If there is a Jacob’s Ladder of powder skiing, southeastern British Columbia (The Kootenays) is one of the top three rungs on the climb. Kootenay locations such as Nelson and Whitewater are legends in our backcountry skiing powder obsessed minds. The place is on any serious backcountry skier’s dream list.
Lists are nice, and knowing the pow abides is good for the soul (the power of positive thinking, uh huh), but what if one wants to do a real skis-on-the-ground backcountry skiing pilgrimage? Where is the info for Kootenay acolytes such as myself?
Enter backcountryskiingcanada.com and its companion printed guide pamphlet titled “West Kooteney Touring Guide.” I’ve always wondered how you could successfully publish a guidebook in the ‘net age. I tried to do something at hutski.com, but it never got legs (though I’ll probably keep adding content over there and see how it goes for at least another few years.)
Seems like paper and ink are still viable, yet publishing is most certainly not like it used to be. Now, in most information based publishing endeavors the website is key no matter how much you try to promulgate on paper. To that end, the guys at Backcountry Skiing Canada have combined both formats in a way that looks quite viable. They’re growing, having tripled the number of routes they present as well as managing a fairly active discussion forum.
The staple-bound 30 page Backcountry Skiing Canada printed guidebook is brief, and supported by included advertising. It mostly focuses on touring and sidecountry routes you get from Whitewater ski area. A couple other chapters cover Kootenay Pass and several routes near Red Mountain Resort. More of these printed guides are probably planned, or perhaps they’ll just keep expanding this one.
The website is designed to work with the book, but what I found surprising is that the printed book has much more information for each route than the website provides. I would have done it exactly opposite, but then, I’m somewhat of an internet publishing fan. The printed info appears adequately detailed, but two things are obviously missing from both book and website: Essential GPS cords would be nice, and maps with more detail than those included would make a visit from a first timer such as myself run much smoother. Those minor gripes aside, my take is Backcountry Skiing Canada is a good effort with a lot of potential, so we’ll be watching — and hopefully be up there backcountry skiing some of that pow sooner or later.
(See Kootenay Coldsmoke Powder Festival for a fun reason to visit.)