Dates available December-early April *if possible book well in advance
Cost is based on ratio 1:5 $125 per person,1:4 $145, 1:3 $175, 1:2 $240, 1:1 $425 plus 5% tax *shorter sampler guided day 8 am-12:30 pm or 11:30-4 pm available at 2/3 cost (meet 1/2 hr prior)
Maximum 6 guests/guides
Beginner to Advanced Touring
Nelson & Rossland Area
Selkirk, Monashee and Purcell Mountains, B.C. Backcountry Day Ski Touring
Discover the legendary powder, diverse terrain and consistently deep snow found in the mountains around Nelson, Rossland and Kaslo. Expand your avalanche and mountain knowledge while backcountry skiing with a seasoned local guide.
Our day trips take place in the stunning backcountry of the Monashee, Selkirk and Purcell Mountains. Whether you are a beginner or advanced skier we offer trips based on your skiing background. Our low guest to guide ratio maximize a safe and personal backcountry ski touring experience. Individuals and groups welcome!
Here are a few local classics.
Nelson & Whitewater Backcountry
The Whitewater ski resort is a little gem known for its deep powder and easy access to a great variety of backcountry ski touring. It is located in the Selkirk mountains and is a 20 minute drive from the vibrant ski town of Nelson BC.
The backcountry terrain in this area is varied and accessible. The road to the resort and the ski lifts provide a speedy access to varied day touring options in four different valleys. The terrain provides a good mixture of open tree skiing and alpine bowls and interesting ski peaks. Some of the day tours we offer including Ymir Peak, Five mile basin, Kutetl creek, Qua creek & Evening ridge.
Rossland & Red Mountain Backcountry
The Rossland area offers fantastic lift and road access backcountry powder ski touring. It is a 1 hour drive west of Nelson. The dynamic ski resort at Red mountain, is a mere 10 minutes from Rossland and allows for quick access to enjoyable touring terrain and great vistas.
It is infamous for outstanding tree skiing along with a consistently deep snowpack. The area offers a variety of possible tours, ridges and peaks for the keen ski tourer visiting the area. Some of the areas to explore include Record Ridge, Whitewolf Ridge, Mount Roberts and Kirkup.
At 1780m, perched between the snowy little towns of Salmo and Creston, Kootenay Pass is the highest road accessible mountain pass in British Columbia. It is an hour away from the ski towns of Nelson & Rossland.
Kootenay Pass offers a great variety of day touring options in five different valleys. Here we will ski some of the best tree skiing in the southern Selkirks along with fantastic sub-alpine ridges boasting a great variety of open terrain. There are even some interesting ski peaks for those interested. This classic West Kootenay venue is a must for all visiting ski tourers.
Mount Brennan & London Ridge
Highway 31A between Kaslo and New Denver gives quick access to some of the bigger alpine ski tours in the area. The trail-head for these tours is reached by driving 1.5 hours north of Nelson.
Both Mt Brennan and London Ridge offer vast and stunning alpine terrain, fantastically long ski descents and some of the most impressive local mountain scenery. While London ridge offers various day tour options Mount Brennan is a long day or a fun 2 days trip. To optimize your experience, these tours are best done in the Spring when the days longer, the snowpack deeper and temperatures warmer.
- Meet your guide at 7:00 or 7:30 am at predetermined location, sign waivers & check gear
- Drive up to ski touring destinations (either skin up from the car or take the ski resort lift)
- Full day programs, back from last run one hour before sunset; half day programs wrap up shortly after lunch.
Programs are beginner to advanced for touring routes, however guests need to have intermediate to advanced ski or boarding skills already (able to ski blues or blacks at hill). 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.
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.
All the ski touring venues in this section are located with-in an hour drive from Nelson. Depending on your preferences and the ski touring area you are interested-in, suitable accommodation can be found in Nelson, Rossland, Kaslo & New Denver.
You will be meeting with your guide the evening before the trip starts or morning of, for a final gear check. We will go over last minute changes (weather & avalanche conditions) and logistic for the following day(s). We will also sign a liability waiver.
- Pre-trip planning support
- Fully certified IFMGA guide service
- Group safety equipment (communication device, rescue kit, first aid supplies, GPS, maps)
Not included in price:
- Lunch, snacks
- GST 5% tax
- Personal ski touring boots, skis, skins or snow board set up
- personal avalanche safety equipment *SMG rentals available $25/day for beacon ($15), shovel ($5) & probe ($5)
- Transportation to touring location
- lift fee if applicable, one way Whitewater fee is $21 plus tax, Red Mtn fee is $25 for SMG guests
- Trip cancellation, adventure travel insurance, medical insurance
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 in Nelson 354-2056 www.roamshop.com
Valhalla Pure Outfitters in Nelson 354-1006 www.shop.vpo.ca
Gericks in Nelson 354-4622 www.gericks.com
High Performance Rentals at Red Mountain 250-362-7384
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.