So, a few things - rent in Nelson is more expensive than you would think. and unless you're into touring, there really isn't much to ski to keep yourself entertained for a winter (yes, even with the new lift, I doubt it will be enough without going for a walk). If you are into touring... well, it's hard to beat Nelson.
I haven't tried myself, but everyone I talk to tells me that it is really really hard to find a decent place to live in Revelstoke. If you end up in the Stoke, make sure you get there EARLY to get a spot you want to live in. If you don't mind a little boot packing, Revy has the terrain to make you laugh (or cry).
As everyone says, Whistler is expensive and crowded. But if you don't mind "that scene", it's hard not to enjoy yourself. It's big, and it's got everything you want (except for seclusion).
Golden is close to Alberta... I don't like Alberta. The whole East Kootenay's (Invermere, Kimberley, Fernie, and Golden) is too close to Alberta for my liking. Golden isn't all bad. I have many friends that spent some time there and they all enjoyed it - that being said, they're all now in the West Kootenay's and loving life. While Kicking Horse did open up Super Bowl this winter, the laps are still too long for their own good. When all the terrain is on the top 1/3rd of the mountain, why on Earth would I want to ski all the way to the base every run? Poor planning on the developers side.
Fernie is a really, really nice town. I spend one winter there and really enjoyed the people, rent is decent, and there's stuff to do. The problem (other than it's proximity to Alberta, of course) with Fernie is... well, I like pillow lines and cliff drops. Fernie DOES have cliffs and what not, but they are really lacking in the pillow line department. As far as in bounds skiing goes at Fernie, you're looking at a lot of open bowls and nice trees, with the odd cliff thrown in for good measure. They are under the rein of RCR (Resorts of the Canadian Rockies) who are an evil corporation who doesn't like progression of the sport, resulting in them getting rid of their terrain parks across the board. Because of RCR, I recommend you don't go to Fernie. They don't care about the sport of skiing, just the sport of making money.
I assume you don't want to come all the way out here to ride park and groomers. So with that being said, Big White (Kelowna), Silver Star (Vernon), Sun Peaks (Kamloops), Panorama (Invermere), and Kimberley are on the "not recommended" list.
Now, I live in Rossland, and it sucks here. You get lonely sometimes skiing pillow lines all alone, there's no high speed lifts, or lift lines, so that just adds to long times of being lonely. No... Ok. The reality of Rossland... it's a smaller town, the scene isn't REALLY there. A handful of bars, good house parties. The owners of the hill have no clue what WE want, and everything they try to do to "improve" the hill is totally backwards to what I think SHOULD happen. The inbounds skiing combined with the slackcountry is some of the best I have encountered in my life. I have a number of friends who didn't like it here as much as other places and have moved on, but if you like slow lifts, no crowds, no bullshit awesome steep tree skiing with enough cliffs and pillows to keep you happy for years. It seams like rent is going up slowly, and places seam to be harder to find nowadays, but not as bad as Revy, or as expensive as Whistler.
there you go. a bit longer than I intended, but, hey, i'm not up to anything right now, so whatever. Revelstoke, Golden, Nelson, Whistler, Fernie, Rossland... they all have their good and bad, none are perfect, but you will enjoy yourself sliding down snow covered mountains at any of them. If you have time and can afford it, I recommend you show up in the early summer, do a big road trip around the province, check out the towns and the mountains, see what feels right and go there.
D-Rail Compton Ass Esq. The 3rd
what would shane do?