There’s no denying that British Columbia is the place for backcountry skiing in North America. And while there are incredible options all throughout BC, the Kootenays really have it all—deep powder, easy access, and terrain options both above and below treeline. Heading out with a guide to the Kootenays for a day of tailored skiing is sure to meet your ambitions, as its ridges provide a perfect ground for crafting your touring skills. With its narrow chutes, steep slopes, and dense alpine forests, the area has more than enough to keep your adrenaline pumping for days on end!

  • A short drive from the city takes you to remote, off-piste areas

  • Set your tracks in the deep, pillowy powder of British Columbia

  • Incredible terrain options, ranging from daunting chutes to mellow slopes

Itinerary

As does the whole of BC, so do the Kootenays have a reputation for its amazing snowpack. It can be difficult zooming in on the best runs, though, so having an expert guide by your side is your lifeline for a day of backcountry skiing in the Kootenays’ wilderness. Possibilities here are endless, so it’s best not to waste your time on getting here—luckily, you’re just a short drive from the city away. Carve big turns on challenging terrain both above and below treeline, meander through alpine forests, or take it easy on some gentle slopes and glades—and don’t forget your guide is helping you become more confident and safe out in the backcountry!

Meet your guide

Arctos Guides
5.00
Arctos Guides
Founded in 2017, Arctos Guides provide custom outdoor adventures in British Columbia and beyond. Their ACMG certified guides make sure adventures are safe and enjoyable.
5.00 (4 reviews)
Dillon Duley about Arctos Guides on Google Reviews

Conor is one of the best guides I have ever been out with. He was fully flexible and catered to our group, while still being very safe. He also offers some custom programs and locations that no one else does!

Navarana Smith about Arctos Guides on Google Reviews

Perhaps we each come to seek an accredited guide for a different reason. For me, I sought someone who could help me build confidence + skill to approach some of my goals in the mountains. Conor went above and beyond in helping me do so. I felt safe, mentored and amongst friends. Incredibly grateful for the experience.

James Bonz about Arctos Guides on Google Reviews

My family and I had the most awesome trip with Conor (Arctos Guides)! He is a complete professional, steadfast in his planning and preparation and a terrific person as well. His knowledge of the terrain and snowpack are invaluable and he made sure that everyone in our group had the best experience. The prepared foods were excellent and we had more than enough to eat. I cannot recommend Arctos Guides highly enough!!

Lynn Carrotte about Arctos Guides on Google Reviews

Conor is a very personable, experienced guide.   We have toured with him a number of times, and will  continue to chose him for all our backcountry adventures.  He knows how to keep everyone happy even in our diverse little group.   I am not an expert skier, but I ski with experts.   Conor knows how to pick lines that we will all enjoy and I can’t say enough about his uptracks, which are second to none, especially for someone like me, who has difficulty on the steep switchbacks due to a bad ankle.

Things to know

  • What you get on this adventure:

      • An experienced, ACMG-certified ski guide with extensive knowledge of the area
      • 1 day of backcountry skiing and splitboarding in the Kootenays

    What’s not included:

      • Technical backcountry ski touring equipment (can be rented)
      • Transportation to Slocan
      • Food and snacks
      • Accommodations
      • Guide gratuities — optional
  • This one-day backcountry skiing in the Kootenays is ideal for intermediate to advanced backcountry skiers. You’ll be on your feet for a full day and you’ll gain up to 1,000 m of altitude (3,280 ft). You will need to manage controlled descents in variable conditions. All participants should feel comfortable on challenging blue or black-level resort runs and be able to carry a loaded daypack while skinning up variable degrees of terrain.

  • To participate in Kootenays tour, you need to have previous backcountry skiing experience. You will be skiing, touring, and summiting on glaciated terrain for a whole day. Your guide will take care of the planning, oversee your technique, and teach you how to better manage the terrain. They also have the experience and avalanche training necessary to keep you safe. If you’ve never backcountry skied before, we suggest joining a guide for a day of backcountry skiing in Revelstoke.

  • For technical backcountry ski touring gear, you will need to bring:

      • Alpine touring skis, telemark skis or splitboard with skins (can be rented)
      • Touring boots and poles (can be rented)
      • Avalanche safety equipment (can be rented):
        • Digital, 3-antenna avalanche transceiver or beacon
        • Lightweight snow shovel
        • Avalanche probe

    For personal items, we recommend bringing:

      • Helmet
      • Sunglasses or ski goggles
      • Gloves and hat
      • Wind and waterproof shell jacket with hood (Gore-Tex recommended)
      • Ski pants (Gore-Tex recommended)
      • Down jacket or vest
      • Synthetic or wool base layers, underwear and socks
      • One triple-action locking carabiner or two conventional locking carabiners
      • Repair kit and Leatherman for your equipment (can be shared between several people)
      • Water bottle and 1L of water
      • Thermos with a warm beverage — optional
      • Food you can eat on-the-go
      • First aid kit
      • Sunscreen
      • Daypack large enough to carry all items listed (around a 30-40L backpack)
      • Camera — optional
  • All mandatory gear can be rented if you don’t have your own. You can rent: 

      • Avalanche safety pack, including backpack, beacon, shovel and probe
      • Alpine touring or telemark skis, touring boots and poles
      • Splitboards

    You can rent it from The Sacred Ride or the Roam Shop in Nelson, BC. They should be picked up the night prior to your outing. If you need to rent gear, let us know and we can help make arrangements.

  • Group sizes and prices:

      • For this backcountry adventure in the Kootenays, the usual client-to-guide ratio is 5:1. 
      • The cost per person decreases as the group grows, so it’s the perfect opportunity to hike with friends and family!

    Backcountry skiing in the Kootenays can be arranged for larger groups. Contact us to make arrangements.

    Min. age requirements:

      • If you are older than 18, you’re good to go.
      • Minors may be permitted to join private tours on a case-by-case basis.

    If your group has skiers under the age of 18, contact us prior to booking to make arrangements.

  • The starting point of your adventure depends on the chosen date and exact location of backcountry skiing. However, you can expect it to be near Slocan, which is one hour away from Nelson. To get there, most people fly into Calgary International Airport or Vancouver International Airport. From there, you can rent a car or take a shuttle to Nelson or Slocan. 

    Once you and your guide agree on the details of your itinerary, your guide will suggest the best place to meet, whether that’s at the guide shop or a predetermined location. The guide will choose the appropriate terrain dependent on conditions and the ability of the group.

  • 57hours is committed to providing safe outdoor adventure experiences. We require all guides using our platform to have a COVID-19 safety plan and to make the details of that plan accessible to travelers. In most cases, group sizes will be reduced, guides will avoid overcrowded locations, and other safety measures will be met depending on the location and activity. 

    We also expect clients to respect local regulations and take measures to protect themselves, their guides, and the communities they’re traveling to. For more information on COVID-19 measures in the Kootenays, BC, please refer to BC Centre for Disease Control or the official website of Government of Canada.

    Please contact us if you have any questions or require further information. We are happy to provide you with the most up-to-date information!

Have more questions? Read our FAQ,
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