Nelson

Situated in the southern reach of British Columbia’s Selkirk Mountains, Nelson isn’t your average logging-town-turned-tourist-trap. The Queen City of the Kootenays is a historic home to American draft dodgers, dissident Russian Dhoukabors and societal misfits of all kinds. The place has a counter-culture vibe that’s gone on to attract artists, hippies, weirdos, and hipsters alike to produce the most prolific arts-and-culture scene in all of small-town BC.

Galleries and restaurants line downtown’s Baker Street while old-growth forest and the spirit of the ’70s still reign supreme at the beloved local ski hill. Whitewater is everything you want in big skiing packaged as small as you can get it. There is no real estate, no WIFI and no cell service; just amazing home-cooked food (they actually have a best-selling cookbook) and the basic amenities to get you shredding. A range of hotels, hostels and B&Bs welcome you in town, but there’s no option to stay on hill. This is a community resort, and that community is Nelson. –Matt Cote