This is our Travel Cast guide to exploring Nelson & Castlegar, BC.
INTRO: Nestled in the Selkirk mountain range in the west Kootenays are two resorts that often get called "Canada's hidden gems", Red Mountain and Whitewater resort are an amazing place for a winter roadtrip. If you check out the photos you can see that both hills are a secret home to some of Canada's best and exclusive champagne powder. In this article we cover where to ride, eat, drink, explore and stay. Also at the end are a few tips from the locals. Enjoy.
SNOWBOARDING & SKIING: The two big resorts out here are Red Mountain just outside Rossland, BC or Whitewater Resort just outside Nelson, BC.
Red Mountain Resort: This hill is insane. Often quoted by people that shop with us as their favorite resort or "Canada's hidden gem". It's a big mountain with a ton of different terrain, we rode here for two days and still feel like we barely scratched the surface of exploring this place. The hill has 8 lifts and 119 runs, so it's a big hill with a little something for everyone.
Pro Trip: On the backside of the mountain there's a run you can take to a snow cat and for $10 you can do a cat-ski run! Usually the luxury of Cat-skiing costs $600-$1200 a day, so these $10 runs are a pretty rad experience, especially if it's been snowing recently.
Take a step back in time and visit Whitewater resort outside of Nelson, BC. This hill feels like you're back at an old time ski resort or the 'mom n pop ski hill'. First off, the resort has no cell service, which I loved because everyone isn't on their phones all day. Even sitting at the lodge discussion is better with no cell phones in their hands. Also the cafeteria in the lodge is second to none, it's no wonder you can buy the Whitewater Cookbook at almost all bookstores in Canada. This is one of my favorite mountain resorts I've ever been, I can't stress this enough.
There's 46 runs divided off 3 chairlifts plus a tow rope.
GREEN- 20% Beginner Runs
BLUE- 40% Intermediate Runs
BLACK - 40% Expert Runs
If you're looking for something a little more extreme while you're out visit, Baldface lodge is one of the top ranked ski lodges in the world. It brings out lots of the world's top pro skiers and snowboarders every season. You heli in and then stay at a 5 star lodge where you ride some of the world's most insane snow via cat everyday.
Wherever you choose to stay on your trip (see our recommendations below), there's lots of stuff to explore in the area. A must visit when you're in this area is the Ainsworth Hotsprings. These are some of the more unique hotsprings you'll visit with a long U-shaped cave you can walk through, outdoor pool and cold water tub. These are a 45 min drive from Nelson, so a rad after ski trip or for a day off. Remember to bring a water bottle!
If you're in Nelson, it's a busy little hippy town full of amazing art and community events. There's tons of outdoor activities to do in the area like snowshoeing, tobogganing, ice climbing, and more. There's also lots of nightlife in Nelson compared to Castlegar or Rossland (see our section below for more info on this).
We stayed a few nights in Castlegar cause we got a wicked AirBnB. Most nights here we would make dinner and hit the Castlegar Community Complex. It was cheap and everyone just hung out in the hot tub, sauna and steam rooms after long days on the hill.
Nelson is loaded with great places to eat!
One of the locals recommended us to Mike's place, it's a great spot to eat and drink! They also have pool and foosball.
When we came out we stayed in Castlegar for a couple nights because it offered a great priced AirBnB not far from Red Mountain resort. After we moved over to Nelson to ride Whitewater resort and we loved Nelson! There's a little more going on there and it's a bigger city so there's a decent offering of quality AirBnB listings! Below are 3 recommended ones!
Also if you use our AirBnB code to sign up you'll save $62 Off your first booking!
Nelson Guest House:
This spot sleeps 4, has a hot tub, kitchen and is a private house! They are also listed as a "Superhost" on AirBnB meaning they have super high ratings! 2 Blocks from downtown Nelson, this spot is practically perfect!
For More Info Click Here
Bees Knees In The Trees:
This spot is so rad looking it makes me want to go back! A tiny home nestled in the woods that's only a 5 minute drive from downtown Nelson! A bed, bathroom and a hot tub!
For More Info Click Here
Big House + Hot Tub:
This spot made the list cause it's huge and can sleep 8 guests! It's a full house with a hot tub on the deck that looks out over the lake. Perfect spot for a ski trip.
For More info Click Here
For this part we hit up some locals for their best tips and recommendations on things to do while visiting Nelson, BC!
"Baker Street is the street with all the stores and bars, no need to stray far (town isn't that big)"
"Happy Hour at the Wood Thief starts at 3PM"
"Hit up a Nelson Leafs hockey game! Have some beer and shout at the kids! The whole town will be there!"
"Hit up safeway for their $5 meals"
"Hit Salmo T-bar for those extra snowy nights"
"Bring some back country gear, there is a ton of access and slack-country available all around the area"