The Path To Powder

Access Granted

When you get across the border from Spokane you’ll arrive in Nelson. It’s a fun town that you may find yourself basing out of to get to Baldface Lodge, Whitewater, and Red Mountain. PHOTO: Chris Wellhausen

You can get at this zone by flying into cities and small towns: Cranbrook, Calgary, Kelowna, Kamloops, Kalispell, and Spokane. From there you’ll have to drive. I touched down in the town of Kelowna, BC, and took a shuttle to Revelstoke to meet up with a group of Frends.
Border crossings and heavy storm cycles can trip up travel, so it’s wise to follow the weather and give yourself plenty of time to get to your destination. Rogers Pass, along the route between Calgary and Revelstoke, crosses loads of avalanche paths, which often shut down the highway. Danny Davis, Eric Jackson, Mitrani brothers, and I got a glimpse of this while we posted up at Eagle Pass Heli outside Revelstoke. It was dumping and the avy risk was rising, so the transportation department buzzed in by heli and began heaving 20-pound fertilizer bombs out the window above the Trans-Canada highway. The lodge went into lockdown and we peered from the far end of the building as avalanches carrying debris and cold smoke shot down the narrow canyon and onto the road, brushing up against the lodge. This is “just a normal day,” our guide Scott Newsome assures. Sure enough, the debris is scraped away and the road opens right back up.

Daily Ops

Home of the Supernatural. There’s a reason why Travis Rice chose Baldface. PHOTO: Chris Wellhausen

Access is served in four ways: Resort lifts, hike-to or snowmobile backcountry, snowcat, and heli. Some places like Revelstoke offer a mix of it all. Others like Baldface Lodge, specialize in snowcat laps, while CMH delivers heli bumps. It all breaks down to your budget and time frame. Most heli and cat ops require multi-day minimums, but a few, like Eagle Pass, offer single day access (five runs for just under a grand). You can blow your wad by burning jet fuel and diesel, or skimp by seeking out remote huts and ripping local laps at the resorts. You can even snag a day of snowmobiling with a legit Sledneck. We did on a down day just outside Revelstoke.

A big part of the path to powder is sledding. The slednecks are on the next page…