Some snow-capped destinations just hit right, they get under your skin, ignite your essence and feel like home. They call that soul, and Canada’s British Columbia has it in spades.

For decades the ten wild mountain ranges of BC have been quietly doing what they do best – serving up big mountain peaks filled with powder promise and sweet little ski towns laden with locals whose lives we all covet.

Take RED Mountain Resort, the under-the-radar ski resort serviced by the old school ski town of Rossland. It’s the first (or last) stop on the famed Powder Highway, a road trip guaranteed to deliver. RED attracts core skiers and snowboarders in search of steep tree-skiing and they find it amongst the 4200 acres of skiable terrain and then some.

But they also find historic huts nestled in the woods on the mountain, $20 weekend cat-ski rides at Mt Kirkup and a ski-in taco food truck. Plus mountain hosts that literally own the mountain through a 2016 crowd-funded “fight the man own the mountain” campaign. You won’t find heated seats in golden gondolas but you will find multi-generational skiers who inherit the love of RED.

Not far down the road sits the “cult resort” known as Whitewater Ski Resort. I’m a not-so-secret convert who happily drank the Kool-Aid, one day here and I was hooked thanks to some of the best powder tree-skiing going. I still remember my first drop-in, following a generous local who showed me the way, showing off the Whitewater creed of community skiing.

You’ll find this laid-back powder paradise at the end of a 10km service road, slowly losing phone reception the closer you get to the base lodge where it simply does not exist. No wifi, no phone, just people living in the moment, sharing snow love instead of pouting selfies.

For years Whitewater Cooks, the recipe book of the resort’s mountain restaurant was on the bestseller list, home-cooked fare that fed the heart of skiing. Try the Glory Bowl on the restaurant menu and thank me later. You can’t stay overnight here either, there’s no swanky ski-in ski-out lodging. It’s more day trippers from nearby lakeside Nelson that know what they’ll find at the end of that service road rainbow. The good stuff.

Experiences like this are commonplace in BC. Quirky moments and destinations that imprint themselves and make you long to return. It’s the people that make skiing and snowboarding a lifestyle, not just a leisure sport. British Columbians are warm, laid back and share that adventurous spirit that Australians come out of the womb with.

At Sun Peaks Resort you can ski with Canada’s most famed Olympian, 80-year-old Nancy Greene. Just head to the Sunburst chairlift at 1:00pm on select days of the week and there she’ll be, ready to lead you down the slopes (if you can keep up).

At Kicking Horse Mountain Resort you’ll ski past Boo, their local grizzly bear hibernating under the snow – you’ll also hit up over 60 double black runs and I’m not sure which is more daunting. And in the community of Fernie, you’ll find yourself “Griz spotting” during the Griz Days Festival every March. The town party celebrates the legend of a baby boy born in a mountain cave who fought a grizzly and survived (no word of a lie, ok, maybe). You’ll also find the best tostadas at Nevados, this side of, well, Mexico.

Perhaps no ski town speaks to the blend of old school and new school as Revelstoke. This railway town with a big mountain boasting 1700 metres of vertical, is dotted with dining dens and art streets, filled with both entrepreneurial spirit and extreme athletes who are lured here by the big mountain offerings of Rogers Pass. On any given day you can find yourself skiing at Revelstoke Mountain Resort with the local train driver, a Warren Miller athlete or a 5-year-old who, trust me, skis better than you do.

Distilleries and breweries in these BC parts are fueled with mountain waters, and lakes are lined with mineral hot springs that locals will hike you through the woods to find. They’re good like that. Nature inspires both businesses and artisans and Revelstoke’s roots are never forgotten because the railway still provides the town’s economy.

I could go on about Frank’s bear claw chocolates at SilverStar Mountain Resort, the cinnamon rolls at Paradise Camp and the plethora of local Bernese Mountain Dogs that call Big White Ski Resort home. Or I could wax lyrical about the fondue with jaw-dropping views at Panorama Mountain Resort where you can skate the longest ice skating trail down the road at Invermere. Did I mention the joy and life respite of remote lodge life that heli and cat-skiing brings?

Even the biggest resort in North America, Whistler Blackcomb, has its moments and not just when the clouds part under blue skies to reveal the beauty of the glacier. A personal favourite ritual is Scandinave Spa, an oasis of water therapy both hot and cold found within a forest with a “silent mantra” so no one talks, not a word, just the sound of the water.

Skiing and snowboarding in British Columbia is as it should be. Filled with connection through experience, filled with adventures, filled with real folks living real lives enjoying real mountains. Take me back.

This is a sponsored article from our trusted brand partners at Destination British Columbia. 

Three remote British Columbia resorts where community and good times matter