When it comes to picking the best ski town in North America, hardcore skiers have pretty strict rules, and chief among them is bigger doesn’t always mean better. Just ask the editors at Powder magazine, the skier’s bible that celebrated its 40th year of publication last year.
Filmmaker Nick Waggoner has spent the past two years skiing and shooting the backcountry splendor surrounding Nelson, British Columbia. Roughly 40 percent of residents in Nelson and nearby Rossland own annual passes for the skiing. To see more of why they were named the best ski towns in North America, click the image. Photo: Powder magazine/ Ian Fohrman.
This year, the editors got together to select the Top 32 North American ski towns, and left the rest up to their readers. Not surprisingly, given their preference for escape, the readers denied the big glossies like Aspen, Colorado; Mammoth, California; and Park City, Utah, the top spots. In fact, most of North America’s most famous resorts didn’t even make the Top 5. Instead, the first-ever Powder magazine Ski Town Throwdown title was awarded to both Nelson and Rossland, two tiny neighbors that share the Kootenay region of British Columbia, one of Canada’s most majestic winter wonderlands.
Powder magazine editor John Stifter was reminded of how these two towns in the “Koots” topped the likes of other hardcore favorites, like Bozeman, Montana; Sugarloaf, Maine; and Crested Butte, Colorado, during a recent visit over the holiday:
“For anyone who has walked, eaten, drank, and skied in and around Nelson, it’s not hard to decipher how this tiny town in the middle of nowhere was voted the best ski town in North America by skiers. Visitors and writers like to describe the scene as progressive and creative. And it is. But more than anything, it’s bohemia.”
Of course, the allure of the Koots can be seen in Powder magazine’s latest photo gallery. Click on the shot above for more winter splendor. And if you’d like to see what other towns Rossland/Nelson beat to take top honors in the Ski Town Throwdown, click here.