With our snowmobile’s heated handles, ample power, and friendly guides to help navigate the switchbacks, even first-time riders were elated when we paused for hot chocolate at a heated log cabin.
A derelict entrance to a decommissioned silver mine, along with mining relics collected in the cabin, recall the gold and silver rushes of the Kootenays, which took place in the late 1800s. Paradise Mine, with shafts extending hundreds of metres deep, continued operation until as late as 1964. By then, the Kootenays had shifted to coal mining and, more recently, the invaluable commodity of tourism. Eight alpine ski resorts lie along a circular route known as the Powder Highway, encompassing the mountain towns of Fernie, Rossland, Nelson, Golden, Revelstoke, Invermere and Kimberley. That’s a lot of terrain to cover, and I haven’t scratched the surface, mostly because the surface is covered in thick snow.
With the blessing of our guides, we let the snowmobiles loose in Paradise Basin, revving the engine over the hills and bending into the curves. Great stuff yet again, and you must ride a snowmobile if you ever get a chance. The true, jaw-dropping, OMG caps-locked ONLY IN CANADA moment finally presented itself on our descent into the valley. I knew it was coming because our guide pulled over and casually asked if we wanted to see a frozen waterfall. Just a short walk through the trees, he told us, you know, a little attraction worth the stop. If you’ve seen one frozen waterfall, you’ve seen them….no. Trust me, you have not seen Marmot Falls.