Nelson & Rossland Ski Touring
December to April
Open groups: Jan 14 & 28, Feb 4 & 18
Cost per person (before tax) per day based on guide to guests ratio
- 1:1 = $550
- 1:2 = $312
- 1:3 = $233
- 1:4 = $193
- 1:5 = $170
- 1:6 = $154
Open group rate: $200 + gst / person
Nelson & Rossland Ski Touring
Daily guided backcountry touring in BC's Kootenay region...
Discover legendary powder, diverse terrain and consistently deep snow found in the mountains around Nelson, Rossland, Slocan 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 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 fantastic 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 lift to access the backcountry.
- Touring days are full and action packed! Expect to be out in the field until 4pm. Contact us to arrange partial days.
Programs require beginner to advanced touring skills however, guests need to have intermediate to advanced ski or split-boarding skills already (able to ski blues or blacks at ski 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.
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, Slocan, Kaslo & New Denver. See above for specific touring venues available in the region.
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.
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.
- Pre-trip planning support
- Certified ACMG Mountain Guide, Ski Guide or Apprentice Ski Guide
- 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 $40/day for complete set or beacon ($25), shovel ($10) & probe ($10)
- Transportation to touring location
- Lift fee if applicable, one way Whitewater fee is $39, Red Mtn $39
- Additional charges due to changes in itinerary or ski location, guest must cover also additional guide costs (extra travel/accommodation/food expense)
- Trip cancellation and or trip interruption insurance. Medical, emergency rescue and evacuation insurance are also your responsibility
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 some outdoor stores Western Canada that supply good service, quality outdoor equipment and gear rental. Please ensure you rent gear well in advance.
Higher Ground Sports: (250) 344-7980
What transceiver should I use?
If you are interested in touring in the backcountry with friends or take one of our courses, it is very important to get a modern “triple antenna digital transceiver” with a marking function. We ask participants to ensure that they have a digital transceiver for the course.
For recreational skiers and boarders, we suggest the following beacons: Mammut-Baryvox “Element”, Ortovox “Zoom”, Peeps “Recon” or the Tracker “3” or “S”. For people moving towards working in the ski industry a more professional “more advanced” beacons is recommended, such as Mammut-Baryvox “Pulse or S”, Ortovox “3+“ or Peeps “guide”, etc.
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.