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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Auburn, Al
    Posts
    175

    Question about road trip through interior BC - chasing powder vs book lodging early?

    Planning a trip to interior BC to ski with my dad from 2/22 - 3/2, that's a total of 7 days of skiing.

    The only thing we have booked currently is a day of cat skiing with Big Red Cats on 2/26. Right now I'm thinking I want to fly into Spokane (Southwest points!) and chase powder for a few days and not do anything with lodging until we see where the best snow will be. The only thing I would go ahead and book is lodging in Rossland the night before our day with BRC. I've read in other threads, some of which are several years old, that you can find lodging in any of the interior BC ski towns (Nelson, Rossland, Fernie, Golden, & Revvy, etc.) with pretty short notice at this time of the year (late Feb). Is that still true?

    I've also contemplated just going ahead and planning to split time between Red and Whitewater so as to reduce driving and have less things to have to fool with when we're out there. I'm really interested in making it to Kicking Horse or Revy but feel like I'd be trying to get to too many places in too few days if I start splitting it up that much.

    Info on us: I like steep alpine and trees, particularly like places that have lots of small cliffs and terrain that allows for playful riding + the ability to scare myself a bit several times a trip...obviously the more fresh snow the better.
    My dad will ski blacks and some doubles during good conditions but if it's melt refreeze conditions or filled with large moguls he's mostly sticking to groomed slopes.

    What do the mags say? Where should we head? Book lodging now or wait till the week of?

    P.S. - In case it's useful to someone in the future searching this same topic, I've done a good deal of searching and, amongst other threads, I found the two below the most helpful and read them in their entirety:

    https://www.tetongravity.com/forums/...-Fernie-advice
    &
    https://www.tetongravity.com/forums/...oke-vs-Red-Mtn

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Banff
    Posts
    21,494
    if red/white are good, just stay put and enjoy. Take a day off before BRC if needed.

    If conditions suck, head north to KH/Reve, or to banff (odds are colder/dryer)

    As long as your time is not a BC or AB holiday, or school break you should be fine. Rossland/Nelson are not near anything so usually dont have much influx of people


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Portland by way of Bozeman
    Posts
    3,881
    I'd check cancellation policies at various places in Rossland, Nelson, and wherever else you're going. Outside of a holiday weekend, you should be fine finding lodging, especially in a place like Nelson. So maybe make a few reservations and cancel as necessary?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Posts
    144
    If you only have 7 days of skiing, your Red/WH2O plan sounds the best to me because as you said it minimizes driving. Driving North to Revy/Kicking Horse or East to Fernie are IMHO best done in daylight and will cost you a day each way. Red and Whitewater fulfill your main criteria but neither have true alpine (ie treeless) terrain nor does Fernie. KH and Castle are best for that. I can't give much info on accommodation except my wife and I liked two places near Red - SureStay Motel and the Rossland Motel. Note - we are cheap!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Maine Coast
    Posts
    3,430
    One thing to note is none of the car rental companies I contacted in Spokane had winter tires. Legally you are required to have tires with the snowflake in British Columbia. I didn’t have a problem, but it could make chasing snow difficult and have potential liability issues if there’s an accident. Just a fyi

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    home
    Posts
    214
    Going on tour sounds sexy in the magazines or interwebz, but its a commitment. Its a lot of driving, and if road conditions suck or there is a road closure it will delay you significantly. It most certainly will cost you some ski time, but it can be a great adventure. I have done it over an 8 day stretch, and it felt like a lot, and I was pretty young then. I was psyched we did it, wouldn't change anything, but when it was all done I said next time I am just going to KH. And that is what I have done ever since. Either option will be memorable, but they will be different experiences.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Posts
    507
    Quote Originally Posted by cat in january View Post
    One thing to note is none of the car rental companies I contacted in Spokane had winter tires. Legally you are required to have tires with the snowflake in British Columbia. I didn’t have a problem, but it could make chasing snow difficult and have potential liability issues if there’s an accident. Just a fyi
    Unfortunately it is not true that proper winter tires with the snowflake are required. In BC all-season tires (if they have the m+s stamp, which I believe they all do) are legal on all winter highways if they have a minimum 3.5mm tread depth (even if they are low profile high performance tires that are absolutely crap in snow or on ice).

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    Beautiful BC
    Posts
    2,902
    What is a Legal Winter Tire in B.C.?

    A legal winter tire (on a standard passenger vehicle or a four-wheel/all-wheel vehicle) MUST have at least 3.5 mm of tread depth.

    A winter tire must be labelled with either of the following:

    The letters "M" and "S", the minimum legal requirement (mud + snow/all season tires)


    The 3-peaked mountain/snowflake symbol (some manufacturers label with both the mountain snowflake and the M+S symbol)
    If you have a problem & think that someone else is going to solve it for you then you have two problems.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Maine Coast
    Posts
    3,430
    Thanks guys for the correction I was going from memory which was wrong. Still BC roads and particularly the passes are much more challenging in general for winter conditions relative to US

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    none
    Posts
    7,466
    I donít think the roads are worse per say.
    Thereís just much less traffic and theyíre remote. All good IMHO, fewer gapers to get in your way.
    Some rental car companies, Alamo, National and Enterprise. Let you pick your mini van from an isle. None will have true winter snows, but some will be much better than others.
    I would wait and book everything that canít be canceled, to the last minute.
    Paula and Kieren at Big Red, have always been very accommodating at changing dates, if conditions arenít good.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2018
    Posts
    73
    Unless you're looking for nice slope-side AirBnBs, winter accommodations in the interior are easy to get last minute. My crew generally doesn't book until 2 days prior when we have some indication of who's getting the goods. The clouds decide.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov 2018
    Posts
    73
    Quote Originally Posted by Shredhead View Post
    Paula and Kieren at Big Red, have always been very accommodating at changing dates, if conditions aren’t good.
    Paula and Kieran are the shit! However, they had to sell the operation this offseason as Kieren has brain cancer...

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    North Vancouver/Whistler
    Posts
    12,849
    Quote Originally Posted by Peyto View Post
    Paula and Kieran are the shit! However, they had to sell the operation this offseason as Kieren has brain cancer...
    They sold but new owners are keeping all old office staff including Paula and Natasha and all ops staff and keeping policies the same

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Vinyl Valley
    Posts
    1,519
    If you're flying into Spokane, its a short 2.5 hour drive to Rossland. Since your trip is 7 days, I would imagine you'd rather not spend 1 of those days driving somewhere else, to spend another day driving back, unless the snow at Red and Whitewater is horrible.

    It's a 5 hour drive from Rossland to Revelstoke, and you may want to check that the road is open and the ferry is operating on schedule. But make sure you stop at 1 of the hot springs for a soak before you get to the ferry.

    Nelson/Whitewater is about 1 hour drive, maybe a bit more from Rossland/Red, so those 2 locations can be accessed from 1 basecamp. Again, you may want to check that the road is open before setting out for the drive between the 2. I stay in Rossland because I found a great bnb in town years ago and Idgie's restaurant is a short drive away.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Nov 2018
    Posts
    73
    Quote Originally Posted by LeeLau View Post
    They sold but new owners are keeping all old office staff including Paula and Natasha and all ops staff and keeping policies the same
    Was super glad to see that they're both still involved and the long tenure of much of their staff says a lot in my books! Watching Kieren guide that terrain is a masterclass.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Sun Peaks Resort
    Posts
    580
    Stay in Rossland, ski Red and Whitewater, anything else is too much driving. If rains in Rossland then go to whitewater for snow as it is higher elevation than Red.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    North Vancouver/Whistler
    Posts
    12,849
    Quote Originally Posted by Peyto View Post
    Was super glad to see that they're both still involved and the long tenure of much of their staff says a lot in my books! Watching Kieren guide that terrain is a masterclass.
    Yes! It would have been a big loss of jobs, community and business for the town otherwise. New owners truly get what a gem they now have

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Auburn, Al
    Posts
    175
    Thanks everyone so much! This is definitely clarifying. We'll plan on sticking to Red/WW unless conditions really dictate differently.

    It seems like the general consensus is to stay in one basecamp and the few votes I've heard so far are for Rossland. I was initially thinking (of course depending on weather) that we would go to Nelson first, spend 3 days skiing WW, drive to Rossland after skiing on the 25th, do BRC on the 26th and ski and stay the last three days in Rossland.

    Do folks have strong feelings about staying in one basecamp vs going back and forth? Any other recommendations on places to stay in Rossland and Nelson? The Red - SureStay Motel in Rossland that apex dave mentioned looks pretty solid.

    FWIW, after researching some, based on BobcatSig's recommendation, the cancellation policies at most of the lodging in the area are pretty liberal; I'll probably go ahead and book something in the next few days, and keep an eye on the weather and finalize plans a week out.

    Last question for now, are there any good deals that I need to be aware of for lift tickets? Was hoping for something multi-day that allows access at both Red & WW so I could get discounted tix but have the option of skiing either based on weather. Don't see anything like that at first blush though.

    Thanks again for all the help!

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Banff
    Posts
    21,494
    nothing for multi area that I know of.
    White is small, adn very independant. Red is much bigger and modern (by koots standards)


  20. #20
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Posts
    25
    Schweitzer is worth a visit and is convenient in
    WW--> Schweitzer-->Spokane.
    You'd pass Salmo ski Area, but can't really recommend that as a destination....

  21. #21
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    northern BC
    Posts
    25,470
    red is lower so more likely to get rain instead of snow so look out for that weather pattern

    Big white is the highest resort in BC and I think SS might be next,

    < 1.5 hrs between them
    Lee Lau - xxx-er is the laziest Asian canuck I know

  22. #22
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Northern BC
    Posts
    1,961
    Quote Originally Posted by mntlion View Post

    As long as your time is not a BC or AB holiday, or school break you should be fine. Rossland/Nelson are not near anything so usually dont have much influx of people
    This. Beyond holidays and such even the most frequented of the powder highway / rockies hills are basically devoid of crowds.

  23. #23
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Posts
    153
    Quote Originally Posted by caderader View Post
    Last question for now, are there any good deals that I need to be aware of for lift tickets? Was hoping for something multi-day that allows access at both Red & WW so I could get discounted tix but have the option of skiing either based on weather. Don't see anything like that at first blush though.

    Thanks again for all the help!
    For Red: Look at the Louise Card - $119 CAD. Gives your 1st, 4th, and 7th days free. Discount rates for your other days.
    Usually pays for itself after 2 visits.

    Havenít seen anything for WW, unless you live in the Nelson area.
    But they do offer the option of single lift tickets if youíre touring.

    https://www.skilouise.com/tickets-passes/plus-cards/

  24. #24
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Posts
    507
    Quote Originally Posted by Angle Parking View Post
    This. Beyond holidays and such even the most frequented of the powder highway / rockies hills are basically devoid of crowds.
    Not sure I would describe any powder day in Revelstoke as 'devoid of crowds' (except in April) - even last season the big maze for the gondola would fill up before the lift started to spin.

  25. #25
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Sun Peaks Resort
    Posts
    580
    For the most part Red skiers/pass holders don't ski Whitewater and as well Whitewater pass holders don't ski Red, even though they are B.C.'s two closest to each other resorts. So any sort of dual mountain pass/ticket garners little interest.

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