Visiting PNW - Canadian Rockies & interior BC (20 dec 2015 - 3 jan 2016)

  • 3zel
    3zel op 16 December 2015 · 00:35
    Dear Powderhounds,

    We've been hesitating all summer to come over to PNW - BC because of 'El nino'. But after the awesome start of the winter season in this region and the terrible conditions in the Alps we booked a ticket to Seattle a week ago.
    Bert and I will make a road trip that will start in Seattle on the 20th of december. 2 January we will head back to Europe. I'm Belgian and Bert is Dutch. Normally we chase powder in the Alps, this year we still chase powder but finally in PNW - BC!! We are superstoked seiing these storms pas by and by and allready booked the first four days in Whistler. The following 10 days we want to chase and find the best powder in the region.

    @Meteomorris and @Arjen did a roadtrip some years ago and wrote a really nice (dutch) article on it.
    I've read it over and over but I'm still looking for your 'tips, tricks and secret spots'.
    We don't need big resorts where we are battling stoked locals that'll track all powder before our feet... No, we like to come home in rather 'little', 'cosy', 'familiar' resorts where powder lasts longer. We even don't mind 'one-lift-wonders'.

    So I hope you guys could help us out and share some of your best secrets and who knows maybe we can hook up and shred some cold smoke blowerpowder together...


    Dries & Bert
    knowledge is powder
  • Chester_Tartsnatcher
    Chester_Tartsnatcher op 17 December 2015 · 22:43
    You have a lot of options from Whistler/Blackcomb.

    Everyone knows about Revelstoke. Kicking Horse is another big one.

    For my ducats, I like the Nelson/Rossland areas of Red Mountain and Whitewater the best in British Columbia. Red is the bigger of the 2, but doesn't get as good of snow as Whitewater does. I prefer Nelson over Rossland as a town too. There's a number of snowcat and heli skiing operations in the area where you might be able to score a day seat. Also, neat hotsprings along Kootenay Lake at Ainsworth.

    There's OK skiing near Kamloops, Vernon and Kelowna, but that would be last one the list for me in BC.

    One spot worth visiting on a weekday is Mt. Baker, East of Bellingham. It's small for lift served area wise, but has incredible, if prone to high avalanche danger, touring. It's worth a day since they get a ton of good snow, but avoid weekends.

    Proceeding South along I-5, there's Stevens Pass which gets the best snow of the ski areas closer to Seattle. Lift served area is so-so, great touring though. Avoid weekends there.

    Next, more or less due East of Seattle is Alpental which has among the gnarliest lift served skiing in the US (yes, including Jackson Hole/Utah or Tahoe). It's an amazing place if they open the sidecountry there. Again, avoid weekends. I'm near there.

    Last for the Puget Sound areas is Crystal Mountain which is the biggest in Washington, has a gondola and a lot of great relatively safe touring. Ping me, that's where I'll be and I can show you around. Weekends are also to be avoided in general.

    Another nice but smaller area that gets good snow is White Pass which is good for crowd avoidance on weekends. Be sure to check the road access since they had a washout on Highway 12 and I don't know if it's fixed.

    Mt Bachelor near Bend, Oregon gets good snow and has decent terrain, but not a lot of steep stuff. I'd avoid Mt. Hood in general.
  • Chester_Tartsnatcher
    Chester_Tartsnatcher op 18 December 2015 · 05:21
    Highway 12 information on the washout:

    White Pass is another place that has some really great touring.

    Other spots worth exploring: Lost Trail, near Darby MT. Hot springs nearby.

    Montana Snow Bowl is a great area, sometimes low on snow, but it should be getting good there now.

    A little further North everyone knows Whitefish/Big Mountain but another secret is Turner Mountain over by Libby which runs weekends only but is a super hill.

    Discovery Basin is another wonderful little area near Phillipsburg Montana that has rad terrain but may not get as much snow as Alta/Snowbird in general.

    Down in NE. Oregon, there's a tiny place called Anthony Lakes near Baker City that has a small chairlift, but great touring into the Crawfish Basin with cheap snowcat skiing.

    Another one down that way is Ski Bluewood near Dayton, Washington. Also small, but uncrowded and known for good snow.

    Finally worthy of mention is Mission Ridge near Wenatchee which is great when it snows a lot in the Cascades.
  • 3zel
    3zel op 18 December 2015 · 14:12
    Wow, that's a whole lot of information. Thx !

    Looks like conditions are getting better and better. We still didn't decide where to go after Whistler (20-24/12).
    We are looking to spend Christmas with a Dutch couple nearby Nelson (Kimberley) but I'm not convinced yet. I think the conditions in PNW are better.

    I 'll keep u posted what we plan to do. And if we plan to come nearby Crystal mountain, I like to meet...

    Enjoy the powder in the meanwhile!!
    knowledge is powder
  • BNZ
    BNZ op 18 December 2015 · 18:16
    Whitewater is the place to head if the snow stops. You can find fresh turns days after the last dump.

    Revelstoke has massive vert with good alpine lift service. It can be a good choice if the freezing levels rise. And if it stays cold, the lower mountain at Rev has great trees that don't see much action.

    Whistler can be great, but it helps to have a local if you want to keep getting fresh tracks. Knowing where to enter and exit Khyber Trees can buy you a few more days of fresh!
  • Chester_Tartsnatcher
    Chester_Tartsnatcher op 19 December 2015 · 04:15
    I live outside Seattle and it's absolutely going off right now; Crystal was awesome with deep snow, pretty crowded and poorly prepared for the avalanche control, so upper mountain lifts opened last.

    When they did it was facepasting pow. It's shaping up well here. Alpental opened too.

    Here's the Crystal forecast: .

    Here's the Alpental forecast: .
  • 3zel
    3zel op 19 December 2015 · 12:16
    @BNZ: thx, where you from?
    @chester_tartsnatcher: BAMBAM looking good for this weekend. Sunday could be Legendary
    knowledge is powder


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