The Powder Renegade Family
Anyone who knows us has heard about cat skiing. It is our undeniable, parallel passion that we are completely obsessed with. It began with a vision, seeing something so beautiful for our family, feeling somehow connected to this concept before we truly even understood it. By combining our authenticity, skills, desires, passions and life experiences, we are the perfect candidates to pursue this dream as a family. This is our destiny, our commitment, and our future legacy.
Committing to Crazy: The Penney’s Powder Dream
Revelstoke – Dec 2015
It all began in the magical ski town of Revelstoke, BC. Kerry started a job at Mustang Powder Lodge, and immediately knew he wanted to create a family legacy like this for our family. He fell in love with the remote lodge, the snowcats, and the overall experience at the lodge.
Kerry focused on learning maps, land tenures and how we could get into this exclusive bracket. Through our research, it became apparent this was an in depth and complicated process, so as a young family with a little baby trying to make a living – at this point it was all but a dream.
We got back to work and spent some time between Edmonton and Fort McMurray doing our construction business, and also welcomed Julia into our family. Business was good, but we weren’t living our passion. We moved back to Revelstoke in Sept 2017 and being back in this beautiful mountain town rejuvenated the tenure spark, so it was time to revisit our powder dream in a serious way. We knew it wouldn’t be easy – but we have never been afraid of a challenge.
Highland Powder Skiing – Dec 2017
The first hurdle was finding a suitable location to start a cat skiing business. Through this process, we came across Highland Powder Skiing. Research indicated that it had been sitting dormant for about a decade, and with 20 years left on its term, we saw that as a lightning opportunity. Kerry got on the phone and a couple weeks later we were sitting in Sandpoint, Idaho with the majority owner of Highland.
We made a deal to be the operators, and eventually this transpired for us to purchase the tenure outright. By October 2018 – Kerry was the director of Highland Powder Skiing. Now that we had a tenure, we contacted Nick Holmes-Smith of Mustang Powder to get some advice. He remembered Kerry, and was immediately interested in our endeavour. We met for a quick coffee, which turned into a 3 hour meeting and an instant connection based on our collective passion for cat skiing.
Highland was approved as a daytime operation but our dream was to offer multi-day packages from an on-tenure lodge. So we had to figure out where the lodge should go, and also had to see the terrain in person. The day we flew Highland was a magical day. We felt like we were the people we had set out to be and we knew this is what we wanted to spend our lives doing.
Had we known then what we know now, we never would have applied for a lodge. Turns out, when you make a significant change to authorized land use (like building a lodge), this puts the existing tenure up for full review, including cross referencing and satisfying current land and wildlife values. We did a submission to the Ministry to get feedback before a formal application, and their response stunned everyone. We knew that a Southern Mountain Caribou GAR order was overlapping the tenure boundary and we had mitigation in place, but now GPS telemetry data indicated a critically endangered herd was inhabiting our tenure – so the Ministry had no choice but to cancel the tenure.
(Read the full story of Highland HERE)
Failing Forward & The Rise of Renegade – Dec 2019
By Dec 2019 we lost our dream and everything we had worked for. All of our capital was put into Highland, and we could no longer exist in the life we had set up. It was gut wrenching – we had to start over from ground zero. Despite the heartache, we could not give up on our dream. This time, we would have to be more calculated and resourceful, yet more out there than ever before.
Our only option was to create a raw tenure. We knew it would be challenging, many thought impossible. Yet, in Jan 2020 Kerry found a zone in the Southern Monashees overlapping a suspended heli-ski tenure. We reached out to Nick for insight, and he jumped on as our mentor. He provided us with the most incredible guidance and contributions, and his support was the best thing we ever could have had at that time in our life.
In April 2020 we began terrain exploration by land and air. Collectively, we were all impressed by the remaining snowpack for that time of year, terrain features and even accessibility for a lodge site. There was even a great location for a lodge site centrally located within the tenure that encompasses an alpine lake for a water source. We knew that this tenure location would be highly suitable, so decided to move forward. We submitted our application in August 2020, not realizing this would be the first draft of many revisions.
The application process took multiple years, studies, amendments, referrals, adjustments, visits, money, learning, perseverance and patience. We discovered that getting a mechanized (particularly ground based) adventure tourism application with a lodge on tenure, approved in the 2020’s in the southern interior was literally the hardest application possible to undertake.
In hindsight, the process gifted us with time to explore and truly understand every aspect of what it takes, on all levels, to start up and operate a cat skiing operation. We received feedback and input from industry experts, potential investors and other resource users that allowed us to build our plan at a very high level. However, we were definitely haunted by the uncertainty of approval on a daily basis, passed many opportunities and made tons of sacrifices along the way to stay on this path.
Approved – April 2022
In May 2022 Powder Renegade Lodge became an official tenure! Relieved that all of our hard work had paid off and we had a tenure again, we were ready to start the next chapter. We knew it would still be a long road ahead, but at least we were one step closer. During the summer we explored the tenure by air and foot. Starting in November, we got up to the tenure on the snow with guides to develop our ski program and logistics for the operation as a whole.
We spent all of winter 22/23 exploring our terrain by ski touring focus areas for opening up, determining A list runs and connectivity for the snowcats. We were impressed by the vastness and beauty of standing on the mountaintops and skiing through Okanagan Champagne Powder. Simultaneously we obtained auxiliary operational permits, received accurate estimates for lodge construction, terrain development and curated a thorough business strategy that will set this business up for success.
Invest in the Powder Dream – May 2023
Our next step is to raise capital by securing accredited, passionate partners to to build the lodge, develop ski terrain and purchase equipment. CLICK HERE to request a pitch deck and investment information.
Most existing cat skiing operations have long wait lists and are pre-sold out the season before. The rebooking rate is 80% or higher, and the demand for cat skiing continuously outweighs the supply. This industry is not price sensitive, and clients are keen to experience a new operation that will feature first descents in new terrain with opportunities to name runs and really become part of our family.
Powder Renegade Lodge will become one of the best cat skiing operations in the world! We will be #7 in the world that offers a high elevation cat skiing lodge on tenure, and our proximity to Kelowna provides fast helicopters access directly from the Kelowna airport despite our remote location. Our offering of a truly authentic, family owned and operated cat skiing lodge will be a hard experience to beat, so what are you waiting for? Become a partner with us or join our WAITLIST to get first opportunity to book your holiday.
LET’S GO SKIING!