​Canada’s Legendary Ski Circuit: The Powder Highway

Known as the ‘Champagne Powder Capital of Canada’ Kicking Horse Mountain Resort features more than 2,800 acres of skiable terrain

The pièce de résistance when it comes to skiing the finest champagne powder in Canada, British Columbia’s Powder Highway is a circular route passing through the Kootenay Rockies that includes eight alpine ski resorts. At Frontier Ski, we feature some of the best, with each of the following six resorts offering excellent stand-alone ski holidays. Better still, use our expert first-hand knowledge of this legendary terrain and combine two or more resorts on a ski-safari, as we can help you arrange SUV car hire in and out of Calgary.

A top tip from Ski Product Manager and our very own Michael Williamson-Giles: “Fernie and Kimberley can be combined on your lift pass, so even if you don’t have some time to stay in Kimberley, you can still ski the resort for a day.”

All in all, the Powder Highway is a must-visit for winter sports enthusiasts. Deep powder that you have to ski at least once in your lifetime, the region is packed with some of British Columbia’s more off-the-beaten-track wonders, and it’s also home to the birthplace of Canadian skiing.

Fernie Alpine Resort

Tucked away in the eastern ranges of the Kootenay Range, Fernie might be the underdog of the famous Powder Highway, but it holds its own, with the resort boasting the biggest vertical in the Canadian Rockies, at a whopping 3,550 vertical feet. Set in a box canyon and characterized by Old West and Victorian architecture, the small mountain town oozes local charm.

The epic snow that Fernie receives is part of the reason that the resort has such a great reputation

Downtown Fernie is home to everything from accommodations to après-ski, while the ski area is just a short shuttle drive away. Having one of the best snow records in Canada, up to 37 feet of fluffy white snow falls here annually, and one of British Columbia’s ultimate ski destinations, Fernie is blessed with 2,500 acres of terrain, five Alpine Bowls, and 142 runs—the highest number of any Powder Highway resort.

Combine Fernie with Kicking Horse, or make it a Big Four holiday with Fernie, Kimberley, Panorama, and Kicking Horse, and fly in and out of Calgary.

Kicking Horse Mountain Resort

If you are a hardcore skier or snowboarder, try Kicking Horse. Also known as the “Champagne Powder Capital of Canada,” the resort sits on the edge of the Purcell Mountains. Gnarly double black diamond chutes and bowls, good glades, and the fourth highest vertical in North America make this challenging territory a rite of passage—its 2,800 acres are packed with 45% black runs and 15% double black diamond runs.

The steeps of Kicking Horse Mountain Resort are genuine thrillseeker territory

While the resort is more chilled when it comes to nightlife, Kicking Horse has the most inbound chutes in North America, plus a tubing park and a skating rink. It’s also home to the Eagle Eye, Canada’s most elevated restaurant situated at an impressive 7,710 feet above sea level!

Add the resort to a circular Big Five fly-drive from Calgary, taking in Fernie, Panorama, Revelstoke, RED Mountain, and finally Kicking Horse.

Kimberley Alpine Resort

Set in the Purcell Range of the Canadian Rockies, the Bavarian-style town of Kimberley is steeped in local flavour, and families are repeatedly drawn to its home-away-from-home ambience and ski-in/ski-out accommodations.

You can expect runs clear of lift lines and a distinct lack of crowds on its 1,800 acres of terrain, with its wide groomers, powder stashes, adventurous steeps, and breathtaking views all combining to produce a thrilling ski experience.

Kimberley proudly boasts the best combination of sun and light Purcell powder of any other resort in Canada

Cross-country skiing and snowshoeing are additional winter activities, and fun after dark, the resort is also home to one of North America’s longest illuminated runs.

German, Swiss, and Italian cuisine are all within easy reach, and for après-ski, the Stemwinder Bar & Grill does great live music on the weekends.

RED Mountain Resort

Located at the southernmost tip of the Powder Highway and only minutes from the USA border in the snowy Kootenay mountains, RED Mountain boasts an area of 4,200 acres, which puts the resort in Top 10 terrain territory in North America.

Offering fresh turns you don’t have to fight for, the vintage ski haunt can also easily lay claim to “#1 Acres Per Skier”. Complete with 3,000 feet of vertical drop, 300 inches of snowfall, 110 trails, and seven lifts across four peaks, the resort is a huge draw for anyone in search of a big-hitting yet unpretentious ski experience. And, for only ten Canadian dollars, you have direct access to in-resort cat skiing, with 1,600 feet of vertical and nearly 200 acres of gladed tree skiing on RED’s Mount Kirkup.

Red Mountain sits in the Selkirk Powder Triangle and the Powder Highway of BC, which is renowned for great mountains and an abundance of quality powder

As Western Canada’s original ski resort, there is still a fiercely independent vibe here; in fact, The Josie, built over the course of a decade, was the country’s first ski-in/ski-out luxury boutique hotel. When you finish on the slopes, head into Rossland, a distinctly Canadian town with laidback bars and cafes that are perfect mix for some chilled après-ski.

​​Revelstoke Mountain Resort

​​Set between the Monashee and Selkirk mountain ranges, Canada’s newest ski resort, Revelstoke, is a former cat and heli-skiing area that boasts the longest lift-accessed vertical of any resort in North America. Another favourite with hardcore skiers, it is considered the crowning gem of the Powder Highway, with the average snowfall at the legendary paradise standing at 34.4 feet.

Revelstoke is considered to be the crowning gem of the Powder Highway by hardcore skiers

Still growing, it has even loftier aims, as the eventual plan is for the resort to be bigger than Whistler-Blackcomb. If you are looking for fall line groomers that go on forever, gladed tree runs, double black diamond expert runs, and a terrain park where there is always a fresh challenge, Revelstoke will deliver.

Panorama Mountain Resort

Located at the heart of the Powder Highway, Panorama Mountain Resort is surrounded by the towering peaks of the Canadian Rockies on one side and the Purcell Mountains on the other. There are certainly some stunning vistas to be had, and its 2,975 acres of terrain will thrill skiers of all abilities. Taynton Bowl’s steep terrain is easily accessed via the Monster X snowcat, and if you prefer, you can opt to shred the slopes with a guide.

Panorama Mountain Village Ski Resort has tons of sun and dry powder and is located only 2 hours from Calgary Airport

Ideal for first-time skiers, on the lower part of the mountain, you will find nursery slopes, wide open runs, and two magic carpets. An added bonus: a Discovery Zone lift ticket will save you around half the regular lift ticket price if you are not planning to venture outside of the beginners’ area.

A ski-in/ski-out mecca, at the end of your day on the snow, you can choose to go straight from the slopes to the resort’s famous hot pools, followed by either pub grub or fine dining in the village.

For a ski safari taking in the best of British Columbia and Alberta, fly into Calgary, then head to Banff, Panorama, Kimberley, and finally Fernie before heading back to Canada’s Stampede City.

Experts for over 30 years with an expansive first hand knowledge of where to ski and where to stay in Canada, call us on 020 8776 8709 or email us at ski@frontier-travel.co.uk.