The 14th Annual Kootenay Coldsmoke Powder Festival is landing February 21-23. New for this year is a big mountain freestyle competition called the Powder Crown and the KMC Coldsmokin’ Bush Party.

From February 21 to 23 Whitewater Ski Resort and the nearby city of Nelson will host the 14th annual Kootenay Coldsmoke Powder Festival. Locals and visitors alike will take part in the various activities, which range from on-hill competitions and backcountry clinics to evening presentations and, of course, plenty of aprés festivities. And new for this year is the invite-only Powder Crown big mountain freestyle competition.

Sponsored by The North Face in support of Protect Our Winters Canada, The Powder Crown is a human-powered professional freeride competition that will take place in some of Whitewater’s steepest backcountry terrain. Athletes will be expected to get themselves to the start gate, no helicopters or sleds here, and then huck huge. Spectators can hang in the Powder Crown spectator zone between 11am-2pm on Sunday Feb 23rd to watch some of skiing and snowboarding’s best athletes throw down. Skiers and snowboarders will compete against each other and will be scored in line with the IFSA judging criteria. Equal prize money is available in the male and female categories, with a $10,000 cash purse up for grabs.

Phil Best photo.

Also new for this year’s festival is the KMC Coldsmokin’ Bush Party, sponsored by none other than us, Kootenay Mountain Culture Magazine. Held at the KMC headquarters at 91 Baker Street in Nelson, the event will kick off at 6:30pm on Saturday February 22 and will feature the kind of laid-back vibes we’re best known for. Plus there’ll be musical performances, local beer and a chilli cook-off featuring some of Nelson’s finest restaurants. Come help us determine who makes the meanest chilli in the city!

Steve Ogle photo.

Aside from the new Coldsmokin’ Bush Party and the Powder Crown, there’ll also be day-time clinics, competitions, including the ROAM Randonnee Rally and more. For information about all the events, visit:

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.

Phil Best photo.

The festival gets its name from the world-renowned snow of the region, which is so light and dry it’s like cold smoke. Add to that Whitewater Ski Resort’s incredible terrain and down-to-earth hospitality and all levels of skiers and boarders have the opportunity to have fun, learn, share, compete, and celebrate on-area and backcountry pursuits.