The story of the Silver King Skiers begins in 1932. Inspired by high-flying Danny McKay's success in National ski jumping contests, skiing took off in Nelson. In 1934, the first ski lodge was opened in the north end of town; a small rope tow driven by the rear axle of an ancient Model-T Ford was the transport, long wooden skis and bears trap bindings the equipment of choice.
In search of more vertical, the area was moved to the old Silver King Mine site, south of Nelson. Local families built a small ski lift and log cabin lodge in 1956 and on opening day, 175 beginners were given lessons. In 1961, the Silver King Lodge was built. That lodge was the cozy home to many potluck dinners and work parties. Alder to clip in the summer, painting and ploughing - Danny McKay was still the force that kept everyone working. Nobody skied until it was done. Friday nights saw kids
and adults alike boot packing and side slipping the towline and hill for Saturday's skiers. In classic Kootenay style, a late night dump often made their efforts in vain and they'd be back at it Saturday morning.
Through all the ups and downs of work and skiing, the hardcore volunteers of the Silver King Ski Club kept things going. In 1974, the search for the steep and deep led them on to the Whitewater Valley.
The club hired Sam Wormington, planner and developer from Spokane, Washington in 1975. The club's desire was that care would be taken to prevent unnecessary upset of the natural environment. Skiers and riders today owe the sweetness of Whitewater's tree skiing and glades to Sam and his group's stand against the concept of the day - wide open, windswept runs that followed the barren Pistes of European example. "People won't think it's a ski area unless everything is all tore up", said Wormington in a news article from August 1975. He goes on to say that's why this was going to be one of the best ski areas in North America; for the first time, trees were being left intact.
In 1986, a group of local business people purchased Whitewater from the Ski Club. Over the next years, many memories were built on the gatherings and good times at Whitewater. The common bond between those who came to ski was the love of our epic snowfalls and the fall line terrain. By 1989 Whitewater was progressing, but the office phone was still in the goat shed at the farm at the bottom of the access road. Skiers were starting to realize that snowboarders were here to stay. In 1997, Mike and Shelley Adams purchased Whitewater and became sole owners.
In spite of the ongoing efforts of the Whitewater anti-marketing team, the mountain continues to gain notoriety in national ski magazines and the ski film scene. Today, skier visits are climbing steadily as skiers and riders from around the world search out an alternative to the larger resorts.
In September of 2008 Whitewater was purchased by Knee Deep Development, a Calgary based corporation owned by Dean Prodan, Mitch Putnam and Andrew Kyle. All very avid skiers themselves, the group have hired Brent Harley & Associates to review the existing Master Plan and will start to improve infrastructure and base area facilities as early summer of 2009. Expanded terrain, lift installation and real estate development will follow in the near future. During the much needed upgrades the ambiance and reputation of Whitewater's Ski Resort charm will be closely guarded.
When the Master plan was approved by the Ministry of Tourism in June of 2010; the hill management and new owners took advantage of a perfect opportunity to expand 303 hectares of fantastic mixed terrain when a beautiful used Doppelmayr Triple chair became available in early July 2010. The new chair fit the slope profile to a “T” and along with 80% of the terrain will be ready to open in mid December 2010.
Whitewater’s first major terrain expansion in 34 years has remained true to its cultural roots, with a fantastic mix of “super-cool” gladed terrain and wonderful sweeping groomers off the top, patrons will enjoy 2044 vertical feet of the areas famous high quality snow. In the winter of 2010/11, Whitewater may become the lift serviced powder capital of Canada and at the very least will be true to its brand of “Pure, Simple and Real...Deep”.
........................................................................."If you take the trip to Nelson and ski/board whitewater, you will do some of the best riding/skiing of your life and the spirit of the town is phenomenal! I didn't know what I was missing until I took the trip! " Marcus Bettencourt, Winnipeg, MB