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Canada: B.C. region may be the best ski place you never heard of

February 20, 2013|By Jay Jones
  • Winter is a charming season -- especially for skiers -- in the town of Nelson in southeastern British Columbia.
Winter is a charming season -- especially for skiers -- in the town of Nelson… (Nelson Kootenay Lake Tourism )

Ski enthusiasts looking for someplace new and exciting may want to take a serious look at the Kootenay Lake region of British Columbia, Canada. Some of North America’s finest skiing can be found just outside the Victorian community of Nelson, nestled along the west arm of the lake in the Selkirk Mountains in southeastern British Columbia.

The area might be among the best destinations few folks have ever heard of.

In December, the Rossland-Nelson area won Powder magazine’s Ski Town Throwdown, besting 31 other communities, including better-known destinations such as California’s Mammoth and Wyoming’s Jackson Hole.

Locals are also basking in the news that Outside magazine just named Nelson’s Baldface Lodge one of its top-five Cat skiing destinations on the continent.

"If you’re a fit thrill seeker, the payoff is huge," the magazine said. "With access to 32,000 acres of terrain, guests are consistently bagging — and sometimes naming — first descents.”

It's an eight-hour drive east from Vancouver but only 3 1/2 hours north of Spokane, Wash. Nelson (population 9,804) has much more to offer than many towns its size. It’s chock full of historic homes, bustling coffee shops and, during the warmer months, sidewalk cafes.

Given the setting on Kootenay Lake in the heart of a mountain range, Nelson is an outdoor enthusiast’s dream. After the snow has melted, the area offers mountain biking, hiking, boating, rafting and golf, as well as a full cultural calendar. 

Info: Nelson Kootenay Lake Tourism.

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