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BC’s Coolest Ski Towns
The case for skiing north of the border, written by an American
Guest post by Mark Sissons
BC’s backcountry offers plenty of opportunities for adventurous skiers and riders to explore the powdery bowls, glades, glaciers, and terrain that make this province so legendary. Happily, you don’t have to be an expert heli- or cat-skier on a big multi-day budget to fully embrace the magic of reaching rugged, untouched wilderness. More affordable, less intimidating backcountry experiences are also widely available at or near many of BC’s ski resorts. Here are some ways to get out and play in the snow this season.
Start with an introductory avalanche skills-training course offering essential preparation for safe backcountry travel. Learn how to read snow conditions and what to do in an emergency by attending a course certified by the Canadian Avalanche Association (CAA). Most major resorts offer avalanche education, including Whitewater Ski Resort, Kicking Horse Mountain Resort, Revelstoke Mountain Resort, and Whistler Blackcomb.
Hone your off-piste skiing skills and learn to safely access backcountry terrain with a professionally certified guide at an All Mountain Skills Camp held at Sun Peaks Resort. Or boost your confidence with backcountry clinics from Whistler Blackcomb-based Extremely Canadian. Some backcountry camps cater exclusively to women, like Revelstoke’s Girls Do Ski, which offers a range of ski-touring camps, from introductory to advanced.
Earn your turns under the tutelage of seasoned guides who can tailor the route to your abilities and show you where to find the deepest ‘pow’ and best mountain views. Venture into the heart of the Selkirk, Monashee, and Purcell mountains with Summit Mountain Guides in search of first tracks through champagne powder. Or choose your own adventure with Powder Guides, who offer ski-touring options based out of Whistler that last one day to one week.
Carve graceful turns into the powder-packed faces of pristine mountain peaks without breaking the bank. Operators like Valhalla Powdercats, Cariboo Snowcat Skiing, and Fernie Wilderness Adventures offer affordable single-day cat-skiing trips suitable for strong intermediate and advanced skiers. At RED Mountain Resort near Rossland, you can ride the snowcat to fresh vertical just beyond the chairlift for $10 per run.
Sign up for a heli-assisted ski-touring adventure with Selkirk Tangiers Heli Skiing and enjoy a full day of touring with a certified guide in the Selkirk Mountains. Or get a taste of the kind of seriously steep and deep, virgin terrain that nearby resort-bound skiers can only dream of, courtesy of popular operators like Whistler Heliskiing and RK Heliski, near Panorama Mountain Resort.
Check out BC’s ski resort map to start planning your next ski adventure.
Opening image: Ski touring to the Asulkan Cabin in Rogers Pass. Photo: Katie Marti
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