CMH and ski company K2 are launching a new partnership in the Kootenays at the former Kuskanax Lodge in Nakusp.

Kuskanax Lodge becomes CMH K2 Rotor Lodge

New Canadian Mountain Holidays and K2 kootenay venture is taking off in Nakusp, B.C.

What’s treed and white and skied all over? Our local mountains, which will be seeing new skiers in Nakusp, thanks to a fresh partnership between K2 Skis and heli-ski outfit Canadian Mountain Holidays.

Although the changeover is very fresh, with new banners on the CMH website going up in the past few weeks, and a new sign coming soon for the lodge in Nakusp, the plans have been in the works for months. K2 and CMH have been working on the plans since the end of the last ski season, said Cheryl White, lodge manager, with Nakusp in particular in mind.

“They specifically picked us because we are so different,” said White. The lodge formerly known as the Kuskanax will soon be fitted with a sign displaying its new name: CMH K2 Rotor Lodge.

Having a lodge situated in a town is different from the typically more-remote CMH setting, a difference that fit with the people K2 is reaching out to, said White.

The new partnership means big changes for the Nakusp-based ski lodge, which will now be offering trips with professional skiers as well as a chance for guests to test the latest K2 skis.

“It’s really exciting for people who ski with CMH,” said White. “The athletes will be coming for most weeks. Out of eleven weeks, seven to eight weeks athletes will come out and ski with guests.”

Included on the roster this year will be pros Collin Collins, Andy Mahre, Reggie and Zach Crist, Pep Fujas who will be offering a ski photo and film workshop week, as well as a women-only week with Kim Reichhelm.

Following the K2 athlete trips are CMH K2 Demo Days that provide heli-skiers the opportunity to test a variety of unreleased 2013-2014 K2 powder skis. K2 designers will offer demos and receive feedback to take back to K2 headquarters and fine-tune the final product. In return for testing the prototypes in powder conditions, guests will earn a free pair of 2013-14 K2 Skis in Fall 2013 when the collection is released, something both guests and K2 people are excited about.

“Partnering with CMH presents K2 with not only with a world-class winter playground to test powder skis in the most ideal waist deep conditions and endless terrain, but also allows our athletes and us to connect with a broad range of skiers,” said K2’s Global Marketing Manager, Mike Gutt. “Specifically during the Demo Days, the skier’s feedback is applied to the development of the our powder and softer snow oriented skis.  It’s “Serious Fun,” the guests can focus on having “fun” and K2 focuses on the “serious” side of getting consumer feedback.”

In preparation for the season, 25 K2 people are coming to Nakusp at the end of September to shoot their winter catalogue and visit the local schools, the first step in the company’s involvement with the community.

“They want to have as much involvement in this community as possible,” said White. “It’s not just a winter deal.” The manager said the K2 group was interested in getting involved and becoming part of year-round community ventures.

White has talked to mayor Karen Hamling and CAO Linda Tynan, both of whom are very excited and supportive of the ski lodge’s latest development.

Right now, the news is so fresh that its full impact hasn’t been felt yet, but White is certain that will change.

“The lodge hasn’t had  enough time to see changes, but I’m confident it will,” said White. “A lot of people knew it was in the works,” she said, which has already cause some excitement in terms of bookings. She sees the future as wide open, with this just being the beginning of things to come.

“It’s a blank canvas right now,” said White. “In the next year we’ll see some big changes.”

Some of those changes will come in the appearance of the lodge. Plans are in the works to give the lodge a new “retro” look, according to White.

“It will get people talking about it,” she said. Looks like people already are.