The Glory of Whitewater

My wife and first visited Whitewater in 1995. Whitewater is located near Nelson BC in the beautiful Selkirk Mountains. Warm weather had moved though BC and most of the resorts had experienced rain followed by freezing temperatures making harsh conditions.

Whitewater delivered with over 30cms of fresh snow, the 5,400 foot (1,640m) base elevation was high enough to escape the rain. We rode off the Silver King and Summit Chair lifts all morning in epic fall-line terrain with lots of interesting mountain features and small drops. After lunch at the amazing day lodge restaurant we followed some seasoned locals off the backside of Summit for very long steep tree runs and hitched back to the day lodge and lifts for more. The following day we moved on to Rogers Pass but knew that we had discovered something very special.

Fast forward to 2015 and we’re returning to Whitewater with two powder kids’ (aged 9 and 11) and four pair of K2 powder skis. Living in Fernie has taught our kids prefer powder skiing. The +10c Fernie forecast screamed of rain so we got out of town and headed for a higher elevation. We also knew that Whitewater had a new chair and we were keen to discover the new terrain.

Visiting to Nelson is a treat–great hotels and over 60 restaurants make it a holiday. We tried to book the Hume Hotel but left it too late, the authentic 1898 heritage hotel was booked, but secured a booking at the Best Western Plus Baker Street Inn. The accommodation was nice, the staff were friendly and placed us to close the the Hume for their excellent breakfast. Also just around the corner is the amazing Kootanay Co-op one of Canada’s most successful independent natural foods retailers and the BC Wineguys shop, offering the best BC wine selection I’ve experienced. Everything in the downtown is with walking distance, being central opens your doors to a great experience.

For dinner we strolled to the Busaba Thai Cafe and were pleasantly pleased with their food. Having lived in the land of tall buildings for the better part of 15 years I had developed a discerning taste for quality food and Nelson is the ideal town for a foodie! And after dinner Nelson offers a range of adult activities, none of which were on my itinerary.

The following morning the kids were keen to ski with friends and we succeeded to leave early for the 15 minute drive to Whitewater. Reports from home were rain to the top however the fresh snow it the trees on the drive to Whitewater were a sign that we had succeeded in sourcing good skiing.

With three Nelson ski families we ripped the terrain off the Silver King and Summit Chairs for a few runs and then dropped 2044 ft from the top of Summit to the bottom of the new Glory Chair on epic powder terrain. Standing at the bottom beside the access road, Glory drops below the day-lodge, I realized that these were the lines we boarded years earlier. The resort obviously selectively logged and opened up the terrain creating some of the best glades and tree skiing anywhere! The snow coverage was great and I easily found fresh tracks in the countless glades. And our kids, well we did our best to keep up with them and their friends!

For lunch we rode the Glory chair to the top of the Summit Chair and skied down to the base lodge. This is where Whitewater’s famous Fresh Tracks Café awaited us. One of Whitewater’s previous owners, Shelley Adams, wrote a cook book series, aptly named Whitewater Cooks. The books have become best-sellers and management continue to use the original recipes and offer amazing healthy food. My son claims they have the best burger ever, I enjoyed a burrito, and the deserts and coffee were toppers.

And they we off again chasing kids’ through he trees and off jumps, hucking everywhere! The vibe at Whitewater is family oriented and the locals are very friendly and polite. Whitewater is favourably not a pretentious urban ski hill. I’m already looking forward to my next visit and hope to catch some some of the famous deep Kootenay blower powder. Drop your name on the powder report email list where you specify the snowfall you wish to be notified off: 5cm, 10cm or 20cm. If you haven’t experience Nelson and Whitewater, I highly recommend it, and there’s no time like the present!