# 88 – Kootenay Backcountry — Tour This Winter if You Can

# 88 – Kootenay Backcountry — Tour This Winter if You Can

Backcountry Skiing Canada Lists Several (Many) Backcountry Tours in the Kootenays

Have you heard of Kootenay backcountry before? If so, you’ll love the Nelson and Kootenay Lake area — It’s your perfect backyard.

We’re a haven for Cat Ski and Heli Ski operators, but also for people who like to DIY in the backcountry.  But we are also quick to post the inherent dangers to backcountry touring. Whew. We’d just like to reiterate that backcountry skiing and winter camping are not to be taken lightly, and if you are considering these healthy and fun activities, do realize that you need training and expertise before you go. Whitewater Ski Resort offers avalanche courses throughout the winter; a safe place to learn about safety.

Heli skiing is one sure way to explore the backcountry.

Heli skiing is one sure way to explore the backcountry. Photo by Steve Shannon.

Cat and Heli Skiing

If you are someone who enjoys backcountry outings, and you know what you are getting into, the Kootenay Lake area is your perfect getaway. The list of potential routes you can take listed on Backcountry Skiing Canada is long, and includes some incredible country. Skiing in our backcountry can be done at any number of Cat or Heli ski operations (we are, of course, the Cat Ski Capital of the World). With this option, though there are dangers, and you’d be in for the adventure of a lifetime, you’d also be with trained guides who would make sure that you were safe at all times. You’d also have access to massage, a sauna and a bar. Do consider this. It is an excellent option.

Alpine Club of Canada

There are those who deeply, fully enjoy the experience of being independent in the backcountry. An excellent post is over at Outdoor Research giving some pointers on winter camping. It’s a great start for anyone considering this. When you do decide to head out into our backcountry in the winter, we have an amazing array of backcountry huts, all provided by the Alpine Club of Canada. There is a small fee involved, and more information can be found on their website. Perhaps the queen of all alpine huts is located in our own backyard. The Kokannee Cabin, which is available only by lottery in the winter, and is also located in superb backcountry skiing territory. Take some time to look into what that cabin offers. If you have any interest in exploring our backcountry in the winter, this is an incredible option.

The views are breathtaking. Breathe it all in. Photographer Judith Robertson.

The views are breathtaking. Breathe it all in. Photographer Judith Robertson.

Local Skiers Lead the Way

What you’ll soon find if you begin to explore the backcountry in our area is that the local scene is huge. Many people who live here came for a short backcountry tour and simply never left. (Okay, that’s an unscientific “many people” but it sure seems like it’s true.) If you’re interested in learning about where to go and what you need to know, don’t forget to ask locals. A great blog all about ski touring can get you inspired. Kootenay Skier tracks one skiers touring escapades through the Kootenays with excellent pictures and great stories.

We’ve Got Great Places to Stay When You Need a Rest

Check out our website at Nelson Kootenay Lake and learn more about the backcountry in our area, as well as lots of things to do, places to stay and great food and drink for before and after your backcountry experience with us.


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