Trip Dates

Custom dates available

Price

$795/person for 4 day tour, $995/person for 3 day (includes heli-drop costs, based on group of four)

Group Size

Maximum of 4 or 5 (hut dependent)

Skill Level

Beginner to Intermediate

Related Trips

Nelson Classic
Intro to Backcountry Ski Touring
Avalanche Training (AST 1 & 2)

Bonnington Traverse

A good introduction to backcountry ski-traverses from the comfort of rustic mountain huts...

A West Kootenay classic! This hut-to -hut tour is a good introduction to ski traverses. It offers fantastic tree skiing, open bowls and sharp ridges along with a reliable snowpack. Along the way, there are plenty of good views from the many ski peaks in the 7000’ (2300m) range.

This 3 to 5 day tour is available from December to April. It is very accessible from either Nelson, Castlegar or Rossland. Due to the slightly lower elevation of this trip and the abundance of good tree skiing along the way, it remains a good option in variable weather & conditions.

Itinerary

This is a 3 day program with helicopter access or a 4 or 5 day program with vehicle access.

3 day trip:

  • Day 1: We will drive to Castlegar early in the morning and take a helicopter flight to a high mountain ridge near Grassy Mountain on the west side of the Bonnington Range. During the day we will enjoy powder skiing descents and challenging ascents en route to the Steed hut near Siwash Mountain.
  • Day 2: After a night in the lovely Steed hut we will make our way to the rustic Copper Mountain hut. We will be travelling on the east side of Siwash Mountain and the head waters of Erie creek. Many great ski descents and fun touring are on the menu for the day.
  • Day 3: Weather and conditions permitting, we will be travelling along an exposed mountain ridge between Copper Mountain and Empire peak. The highlight of the trip! Along the way, there are plenty of options for outstanding runs with fantastic views. From there a long descent to Barrett Lake and down Barrett creek will bring us back to the real world and a cozy shuttle back to Nelson

4 day trip:

  • Day 1: We will drive to the Bombi summit,  a mountain pass along highway 3B between Castlegar and Salmo, and ski tour to the Grassy Mountain hut. We will ascend to a sub summit SW of Grassy Mountain and ski down to this rustic hut. Depending on timing and energy levels, we may do a few runs on the beautiful open glades below Grassy Mountain.
  • Day 2: After an early start, we will travel northward along the west end of the Bonnington range. During the day we will enjoy powder skiing descents and challenging ascents en route to the Steed hut near Siwash Mountain.
  • Day 3: After a night in the lovely Steed hut we will make our way to the rustic Copper Mountain hut. We will be travelling on the east side of Siwash Mountain and the head waters of Erie creek. Many great ski descents and fun touring are on the menu for the day.
  • Day 4: Weather and conditions permitting, we will be travelling along an exposed mountain ridge between Copper Mountain and Empire peak. The highlight of the trip! Along the way, there are plenty of options for outstanding runs with fantastic views. From there a long descent to Barrett Lake and down Barrett creek will bring us back to the real world and a cozy shuttle back to Nelson.

5 day trip:

  • Adding a fifth day to your program, will give you a few more options for touring or avalanche instruction. The additional day can be enjoyed based from the Steed Hut or instead you can do the “full traverse”, staying at Huckleberry Hut and ski Dominion peak.
  • Prerequisites

    This is a beginner to intermediate ski traverse. Prior day backcountry ski touring experience with a minimum of intermediate downhill skills is required. Guests are responsible to self evaluate their skills as groups need to be matched together based on prior experience and ability.  Please contact us to discuss your background and what kind of tour would suit you best.

    Equipment

    Click here for the Equipment List

    Weather

    Kootenay weather can vary drastically.  In winter you expect temperatures to be from -15C to –5C in the day while in spring daily temperatures could rise well above zero.  Visibility may be poor or whiteout conditions when snowing heavily or clear on bluebird days.  Ensure you are dressed for all variations as temperatures, wind and precipitation can change within the day. 

    Location

    This trip is based in Nelson BC. You will be meeting with your guide the evening before the trip starts for a final gear check. We will go over last minute changes (weather & avalanche conditions) and logistic for the following days. We will also sign a liability waiver.

    Services Included

    • Pre-trip planning support
    • Fully certified IFMGA guide and /or ACMG Ski guide service
    • hut accommodation
    • support to arrange shuttle at start and end of trip
    • Group safety equipment (communication device, rescue kit, first aid supplies, GPS, maps)

    Not included in price:

    • Personal ski touring boots, skis, skins or splitboard
    • personal avalanche safety equipment *SMG rentals available $25/day for beacon ($15), shovel ($5) & probe ($5)
    • snacks, lunches while on the trip
    • simple backcountry meals supper & breakfast are available at $45/eve
    • 5% gst tax
    • Trip cancellation, adventure travel insurance, medical insurance

    FAQ

    Where can I rent Ski touring and safety equipment?

    Summit Mountain Guides has a limited amount of winter safety equipment available for rental. Contact us for availability. Here are a few outdoor stores in Nelson that supply good service and quality outdoor equipment and gear rental, please ensure you rent gear well in advance.

    Rivers Oceans and Mountains 354-2056 www.roamshop.com
    Valhalla Pure Outfitters 354-1006 www.shop.vpo.ca
    Gericks   354-4622 www.gericks.com

    Skis, Telemark or Split Boards?

    Which should you use? If you are a downhill skier then you should use Alpine Touring gear. Only if you are already an advanced Telemark skier or Snowboarder should you bring Telemark or Split Board gear. All types of gear can be rented in Nelson prior to your day trip.  There are three types of backcountry systems you can use:

    Alpine Touring skis are essentially downhill skis with a special touring binding which allows the heel to lift whilst going uphill or across the flats and then ‘locks down’ to become a regular downhill safety binding. We recommend this system to anyone with a background of downhill skiing who is not already an advanced telemark skier. 

    Telemark skis. These should only be used for this program if you are at least an advanced-intermediate telemark skier with some backcountry experience. This system is more difficult and less forgiving than the others.

    Snowboarding with a Split Board is the most effective way to snowboard in the back country. We recommend this system to advanced snowboarder over snowshoeing.