Elevate your stay in Nelson this summer. The Hummingbird Lodge & Campground is now open!

Whitewater History

Whitewater History

Whitewater would like to acknowledge that we live, love, and work on the traditional, ancestral and unceded territory of Sinixt, Syilx, and Ktunaxa Peoples. We make this acknowledgment to show our respect for the təmxʷulaʔxʷ (homeland). We feel privileged and grateful to be here, and invite those reading this to explore their own relationship to place.

Powder Snow At Whitewater Ski Resort

Community - Our Story

Two businessmen, Tex Mowatt, and John Stanger were riding on their motorcycles and came across a majestic natural ski bowl. In 1969, they got together with the Silver King Ski Club and began developing the Whitewater basin. Finances came from a provincial government grant, a bank loan, a local initiative program, and the people of Nelson, who donated goods and services and volunteered almost 9,000 hours of work over the next five years. It had a community vibe right from the start.

In 1972 run feasibility and base area layouts were started, and by 1973 there were four runs, lift lines, and a parking area. The lodge was designed by a local architect and completed in October 1974. In 1975, two Riblet chairs (Riblet Lifts Co. originated in Nelson) were purchased and installed, the Hummingbird Chair and Summit Chair, followed by a T-Bar. In August of 1986, a local group purchased the ski area from the Ski Society.


Silver King Chairs

Kiss - Silver King Chair

In 1993, Whitewater purchased and re-engineered the Olive Chair from Whistler Resort. The story goes that Mike and Shelley Adams, members of the Board of the Society, pushed for the purchase of the Olive Chair as it was where Mike stole his first kiss from Shelley. In the spring of 1993, the T-Bar was sold and the new Silver King Chair was installed. That September, an office was opened in downtown Nelson to better serve Whitewater's growing number of guests. In May of 1997, Whitewater was purchased by Shelley and Mike Adams, who kept the same philosophy of offering a safe and enjoyable ski experience at an affordable price. In the summer of 1997, the Hummingbird Chair was removed and the Hummer Handle Tow was installed, allowing Whitewater to provide lift service to beginner terrain.


Glory Terrain at Whitewater Ski Resort

Backside - Glory Ridge Chair

In August 2008, Mike and Shelley sold the resort to Knee Deep Development Corp., a Calgary based company. The current owners, Andrew Kyle and Mitch Putnam, are enthusiastic supporters of Whitewater and fully recognize the importance of Whitewater to the local Nelson economy. In the spring of 2010, Whitewater announced the approval of the updated master plan by the Ministry of Tourism Culture and the Arts, allowing Whitewater to move towards long-term sustainability. Also in 2010, the High Noon, Chair 5 was purchased from Vail, Colorado, and installed by Summit Lift Company. Renamed Glory Ridge, this Dopplemayr triple-chair allows access to an additional 749 acres of terrain with a vertical drop of 2014 feet in the area of Whitewater formerly known as the backside. Now hitching back up the road has truly become a part of Whitewater history.

Aerial View Of Summit Chair

Blast - Summit Chair

In the summer of 2017, after 40 years of transporting passionate skiers and snowboarders, the original Summit Chair, a double chair, was retired. It was upgraded to a new quad fix grip chair, whisking 4 skiers and snowboarders at a time up over the resort's most famed run, The Blast. The new Summit Chair riders are often heard hooting and hollering for those shredding the steep and deep below, showing how the community vibe of the resort still shines bright after all these years

2024 - Raven / Yutlx / Qukin Chair

In the spring of 2022, Whitewater announced another lift expansion with a brand new fixed-grip quad chairlift to be installed for the 23/24 winter season. Running to the top of the Silver King Ridge from the main base area, the new Raven / Yutlx / Qukin chair (pronounced “Yew’tulhh” in the Interior Salish dialect and “Goo-kin” in the Ktunaxa language) adds more than 123 additional acres of steep and deep skiing as well as 14 new groomed and gladed runs. This expansion also brings an increased amount of vertical to Whitewater as the new lift will take skiers and snowboarders 163 meters higher than the Silver King chair.

“As with all development at the resort, we went through referrals and stakeholder engagement during the 2019 Master Plan addendum which helps us ensure the lift is constructed in a responsible way,”said Kirk Jensen, VP of Development at Whitewater Ski Resort. Both the new chairlift and the year-round Hummingbird Lodge show Knee Deep’s continued investment into the resort and the local community.

Principles - Our Mission Statement

Whitewater Ski Resort will promote the culture and passion of a unique mountain experience by:

  • Making the experience affordable
  • Ensuring respect for the environment, our guests, and our staff
  • Providing a high-quality standard of guest service, food service, recreational experience, and safety
  • Assuring the business of the resort is fully sustainable environmentally, culturally, and economically
  • Being proud of the resulting product
  • Enjoying the journey

All we do daily, all decisions, and all plans must be true to these principles so that we can keep the WH2O vibe!

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