Photo Credit: Powderhounds

Living The Winter Dream, Without the Corporate Logos

The drive may be long, but Mount Cain's charm and incredible skiing is worth it

For more than 30 years, the non-profit run Mount Cain has been delivering big time ski memories

Can you still call Mount Cain one of the best-kept little secrets in the winter world?

Probably not.

That well-worn cliché has been told over and over by countless ski magazines. In the winter of 2020, Colorado-based Matchstick Productions showed up with a film crew and three Canadian freeskiing legends, Mark Abma, Chris Rubens and Eric Hjorliefson.

They nailed the conditions. Over ten glorious days, this trio of expert skiers experienced the best that Mount Cain can offer–as much deep fresh powder as anyone can possibly ski, a stable snowpack, and Mount Cain’s always colourful parking lot and lodge après ski culture.

In December 2020, Matchstick premiered its film Frozen in Time at the Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival. By early 2021, half a million people had already viewed this tribute to skiing at Cain.

Credit: Google Maps

So, the secret is out.

But still, Mount Cain remains one of the coolest ski hills in BC. Remoteness helps. It’s a two-hour drive north of Campbell River on Hwy 19, tucked into the rugged Vancouver Island Mountains near the logging town of Woss. The gravel road accessing the resort from the highway is its own driving adventure.

But there’s something else that makes this place special.

It’s the opposite of corporate. The non-profit Mount Cain Alpine Society runs the hill on a shoestring budget and the energy of volunteers who love skiing and the mountains.


The mountain receives 15 metres of snowfall every year. In other words, a lot.

It’s open only on Saturday and Sunday, meaning fresh snow builds up through the week. Two rustic T-bars limp along from season to season, accessing 420 vertical metres of skiing through beautiful yellow cedar and hemlock forests.

A small village of privately-owned cabins sits at the base at one end of the parking lot. At the other end is the trailer park, affectionally known as “the ghetto.” Bookended in between is the day lodge with a cafe and rental shop, as well as two cabins and a hostel owned and operated by the society.

There is nothing big business about this place. And that is the key to Mount Cain’s enduring and soulful charm. That and the fantastic skiing and deep snow.