Backcountry Skiing in Whistler

Whistler | British Columbia
5.00
5 REVIEWS
Trip Highlights

Top three reasons to go backcountry skiing in Whistler

  • Trip Highlight

    Experience British Columbia’s beautiful wilderness and snowy vistas

  • Trip Highlight

    Take on some of the West Coast’s most hardcore backcountry objectives

  • Trip Highlight

    Master foundational backcountry skiing skills on Whistler’s scenic slopes with a guide

With plenty of treeline descents, alpine meadows, and steep chutes, the skiing in Whistler is varied and thrilling. The lift-accessible slopes just beyond the Whistler Blackcomb resort boundaries are the ideal place to grow into your touring boots and learn the ropes of backcountry skiing. For the more seasoned skiers, the options are endless—whether you choose to ride the thrilling pitches of Musical Bumps or the vast and picturesque expanses of Spearhead Glacier, you really can’t go wrong here. And the breathtaking snow-capped views combined with perfect feather-light powder are just the cherry on top of one of the greatest skiing destinations on the West Coast. Find out why Whistler houses some of the best backcountry skiing in Canada from Greg Hill, ACMG skiing guide extraordinaire.

Season

November through April

Nearest city

Vancouver, BC, is 1.5 hours away from Whistler

Duration

1 day

Skill level

Beginner to advanced

Itineraries

Choose how you spend your days

A Customized Day of Skiing With a Guide

Full-day

Adventurers looking for a backcountry experience tailored to their goals need look no further! Whether it’s Fissile Peak, where you’ll be rewarded with challenging, glaciated alpine terrain, or the classic lines on Cowboy Ridge, you can look forward to experiencing some massive slopes in the most magnificent off-piste conditions. Let a professional Whistler backcountry guide customize the perfect day to suit your objectives and ride your heart out! 

Private Intro to Backcountry Skiing and Splitboarding

Full-day

Whistler is the perfect place to take your resort skills out of bounds. New backcountry skiers will be introduced to suitable terrain under the care of an experienced guide. Learn about route finding, avalanche safety and risk management all while staying safe and being shown the best kept secrets just outside the Whistler ski area. Powder stashes, alpine bowls and gladed runs are waiting just for you.

Not sure if you should hire a guide? Listen to our ambassador Greg Hill debate the ultimate question: To be guided or not to be guided?

Group Backcountry Skiing Tour

Full-day

With a multitude of bowls, glaciers, and gladed runs to choose from, even the most adventurous appetites will be satisfied here. Take advantage of your guide’s incredible knowledge and find untracked powder and amazing runs—test your skills on the east flank of Oboe, Flute Backside, or any of the dozens of other incredible backcountry ski areas in Whistler.

Group Intro to Backcountry Skiing and Splitboarding

Full-day

Make your way to Whistler’s world-famous slopes and master the fundamentals of backcountry skiing and splitboarding! Join your experienced, professionally certified guide for a full day of learning essential backcountry skills, such as terrain analysis, route finding, slope traversal, and so much more. Whistler’s incredible landscapes and high-quality powder will provide the perfect learning environment.

Advanced Tours & Ski Mountaineering

Full-day

For those seeking a challenge on some big mountain lines in the backcountry, Whistler’s backcountry is the place for you. Whether it’s Fissile Peak, where you’ll be rewarded with challenging, glaciated alpine terrain, or classic lines on Cowboy Ridge, you can look forward to experiencing some big ascents in the most magnificent off-piste conditions. Let a guide customize the perfect day to suit your big objectives.

Reviews

Reviews (5)

Rob Eisen about Black Sheep Adventures on 57hours

Dave Cote was our guide.
He provided for an exceptional experience.
He was knowledgeable, patient and kind! He made us feel capable and secure.
It was a pleasure to spend the day with him!

It was so beautiful to get off the beaten path and the get away from busy Whistler.

Beyond the boundaries
Damon S. about Mountain Skills Academy on Tripadvisor

SO MUCH FUN!!! This was our (My wife and me) first time venturing out into the backcountry and we had the best time. Heaps of info on Avi awareness, search and rescue techniques, and above all else, awesome skiing! Our guide’s ability to put us in just the right level of terrain was spot on the mark. Very friendly staff, good gear, and very professional. 100% the best days I have spent in Whistler. Will be back for more…

Great day in the Whistler backcountry
Tim E. about Mountain Skills Academy on Tripadvisor

Highly recommended the Whistler experience for backcountry skiers/snowboarders. My friend Bruce and I spent a gorgeous day skiing the backcountry adjacent to Whistler Ski Resort with Cam from Whistler Alpine Guides (now Mountain Skills Academy) in February 2014. The snow conditions in the resort were not very good as it hadn’t snowed in a while, but it was cold and clear and we found some amazing wind-deposited powder stashes around Oboe Summit. Cam was a cool guy and a great guide and made sure we hit some good turns and wore us out pretty well. Definitely a highlight of the trip.

Fine powder lines, great views, and good company
Adam T. about Monte Johnston on Google Reviews

I’ve use Monte (head guide at Black Sheep) for 2 seasons now for backcountry ski-touring. He’s very experienced, inspires confidence, and ensures you develop your skills as you go while feeling safe. He’s also highly capable of finding fine powder lines, great views, and good company to ski with. Can’t recommend him enough.

Advanced our abilities
Ian M. about Monte Johnston on Google Reviews

My son and I did a two-day crevasse rescue course with Monte and Dan; two experienced and friendly guys who know their stuff. Good info that advanced our abilities and inspired confidence for future endeavors. Two weeks after completing the course my son and I climbed Sky Pilot, something I’d been wanting to do for years but had avoided because of the snow-slope approach, which we had no problem with thanks to our newly developed skills. Go for it!

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Things to know

Things to know

Covid measures in Whistler, British Columbia

57hours is committed to providing safe outdoor adventure experiences. We require all guides using our platform to have a COVID-19 safety plan and to make the details of that plan accessible to travelers. In most cases, group sizes will be reduced, guides will avoid overcrowded locations, and other safety measures will be met depending on the location and activity.

We also expect clients to respect local regulations and take measures to protect themselves, their guides, and the communities they’re traveling to. For more information on COVID-19 measures in Whistler, British Columbia, please refer to Canada’s COVID-19 travel requirements and British Columbia’s Travel and COVID-19 info website.

Please contact us if you have any questions or require further information. We are happy to provide you with the most up-to-date information!

What’s included?

What you get in these adventures:

  • An experienced, certified Whistler backcountry guide with extensive knowledge of the area
  • A full day of backcountry skiing

What’s not included:

How fit do I need to be?

To enjoy this Whistler ski trip, you need to be in great physical shape. You will be on your feet for 6-8 hours, learning basic uphill and downhill skiing and skinning techniques or skiing Whistler Blackcomb’s numerous bowls, glaciers, and gladed runs. You will need to manage controlled descents in variable conditions. All participants should feel comfortable on challenging blue or black-level resort runs and be able to carry a loaded daypack while skinning up variable degrees of terrain.

What if I’ve never backcountry skied before?

Backcountry skiing isn’t just for pros looking for the ultimate thrill ride, it’s also beginner-friendly, meaning anyone with solid blue-level resort experience can have fun in the backcountry. If you’ve never backcountry skied before, heading out with a guide is your best bet. They’ll take care of the planning, introduce you to the basics, like skinning uphill, and teach you how to manage the terrain. They also have the experience and avalanche training to keep you safe.

What equipment do I need to bring?

For technical backcountry ski touring gear, you will need to bring:

    • Alpine touring skis, telemark skis, or splitboard with skins (can be rented)
    • Touring boots and poles (can be rented)
    • Avalanche safety equipment (can be rented):
      • Digital, 3-antenna avalanche transceiver or beacon
      • Lightweight snow shovel
      • Avalanche probe

For personal items, we recommend bringing:

    • Helmet
    • Sunglasses or ski goggles
    • Gloves and hat
    • Wind and waterproof shell jacket with hood (Gore-Tex recommended)
    • Ski pants (Gore-Tex recommended)
    • Down jacket or vest
    • Synthetic or wool base layers, underwear, and socks
    • One triple-action locking carabiner or two conventional locking carabiners
    • Repair kit and Leatherman for your equipment (can be shared between several people)
    • Water bottle and 1L of water
    • Thermos with a warm beverage — optional
    • Food you can eat on-the-go
    • First aid kit
    • Sunscreen
    • Daypack large enough to carry all items listed (around a 30-40L backpack)
    • Camera — optional

Can I rent equipment?

All mandatory gear can be rented if you don’t have your own. You can rent:

    • Avalanche safety pack, including backpack, beacon, shovel, and probe from Escape Route
    • Alpine touring or telemark skis, touring boots, and poles can be rented from Escape Route
    • Splitboards can be rented from Escape Route

Your guide has partnered with Escape Route to provide you with rentals at a discounted price. Ski rental locations are in Whistler, BC, and should be picked up the night prior to your outing. If you need to rent gear, let us know and we can help make arrangements.

Group sizes and age requirements

Group sizes and pricing:

  • For these Whistler tours, the max client-to-guide ratio is 6:1. 
  • For the group tours, the cost is per person and it doesn’t decrease as the group grows. It takes a minimum of 3 people for these tours to run.
  • For the private tours, costs per person decrease as the group grows, so it’s the perfect opportunity to tour with friends and family!

Backcountry skiing can be arranged for larger groups. Contact us to make arrangements.

Min. age requirements:

    • If you are older than 18, you’re good to go.
    • Minors may be permitted to join private tours on a case-by-case basis.

If your group has skiers under the age of 18, contact us prior to booking to make arrangements.

Getting there and meeting location

To get to Whistler, BC, most people fly into Vancouver International Airport 1,5 hours away. From there, you can rent a car or take a shuttle service to Whistler.

 

Once you and your Whistler ski guide agree on the details of your itinerary, they will suggest the best place to meet, whether that’s at the Escape Route Alpine Demo Centre in Whistler, BC, or a predetermined location. The guide will choose the appropriate terrain dependent on conditions and the ability of the group.

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Outdoor adventuring makes us fall in love with our planet and people, it gets our brains rewired differently and forces us to rethink our life priorities.

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1% of our sales goes to environmental non-profits
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