Top reasons to ski mountaineer in the Coast Mountains
Develop a wide ski mountaineering skillset in BC’s diverse terrain
Some of the finest objectives in the range are easily approachable by road
Learn the fundamentals of ski mountaineering in Canada’s breathtaking Coast Mountains
Endless glacier runs, bone-chilling couloirs, and deep and inviting powder are just a few reasons to take your ski mountaineering baby steps in the Coast Mountains. This massive mountain range, extending from southwestern Yukon along British Columbia’s coastline, houses some of Canada’s most iconic backcountry objectives. The abundance of challenging and varied terrain, excellent slope accessibility, and otherworldly vistas make this mountain range the ideal setting for your first foray into the world of ski mountaineering. And once you get a good grasp of the basics, let loose on British Columbia’s challenging descents and engaging traverses across massive icefields. There’s plenty of fun possibilities in the Coast Mountains’ backcountry—grab your skis and come see for yourself!
December through April
Vancouver, BC, is 3 hours away
Intermediate to advanced
Choose how you spend your days:
Group Ski Mountaineering Course in the Coast Mountains
This fast-paced two-day ski mountaineering course is just what you need to take your backcountry skills to the next level! Master ski mountaineering fundamentals, such as belaying and rappelling, objective selection, and alpine hazard evaluation, with the help of expert ACMG-certified instructors. And when the basics sink in, test your newfound knowledge in British Columbia’s intricate terrain and monumental peaks!
Private Ski Mountaineering Course in the Coast Mountains
This private ski mountaineering course lets you jump into the world of ski mountaineering with your friends and family. Kick off the course with an intensive skills day, with your experienced ACMG-certified instructor introducing you to the basics of ski mountaineering. And on day 2, put these skills to the test with a full day of ski mountaineering in the magnificent Coast Mountains!
Itinerary and learning outcomes
Day 1: Intro to ski mountaineering
Meet your guide at 7:15 am next to the Pemberton Visitor Centre. After a discussion about the weather, avalanche conditions, and the day’s objectives, you’ll undergo an equipment check before heading to the mountain. After a full day of learning ski mountaineering tricks and techniques, end the day with a debrief at approximately 4:30 pm. Learn about creating a ski mountaineering route plan and take part in a discussion on tomorrow’s weather, avalanche forecasts, and mountain conditions.
Day 2: Another field day
You will once again meet your guide at the Pemberton Visitor Centre at 7:15 am. After another discussion and equipment check, it’s time for a second day in the mountain. Take the chance to practice the skills you’ve learned yesterday before wrapping the tour up at 4:30 pm with a debrief of the day, a course debrief, and a Q&A session. Your guide will leave you with some advice on how to continue your ski mountaineering education.
As part of this course, you will cover several crucial topics pertaining to safe and efficient ski mountaineering, such as:
- Ski mountaineering equipment
- Belaying and rappelling, anchors
- Ski mountaineering objectives
- Glacier travel & alpine hazard evaluation
- Survival skiing techniques
Meet your guide
Mountain Skills Academy
ACMG/IFMGA Certified Guides
I participated in the two-days Intro to Mountaineering course and I loved it. We were a small group of three people and being lucky with the weather, we enjoyed the full attention of our guide, who shared his knowledge and skills that we could put into practice the very next day. It is the best and safest way to enter the mountaineering world. Totally recommend!
Over December I spent 3 weekends with MSAA doing some training for ski mountaineering: AST1 followed by a multi weekend Super Ski Course (Crevasse Rescue/Ski Mountaineering). Itineraries were sent out well in advance, the guides were very knowledgeable and experienced and provided awesome tips and tricks. Conditions on the mountain were horrible (strong winds, blizzards) but the guides changed their plan based on conditions. Good service all around and well worth it. Much recommended and reputable company.
Overall the class was great. I just wanted to give a shoutout to my instructor, Chloe. She was very focused on the class, constantly checking over her shoulder to make sure everyone was keeping pace. I even saw her carry one student’s skis when she couldn’t make it up a steeper part of the run and helped that student transition back-and-forth from skins to skis each time we made a transition.
Things to know
Covid measures in the Coast Mountains, 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 the Coast Mountains, 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 you get in this adventure:
- An experienced, certified ski guide with extensive knowledge of the area
- Two full days of backcountry ski mountaineering lessons and fieldwork
What’s not included:
- Technical backcountry ski touring and crevasse rescue equipment
- Food and snacks
- Lift tickets (available for purchase at Whistler Blackcomb resort’s official website)
How fit do I need to be?
In order to enjoy this backcountry adventure, you need to have an advanced level of fitness and backcountry skiing experience. The terrain in Wasatch will be quite steep, ungroomed, and treed. All participants should feel comfortable on challenging black-level resort runs and be able to carry a loaded daypack while hiking uphill for 4000-6000 vertical feet every day.
What if I’ve never ski mountaineered before?
This adventure is best suited for advanced skiers with previous backcountry skiing and riding experience who have already completed their AST Level 1 avalanche course. In order to keep up with your guide’s pace, you should be comfortable hiking uphill for 4000-6000 vertical feet every day and navigating steep, ungroomed, and treed terrain. If you are not experienced in the backcountry, we recommend checking out these beginner-friendly backcountry ski tours in the Canadian Rockies.
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)
- Ski crampons — optional and condition-dependent (can be rented)
- Mountaineering ax (can be rented)
- Personal prussik — optional
- Ice screw (22cm) — optional
- Ski touring rope (50m) — optional
- Minimal alpine rock rack — optional
- Avalanche safety equipment (can be rented):
- Digital, 3-antenna avalanche transceiver or beacon
- Lightweight snow shovel
- Avalanche probe
- Crevasse rescue kit (can be rented):
- Three locking carabiners and four non-locking carabiners
- Double length sling
- Two 5m (7mm) prussiks
- Auto-block device
For personal items, we recommend bringing:
- Sunglasses or ski goggles
- Two pairs of gloves
- Warm hat
- Balaclava or neck tube — optional
- 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
- 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 with blister kit
- Glop stopper — optional
- Ski scraper
- 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 can be rented from Escape Route
- Crevasse rescue kit and harness can be rented from your guide.
- Mountaineering ax can be rented 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 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
- For the group course, the usual guest-to-guide ratio is 6:1. Cost is per person and it doesn’t decrease as the group grows.
- For the private course, the max client to guide ratio is 6:1. Costs per person decrease as the group grows, so it’s the perfect opportunity to climb with friends and family.
- These courses are subject to a minimum number of participants. Your guide will give you a 48-hour notice if the minimum number has not been reached.
Ski mountaineering group courses in the Coast Mountains can be arranged for larger groups. Contact us to make arrangements.
Min. age requirements:
- If you are older than 19, you’re good to go.
- Eighteen-year-olds and minors may be permitted to join private tours on a case-by-case basis.
If your group has skiers under the age of 19, contact us prior to booking to make arrangements.
Cancellations made within 10 days prior to the course departure will forfeit 100% of tuition price. If you cancel the booking more than 10 days in advance, the guide will keep a $75 rescheduling and refunding fee.
Getting there and meeting location
To get to the tour in the Coast Mountains, most people fly into Vancouver International Airport 3 hours away. From there, you can rent a car or take a bus to Pemberton, BC, the starting point of the tour.
Once you and your guide agree on the details of your itinerary, your guide will suggest the best place to meet, which will usually be near the Pemberton Visitor Centre in Pemberton. The guide will choose the appropriate terrain dependent on conditions and the ability of the group.