Two West Kootenay towns are ranked among the top destinations in North America for their unique ski culture.
The City of Rossland was named Canada’s no. 1 town by USA Today Readers’ Choice 2020 10Best Ski Towns, with Nelson placing third overall among Canadian ski locations.
In all of North America, Rossland finished second overall behind North Conway, New Hampshire, but tops among Canadian destinations, with Banff voted fifth in North America and Nelson 10th.
“We did it! Rossland has been named the top ski town in Canada by USA TODAY 10Best,” read a Tourism Rossland Facebook post.
“I believe that the results also show that winter sport enthusiasts really value the ski experience in Rossland,” said Andras Lukacs, executive director of Tourism Rossland. “Our unpretentious, small-town vibe and our amazing local business community delivers an exceptional visitor experience.
“From accommodations, restaurants and bars, retail, arts, culture and heritage, our community consistently over-delivers and our visitors keep returning. In essence, our past visitors and current residents are the biggest promoters of Rossland.”
Rossland’s Josie Hotel also earned its share of lofty accolades. The Josie was awarded Canada’s Best Ski Boutique Hotel for 2020 from the World Ski Awards. Additionally, USA Today released its 2020 10Best Readers’ Choice Travel Awards and The Josie Hotel finished inside the top three Best Ski Hotels in North America for the second consecutive year.
“It’s such an honour to be named among the best in the world and receive the prestigious award of Canada’s Best Ski Boutique Hotel for the second year running,” said Jesse Crockett, General Manager of The Josie Hotel, in a release. “We were in categories with some of the best ski hotels in the world and we feel these awards really showcase our commitment to our guests and creating one of the best guest experiences in the industry.”
As for Rossland, the Golden City beat out iconic ski destinations such as Stowe,Vermont; Jackson Hole, Wyoming; and Aspen, Colorado. Also, both Rossland and Nelson stood alone in the Top 10 among B.C. towns as rivals like Whistler-Blackcomb, Kelowna-Big White, and Invermere-Panorama failed to make the cut.
“Not only is Rossland a skier’s paradise with Red Mountain Resort nearby, it’s also one of North America’s top spots for mountain biking,” read the USA Today analysis. “The unpretentious small town – once a gold mininig outpost – has plenty for the non-skier as well, including spas, boutique shopping and a variety of restaurants ranging from casual pubs and pizza to sushi and Thai.”
A panel of experts partnered with 10Best editors to pick the initial nominees, and the top 10 winners were determined by popular vote.
According to the experts, Nelson’s vibe can’t be beat and the White Water Ski Resort, while smaller than Red, offers family-friendly slopes along with challenging steeps, incredible tree skiing, and endless backcountry.
“Located not far from Whitewater Ski Resort, the town of Nelson has personality in spades. On the shores of Kootenay Lake and surrounded by the Selkirk Mountains, Nelson sees rugged adventurers rub elbows with hippies and bohemians in its excellent cafes, bars and galleries centered around pedestrian-friendly Baker Street.”
Nelson’s White Water Ski Resort is scheduled to open Dec. 11 and Red Mountain in Rossland Dec. 12. Check Facebook pages for COVID protocols and reserving lift tickets online.
The top 10 winners in the category Best Ski Town are as follows:
1. North Conway, New Hampshire
2. Rossland, British Columbia
3. Bethel, Maine
4. Stowe, Vermont
5. Banff, Alberta
6. Aspen, Colorado
7. Breckenridge, Colorado
8. Alta, Utah
9. Jackson Hole, Wyoming
10. Nelson, British Columbia