Kootenay Rockies

Photographer
Doc Pow

Kootenay Rockies

The Powder Highway is found in this part of British Columbia - the world’s most concentrated region of ski and snowboard destinations. Period.

And where there are mountains there is not only top of the world skiing, but also natural hot springs, festivals, mountain biking, hiking, bird watching and all the wildlife and scenic photography you could want.  Ask yourself what you’d like to do outdoors, and in this eastern bottom corner of the province you can do it.

Nestled within those mountains are towns and communities like Revelstoke, where ski jumping took to new heights, or the slopes of Red Mountain in Rossland, and its landscape pepper with mines from the gold mining heydays (That gold founded the Toronto Stock Exchange). Soothe the soul in the Columbia Valley, where hot springs and Bighorn sheep pose for portraits that you’d hang on your wall.

Fly into the region via Cranbrook, home to the Canadian Rockies International Airport and you’ll land in the epicentre of this destination rich in culture and adventure.

If you came to learn and experience something new, the communities here offer guided trips that will take you to new heights through cat-heli ski options.,Or if you prefer to stay closer to the ground and get your hands dirty taking one of the many gardening, mindfulness or painting classes set amid this region of beautiful peaks and valleys.

Province
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    Staring at me with sad big brown eyes from inside a chain link pen did the trick.

    “Can Annie come with me?” I said to her owner.

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    I ride a road bike. But what I’m not good at is mountain biking. I need to see an obstacle way in advance so I can calculate my options. Left or right of a pebble on the shoulder of a road is about all I can handle.

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    The rushing waters of the St. Mary River pass a circle of Ktunaxa tipis erected proudly on its banks while Fisher Peak keeps a watchful eye in the distance. You could imagine this very scene 10,000 years ago when the first Ktunaxa (Kootenay) people called this land home.

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    With our rental bikes loaded on the back of our SUV, we headed out from Kootenay Mountain Works bike shop eager to take on the Community Forest everyone was raving about in Cranbrook. As we neared Cranbrook, we turned north from the city towards the Eager Hill trailhead. We were immediately greeted with a sun-kissed hillside of blooming wildflowers and the scent of Ponderosa pine.

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    We woke up for a day of adventure, feeling energized and ready for biking Kimberley’s trails. The natural beauty of the Rocky Mountains surrounding Kimberley will have that effect on you. Riding a bike puts me in a positive state of mind and I knew it was going to be a memorable day as we set out to explore the area on two wheels.

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    If you were to tell a friend you were going to the mountains of Fernie, what would come to mind? Images of challenging multi-day treks in alpine wilderness, fearless climbs up huge rock walls, adrenaline-pumping mountain trail riding or daring white-water rafting?

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    Driving along Highway 3 through the Kootenays, many folks pass by the city of Cranbrook not realizing what lies just off the busy road. I recently spent a couple of days here and discovered this: a cool recreated historic village, miles and miles of trails for hikers and bikers, a deliciously vibrant food scene and a local craft brewery named after the impressive Fisher Peak that reigns the landscape here.

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    Experiencing history has never felt so hands-on and as adventurous as it does in Cranbrook, B.C. After a short, smooth and scenic flight with Pacific Coastal Air, we landed in a new kind of paradise, and eager to explore the history of the southern Rockies region, we wasted no time.

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    Cranbrook, B.C. – Rising to the early morning glow from outside the teepee walls, we breathed the crisp mountain air and arose from our comfortable sleeping quarters to greet the day. After spending a night nestled in a teepee at Speaking Earth in St. Eugene, part of the greater Cranbrook area, we felt refreshed and more connected to our Canadian heritage than ever.