World Nomads Travel Insurance
Our Terrain Ratings
 Beginner
 Intermediate
 Adv. on-piste
 Off-piste
 Slackcountry
 Expert
 Extreme
 Tree skiing
 Snow
 Freshies
 Uncrowded
 Lifts
 Terrain park
 Powderhound
powderhound rating = advanced/expert terrain + powder + freshies + uncrowded

Lifts & Terrain

Powder King Mountain Resort has 405 hectares (925 acres) of terrain and even though it has a decent vertical of 640 metres, it’s a reasonably wide ski area. Whilst there are some fall line trails straight off the lifts, many of the runs require a long cat track to get to and/or from the actual run, so you can lose a bit of vertical unnecessarily. And with a bit of powder on the trails, snowboarders may have a hard time getting back to the chair lift on one side of the ski area.

The three main strengths of the Powder King skiing and snowboarding are the abundant snow, the lack of crowds, and the nice tree skiing.

Lifts

The main lift at Powder King Mountain Resort is a fixed grip triple chair that takes a long 12 minutes to get you only half way up the mountain. The upper half is serviced by a T-bar, although most of the runs at Powder King require you to return to the base area and ride the chair lift again before accessing the T-bar. The tiny little kids’ beginner area is serviced by a small ropetow.

The lifts are only open Thursday to Sunday, from 9am-3:30pm.

Lift Tickets

Lift tickets are pretty cheap, although you don’t get a lot of value for your money with respect to lift infrastructure, terrain and grooming.

Powder King Snow

Powder King Mountain Resort typically gets dumped on big time, with an average of 41 feet (12.5 metres) of snow per season, which is just a fraction more than Whitewater and Shames Mountain. There are three valleys that converge up to Powder King, so storms from different directions all have the potential to drop snow on the ski area. The nearby Williston Lake also provides a water source for the abundant precipitation.

The jury is still out regarding the snow quality. Powder King is located in the Rockies, so unlike the Coastal Mountains, the snow is renowned for falling reasonably dry. However the temperatures seem to swing a lot and the elevation isn’t particularly high, leading to rather variable snow quality. Many of the slopes are southeast facing, which is not favourable for good quality snow either.

Despite all that snowfall, the ski area isn’t avalanche controlled via bombing or the like, only by ski cutting and run closure, so take care.

Powder King Skiing for the Beginner

Officially beginners have 37% of the trails, although some beginners seem to have a hard time getting up the steep T-bar so they can’t access a few of the green runs in the upper part of the ski area.

Complete novices can start on the tiny mellow slope near the base, which has a handle ropetow. The next progressions are a few long trails off the chair lift that scoot around the outskirts of the ski area.

For the Intermediate

Powder King has several blue runs that drop nicely down the fall line and can be accessed almost directly off the lifts. A few more runs are on the periphery of the ski area, requiring a bit of cat track time. Not all the blue runs are groomed, and don’t expect a sophisticated grooming report so that you can figure out which ones are manicured before you arrive at the top of the run.

Terrain Park

Sometimes they set up a small terrain park with a couple of jumps and a quasi boarder cross course, but keep your expectations reasonably low.

Advanced Skiing Powder King - On-Piste

There are several black cut runs at Powder King Mountain Resort, and any bumps tend to be rather small due to the low skier traffic. The runs are not particularly steep and are definitely “advanced” and not “expert” as defined by Powder King.

When we visited, quite a few of the runs had a little shrubbery poking through, which was indicative of a lack of summer grooming.

Expert Ski and Snowboard Terrain

There’s no real expert in-bounds terrain at Powder King.

Off Piste Skiing and Riding

The real fun for experienced riders is the tree skiing. The trees vary with respect to the spacing so you can decide on the degree of challenge that you want. If the terrain was steeper in places, we’d score the tree skiing with full marks.

In the lower part of the ski area, there are some little drainages that can provide some quarter pipe fun.

You can hike from the top of the T-bar up to the summit (about 250 metres of vertical) and drop back into the ski area. The hike-to-terrain includes some cut runs below the tree line as well as a small amount of alpine terrain.

Skiers’ right of the resort is some good backcountry that doesn’t necessary require a huge amount of skinning, particularly if you drop lines down to the road (near Bijoux Falls) and get a pick up.

  • Vertical (m)
    935 – 1,575 (640)
  • Average Snow Fall
    12.5  metres
  • Lifts (3)
    1 triple chair
    1 T-bar
  • Ski Hours
    9:00am - 3:30pm
    late November - late April
  • Terrain Summary
    Runs – 38
    Longest run – ? km
    Advanced - 30%
    Intermediate - 38%
    Beginner - 37%
  • Lift Prices (Day: 16/17)
    Adult - $66
    Child - $32