Kokanee Glacier Provincial Park, Selkirk Range, close to Nelson, BC, Canada
Ski touring week in one of BC’s premier backcountry skiing destinations with helicopter access.
Kokanee Glacier Ski Week Highlights
- BC powder!
- Varied terrain, from trees to glaciers
- Many summit opportunities and loop trips
- Spacious, comfortable hut
- Internet access
- Only 3 hours drive from Spokane, WA
- Enjoy the delights of Nelson, BC
Kokanee Glacier Cabin is owned by BC Provincial Parks and administered by the Alpine Club of Canada. Ski touring weeks are distributed to the public through an annual lottery system and consequently, we cannot offer a ski week at this highly sought-after destination every winter. If we do not have a secured week, we can try to match you with other groups or fellow ACMG guides who have extra spots on their weeks.
As to the skiing, here is what Chic Scott says in his Summit and Icefields ski touring guidebook, “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!”
The strength of Kokanee Glacier Provincial Park is in the diversity of the terrain. Many summits (up to 2,800 m / 9,200 ft) offer tremendous views and skiing. There are entertaining loop trips to be found. Good tree skiing can be found everywhere, especially close to the hut. There are also wide-open runs to 1,200 m / 4,000 ft vertical, some on the north-facing Kokanee Glacier, which means good powder snow well into spring!
While the skiing has always been legendary at Kokanee, the lodging became first-class in 2002 when BC Parks constructed the three-storey Kokanee Glacier Cabin (1,950 m / 6,400 ft), a beautiful and spacious post-and-beam building set in a perfect location.
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.
Alpine touring (or telemark*) skis and ski boots
Collapsible, lightweight ski poles
Climbing skins (stick-on), fitted to your skis
Ski crampons for trips after mid-March (rent these with rented skis, or purchase your own for your own skis)
*Only bring telemark skis if you are an advanced telemark skier with backcountry experience.
If you do not have one or more of the following items, you can rent them from the above retailers or from OnTop ($100 for the avalanche safety items, $50 for the harness and carabiner). Please book in advance.
Avalanche transceiver (modern, 3-antenna, 475 Megahertz)
Lightweight snow shovel
Avalanche probe (two to three meters long)
Harness for glacier travel
One locking carabiner
Bring the following:
Two small or a medium size duffel bag, or backpack, to transport your things in the helicopter
Daypack for ski touring (30-45 liters)
Crevasse rescue equipment, if you are familiar with it. (Prusik cords, webbing, pulleys, auto-locking device). Your guide will bring a full set.
Repair kit for your equipment (can be shared between several people)
Temperatures in the Western Canadian mountain ranges vary hugely. Between December and February, temperatures can be well below 0°C during the day and drop as low as –30°C overnight. Between March and May, it can be above freezing during the day with overnight lows not normally going below –10°C. Having several clothing layering options is important.
Wind and waterproof shell jacket with hood (Gore-Tex or similar)
Wind and waterproof over-pants (Gore-Tex or similar)
Ski touring pants (eg. lined Schoeller fabric or similar)
Thick fleece or wool pullover, or PrimaLoft jacket
Medium weight fleece shirt
Thin synthetic or wool underwear, top and bottoms
Two or more pairs of gloves (lightweight and heavier weight)
Scarf or neck gaiter (eg. Buff)
Socks (synthetic or wool, thick outer and thin liners)
Wool or fleece hat that covers your ears
Gaiters that fit over your ski boot (unless pants seal tightly to your boots)
Sun hat, preferably with a wide rim
Around the lodge
Space and weight on the helicopter are limited. Please keep personal items to a minimum.
Clothing for the hut and for sleeping
Extra underwear and socks
Light down jacket or vest
Light hut slippers or Crocs
2 to 3 season sleeping bag
Towel for the shower
Games, books, etc. (optional)
Moderate quantity of après-ski beverages (optional)
Sunglasses with high UV protection
Ski goggles with high UV protection
Sunscreen and lip protection with high SPF
One-liter water bottle with insulator. Water bladders not recommended
Headlamp with spare battery
Snacks (eg. candy bars, dried fruit, nuts, etc.)
Personal first aid kit and other needs (eg. blister kit, prescription medicine, anti-inflammatory, contact lenses, prescription glasses, etc.)
Pocket knife or Leatherman (optional)
(Health) insurance documents
Ziploc bags to keep important items dry (optional)
Camera with spare batteries (optional)
Compass, maps, GPS (optional)
Ski wax / skin wax (optional)
- Intermediate skiing
- Good fitness required
- Light daypacks
- Trees, open bowls, glaciers and summits!
- Spacious and spectacular hut
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