We’re in our favourite little-known BC resort for some Kootney Coldsmoke powder and routes so creative and fun your cheeks will cramp up
I was riding a new pair of skis, the powder was up to my thighs and I’d just seen an 82-year-old lady front flip a road gap in front of three open-mouthed Salomon pro riders. Frankly, in isolation any one of those three factors would have resulted in a great day’s skiing for me. But chuck them together and throw in Whitewater’s Glory Ridge chair and I was ready to move permanently to nearby town Nelson.
Whitewater is the kind of resort that ski dreams are made of, getting an average of 40 feet of snow each season – that we couldn’t resist another foray. Tucked away off Highway 6 in British Columbia, almost equidistant between Calgary and Vancouver, it’s like Revelstoke was before everyone outside Golden realised Revelstoke was amazing and it stopped being your smug secret.
Whitewater isn’t a resort for beginners: it’s powder and steeps, pure and simple. There are three chairs, and the triple Glory Ridge chair is the most recent addition – having been bought from Vail a few years ago and opening up Glory Bowl in the process. Compared to the other two, it’s positively slick. But, honestly, I’d sit on drawing pins for 10 minutes if the ride dropped me off on Glory Ridge.
Officially you’ve got 28 runs into the bowl to toy with. Unofficially, unless you stick religiously to the piste, you’re never really sure what run you’re on. But hell, let’s start with a huge groomer to get the cobwebs blown away; head for Claim Jumper and see how well those powder skis manage a pristine groomer with some cheeky off-camber sections and some very smooth rollers.
#Repost @nickmcnutt with @repostapp. ・・・ @sage_cattabriga_alosa popping off one of the countless pillows around @whitewaterskiresort a few months back while shooting for the new @tetongravity flick. @atomicski @thenorthface @smithoptics
Next, start off on the small ridge line under the lift itself before dropping left into Bound for Glory. Steep but loosely-packed trees open up into wider glades before you hit a cat track, 180 the other side and head back into the trees. Tighter this time, you’re not so much weaving around fir trunks as jumping round them until you’re at the bottom of the bowl.
Again. Back up. Knee Deep glades to the right of the lift-line will have you breathing more Kootney Coldsmoke than is strictly healthy – the powder in Whitewater is so ethereal, so transparent, so light it’s like smoke from the mountains (hence Kootney Coldsmoke). As long as you don’t go outside the boundary line you can pretty much ski anything you want, whipping in and out of trees, ducking branches, dropping little powder pillows, whooping with glee.
Head to Fresh Tracks Café for lunch. Whitewater isn’t glitz and glamour (although since Shelley and Mike Adams sold it to Knee Deep Development it’s become a little more polished), so don’t expect a Starbucks or Whistler-esque burrito restaurant. Fresh Tracks is the buzzing hub of the hill. Huge picnic tables in what is essentially a massive barn, with one of the best kitchens in Canada I’d wager (the food is outstanding).
@nickmcnutt has been getting to know our little piece of paradise with some friends from @tetongravity | Looks like he found some of the goods #iheartwh2o #Repost ・・・ 3,2,1… @whitewaterskiresort @atomicski #weareskiing @actioncam @tetongravity
With all that new fuel in you it’s time to hike, so go left along Glory Ridge, following the boundary line until you come to Jack Leg Glades. Drop in, ride out. The glades are full of crazy fun obstacles – fallen trees, pillows, rock drops, with trees spaced widely enough for you to swoop in and out.
It is incredible. There are no ‘suck in your balls’ cliff drops, or ‘check me out I just skied this legendary route’ routes. But, the terrain is creative and fun, and (if you time it right) the powder is ridiculous. A week at Whitewater and the Glory Ridge chair and you’d be able to tackle anything else with ease. But after a week of Whitewater and the Glory Ridge chair you won’t want to.