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Winter fun on the Kootenay Pass

A skilled downhill skiier descends the steep slope covered in fresh powder snow.

There is nothing quite compares to the feeling of joy one experiences breaking through the gloomy mid-winter cloud cover into the bluebird skies way up high on Kootenay Pass. Ski touring paradise can be found in the 1133 hectare, Stagleap Park, only 45 km west of Creston, BC on Hwy 3.

At an elevation of 1775 metres, known as one of the highest passes in Canada, this equates to excellent early and late season conditions and consistent snowfall throughout the winter months

It is important to ski prepared with an avalanche transceiver, shovel, probe, and a backpack and be sure to check the weather conditions at before heading out. ATES ratings are particularly helpful on the Avalanche Canada Site, helping you to choose terrain that matches your skill set and risk tolerance.

A snowboarder in colourful riding gear enjoys a trip down the side of a snow-covered mountain.

Cornice Ridge

Considered a nice easy ½ day ski tour, the Cornice Ridge route is the perfect introduction to skiing the Kootenay Pass. There is a warm-up shelter at the main staging area that is day use only, and be aware of the Permanent Avalanche Control Closure on the North Side of Cornice Ridge. With an ATES rating of easy, all skill sets can enjoy this route.

Ripple Ridge/Lightning Strike Cabins

The Ripple Ridge cabin and the newer Lightning Strike cabin are cherished destinations for many backcountry ski tourers and snowshoers from around the world. Maintained and managed by the Ripple Ridge Society these cabins can be booked for overnight stays, allowing you to extend your adventure in the beautiful Kootenay Pass.

Typically, it takes about a one hour trek to reach the cabins from the staging area along Hwy 3 via Stagleap Park, with very amicable simple terrain to navigate on route to the cabins. Users of the cabins are asked to use the parking area to the east of Bridal Lake when possible. The trail to Ripple Ridge Rec Site is on the south side of Hwy 3 directly across from the public restrooms. Distance to the cabins is approximately 3.2 kms.

From the cabins, several ski tours are accessible including Baldy Rocks, Lightning Strike, and Ripple Peak/Twin Lakes. Please plan and dress for all weather conditions as the weather along with the snowpack can change quickly in the Kootenay Pass.


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