The West Kootenay region is world-renowned for it’s quality of snow: that perfectly light and fluffy white powder that has come to be known as “Cold Smoke.” And there’s a lot of it! In fact, an average of 12 metres or 40 feet fall in the surrounding mountains between December and April every year. The best part is Castlegar is conveniently located between two alpine destinations that were rated the best ski resorts in North America by readers of Powder magazine: Red Mountain in Rossland and Whitewater near Nelson. Each is located only a half hour drive from our city so you don’t have to choose one or the other — instead you can stay here and ski or board them both! There are also a lot of cross-country skiing opportunities near Castlegar. Many people take advantage of the free skiing on the C&W Rail Trail, which winds its way alongside the Arrow Lakes and through the mountains all the way to Christina Lake and beyond. Or there are plenty of nearby destinations that charge a small fee so you can enjoy groomed classic and skate ski tracks. Of course, the West Kootenays are also famous for their backcountry skiing opportunities and some of the best big mountain experiences and alpine hut traverses are located within an easy drive of Castlegar
How to Get Here: Castlegar is centrally located within the best alpine skiing area in the world. It’s an easy half-hour drive west to Red Mountain in Rossland or east to Whitewater Ski Resort near Nelson. There are also plenty of nordic track destinations as well, such as the Paulson Summit Recreation Area, where the Castlegar Nordic Club maintains trails. And if backcountry is more your style, the Valhallas are also only a half-hour drive away as is the start to the world-famous Bonnington Hut Traverse.
Weather: The skiing season usually starts in early December and extends all the way to mid April in the higher elevations. The snow conditions in the region are the best in the world and you’ll enjoy powder that’s light, fluffy and very, very deep.
Types of Skiing: Castlegar offers everything from classic cross-country and skate skiing on groomed trails to downhill and backcountry boarding and skiing.
Resorts: There are two main alpine skiing areas near Castlegar and they include Red Mountain and Whitewater Ski Resorts. Both are conveniently located only a half-hour drive from our city.