Winning. Photo: Red Mountain Resort

There’s something going on in the Kootenays. It could be the yam fries in the poutine at Whitewater. Or the oversized nachos at Rafters, Red’s legendary bar. The cute hippy chicks and Oso Negro coffee probably help. Then again, maybe it’s just the rowdy terrain, pillow lines, and smoky B.C. pow.

Some combination of these things led POWDER magazine to rank Rossland/Nelson fourth overall in the first P3 (Powder Per Person) rankings in its annual resort guide. But the magazine editors weren’t the only ones to think highly of the Canadian paradise. After thousands of votes and nearly two months of voting, POWDER readers voted Rossland/Nelson the best ski towns in North America. The winners of the Backscratcher Region, Rossland/Nelson beat Bozeman, the winners of the Daffy Region, in the Ski Town Throwdown finals Sunday night by a vote of 11,426 to 10,572.

“It validates why most of us have given up the big careers and the paychecks that went with them, to live in this hard to get to place, where nearly 40 percent of the population has a ski pass hanging from their jacket,” says Anne Pigeon, the general manager of indoor operations and marketing at Whitewater.

On its way to the finals, Rossland/Nelson beat Sugarloaf, Maine; Whitefish, Montana; Crested Butte, Colorado; and Sandpoint, Idaho. According to Pigeon, as soon as Nelson won its first matchup, the town really rallied. Nelson Mayor John Dooley even went door to door to remind citizens to vote.

POWDER will recognize one lucky voter with an all-expense paid trip to Rossland and Nelson. To whomever it is, enjoy the poutine. And the pow.