Three options in the Great White North to check out this season

click to enlarge Ski B.C. this winter. - RORY COURT/RED MOUNTAIN RESORT PHOTO
Rory Court/RED Mountain Resort photo
Ski B.C. this winter.

FERNIE ALPINE RESORT
Fernie, B.C. • skifernie.com
3,550 vertical feet • 142 runs plus 5 alpine bowls

Fernie gets a ton of powder every year — 30 feet on average. Where does it all come from? Local legend has it that a local kid killed a grizzly bear and started wearing its pelt around. All grown up, the man they call "Griz" is still rumored to be out there blasting powder snow from his magic musket. Or something like that. We do know that a bar at the resort is named for him; grab a "mogul smoker" at the Griz and warm your belly.

If you've seen the movie Hot Tub Time Machine, you can probably guess by now that, yes, it was filmed at Fernie, and yes, the place is dripping with old-school ski vibes. But it's also a regional must-try, featuring five alpine bowls and the biggest vertical drop in the Canadian Rockies. Daring riders can brave the fall-lines off the 7,000-foot-high Polar Peak. Don't forget to take advantage of night skiing opportunities, or to try your hand at fat biking along the resort's network of groomed cross-country trails.

RED MOUNTAIN RESORT
Rossland, B.C. • redresort.com
2,920 vertical feet • 119 runs plus 5 different peaks

Actual Red Mountain is just one of the four peaks that make up the resort, and in fact it's the smallest. The big daddy is Granite Mountain, looming smack in the middle of it all. The entire breathtaking scene is just seven miles from downtown Rossland, British Columbia, a super quaint old mining town worth exploring — five-pin bowling, yay! Also, Spokane's just two and a half hours away.

And while the skiing at RED Mountain is already epic, you can also access 20,000 acres of pristine glades and bowls via Big Red Cats — located right there at RED Mountain. We're talking about up to 14 runs and 18,000 vertical feet of pure bliss in a day. You can meet new people at the affordable Nowhere Special hostel, just a two-minute walk from the lifts. Or, for an unforgettable stay high above it all, try the brand-new Constella Cabins, right on Paradise Basin.

WHITEWATER SKI RESORT
Nelson, B.C. • skiwhitewater.com
2,044 vertical feet • 82 runs

From the treed steeps of Glory Ridge and Summit to the beginner-centric fare of the Silver King Chair, Whitewater has something for everyone in the family. The resort has long lived by the motto "Pure, Simple and Real... Deep," and they easily back that up, with an average of 40 feet of powder annually. And there are five kilometers of nordic trails for cross-country or snowshoeing — all dog-friendly.

And no visit is complete without hanging out in Nelson, one of British Columbia's hippest towns. With more restaurants per capita than San Francisco, a stroll down Baker Street is sure to reveal something delicious. You'll find great food everywhere, even up top, as Whitewater has long been known for having some of the best food of any ski resort in North America. The Fresh Tracks Cafe has been pumping out wholesome, creative meals for years; former co-owner Shelley Adams elevated the ski cafeteria so high, she's published four cookbooks as part of the Whitewater Cooks series. ♦

Cross Country Ski Lesson @ Mt. Spokane State Park

Sat., Dec. 11, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Sun., Dec. 12, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Sat., Dec. 18, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Sun., Dec. 19, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Thu., Dec. 30, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. and Fri., Dec. 31, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
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About The Author

Ted S. McGregor Jr.

Ted S. McGregor, Jr. grew up in Spokane and attended Gonzaga Prep high school and the University of the Washington. While studying for his Master's in journalism at the University of Missouri, he completed a professional project on starting a weekly newspaper in Spokane. In 1993, he turned that project into reality...