Kokanee Glacier Provincial Park, Selkirk Ranges close to Nelson, BC, Canada
Ski Touring Week in one of B.C.s Premier Backcountry Skiing Locations with Helicopter Access.
Kokanee Glacier Cabin Ski Trips Highlights
- Lots of BC powder!
- Varied terrain: From Trees to Glacier
- Many peak ascents and loop trips
- Spacious, comfortable hut
- Internet access
- Only 3 hrs from Spokane, WA by car
- Enjoy Nelson, BC
Kokanee Glacier Cabin is owned by BC Provincial Parks and administered by the Alpine Club of Canada (ACC). Spots for ski touring weeks are distributed to the public through an annual lottery and consequently we do not offer regularly scheduled departures there. For any inquiries we try to match you with groups or fellow ACMG guides who have spots left on their weeks.
As to the skiing, here is what Chic Scott says in his Summit and Ice fields ski touring guide book: “Kokanee Glacier Provincial Park is renowned as one of the best destinations for powder skiing in Western Canada. There is lots of snow, a great variety of runs to choose from and tree skiing – everything you would want!”
While the skiing has always been legendary at Kokanee, the lodging has become first class since 2002 with the newly built three storey Kokanee Glacier Cabin (1950m = 6400 ft), a beautiful post and beam construction with indoor bath room and state of the art composting toilets. The hut is administered by the Alpine Club of Canada and given its enormous popularity, ski touring weeks are being awarded by an annual lottery system only.
The strength of Kokanee Glacier Park is the diversity of the terrain: Many peak ascents (up to 2800m = 9200 ft) offer entertaining loop trips. Good tree skiing can be found everywhere and especially close to the hut. There are also wide open runs to 4000 ft length, some on the northern aspect Kokanee Glacier, which preserves good powder snow well into the spring!
Detail and Logistics
Meeting Point – How to get there
Meet the evening before the first day of the trip at 6 PM in Nelson, BC, for a trip briefing with the guide(s). Nelson can be reached by car from both Calgary or Vancouver in about 8 to 9 hours, depending on road conditions. Alternatively, guests could consider flying to Spokane, WA or Castlegar, BC from where the drive to Nelson takes only 3 hrs and 1 hr respectively without having to cross major mountain passes.
On Demand, we also offer organized van transport from Calgary Airport or Canmore and Banff, to Nelson and on to the staging area. Depending on the group size, we can also organize a group transport from either Castlegar or Spokane.
The staging area for the helicopter flight is located 18 km north of Nelson.
The Selkirk Range in BC’s Columbia Ranges are primarily influenced by a moist, maritime climate (very much in contrast to Canadian Rockies) with moderate winter temps. During a typical ski touring week, you should be prepared for heavy snowfall and temps from -1C (30F) to -20C (-4F).
January is the high season for powder skiing in BC’s Interior Ranges and conditions tend to be excellent. However, nobody can guarantee perfect weather and good snow anywhere in the mountains in this world! Warm temperatures and wind could affect the snow quality negatively or the avalanche hazard could restrict our daily programs.
Services Included in the Total Price
Regular trip package commonly include: 7 days guiding and instruction by an ACMG certified mountain, ski guide or apprentice ski guide, 7 nights bunk bed lodging in the Kokanee Glacier Cabin, 7 multi-course dinners and breakfast (meals prepared by guides with assistance of the participants, lunch supplies, non-alcoholic beverages (juices, tea and electrolyte beverages), helicopter transfer to and from the lodge, all trip organization.
Not Included in the Total Price Are
Airfare, Ski touring equipment (can be rented),Snacks, Alcoholic beverages (should be purchased by each participant individually)
Any additional cost due to changes in the itinerary, may they be caused by weather, mountain conditions or personal preferences.
Additional lodging / transport package from Calgary (“Pre / Post Trip Package”)
Two nights double room in Canmore, 1 night lodging in a Hotel in Nelson, airport transfer from Calgary airport to Canmore and return, van transport from Canmore to Nelson and the following day to the helicopter staging area and return. Please email us for a quote on this additional package.
Can I Do It?
Strenuous back country ski tour in both below and above tree line terrain the latter including glaciers.
You need to be at least an intermediate skier, who can safely and controlled descend even in difficult snow conditions with a day touring backpack!
You need to be in good physical and mental condition, ready to be on your feet for about 7-8 hrs each day.
However, on some days, there will be an option for shorter days with relax time at the hut! If in doubt, give us a call!
You need either sturdy telemark equipment or (more common in Canada) alpine touring equipment – either is available for rental at our base in Canmore, Banff, Golden or Nelson, BC. Please call ahead, so we can advice you and set you up with the right equipment for you. As with all our trips, we will provide you with a detailed equipment list with your booking confirmation.
1. Technical Equipment
All items marked with ‘*’ can be rented from a rental shop locally. Best to reserve any equipment well ahead of your arrival.
All items marked with ‘**’ can be rented from OnTop. Best to bring your own equipment, if you have it.
Telemark or Alpine Touring skis*: (Only bring your telemark skis if you are at least an advanced/intermediate telemark skier with backcountry experience.)
Telemark or alpine touring boots*
Collapsible ski poles*, **
Climbing skins (stick-on) that fit your telemark or alpine touring skis*
Avalanche transceiver (457 Megahertz)*, **
Lightweight snow shovel*, **
Avalanche probe*, **
Backpack or duffle bag to pack your stuff for heli-transport
Day-touring backpack (30 – 45 liters)**
Climbing harness for glacier travel**
One locking carabiner**
Crevasse rescue equipment, if you are familiar with it (optional). (Prusik slings, webbing, pulleys, auto-locking device). Your guide(s) will bring a full set.
Ski crampons* (obligatory for any spring trips. Usually rented with a ski touring set – renting ski crampons for your own skis is problematic as rental shops only carry those that are compatible with the binding models they carry)
Repair kit for your skis (can be shared between 2 people)
Temperatures in the Western Canadian mountain ranges vary hugely. Early season (December – February) temps can drop as low as –30C, whereas in spring (mid-March – May) it can warm up to above freezing temps and overnight lows are not usually below –10C. The list is meant as a guide line, but we realize that our guests have their clothing priorities and substituting certain items with other equivalent pieces of clothing might be a valid alternative. If you do so, you should discuss it with your guide in the pre-trip briefing.
Wind and waterproof (Gore Tex or similar) shell jacket with hood
Wind and waterproof (Gore Tex or similar) over pants
Ski touring pants (preferably Schoeller fabric or similar)
Fleece or wool pullover or jacket
Medium weight fleece shirt
Polypro, fleece or wool underwear, top and bottoms
2 Pairs of gloves (lightweight and heavier weight)
Scarf or neck gaiter
Socks: thick (wool) outer and thinner liners
Wool or fleece hat, covering the ears
Gaiters (unless pants lock tightly to your boots)
Sun hat, preferably with wide rim
Clothing for the hut – keep to a minimum
Sleeping bag (three-season bag sufficient – some lodges supply bedding)
Large and small towel for sauna
Spare underwear, socks
Swim trunks (optional) for sauna
Down vest or light insulated jacket (optional)
Very light hut slippers / down booties
Ear plugs (optional)
Games / books etc (optional)
4. Other items
Sun Glasses (with very good UV protection, extra pair is a good idea)
Sun screen and lip protection
Water bottle, preferably insulated, minimum volume: 1 liter or camelbak (if too cold, bladder tube might freeze up!)
Head lamp with spare battery and bulb
Blister kit (optional)
Snacks (candy bars, dried fruit, sandwiches, nuts, etc.)
Personal items (Prescription medicine, extra contact lenses and maintenance equipment, extra pair of prescription glasses etc.)
Pocket knife or leatherman tool
(Health) insurance documents
Zip-lock bag for wallet and documents to keep them dry (recommended)
Camera, spare batteries (optional)
Compass, maps and GPS (optional)
Ski wax / skin wax (optional)
- Intermediate skiing
- Very good fitness
- Light day packs
- Trees, open bowls and glaciers!
We did not manage to secure spots for 2019
Please inquire as we often know of other groups that offer available spots on their booking.
Depending on the organizer of the week or the guide contracted. to lead the trip. Ball park fee for a guided and catered fly-in lodge ski touring trip is CD$ 2500 plus GST
Please inquire for availability and pricing each year