The 11th Annual Kootenay Coldsmoke Powder Festival again delivered this year with its namesake falling from the skies and coating the runs of Whitewater Ski Resort and its nearby backcountry. Here’s a recap of the event.

From February 24 to 26 Whitewater Ski Resort and the nearby city of Nelson again hosted the 11th annual Kootenay Coldsmoke Powder Festival. Locals and visitors alike took part in the various activities, which ranged from on-hill competitions and backcountry clinics to evening presentations and, of course, plenty of aprés festivities.

The Kootenay Coldsmoke Powder Festival began as a grassroots gathering where mountain enthusiasts of all levels celebrated Kootenay mountain culture and general stoke for all forms of powder activities. That mission is still upheld today, which is why it’s the perfect event for skiers, snowboarders and winter lovers of all abilities. One of the most fun events at the Festival is the Sunday Poker Run, which sees pairs of competitors skin up to various checkpoints and then ski down to collect playing cards. The best hand wins but so do the best costumes and people have really upped their game in the past few years. In 2016 the best dressed prize went to Marley Bassett and Kellie Leedham who not only looked great dressed as old men (Larry and Barry), but they stayed in character all day. They won new sets of skis and set the bar for this year’s competitors, some of whom were dressed as pirates, hockey players and giraffes. But the hands-down winners of the Best Costume prize were Nashira Birch and her husband Kevin Armstrong who dressed as the Yep Yep aliens from Sesame Street. The pair won two sets of skis.

Other winners of the event included the team of Josh Henschell, Calvin Beebe and Douglas Noblet who represented Nelson Search and Rescue in the North Face Backcountry Olympics. Participants of that event had to skin up a steep slope, find an avalanche beacon, build a sled out of skis and then navigate back down to the lodge with a body on it and finally cook an egg over an open fire. The SAR team managed to get a flame going, cook an egg and eat it in just under four minutes!

The Village Hut Slopestyle Event went off as usual, as did the ROAM Randonnee Race and you can find results of those events on the Whitewater website here. The final competition is the King and Queen of Coldsmoke and participants have to enter the Randonee, Slopestyle, Poker Run and Backcountry Olympics events. It was a tight race this year but defending champ Laura Waterer again took the crown alongside Garrett Fishlock who stood atop the podium for the first time.

There were also events held in Nelson including the Coldsmoke Opener and Film Festival at the Civic Theatre. Many beers were enjoyed while professional photographers such as Douglas Noblet and Adrian Wagner gave presentations and local bike mechanic Blair Altman filled us in on the latest adventures of Batman and Frank.

Huge shout outs to all those who participated and attended and, of course, to those who sponsored the 11th Annual Kootenay Coldsmoke Powder Festival. For more about the event, log on to Also, big thanks to the photographers of the event including Phil Best, Joy McAdams and our very own Peter Moynes. Here are some of the pics Mountain Culture Group staff and others took over the course of the weekend:

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