Canadian Rockies and Interior B. C.

The four major mountain ranges of interior southern British Columbia, from northwest to southeast, are the Cariboos, Monashees, Selkirks, and Purcells. Pacific storms first hit the Cariboos, but the highest snowfall is in the section of the Monashees opposite the south end of the Cariboos, home to Mike Wiegele and CMH heli-ski operations. The highest snow area in the Selkirks is in the Mt. Fidelity area opposite the south end of the Monashees and close to Selkirk-Tangiers' heliski area. Storms passing south of the Selkirks bring extra snowfall to Whitewater and the Fernie Alpine Resort ski/Island Lake snowcat area. Otherwise, the areas near the U. S. border have the same Pacific Northwest weather patterns as nearby areas like Schweitzer and Big Mountain. Okanagan areas lie west of the major B.C. ranges but are situated in smaller mountains. The Alberta Rockies near Banff receive much less snow than any B.C. area because they are east of all four major B.C. ranges.

There are two tables below: The first contains all the statistics while the second contains summary information plus comments and analysis.
Color-coded areas link to my detailed Resort Guide published in Inside Tracks or First Tracks Online.
Explanation of Column Headings
Home Page and Other Regions

CANADIAN Lift Serviced   Season Dec.-Mar. Percent Percent Average        
ROCKIES and Altitude Season Standard 6+ Inch High Mths Low Mths Maximum Direction of Exposure
INTERIOR B. C. Range Average Deviation Powder Days GE 90 in. LT 30 in. Base Depth North East West South
                       
  Mt. Fidelity (Selkirks), B.C.  6,150 N/A 485 85 19.3% 45% 3% 129 N/A
  Revelstoke, B.C.  6,429 1,680-7,300 357 47 14.0% 8% 3% N/A 26% 4% 44% 26%
 Kicking Horse, B.C.  6,757 3,900-8,133 254 56 10.1% 3% 34% N/A 30% 45% 0% 25%
  Big White, B.C.  6,200 5,400-7,600 277 49 10.5% 3% 15% N/A 2% 7% 26% 65%
 Silver Star, B.C.  5,200 3,700-6,280 223 39 8.5% 0% 29% N/A 35% 35% 0% 30%
 Tod Mt. (Sun Peaks), B.C.  6,100 3,970-6,824 205 39 7.9% 1% 42% 73 10% 30% 10% 50%
Fernie Alpine Resort, B.C.  5,400 3,450-7,000 372 93 15.0% 24% 10% N/A 35% 50% 5% 10%
 Whitewater, B.C.  5,500 4,666-6,710 390 86 15.8% 26% 5% N/A 30% 24% 30% 16%
 Red Mt. 1, B.C.   3,800 3,800-6,700 260 65 9.2% 0% 31% N/A 30% 45% 2% 23%
 Red Mt. 2, B.C.   6,650 3,800-6,700 275 65 10.9% 6% 22% N/A 30% 45% 2% 23%
  Lake Louise, Alb.  6,700 5,393-8,650 169 42 6.1% 0% 63% N/A 27% 19% 36% 18%
 Sunshine Village, Alb.  7,028 5,440-8,954 257 57 9.3% 4% 27% N/A 40% 5% 35% 20%
 Mt. Norquay, Alb.  5,350 5,350-7,000 107 36 4.3% 0% 82% N/A 30% 60% 0% 10%
  Castle Mt., Alb.  5,700 4,630-7,463 265 65 11.6% 6% 21% N/A 16% 60% 0% 24%

CANADIAN Lift Serviced      
ROCKIES and Altitude Season Weather Restrictions, Powder Potential  
INTERIOR B. C. Range Average and Other Considerations Best Time to Ski
         
Mt. Fidelity (Selkirks), B.C. 6,150 N/A 485 Located on western side of Selkirks near Rogers Pass, the premier highway-accessed backcountry area in North America. SE of Cariboos and Monashees, and NW of Bugaboos, but only snow-measuring site in those regions. January/February for (chest-deep) powder. March/April for glacier skiing.
Revelstoke, B.C. 6,429 1,680-7,300 357 Huge vertical, lower slopes can have variable conditions. Upper mountain Stoke and Ripper chairs are very reliable. January/February for best top-to-bottom surface conditions.
Kicking Horse, B.C. 6.757 3,900-8,133 254 Numerous steep shots off CPR and Redemption ridges. Low skier density enforced by many runs accessible only from top-to-bottom gondola. February/March for maximum coverage.
Big White, B.C. 6,200 5,400-7,600 277 Highest ski area in interior B. C., so snow preservation is good.  Upper glades protected in storms but frequent whiteouts and closures in peak areas and steep bowls. January to March.
Silver Star, B.C. 5,200 3,700-6,280 223 Huge dumps rare, but small ones frequent. The other major Okanagan area, Apex Alpine, receives less snow than Big White or Silver Star but faces north. January/February for surface conditions.
Tod Mt. (Sun Peaks), B.C. 6,100 3,970-6,824 205 Deep powder a rarity but good vertical drop. Exposure makes surfaces spring-like in mid-winter. January/February for surface conditions.
Fernie Alpine Resort, B.C. 5,400 3,450-7,000 372 Big dumps frequent.  North-south and east-west valley systems create a precipitation trap for both powder and possible winter rain.  After 1998 expansion: 4 major upper bowls with innumerable tree shots between and below. mid-December to early March for powder, surface conditions. Nearby Island Lake snowcat area averages 400+ inches snow.
Whitewater, B.C. 5,500 5,500-6,800 390 Higher base altitude results in less rain and deeper snowpack than other Kootenay areas. Reasonable dumps, deep powder frequent. Excellent trees and backcountry. One of best powder mountains on the continent. December-March for powder, surface conditions.
Red Mt. 1, B.C. 3,800 3,800-6,700 260 Elevation makes winter rain a possibility but sloppy conditions in low areas between Red and Granite Peaks are rare. January/February for surface conditions.
Red Mt. 2, B.C. 6,650 3,800-6,700 275 Ski Granite Peak only. Some of gnarliest natural in-bounds terrain on the continent.  Unbelievable forest chutes and shots, many unmarked runs, easy to get lost--but just as easy to get found.  Fabulous off-piste; hiking or car-shuttle. January-March for powder, coverage surface conditions.
Lake Louise, Alb. 7,000 5,393-8,650 169 Upper mountain and backside get over 200 inches snow per year, 1,000 acres of snowmaking on the south-facing front side. Tour into Skoki Lodge from ski area for really big powder on open, protected, high alpine slopes. February/March for maximum coverage, less spring-like weather than Okanagan or U.S. northern Rockies.
Sunshine Village, Alb. 7,028 5,440-8,954 257 Most of original area well protected. Brewster closed in storms, probably Goat’s Eye area as well. Highest snowfall in Banff region and extremely well-preserved. Usually skiing until late May. March-April for coverage, and Delirium Dive/Wild West expert areas most likely to be open.
Mt. Norquay, Alb. 5,350 5,350-7,000 107 Big dumps rare but well-protected when snowing. Was generally steep and bumpy. Is now steep, bumpy, and cruiserfied. Crowds still a rarity. February for maximum coverage.
Castle Mt., Alb. 5,700 4,630-7,463 265 Long fall lines of wind-refreshed powder. Discovered by some Calgary weekenders but still empty and untracked midweek. mid-January to mid-March for coverage and surface.

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