Top Image- A sunny day at Revelstoke Mountain Resort. Photo: Ian Houghton, Courtesy of Destination BC
No destination delivers a stellar snowboarding experience quite like Canada and, more specifically, the province of British Columbia. The terrain is vast, the vertical is unparalleled, and the snow—oh, the snow. We’re not just talking about the world-famous Whistler Blackcomb; BC is home to 13 major ski resorts spread across ten mountain ranges. It’s the interior of the province, at resorts like Kimberley Alpine Resort, Kicking Horse Mountain Resort, and Revelstoke Mountain Resort, where you’re likely to find the lightest snow and fewest lift lines.
Add world-class heli-skiing operations, terrain ranging from ancient glaciers and alpine meadows to old-growth rainforests, and relaxed ski towns, and you’ve got the holy grail of snowboarding. Follow these dos and don’ts for boarding Canadian powder before planning your next big trip.
Don’t worry about the snow report.
There’s always a reason to be stoked when you’re in a place like Revelstoke—and for anyone who’s ever been there, it’s not hard to figure out why. The average tree line temperatures of 20°F create a light, dry powder with the perfect density. But there’s no need to pick quality over quantity here; with an average annual snowfall of 34 feet at Revelstoke Mountain Resort, there’s white stuff in the forecast more often than not. The town of Revelstoke even broke the Canadian record for snowfall during the 1971-72 season when over 80 feet of the white stuff blanketed the area, piling up higher than the rooftops on some houses.
Do explore the new terrain.
Drive just two hours east of Revelstoke through Glacier National Park and you’ll arrive at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort, located just outside the town of Golden. As if the nearly 3,500 acres of skiable terrain weren’t enough, this year they’re opening up an additional 660 acres of the rough and rowdy terrain that the aptly named resort has become known for. This means even those who’ve skied Kicking Horse before will be treated to fresh, crowd-free runs, including the legendary Ozone South face and Middle Ridge. This massive expansion offers big rewards for those willing to do a little hiking, including some of the most exciting in-bounds terrain on the planet. All that extra terrain doesn’t just add new runs and more opportunities to find epic powder stashes, however; it also adds more vertical—topping out at 4,314 feet, to be exact—making it the fifth highest in North America.
Don’t stick to snowboarding the bowls.
Don’t get us wrong, we love sailing through wide-open terrain; but there’s something special about boarding through trees. It not only tests your skill, but is more likely to provide fresh pow, backcountry vibes, and a closer connection to nature. That’s why you won’t want to miss the gnarly terrain and powder stashes in the Black Forest at Kimberley, located just three hours south of Kicking Horse. Geneva, one of the best-loved glade runs in the Black Forest, is a real leg-burner and most locals’ first stop after an overnight powder dump.
Do bring your sunscreen.
Kimberley is host to all sorts of records. Home to Western Canada’s longest illuminated slope, the resort has incredible night boarding—but don’t make the mistake of sleeping your day away. Set between the Selkirk and Rocky Mountains, Kimberley is known as Canada’s sunniest resort. Combined with steep, broad slopes, the resort’s bluebird days offer stunning, unimpeded views of the valley below. Just don’t forget to apply sunscreen or you’ll be going home with a pretty serious goggle tan.
Don’t miss the Champagne Powder Capital of Canada.
This should be a priority for any snowboard trip, but especially if you’re traveling to BC’s interior, where people come from all over the world to effortlessly carve through the exceptionally light, dry powder—it’s so fluffy that you can blow it right off your hands. Any resort operating in the interior has earned a solid reputation for snow, but Kicking Horse—which receives an annual 24 feet of the softest snow you can find—has been dubbed the Champagne Powder Capital of Canada. And with even more acres per skier this year, there’s no need to stress about how many runs you’re able to get in before they’re all tracked out.
Do book a heli-skiing trip.
The in-bounds terrain at any of these resorts is nothing short of exceptional. But anyone who’s experienced heli-skiing knows that nothing compares to the full-on sensory overload. Whether you’re an experienced heli-skier or it’s your very first time, Revelstoke is the place to do it. Revelstoke has been described by the New York Times as the “heli-skiing capital of the world.” Selkirk Tangiers Heli Skiing is Revelstoke’s biggest operator with over 500,000 acres of exclusive terrain. They’ve been offering heli-skiing in Revelstoke since the ‘70s, and their experienced crew pick out the best slopes in the Selkirk and Monashee Mountains to give you runs you’ve only dreamt about.
Don’t hide in your hotel room.
A former mining town, Kimberley is now a small mountain town that’s a magnet for tourists. As their slogan so blatantly puts it, it’s “a good place to be.” Proud of their community, locals are eager to welcome visitors interested in exploring the natural wonders the region has to offer.
You’ll find the same small-town atmosphere in Golden, the nearest town to Kicking Horse. Golden is filled with interesting cafés and restaurants as well as a rich history, thanks to the Swiss mountain guides that helped launch the region’s alpine tourism at the turn of the 20th century.
Revelstoke’s charm is a little more obvious at first glance; like Kimberley and Golden, the colorful cafés, bars, and ski shops dotting the streets feel more authentic than what you’ll find at some of the bigger, more developed resorts across the province. Keep your eyes peeled for Gnorm the Powder Gnome while you’re on the ski hill, too. Gnorm is a spritely 10.6-inch-tall local legend who sits on his storm watch board and monitors the area’s snowfall.