This pre-trip information package is intended to answer any questions you may have, and get you ready for some of the most unforgettable skiing and riding experiences of your life!
Snowwater Heli skiing operates in a region known as the West Kootenays of British Columbia. We chose this area as the quality of snow is like few other places on earth. The unsurpassed consistency, quantity, and lightness of our ‘white gold’ are well known to powder connoisseurs the world over. The lodge is located in the Bonnington Range of the Selkirk Mountains, roughly 24km southwest of Nelson. Nestled in the trees below Snowwater Peak, the lodge sits a mile high (5400ft/1640m) and is approximately 45 minutes from our base office by snowcat and van.
Our guests have exclusive use of the buildings and facilities, and enjoy the camaraderie of only a dozen fellow skiers or riders. We offer all the creature comforts of city living, while maintaining the privacy and peacefulness of a wilderness mountain hideaway.
Before getting started, let’s confirm that you have filled out your confirmation form. You can easily do so here online:
All guests need to fill out this form as it confirms that you have read, understood and agreed to all the terms and conditions of your trip. This also lets us know if you have any special food requirements (meaning you won’t eat or you are allergic to specific food items) we will need to know well before you arrive, as we are a remote lodge with a set menu schedule.
WHERE & WHEN
Snowwater trips are designed to have you arrive one day prior to the actual tour dates, so that you can relax with a frosty cocktail and delicious evening meal
before commencing shredding the following day.
Arrival time: 4:00pm
All guests meet and sign waivers at our base office before making the trip to the lodge. The lodge shuttle leaves at 4:30 pm. This allows you to relax and enjoy our mountain cuisine before the first day of riding with us.
Snowwater Base Office:
987 Dogwood Dr. South Slocan BC, V0G2G0. We are located at the corner of Playmor Junction, where HWY 3A meets HWY 6 to Revelstoke
There is free parking available at our office while you are skiing or riding with us!
Check out more details on our location here: Snowwater Location
Due to the abundance of mountain passes in the Kootenay region, getting here can pose its challenges - but it’s well worth it!
24hr road info for the Kootenays
Driving from Spokane, Wa.
Most of our guests travel to our location by flying into Spokane, WA, and take a shuttle or rental vehicle (preferably a 4x4 with winter tires) from the airport.
Within Canada 1-800-461-9999:
Nelway Border Crossing
Location: Between Metaline Falls, WA and Salmo, BC.
Hours: US and Canadian customs open 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 a.m. (midnight), daily
Patterson Border Crossing
Location: Between Northport, WA and Rossland, BC.
Hours: Canadian and US customs open 24 hours a day, daily
Do you have a criminal record?
Canadian Immigration regulations restrict anyone from entering the country who has a conviction that would be considered a criminal charge in Canada. People with DUI charges or drug convictions (anytime in recent or ancient history) have a very high probability of being denied entry into Canada. Your records in the US can be accessed by Canadian Customs & Immigration officers through cooperative agreements between the US and Canada. For those who have a record, it is recommended you pre-determine your entry status prior to arriving at the border. Snowwater Heli Skiing is not responsible, or liable, to make any compensation for guests who are denied access at the border.
Canadian and International travelers
All European flights arrive to major Canadian cities like Toronto, Calgary or Vancouver and from there you can where to fly to locally.
From Canadian cities, you have two options:
- Fly Air Canada to Castlegar airport (YCG), with a local shuttle a ride to Nelson. Rental cars are also available (Budget and Practicar). Please be warned, flights are often cancelled due to stormy weather so we recommend spending a day on the slopes at Red Mountain Resort or Whitewater Resort prior to your arrival day.
Local Shuttle: www.gravityadventures.ca/index.php/site/program/snowwater_heliskiing
- Fly Pacific Coastal Airlines to Trail, BC (YZZ), from Vancouver’s south terminal. This airport is 1 hour from our base, but it is a little more reliable than Castlegar (www.pacific-coastal.com). Book your car rental ahead and practicar will pick you up from the airport and take you to their office, where you can pick up your rental vehicle:http://www.practicar.ca/StarLocationDetail.aspx?fid=249&loc=Trail-BC
Castlegar is the only airport locally that allows for international private jets. Please call for details.
It is the responsibility of the guest to be on time. Please call us if you are running late (250-359-7665). Guests who miss the scheduled departure, will need a private shuttle to the lodge at a cost of $150 per person. We do not operate lodge shuttles past 6:30pm. If you are late, you will have to spend the night in Nelson and incur extra accommodation and food expenses.
We recommend flying/driving in a day early and warming up on a local ski hill if you think you might not make your trip on time. We are conveniently positioned between two great ski areas. Both Whitewater Ski Resort and Red mountain are located with an hour from our site. (www.skiwhitewater.com , www.redresort.com)
Have you purchased insurance yet to protect yourself on and before this trip? Purchasing insurance for your trip is a crucial piece of the heli skiing puzzle. You have just invested in an expensive adventure and we HIGHLY recommend getting the appropriate coverage so that you are adequately reimbursed should something go awry either before or during your trip.
There are a variety of types of insurance, including trip cancellation and interruption, as well as medical evacuation insurance. You will want to be
covered before and while you are on your trip. We suggest using Sanderson Travel Insurance (877-226-8728), www.sandersontravelinsurance.com, but there are many to choose from. Just pick one!
Snowwater does not issue refunds due to illness or injury.
The backcountry is exciting and exhilarating, but can also be unpredictable. We strongly urge our guests to act responsibly and listen attentively to their guides and the pilot. Guests are expected to follow directions and act appropriately around the heli at all times.
Avalanches are part of skiing in the backcountry. These are a normal occurrence in the mountains as nature finds a way to stabilize the strong potential energy created during storms. Many western ski areas have avalanche control programs protecting their inbound terrain, but in an area as vast and untamed as ours, this task is virtually impossible. Our guides have years of experience in evaluating people, snow stability and assessing where it’s safe...or not. While it is our goal to take you to the best available snow and terrain each day, safety is our main priority and it may dictate where and when we ski. Please listen to and follow your guide at all times. **The use of drugs and alcohol are strictly prohibited before and during the ski day. IPods or other music listening devices are also not allowed during your ski day.
Snowwater guarantees you ski or ride every day no matter what the weather is doing. With over 15 years of snowcat road and run development under our belt, the caliber of our backup tree skiing is second to none. We are able to access signature old growth tree skiing and open bowls right from our doorstep. If the weather changes while we’re in the cat, we can easily have the heli meet us in the field, or we simply ski right to lodge and head out for some epic heli turns. It’s our failsafe way to ensure you spend your well-deserved vacation time doing what you came to do: make powder turns all day long!
After an enthusiastic day in the mountains giving it all you’ve got, there is not better way to sooth your muscles and get the most out of tour vacation by treating yourself to a massage. Our certified therapists have extensive sports therapy experience and are guaranteed to sooth the pain.
WHAT TO BRING
- Passport. If you’ll be crossing the border, don’t forget your passport!
- Driving directions
- Luggage restrictions: Space is limited. Guests are permitted to bring 2 softsided bags with a total of 50 lbs (we prefer one 50 lb duffel bag if possible). A small laptop bag or purse may accompany you on board as well.
- Ski boots or Snowboard boots. ALWAYS bring your ski boots or snowboard boots as carry-on items on airplanes.
- Warm, weather resistant ski/snowboard clothes.
- Swimwear – for the outdoor hot tubs!
- Goggles and sunscreen. Sunglasses and extra goggles can be a very good idea as well in case yours get fogged with tons of powder snow (common!).
- Casual wear for the evening.
- Laptop – yes we have high-speed wireless Internet!
- Cell phone. We have reception at the lodge for Telus, Verizon and Bell cell phones.
- Spare parts - If you are on telemark skis or a snowboard, you should carry any spare binding parts that have a potential to fail.
- Personal items – toothbrush, toothpaste, medication, advil etc.
- Collapsible poles – a good thing for snowboarders to carry if less experienced in the backcountry.
- Strong legs and big smiles!
WHAT WE SUPPLY
- Ski straps - required for skis for heli packaging.
- Digital Tracker avalanche beacon. You will be trained on its use and are responsible for its intact return to your guide.
- Slippers (in the form of Crocs)
- Natural, organic bath product: shampoo, conditioner, shower gel and hand cream. www.eoproducts.com
- Winter Boots
- Guest airbag. Each guest receives a BCA airbag backpack containing your personal Snowwater water bottle, shovel and probe.
- Boot and glove dryers in each guest lodge.
- House wine and beer on tap! Wines from the cellar, or cocktails are extra.
- Fat skis or snowboard. Rossignol fat skis are included in your package to ensure the best powder experience. If you want to bring your own skis or snowboard, please only bring one set of gear. We highly recommend that your skis should have a waist width of at least 80mm or greater for easy turning and endurance.
- House beer and wine! – We have a full bar at Snowwater and do not permit guests to bring their own alcohol. If you would like to bring some unique wine, we do allow 2 bottles max per person with a corkage fee of $25 each. If you have any special requests, please let us know and we will be happy to make sure your expectations are met. Liquor and cellar wine is extra.
GENERAL ARRIVAL SCHEDULE
- Arrive at our base office by 4:00 pm, park vehicle and turn in your keys to the office.
- Get your bags tagged with room names.
- Read and sign assumption of risk and liability waiver.
- By 4:30pm, you will be transferred by van to our snowcat staging area. Load in snowcat, sit back, and enjoy the ride to the lodge!
- Arrive to our winter paradise and settle into your room with luggage.
- After freshening up, come and meet the staff, enjoy a beverage, and join the orientation talk and lodge tour at 6:30pm.
- Organize groups and heli loads for am.
- Gourmet dinner is at 7:00pm
- A buffet breakfast is served at 7:30am every morning. Eggs to order or a breakfast special is also available every morning, together with espresso or cappuccino!
- Fill out ski/snowboard rental waiver so we can set you up with your gear while you train.
- Lead guide talk and introduction to your personal safety gear.
- 8:30am: Bring your assigned airbag, water bottle, beacon, probe and shovel to rental ski area. Avalanche training is given by our professional guides to ensure you are ready and equipped to enter the backcountry. Our pilot will also brief you on the helicopter.
- At 9:00 am we form into three groups of 4, each with a private guide, and get set to go skiing.
- We enjoy a delicious gourmet lunch with hot drinks in the field, with snacks available throughout the day.
- Ski powder and enjoy the stunning mountains that the Kootenay offers all day long!
- Due to air safety rules, the ski program ends an hour before dark.
- Homemade soup or pares delights are served at 4:30 every day
- Massages start at 4:00pm. Pre-booking is recommended to ensure your spot.
- We serve frosty beverages in the hot tubs, or enjoy our new games room with foosball and darts.
- A 4-course gourmet dinner is served at 7:00pm, accompanied by select house wine or beer on tap– again included in your package! Wine from the Cellar, or specialty cocktails are available for an extra charge.
Gratuities have not been included in your trip.
Tips are a customary part of this industry in Canada, and are greatly appreciated by all.
If you feel you received exceptional service and your trip made memorable by the efforts of those who work at the lodge, please tip your guides, pilot and lodge staff.
Cash, of course, is always preferred.
THANK YOU AGAIN FOR CHOOSING SNOWWATER HELI SKIING
We sincerely hope that you enjoy your stay with us.
Patric, Maria and the Snowwater Team