Powder hunting

Powder hunting in Canada, eh?

The Bureau of Meteorology is already predicting a warmer early summer than usual in most parts of Australia. It’s enough to make the hearts of Aussie snowlovers wilt with sadness at the loss of their favourite plaything – snow.

The general rule of thumb is that snow won’t form in conditions warmer than 5 degrees Celsius, according to the National Snow & Ice Data Center. Which is good really, considering most places in Canada spend the winter months chilling in temperatures with negative signs in front of the numbers.

Statistics Canada shows how Yellowknife, for example, has an average high of -22.7 degrees C through its coldest month of January.

Yes, average high.

Fortunately, these kinds of temperatures make for some thigh-shatteringly good powder days, and here are four of the best places to hunt them down.

Go big or go home at Big White

It might not be the most original name for a 2,319 metre-high mountain that receives 100-130 centimetres of new snow every month, but at least it lives up to its promises.

Install yourself in the Big White village and be prepared to stay for longer than you’d planned. There are 118 trails, a run that treks 7.2km, 14km of cross country groomed trails and a TELUS park with rails and jumps – all lavishly smothered with the pillow-soft powder that Canada does so well.

Drive the scenic five hours from Vancouver or fly 45 minutes into nearby Kelowna to get to the big white mountain.

I wish for Whistler Blackcomb

Whistler is North America’s numero uno ranked skifield, so you can glide, slide and tumble down more than 200 trails of bowls brimming with powder. Catski, heliski, ice skate, dog sled, zipline, snowmobile and more in this natural playground, all surrounded by some of the most stunning mountain vistas you will ever see.

P.S. There are flights from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth to Vancouver (an hour from Whistler) almost daily – just so you know.

Rev it up at Revelstoke

Revelstoke – or Revvy to its friends – is a mecca for chionophiles (snow lovers) everywhere.

The resort mountain racks up about 50 feet of the white stuff every year, making for some of the most epic terrain in the country. This spot is especially attractive for its heliskiing offerings. Jump in a chopper for a day or two of unimaginably perfect runs, floating down pristine uncut snow and checking out your tracks from the sky as you fly back up for another turn on a whole new mountain. There are more than 500,000 snowy acres to explore, after all. Be sure to check out the wording on your travel insurance policy for off-piste skiing if you’re planning this kind of adventure.

That’s not to say there’s anything wrong with the pistes though. Revelstoke Mountain Resort currently has 65 named runs, but is working its way up to more than 100 runs accessible from 20 lifts, as well as a fully inclusive resort town with all the shops, bars and restaurants to keep you entertained when you’re giving those leg muscles a break.

Feelin Fernie fresh

Snow Addiction named Fernie the third best ski resort in the world in 2013, and it won’t take much more than stepping into this surreal white wonderland to see why.

You get all the best parts of a world-famous ski destination – almost 40 feet of powder, five massive bowls, 142 named runs and thigh burn that just won’t quit (but you’ll love it, we promise). But it’s the small town attitude and atmosphere of Fernie that sets it apart. Set against the background of the Canadian Rockies in British Columbia, the resort is a step away from the big fields and a step towards the country club field and comes laden with history as the local town dates back to 1898.

For those planning to hit the slopes soon – Canadian or otherwise – it might be worth checking out different travel insurance options. Some policies even provide snow sport cover, such as Virgin Money’s Snow Pack which is available as an optional extra on Comprehensive and Australia-Only travel insurance policies.

Where are your favourite powder hunting grounds?

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