Put this ski base camp on your radar this winter

By Aaron Theisen for SnowSeekers.ca

On the Powder Highway of southeast British Columbia’s Kootenay Rockies, the ski towns—Fernie, Revelstoke, Nelson, Rossland—have as big a reputation as the peaks above them.

But there’s only one community within an hour of two world-class Powder Highway resorts, serviced by its own international airport.

Welcome to Cranbrook, the best ski town you’ve never heard about.

The base area at Kimberley Alpine Resort features big-mountain amenities with small-hill charm (Photo: Aaron Theisen)

Set within a broad valley in the rainshadow of the Kootenay Rockies, at the halfway point between Spokane and Calgary, the city of 20,000 takes advantage of its central location on the Powder Highway and its status as the sunshine capital of British Columbia to make an inviting home base for a long, multi-resort ski weekend.

Start planning your ski trip into Cranbrook now.

Kimberley’s best skiing is in the trees—North America’s largest gladed terrain (Photo: Aaron Theisen)

Thirty minutes from Cranbrook, Kimberley Alpine Resort boasts the largest gladed terrain in North America among its nearly 2,500 feet of vertical. But it’s also a casual, family-friendly resort, where live music drifts out of Stemwinders and kids flit about the outdoor ice-skating rink.

An hour’s drive east of Cranbrook, skiers will find at Fernie Alpine Resort the kind of big-mountain terrain for which the Powder Highway is famed: five steep bowls funneling into 3,500 feet of vertical, all subject to the famed “Fernie Factor,” the mountain’s unique tendency to get surprise dumps of deep snowfall.

Fernie Alpine Resort serves up five bowls of bottomless powder (Photo: Aaron Theisen)

Back in town, Cranbrook boasts all the ski-town essentials—cozy hotels, craft beer and locally-sourced cuisine. And at only 3.5 hours from Spokane, it’s perfectly suited to a long ski weekend. Perhaps it’s time to add Cranbrook to the pantheon of powder towns.

Kimberley Alpine Resort sits above the sunshine capital of B.C. (Photo: Aaron Theisen)

Kimberley Alpine Resort sits above the sunshine capital of B.C. (Photo: Aaron Theisen)

Click here to learn more about Cranbrook and Fernie ski essentials, including links to vacation packages.

More about the Powder Highway

  • Hotels in Cranbrook, such as the Day’s Inn, offer packages that include a multiple-night stay with Fernie and Kimberley lift tickets.  Find out more about Cranbrook.
Alpenglow paints Fisher Peak and its Selkirks neighbors (Photo: Aaron Theisen)

Alpenglow paints Fisher Peak and its Selkirks neighbors (Photo: Aaron Theisen)

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