Coldsmoke! The King and Queen will not only be awarded a season pass to Whitewater for the 2014/2015 winter season, as well as a full outerwear outfit, compliments Arc’teryx, but a trophy to display your right to brag! If on the snow is not your specialty but you love the unique culture of the area, make sure to participate in the social elements of the festival. The weekend truly kicks off with the Friday night Coldsmoke Opener at the Capitol Theatre. A film festival put together by the team at Kootenay Mountain Culture magazine, you know that there will be a good showing of talent both local and beyond. The Coldsmoke Village will be host to over fifteen different vendors over the weekend, including local ski/snowboard shops and brands such as Osprey and G3. Saturday will also feature a special après party in the Village from 3:00pm to 4:30pm with DJ Rafferty Funksmith and delicious appetizers. The party continues into Saturday night with a Casino Royale Buff-EH dinner hosted at Ric’s Lounge and Grill in the grand ballroom of the Prestige Lakeside Resort. Come dressed for success at the tables and for a great meal! The early bird deadline for the clinics and event is Wednesday, February 19 and space is limited so make sure to reserve your spot in your favourite clinic, competition or social event now! Register now at www.coldsmokepowderfest.com or after the early bird deadline by calling 250-354-4944. Make sure to check out the various packages available throughout the weekend as well. ABOUT WHITEWATER SKI RESORT Located along Canada’s famous Powder Highway, just a short drive from the counter-culture city of Nelson, British Columbia, lays Whitewater Ski Resort. Quietly legendary, Whitewater is hard to describe to those who have not had the privilege to experience its true authenticity and abundance of snow. Whitewater. Pure, simple and real…DEEP. www.skiwhitewater.com

10k at the end of the Rainbow

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10k at the end of the Rainbow

By Robin Goldsbury, Dock 'n' Duck In spite of the cold weather Kootenay Lake saw about 600 fisher people braved the elements to take part in the 2nd Annual BC Family Day Fishing Derby on Kootenay Lake. The event was organized by Canadian Training Resources of Calgary, and hosted by the Dock 'n' Duck Pub, Family Grill and Lodge in Balfour.

Hector Sandoval of Creston, BC, won $10,000 for his Rainbow Trout that measured just under three feet long, weighing 18 pounds, and 34 and 5/8ths inches long. To the dismay of many seasoned participants, Hector had never been fishing before this weekend. Bruce McIntosh, won the top prize for his Dolly Varden, a $2000 win for a fish weighing 14 pounds, 33 and 3/4 inches long. Over 220 boats and approximately 600 fishing enthusiasts took to the lake throughout the three day event, and over $30,000 in prizes were given away. Approximately 420 participants came from outside the Kootenay region, adding a boom to the local tourism hospitality scene during a traditionally slow time. For pictures of the winners and the fish check out http://www.ctrcanadaderby.com/2014-winners.html Thank you to all the participants and congratulations to all of the following winners: Rainbow Trout: $10,000, Hector Sandoval, weight 18 lbs, 34-5/8" long $1000, David Jamieson , weight 16.5 lbs, 34-1/2" long $500, Rick Carlson, weight 19.5 lbs, 34" long Dolly Varden: $2000, Bruce McIntosh, weight 14 lbs, 33-3/4" long $1000, Kirk Daley, weight 11.5 lbs, 32-3/8" long $500, John York, weight not available, 32-1/8" long

Bonus Prize Give-Aways: $6,000 West Coast Fishing Trip, Neil Wieldon of Cranbrook Bonnie Quadttrucci of Balfour who won the Mercury Trolling Boat Motor from Lancer Marine $3000 Mawdsley Lake Fishing Lodge Trip in Saskatchewan, Maureen Whieldon $1000 Online Shopping Spree Hector Sandoval of Creston $1000 Online Shopping Spree Tim Tansy of Spokane

Still Best Ski Town in North America

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Still Best Ski Town in North America

Still Best Ski Town in North America!

This year Powder Magazine is hosting a Facebook contest that brings 64 ski resorts together, competing one ski hill against the another, gradually drilling down to one resort that will carry the title of Best Ski Resort in North America. Last year Nelson/Rossland won the title of Best Ski Town in North America. Woohoo!!  But this year, Nelson on their own, was defeated in the second round, by only 20 votes, to powerful Revelstoke. The community supporting Nelson and Whitewater Ski Resort gave it a valiant effort, they showed us their commitment to the last seconds of the competition. This lose is nothing to be ashamed of, we should be proud of our efforts, our community and ski hill. When we went into this competition Nelson Kootenay Lake Tourism and Whitewater Ski Resort discussed openly the possible voter burn-out factor from last year and also the many other contests that everyone has been exposed to online. Our attitude was that we would step into it whole-heartedly, and the community would determine the outcome, and they did, which is absolutely fine. It's ok to give the win to another Powder Highway resort - go Revelstoke! The exposure through this competition, like last year, will impact the entire Kootenay Rockies region. Last year was a huge community effort and thousands of hours were put into winning that competition. We can ride on the coat tails of Best Ski Town in North America title for a long while and reap economic stimulus from it. Our exposure from the Powder Magazine contest showed an increase in media attention and accommodation sales last winter and this year we are anticipating a similar increase. Thank you everyone for supporting and participating in this initiative - now lets get ready to ski Whitewater! Bring on the snow! PS Recognize your achievements and our glorious city and ski hill and put a sticker on it! (car, snowboard, skateboard, skis, school binder,  helmet, computer, etc). Pick up your sticker at the Nelson Visitor Centre or email your mailing address to info@nelsonkootenaylake.com.  

3, 2, 1 action! Filming an episode of Ski TV at Whitewater and Nelson

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3, 2, 1 action! Filming an episode of Ski TV at Whitewater and Nelson

Ski TV Filming at WhitewaterTogether with producer Darryl Palmer and host Claire Challen, we got to work on an exciting new project. We, Caroline & Julie, two Dutch ski journalists, shot an episode of Ski TV at Whitewater and Nelson. We focused on what makes WH2O so special to us. Being surrounded by cheerful people who are just as excited to go shredding as we are is a huge privilege. Since we have been in town, skiers of all sorts welcomed us into their interesting lives. They have shared their secret stashes, their stories and more importantly their everlasting stoke. We have been greeted with open arms and felt at home right away! For us Whitewater is the complete opposite of a busy European resort: there is no scene, no (powder) stress and no mass tourism and that is why we love it! We are proud to share our love for Whitewater and we hope we did a good job on camera. The show will be aired in a few weeks already and we’ll keep you posted!

Fish and Ski Contest winners get an experience of a lifetime

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Fish and Ski Contest winners get an experience of a lifetime

Whitewater Ski and Fish winnersThank you Nelson Kootenay Lake Tourism for the Fish & Ski Adventure Package! Our first class weekend get-away in your legendary Kootenay region was an experience of a lifetime! Starting our first morning with the spectacular lake and mountain views of Nelson from Prestige Resort to an epic day spent skiing at Whitewater Ski Resort. The sun was shining complete with a fresh dump of dry powder we could not have asked for more suburb conditions! Not to mention the delicious food and drink at the Fresh Tracks Café, it certainly was an accurate introduction of the areas’ artistic laid back culture. We made friends and heard many stories from the locals, very entertaining! After the day on the slopes we travelled a short distance to the Ainsworth Hot Springs Resort. What an ideal way to soothe our tired muscles in a world renowned mineral water steam cave. The combination of the panoramic views of the Purcell Mountain range and Kootenay Lake was simply astounding! We awoke the next morning to a fabulous hearty breakfast that prepared us for our day on the lake with Reel Adventure Fishing Charter starting from beautiful Balfour – a vibrant friendly community, which I might add is the access point for the magnificent Kokanee Glacier Provincial Park. We were in awe by the breathtaking scenery of snow-capped mountains, beautiful sunrise, sandy beaches and of course the 144km lake! Jake, our funny and knowledgeable guide gave us a day to remember! Within a few short hours we had caught a 5lb Rainbow Trout, an exhilarating feeling! We sat back, relaxed and enjoyed Jake’s great stories over lunch. To our amazement, the excitement began again!!! Zing….our reel was catching another one - this time we fought hard and landed a 10lb Rainbow Trout! We were absolutely thrilled! Upon leaving the dock, Jake had cleaned and filleted our supper(s) and sent us off with an extraordinary recipe to cook our fish! From here we headed to Kaslo where we were going to spend our last evening at Wing Creek Resort. We were overwhelmed with the natural beauty and unique accommodations provided by Kevin and Debra. We stayed in a private cedar cabin complete with everything one needs to exist; from the cozy fireplace in the living room to the details throughout the cabin made us feel like were VIP! We were off the grid for the night, which gave us the opportunity to reconnect with nature and ourselves. We really appreciated the environmentally conscious waterfront resort and spa; it is truly a charming place! Special thanks to Kevin and Deb! We started for home the next day and decided to take a different route to Edmonton. We boarded the free ferry “MV Osprey 2000” which took us across to Kootenay Bay, a 45 minute sailing which linked to the Trans-Provincial Hwy 3A. Our road trip home was spent reliving our one of kind experience and what we will explore and discover the next time we visit – THIS SUMMER! We are coming to GOLF your phenomenal holiday destination!

Whitewater Ski Resort Contest Winners

Enjoy at beer at Whitewater Ski Resort

Kootenay Lake BC

Fishing with Reel Adventures

Best Ski Town Accolades and More

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Best Ski Town Accolades and More

Nelson Kootenay Lake is realizing they are no longer a secret now that the Powder magazine Best Ski Town win has been exposed across North America. With this recent win we see the need to share our accolades and tell the world about our year-round activities – spring, summer, fall and winter that hold a beyond ordinary experience for all ages and passions. We like to refer to ourselves as Far Out. For Real. But now it’s time for you to be the judge. Read about the area and then come back to this blog and tell us what you think. Share this magical destination with your friends and come see for yourself!

Best Ski Town
Keep it real.

Family Day in Nelson, Balfour, Ainsworth and Kaslo

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Family Day in Nelson, Balfour, Ainsworth and Kaslo

Whitewater Family Day British Columbia’s first Family Day, February 11, 2013! The Nelson Kootenay Lake area is celebrating the family the whole weekend!  Starting now there are sales in Nelson and Kaslo, with the big Gericks Cycle and Ski full-blown winter clearance sale! Touchstones Museum of Art and History, on Sunday the 10th will be offering a Winter Family Fair from 12-4 with music, storytelling, crafts and drinks and treats.  Whitewater Ski Resort will also be offering a 50% discount on all day passes for BC residents and Nelson Nordic Ski Club is FREE skiing for everyone! Make your way to Balfour for the reopening of Dock n’ Duck for lunch or dinner and then on to Ainsworth Hot Springs for a soak, delicious lunch or dinner and a nights stay in their newly renovated rooms. On Monday, take the family and friends to the Kaslo Winter in the Forest festival, a full day of sleigh rides, snowshoe races, tug-of-war-, 4 on 4 street hockey, junior woodsman competition, music, a nature walk at 11am and more! Happy Family Day everyone!

With Nelson/Rossland fresh off winning the title of Best Ski Town in North America, Nelson Kootenay Lake celebrates the region’s adventure and relaxation.

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With Nelson/Rossland fresh off winning the title of Best Ski Town in North America, Nelson Kootenay Lake celebrates the region’s adventure and relaxation.

What makes up the best ski town in North America? Boutique-style accommodations hidden away in the mountains? High end, unique shopping and dining? Knee deep powder on and off the slopes of Whitewater Ski Resort? World class entertainment and arts? At the end of 2012, California-based ski enthusiasts’ magazine Powder ended their search for North America’s best ski town in their Ski Town Throwdown competition crowning Nelson, BC and Rossland, BC  North America’s best. From east to west coast, 32 ski towns across the continent faced-off in head to head battles vying for the title. Even though Nelson’s competition may have offered a wonderful ski experience the powder and the culture of the area is second to none and Nelson Kootenay Lake has been celebrating its progressive diversity for years. While the community celebrates its latest accolade, John Stifter of Powder Magazine comments “Every day is cause for celebration in the Koots.” The picturesque mountains are not only destinations for powder junkies; the same award winning peaks that have earned many accolades, have also created some of the world’s best adventure sports athletes like Nelsonite Kurt Sorge’s win at the 2012 Red Bull Rampage. Not keen on racing down hills on skis, snowboards or bikes? Nelson Kootenay Lake goes beyond adventure offering one of the best arts and culture scenes in North America. Author John Villani included Nelson in his book The 100 Best Small Art Towns in America.

Proof of Nelson’s love for local, national and international arts is apparent weekly as the city’s stages showcase some of the best musicians and DJs like blues legend John Mayall, Washington, DC DJs Fort Knox Five. The Capitol Theatre hosts touring productions such as Vancouver’s Arts Club Theatre’s Buddy Holly Story. Touchstones Nelson museum and gallery regularly displays work by local and international visual artists. You can also experience the local history and heritage through a variety of tours including the local brewery, historic homes and architecture. Nelson Kootenay Lake expands on their enthusiasm for diverse arts and culture spring, summer, fall and winter with a variety of festivals and markets.

Cottonwood Farmers’ Market which runs spring through fall was on Chatelaine’s list of the country’s best markets. After long days in the mountains, or late nights enjoying the region’s nightlife, Nelson, Ainsworth Hot Springs, Balfour and Kaslo offer options to dine, drink, relax and rejuvenate. Manchester Evening News’s Seb Ramsay wrote, “Back in Nelson, there’s no shortage of top independent restaurants with the sort of innovative and delicious menus that make you want to emigrate immediately.” It doesn’t matter if you’re visiting Nelson for the powder, cycling, boating, enjoying local theatre or relaxing at the local hot springs and spas, the area is a beyond ordinary destination waiting for you to enjoy. Visit us at www.nelsonkootenaylake.com or facebook - come stay & play.

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