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Road Tripping the Powder Highway Like a Ski Bum in the Kootenay Rockies, British Columbia

Located in the southeastern corner of British Columbia, the Powder Highway refers to the area that boasts the highest concentration of alpine resort, backcountry, cat, heli and nordic skiing/riding in the WORLD!

How BIG is it really? It’s absolutely gigantic. The combined tenure is 7.2+ million acres.  Locally known as the ‘Kootenays’ this ski/snowboard mecca is made up of 100+ ski operators along the route.   That’s right – 8 Alpine Ski Resorts, 16 Backcountry Huts, 23 Backcountry Lodges, 15 Cat operators, 3 Community ski clubs, 7 Guiding Services, 20 Heli operators and 16 Nordic Clubs/Centres.

So let’s get down to how to tour the Powder Highway, you ski bums or aspiring “dirtbags” (an endearing local reference), on the cheap:

Fernie Alpine Resort. Photo: Dave Heath
Fernie Alpine Resort. Photo: Dave Heath

Fernie: Fernie Alpine Resort

Stay: The Fernie RV Resort is open all winter offering the winter camper and RVer a full-service and affordable option to enjoy your favourite snow activities.  Another budget offering is the Raging Elk Hostel. New for the 2021/22season are their deluxe pods.   Perfect for the price-conscious solo traveller. 

Golden: Kicking Horse Mountain Resort

Stay: The Golden Golf Club & RV Resort is a close proximity to Kicking Horse Mountain Resort and offers year-round RV sites.  The Dreamcatcher Hostel, in a renovated heritage building is located in the heart of downtown Golden.

Apres Ski at Panorama Resort
Apres Ski at Panorama Resort

Invermere:  Panorama Mountain Resort

Stay: Just a short drive away is the Fairmont Hot Springs RV Resort, offering winter RV sites.  It is also the home  to one of the largest natural hot springs (and they resort has its own family ski mountain).  For budget hotels/motels, stay at the Invermere Hostel (during the winter months, the Invermere-Panorama free shuttle stops right next to the hostel) and the Pine Inn in the Panorama Mountain Resort village. 

Kimberley: Kimberley Alpine Resort

Stay: There are no hostels or winter RV parks near Kimberley Alpine Resort. Check out the North Star Motel  for economical winter season rates (a 10-minute drive to the ski resort).

Whitewater Ski Resort. Photo: Kari Medig
Whitewater Ski Resort. Photo: Kari Medig

Nelson: Whitewater Ski Resort

Stay: There are no winter RV Parks near Whitewater Ski Resort.  Budget accommodation, includes the Adventure Hotel  and the Dancing Bear Inn, both located on Baker Street in Nelson’s thriving downtown centre.

Revelstoke: Revelstoke Mountain Resort

Stay: Boulder Mountain Resort offers RV sites & Glamping options. Other economical stays includes, the Journey’s Perch Guest House, Poppi’s Guest House and Revelstoke Backpackers Hostel.

Red Mountain Resort. Photo: Kari Medig
Red Mountain Resort. Photo: Kari Medig

Rossland: Red Mountain Resort

Stay: There are no winter RV Parks near RED Mountain Resort. Check out the Nowhere Special Hostel just a short walk from the hostel to the lifts at RED Mountain Resort. 

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RV rentals are available in Calgary, AB or Vancouver, BC.  Shuttle services are available to most ski resorts from each our funky mountain towns.  And here is more info on other winter camping options in BC.

With high levels of snow throughout the region and winter driving conditions in effect, it is very important to check highway conditions and travel advisories. Winter tires are needed on your vehicle from October to April and Road Safety at Work has some great ideas for items to pack in your car such as windshield scraper & snow brush, shovel, warm blankets, snacks/beverages. DriveBC is a great resource with real-time webcams and road statuses.

If the Kootenay Rockies interests you, check out our drive:
Mountains, Lakes & Rivers in the West Kootenays and Boundary Country

For places to RV and camp in BC go to the CampingMap

Share your BC camping and travel photos using #CampinBC, #ExploreBC, #BCNice

Published: February 1st, 2018

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