Planning Your Trip
Thank you for booking with Valhalla Powdercats! This information package is intended to answer any questions you may have and get you ready for one of the most unforgettable skiing and riding experiences of your life!
WHERE ARE THE KOOTENAYS?
Valhalla Powdercats is located in West Kootenays of South Eastern BC, just above the American border. Our operating tenure lies in the Norns Range of the coveted Valhalla Mountains, which is part of the Selkirk Mountains. Valhalla is a Norse word referring to a warrior's heaven, and heaven is an apt word for this magnificent mountain range. Our area features massive granite mountains with huge sheer cliffs and supports dense forests of red cedar and western hemlock, roaring rivers, waterfalls, and abundant wildlife. But more importantly the snow quality is like none other on earth!
Most of our guests stay in Nelson, and make the 20 minute drive to our base location every day. Surrounded by the majestic Selkirk Mountains and set on the shores of beautiful Kootenay Lake, Nelson has earned a reputation as one of BC's premier tourist destinations, both in winter and in summer. The cosmopolitan character, spectacular mountain setting, heritage charm, and abundance of cultural and recreational activities serve to provide visitors with a world-class vacation experience. It is approximately 145miles north of Spokane WA, and 650 km (400miles) from both Calgary and Vancouver.
Accommodation packages are available at the time of booking and can also be added on at any time prior to your trip. This year all accommodation packages will be at Nelson's Lakeside Prestige Resort and Convention Centre.
The Prestige Lakeside Resort features beautifully appointed guest rooms with deluxe furnishings, Prestige luxury sleep pillow top queen beds, 42” plasma TV, on demand pay-per-view movies, refrigerators, coffee maker, iron, and ironing board, and complimentary wireless internet access. Our rooms have a mountain view of Nelson or for an upgrade charge, a lake view of Kootenay Lake with a patio or balcony. They are conveniently located walking distance to the downtown shopping area.
The Resort offers an indoor swimming pool, hot tub, and fitness center. It also includes convention facilities, West Coast Grill, the Hip Drip Coffee Company, a full service marina, Shalimar Health Spa, Waves on the Lake Hair Salon, room service and same day valet laundry service Monday to Friday. All packages include a daily hot breakfast as well as a voucher to their bar (one per trip).
You may also choose to stay in the Slocan Valley. This will shorten your drive considerably each day, however you will not be able to exploit the pleasures of being in town. Please be sure to ask for our accommodation suggestion list if you have not already organized your hotel.
Our clients continually tell us that the experience at Valhalla is beyond comparison. We sincerely hope that you enjoy your stay with us.
Due to the abundance of mountains in the Kootenays getting here can pose its challenges; but it’s worth it! It is why we recommend you take an extra day and come early to avoid feeling pressured by the constraints of winter weather traveling.
24 hour road information for the Kootenays – 800-665-8001
WHERE YOU MEET US
Our joint Valhalla/Snowwater base office is located at the junction of HWY 3A (between Castlegar and Nelson) and HWY 6 (towards the Slocan Valley). We are the big buildings on the corner by the traffic lights – you can’t miss us! We are also located right next the Kootenay Smokehouse. Expect to drive 20 minutes from Nelson or 50 minutes from Rossland to get to our base.
There is free parking available while you are skiing/riding with us!
We meet at 7:30 am. **Please do not be late. The bus leaves promptly at 8:00am.
HOW TO GET HERE
International travel requirements: You now need a passport to cross the Canadian border.
Be aware customs sometimes can have concerns with prior misdemeanour convictions - especially with a DUI conviction.
From the States, it is easiest to fly to Spokane, WA and either rent a car (4 wheel drive recommended), or take a shuttle, and drive up to Canada. If you are skiing at Red Resort you will want to take the Northport border crossing (3-3.5 hours north of Spokane), via Colville.
From Canadian cities you have two options:
- Fly via Air Canada to Castlegar (15 minutes from our base office) from either Calgary or Vancouver (www.aircanada.com). Please be warned, flights are often cancelled due to stormy weather so we recommend coming a day early. Shuttle or rental cars are available from this regional airport, but call ahead to reserve.
- Fly via Pacific Coastal Airlines to Trail, BC from Vancouver, South terminal. This airport is 1 hour from our base, but it seems more reliable than Castlegar
(www.pacific-coastal.com). Rent-a-wreck can pick you up from here and take you to their office, from where you can rent a vehicle. www.rentawreck.com
You can now easily book insurance online. Insurance can give you piece of mind both before and during your trip and it’s not that expensive. Make sure your medical
insurance covers you while you are in Canada. No refunds are given due to illness or injury. We recommend using Sanderson Travel Insurance.
WHAT TO BRING
- Plane ticket
- Passport. If you’ll be crossing the border, don’t forget your passport!
- Driving directions: see http://www.snowwater.com/getting-here
- Ski / snowboard boots. - ALWAYS bring your ski boots or snowboard boots as carry-on items on airplanes.
- Personal medications and toiletries.
- Fat skis or snowboard - unless you are renting from us (skis and boards are $40 per day at our base, and poles are $5 a pair). You may reserve these ahead of time. We also have some snowboards for rent.
- Warm, weather resistant clothes. Layering works best – no cotton. Our average temperature is about -8C or 25F.
- Goggles. Sunglasses and extra goggles can be a very good idea as well in case yours get fogged with tons of powder snow (common!).
- Spare parts - If you are on telemark skis or a snowboard, you should carry any spare binding parts that have a potential to fail.
- Camera (including plug ins for TV to watch at end of day)
- Extendable poles – a very helpful thing to have if you are a snowboarder who is not familiar with deep snow.
WHAT NOT TO BRING
- Your own beacon
WHAT WE SUPPLY
- Backcountry Access Tracker 2 avalanche beacon. You will be trained on its use and are responsible for its return - intact - to your guide.
- Morning coffee, juice and a light snack at our base office.
- Guest packs – Guests are supplied with personal backpacks, each containing a probe and a shovel.
- Powder Ski or Snowboard Rentals. We Highly suggest reserving ahead of time in order to guarantee your preferred length is available. Please note that we do not rent Telemark Skis or Split boards.
- Avalanche Airbag Rentals. Available for rent at our base office for $40 per day. We have a limited supply so pre-booking is highly advised.
- Gourmet lunch plus snacks. Our food is nutritious and delicious. Everything is made from scratch including our deserts and goodies. You will not go hungry here! Every day we have 2 different types of meat sandwiches, and one vegetarian selection. We have several vegetarian snacks available each day as well. **Special dietary needs other than a vegetarian diet should be informed a minimum of three weeks in advance**
- Water bottles and hot drinks.
- Fun and good times!
Our two biggest hazards: Dropping blindly onto a snowcat road and tree wells.These can mostly be avoided by being aware of the hazard…and remaining in control. We do expect that our guests are already strong skiers who exercisecommon sense. Valhalla stresses the ‘buddy system’ to safeguard against those times when the stoke factor surpasses the self-preservation instinct. The backcountry is exciting and exhilarating but can also be unpredictable. We strongly urge our guests to act responsibly and listen attentively to their guides. Guests are expected to follow directions and act appropriately in the backcountry at all times.
***The use of Drugs and Alcohol is strictly prohibited during the ski day and will be the immediate end of your day if consumed on the mountain.
STARTING THE DAY
We open our doors at 7:00am. Feel free to show up early and have a hot coffee, cold juice or fresh morning snack. If you are staying in town, please plan your breakfast times carefully. Many of the restaurants don’t open until 6:30am. This means that you should be down there, with your ski stuff ready to eat at that time. The Hume Hotel does breakfast at 6:30am on weekdays but only at 7:00am on the weekends and holidays. The Best Western Baker Street Inn does breakfast at 6:30am every day of the week. Please talk to your accommodators so as to be prepared for your early morning departure. The Kootenay Smokehouse (located right next door to us) serves breakfast from 6.30am on weekdays.
Bring in your ski clothes & boots because we’re gearing up here for the day. Our office staff will walk you through our liability waiver. This is standard and mandatory in the mechanized ski industry. If you would like to review a copy of this waiver prior to your trip please see the end of this package or click on this link:
If you know you are renting fat skis please show up nice and early. We then gear up and we’re on the road no later than 8:00am. After a 30 minute ride to our staging area we transfer the gear quickly to the snowcats and get on our way.
Every morning at the base office you will be signed out a beacon that is yours for the day. It is handed back in at the end of every day, even if you are on a multi day package. You will only need to participate in beacon/avalanche training once on your trip. If you have new people join your group then you get to do an extra run while they practice with the beacons.
TERMS AND CONDITIONS THERE ARE NO EXCEPTIONS TO THESE POLICIES.
A 50% deposit is required to reserve your trip.
- Final Payment
Full payment is due 90 days prior to your trip.
- All deposits are non-refundable.
- Trip dates cannot be rescheduled within 90 days of a trip.
- If you cancel more than 90 days before your trip, your deposit is non-refundable, but is transferable toward any new trip up to the end of the following season. It may not be used toward someone else’s payment on the same trip, but may be transferred to someone else purchasing a new booking.
- If you cancel within 90 days of your trip, all money on account is non-transferable and non-refundable. For this reason we strongly suggest that all guests purchase cancellation insurance.
- If you cancel within 90 days of your trip and have paid in full for your trip, and if we find a replacement for your seat, you will a get 75% credit of what we can sell the seat for put toward another trip, valid only until to the end of the following season. Otherwise all money is non-refundable as per above.
- Guests who cancel do have the option of finding a replacement to fill their seat. We will accommodate this at no extra charge if the guests transfer funds amongst themselves. All money on account will be transferred to the new person’s trip payment and will not be refunded to original seat holder. If we find a replacement first, then the above 75% credit system will be used.
- All deposits and payments are non - refundable.
- Valhalla Powdercats reserves the right to cancel trips at any time. Under no circumstances is Valhalla Powdercats responsible for the guests inconvenience or travel expenses.
- No refunds are given for any unused portion of any trip, resulting from late or early arrival/departure, for extra transportation costs, or for any other reason.
• There is no guarantee on the weather or snow conditions that you will encounter during your trip. Valhalla Powdercats does not provide refunds or future ski credits if we are operating a limited program due to poor or hazardous conditions, or if you cannot or do not want to ski for any reason. No refunds are given for down days.
- No refunds for accommodation or meals NOT used.
- If you miss days either from illness, injury or other you will NOT be refunded nor issued a ski credit for the time missed. Purchasing insurance is the only way to recoop your costs if you are unable to ski or ride due to an injury incurred either before or during your trip with us.
- In the rare case that skiing must be cancelled due to mechanical failure or severe weather issues, Valhalla Powdercats will provide ski credits ONLY for the time
missed, which may be applied to another ski day(s) and is valid for up to two years from the date of cancellation. This credit is also transferable to another person.
THERE ARE NO EXCEPTIONS TO THIS POLICY
SOME LOCAL ATTRACTIONS
Red Resort Ski Area www.redresort.com
800-663-0105 Red Mountain Road, Rossland 1 hour west of Nelson, just 5minutes from town off the highway. It offers 2900 feet of vertical, 1200 acres andincredible tree skiing with lots of expert terrain. Great snow.
Whitewater Ski Resort www.skiwhitewater.com
800-666-9420 Highway 6, Nelson 10 minutes south of Nelson on Highway 6 is
Whitewater’s 10km access road.1300 vertical, 40 feet of snow annually!
Beginner, Intermediate, expert…back country abounds.
Ainsworth Hotsprings www.hotnaturally.com
Extraordinary hot springs, pools, caves with stalactites, restaurant and motel.
Tips are a customary part of this industry and are greatly appreciated by all. If you feel you received exceptional service and your trip made memorable please tips your guides and drivers.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us.
We look forward to skiing and riding with you soon!
Tyler, Josh, Patric, Maria and the entire team!