Baldface Lodge is a modern and beautiful snowcat lodge with 32,000 acres of playground! Famous from the Red Bull Ultra Natural Contest. Make the terrain YOURS!
Our attentive and enthusiastic staff is devoted not only to your safety, but also to ensuring that you have the time of your life. Our goal is to create a friendly and welcoming atmosphere from the moment you arrive. On the mountain on any given day, you will find a hostess, a head chef, a sous chef, a garde-mange, a pastry chef, two massage therapists, two housekeepers, a "Homie", a bartender, a photographer, lead guides, tailgunners, snowcat drivers, and owner, Jeff, to ensure the refreshments are flowing and that everyone is happy.
Approximately 500 inches (1,270 centimeters)
-15ºC (5ºF) to +15ºC (59ºF). Average daily temperature is from -5ºC to -1ºC (in the 20ºs F)
Mid-December to mid-April
Four Pisten Bully PB200's and One Bombardier 400+
Baldface is located in the Selkirk range in British Columbia's West Kootenay area
7,678 feet (2,340 meters)
6,750 feet (2,057 meters)
Nocturnal Mission: 3,100 vertical feet
Average Daily Vertical
All of our guides are certified with ACMG (Association of Canadian Mountain Guides) or CSGA (Canadian Ski Guide Association), and Wilderness First Responder, CAA (Canadian Avalanche Association)
What does pricing include?
Prices include transportation from Nelson, BC to the lodge, accommodations, all meals, safety equipment, and skiing and snowboarding with our certified guides. Not included in the trip cost are: massage, ski rentals, retail purchases or alcoholic beverages. Any additional purchases will be added to your final invoice and paid for upon check-out.
Do I have to pay for the whole trip upon booking?
A 50% deposit is required to confirm your reservation and the balance is due on October 1st. Trips booked after October 1st must be paid in full. We accept MasterCard, Visa and American Express.
Are there refunds for cancellations?
If you must cancel less than 90 days prior to your trip, we cannot provide a refund. We recommend guests research travel insurance options before arriving. Please review our fine print policies prior to booking.
Is it customary to leave a tip for our Baldface guides and staff?
If you have been well taken care of on your trip, tipping is customary in this industry and greatly appreciated by our staff. Our policy is to distribute all tips equally among staff unless specified by the guest. There is a tip box in the lodge for cash or checks, or you can use your on-file credit card.
What clothing and equipment should I bring?
Bring your own ski or snowboarding boots and winter clothing, including goggles, hat, and winter walking boots. Water and lunch are provided in the cat - check out our detailed packing list on the Guest Login page.
Does Baldface have a photography program?
Yes, a photographer will join your group in the snowcat. At 5:30 each night a slideshow will showcase your powder day. Interested guests can select photos for purchase or buy an entire CD filled with shots of their trip.
Do I need to bring my own safety equipment?
We provide all the safety equipment you need. Shovels and probes are carried by the guides and in a guest pack. Before your first day in the backcountry, every skier and snowboarder will receive an avalanche transceiver and personal instruction on how to use it.
Aside from skiing, what do guests do?
Once at the lodge guests spend their days skiing and riding powder and their evenings enjoying gourmet meals, our full-service bar, massages, a wood-fired sauna and the company of old and new friends.
What time are we on-snow in the morning?
Skiers and snowboarders leave the lodge via twelve-person snowcats at 8:30 every morning. Depending on group abilities, guests should expect six to twelve + runs per day covering 12,000 to 20,000 vertical feet. Two certified guides accompany each group.
Where do we stay?
Our timber-frame lodge houses the dining room, bar, massage and lounge areas plus six double-occupancy guest rooms with a shared bathroom. Six timber-frame chalets, a short walk from the lodge, accommodate four guests. Each chalet has two bedrooms with a queen and long twin bed and one bathroom. All beds at Baldface have goose-down comforters and high-quality cotton sheets.
Are meals included? Where do we eat?
All meals are included in the price of your trip. A breakfast buffet and gourmet dinner are served daily in the lodge, as well as hot soup and hearty appetizers when you return from skiing. Sandwiches, snacks and cold drinks are provided in the snowcats. We are happy to accommodate any special dietary requirements.
What ability level do I need to be to ski or snowboard at Baldface?
Guests must be advanced-intermediate to expert level skiers and snowboarders in the powder. We do not groom any runs! Our terrain and conditions vary depending on the time of your trip. We recommend that all guests be in good physical condition. Prior to arriving at Baldface, we suggest you get in a number of days of skiing or snowboarding — especially if you are not able to ski regularly during the season. You may want to arrive in Nelson one or two days in advance and ski at the local ski areas.
What do I need to bring?
Your passport if crossing the border. Everything you normally wear to ski/board plus slippers, snow boots, and a bathing suit for the sauna - all packed in a soft-sided duffel bag (50 pounds or less, no larger than 16” x 16” x 28”).
What do I wear on arrival day?
Warm jacket, snow boots, hat and gloves.
Is there a size or weight limit on my bags since we fly in on a helicopter?
Guests are restricted to a 50-pound (22 Kg) soft-sided duffle bag so that the helicopter isn’t too heavy and can fly safely to the lodge. Please be sure that all of your clothing and equipment fits into your duffel. Ski and snowboard bags are NOT allowed on the helicopter.
Can I rent skis or snowboards at Baldface?
Fat powder skis and snowboards are available for $25/day. We do not rent ski or snowboard boots; please bring your own.
Is there Internet and phone service at the Lodge?
There are no public phones at Baldface Lodge. We have intermittent cell phone and Internet service depending on the weather. Please respect the vacation environment by turning your ringers off and using laptops sparingly.
What's the best way to travel to Baldface?
Guests out of driving range arriving from the United States usually fly to Spokane, Washington and take a shuttle to Nelson. Canadian and European guests find it easier to fly through Calgary or Vancouver to Castlegar, BC. A variety of alternate travel options are available in our travel section.
How do I get to Nelson?
For Driving Dreictions - see our Google maps on the travel page
What time should I arrive at the Nelson airport?
2:00 p.m. for trips before February 15. 3:00 p.m. for trips after February 15.
How do I get to the Nelson airport for our helicopter transfer?
Once you have arrived in Nelson and found your way to Front Street, turn north – towards the lake – onto Hall Street then cross the railway tracks and turn left at the first stop sign onto Lakeside Drive. Continue for 1/2 mile and before you cross the bridge, you will see to your right the Norman Stibbs Airport (grey building with red roof). Pull into the parking lot, unload your gear, then park on either side of the road along the chain-link fence. Note: There is no place to store extra gear so please leave it in your car or at your hotel.
At the Nelson airport, where do I park?
You may leave your vehicle along either side of the road just before the airport parking lot.
How will I get up to the lodge?
On clear, sunny days, a 10-minute helicopter flight transports guests right to the lodge. If it is stormy, cloudy, or foggy, guests will travel across Kootenay Lake then up to the lodge by ground.
What if I am late?
Passengers who miss their scheduled departure times from Nelson will be charged a $200 late fee without exception. If you are going to be late, call 250-509-0409 OR 250-509-1409. Late arriving passengers are typically transferred to the lodge by boat and snowmobile – due to darkness and weather, late guests may be required to spend the night in Nelson before traveling up the next morning. There is no guarantee that passengers arriving late will make it to the Lodge in time for a full day of skiing. (Yes, this is meant to scare you!)
When will I be back in Nelson?
Guests will return to Nelson after the final day of skiing. December 15 - February 14: In Nelson by 4:30 p.m. February 15 - April 15: In Nelson by 5:30 p.m.
Can Baldface help with custom travel plans?
For those who want the convenience of custom travel plans, we can arrange private air transport by plane or helicopter. If your trip to Baldface is being made in conjunction with other skiing, either at local ski areas or with another snowcat or helicopter skiing operation in the area, we may be able to help with your travel plans — just give us a call!
Is Baldface open in the Winter and Summer?
Baldface winter season is open from mid-December to mid-April. High season rates apply from mid-January to mid-March. Some of our biggest snowfalls occur during the shoulder season (early January and late March). Currently, we offer limited summer programs from July to October; we are working to expand our summer offerings from freeride mountain bike weekends, corporate functions, weddings and private parties to reunions or personalized, exclusive mountain getaways.
When was Baldface Lodge's first season?
Baldface has been operating for the past decade. The idea of Baldface was conceived in 1998, with its 1st exploratory season and media release in 1999-2000. Baldface Lodge celebrated it's 1st official season in 2000-2001.
Are there any local ski areas worth checking out while I'm in the area?
Whitewater and Red Mountain ski areas are both located within an hour of Nelson. A daily shuttle is available from Nelson to Whitewater.
When to come
Either way, there is always lots of snow on the ground and as long as you are ready for variable conditions, including some memorable corn snow, the skiing and riding are great!
Our season begins on December 15th. Some of the deepest days of the year are in late December and early January. The days are shorter, temperatures are cold, powder is light and our rates are less expensive.
February tends to be "prime time" with longer days, and an equal amount of big storms and sunny days. Chances of a drought are slimmer. Days are long, snow-pack is deeper and our rates are higher.
March is the start of spring with even longer and more frequent bluebird days. We have had some of the biggest storms on record in March - and while it may not snow as often, the storms that do come in usually hit hard.
April is the great mystery month. Some years it holds cold and moist, some are sunny and dry. April 2010 brought January-like conditions for our end-of-season Shred Session - face shots and powder galore!
At Baldface safety is our number one priority. Our guides strictly follow and exceed snowcat skiing industry standards for safety. All of our guides are certified with the ACMG (Association of Canadian Mountain Guides) or CSGA (Canadian Ski Guide Association) and the CAA (Canadian Avalanche Association. All guides are trained in mountain rescue and have advanced first aid certification.
Baldface guides pride themselves on providing the guests with an authentic Kootenay powder experience, we consider each new and returning guest as a member of our extended family. We are excited to share our knowledge and love for the mountains and help each and every guest grow into a confident, strong and safe backcountry rider. We believe every guest from intermediate/advanced to pro should leave Baldface with the stoke we all share.
At Baldface we have a dedicated snow safety team, two guides assigned to providing detailed observations of snow and conditions through snow stability tests and field observations. The snow safety team works directly with the road builders in providing safe roads to new terrain, offering our guest the best quality snow in our 32,000 acre tenure.
At Baldface all guides carry a rescue pack containing probe, shovel, first aid, as well as all the guide essentials; we also have two guest packs per cat containing two shovels, two probes and a radio, and ask that guests take turns wearing a pack throughout their day of skiing/riding.
On your first morning at Baldface you will take part in a detailed safety briefing and practice. This includes instructions on the use of the avalanche transceiver, probe and shovel, review of guest packs, avalanche rescue practice, safe group travel in the backcountry, snow cat safety and a detailed mountain safety talk.
As well as training through guiding certifications, all of our guides are continually training in avalanche and mountain rescue, first aid, and snow science. Baldface hosts annual training before the start of every winter season for all guides and staff, this training covers rescue and safety procedures and practice so the staff can be prepared for any and all emergencies.
Snowboards & Skis
Guests are welcome to try any of our snowboard or ski rentals for $25/day. We have a full fleet of snowboards from Burton, Lib Tech and Capita and skis from Head, Armada, Rossignol and NAS.
Guests looking to rent boards or skis can meet their guides in the rental shop on arrival night to get set up for the following day on the slopes. Our team will help you find a setup that suits you - and the conditions - best.
Please note, we do not rent ski or snowboard boots, nor do any shops in Nelson, so please bring your own boots.
Snowcat skiing and boarding at Baldface require that guests have at least intermediate/advanced-level powder skills.
We want everyone to have a good time at Baldface. Please consider the following notes before you book your trip to come snowcat skiing or cat boarding with us: Guests will be snowcat skiing about 15,000 feet per day for three or four days straight and need to be in good physical condition.
Consider following our conditioning program to prepare for your trip. Weather and ski conditions are impossible to predict so guests must be prepared to ski or ride anything. We do not groom any runs! If you have never skied powder or shy away from it at you local resort, this is not the place to learn. If you are expecting to ski 50-degree shoots and huck 30-foot airs every run you will be disappointed. We only ski this type of terrain when conditions and group abilities allow. To increase your opportunity to ski and ride expert terrain, book an entire snowcat with like-minded friends and we'll do our best to take you on our most exciting (but safe) runs.
Driving times & distances:
237 km / 142 miles
657 km / 395 miles
624 km / 374 miles
338 km / 203 miles
3 hours (don't forget the time change)
230 km / 143 miles
686 km / 424 miles
76 km / 47 miles
Nelson is a 3 ½ hour drive north of Spokane, Washington USA. Baldface Lodge is directly across Kootenay Lake from Nelson, BC Canada, between the Kokanee and Valhalla Provincial Parks.
Typically, our guests arrive at Baldface by one of four options:
Fly to Castlegar, BC (YCG) and take a cab into Nelson
Fly to Spokane, WA (GEG) and take the shuttle or rent a car
Drive to Nelson
Private Charter Flights provided by Northern Thunderbird Air
Most of our guests travel to Nelson by flying into Spokane, WA, and taking a shuttle or renting a car at the airport. Guests arriving in Castlegar, BC can arrange for taxi or car service from the airport. Additionally, we may be able to help you arrange for other private transportation from either airport to Nelson.
Fly to Spokane, WA, rent a car, and meet us at the Norman Stibbs Airport at your specified time.
From the United States, it is easiest to book your flight to Spokane, WA, and take a shuttle to Nelson. Classic Limousine / SunsetCoach offers shuttle service every Thursday and Sunday. They also have charter vehicles available for guests who require off-schedule pick-ups.
Fly to Spokane, WA, and take a private charter aircraft right into Nelson. Northern Thunderbird Air offers a one-way flight for up to 9 passengers for approximately $4850.
From Canadian cities, it is easiest to book a flight into Castlegar, which is a 30-minute drive from Nelson. Be warned, flights are often cancelled due to stormy winter weather, so we highly recommend arriving a day early to avoid travel complications.
If you are coming in from Vancouver, you may also consider Trail (1 hour) as your destination city. Flights are available with Pacific Coastal Airlines.
There is a shuttle bus that operates every Thursday and Sunday for $150US each way, from Spokane, WA to Nelson.
Loading time at the Spokane International Airport is 9:15 a.m.; departure 9:45 a.m. Estimated arrival time in Nelson is 2:00 p.m. We advise all guests to schedule their flights for arrival prior to 9:00 a.m. If this is not possible, schedule arrivals for the night before and stay at the Airport Ramada. The shuttle will pick up Ramada guests at 9:00 a.m.
Departure time from Nelson is 5:00 p.m., after the final day of skiing. Estimated arrival time in Spokane is 9:00 p.m.
If you miss the shuttle, would prefer not to take it, or have a very large group (over 14), Classic Limousine can also meet your needs.