The Best Places for Backcountry Skiing in Canada in 2020

Find out the best places to backcountry ski in Canada from the man who famously skied 2 million vertical feet in one year.

Canada is my favorite destination for backcountry skiing in the world. As a pro skier, I’ve skied all over the globe in search of the best powder and nothing beats the quality of snow in Canada, especially in British Columbia and Alberta. I have skied all around here since the ‘90s, and there are still areas that I’ve not even visited, let alone laid my eyes on. And, that’s not to say Eastern Canada doesn’t have its gems. Take it from me, there’s quality powder from coast to coast. Here are the best places to backcountry ski in Canada this winter.

backcountry skiing Canada
The author, ACMG ski guide Greg Hill, has shred powder all over the globe. Here are his picks for the best backcountry spots in Canada.

Discover world-class backcountry skiing at the neighbor to the north

Western Canada — British Columbia, in particular —  is the birthplace of pillow and heli-skiing. British Columbia offers quality powder you’d expect to find in Alaska or Japan but with far easier access. For people looking to go deeper into the backcountry, I always recommend checking out Canada’s fantastic network of hut-based skiing opportunities. The lodging options are world-class, especially in BC. If you need a day of rest, you’ll also find lodging featuring comfort and style near these skiing destinations. Many properties offer guided experiences that are unparalleled.

Without further ado, I rounded up the destinations as my top picks for the best spots to backcountry ski in Canada. You’ll see why you’ll want to check out Blackcomb, discover the Chic Chocs, and learn about powder quality, terrain and accommodations everywhere in between.

British Columbia

1. Rogers Pass

TOP CHOICE FOR PERFECT POWDER
All that famous Selkirk Mountain pow!
Not too crowded, considering how famous it is
Advanced level skiers will be rewarded with challenging runs
Aggressive terrain
Be ready with the challenge to earn every turn
Less options for inexperienced skiers

If you’re trying to decide where to shred this winter, consider Rogers Pass — one of the most iconic backcountry skiing locations in Canada. Expect an unparalleled amount of snow, which combined with a longer than usual season, makes Rogers Pass area a no-brainer. It truly has it all: tree skiing, couloirs, glaciers, you name it. And unlike other destinations in Canada, you’ll find beginner terrain as well as complex, full-mountain terrain.

It’s best if you are able to hike 3300 feet (1000m) to really benefit from the area. Revelstoke is considered by many to have the best backcountry terrain in North America. The powder! There are intense storms, but with less water content. Yup, perfect powder. As always, because of the enormity of the Pass, and its massive potential, ski smart and safe. 

Head to Connaught Creek for the best places to ski in Rogers Pass

The best valley to initially discover in Rogers Pass is the Connaught Creek. The amount of skiing up this valley is mind boggling. Heading to Balu Pass will allow you to wander under multiple incredible couloirs and impressive mountainscapes. Heading up towards 8812 Bowl or Video Peak will ignite the backcountry dreamer in you. Plus, my favorite spots will give you weeks worth of skiing.

…And my ultimate Roger Pass recommendation

The Illecillewaet Glacier is one of my favorite spots with the imposing Sir Donald mountain towers above the skin track. The blue ice of the glacier reminds me of times past. The Illecillewaet Glacier is the oldest studied glacier in North America and is shrinking daily. Heading up to Pearly Rock gives you priceless views and many skiing possibilities. You’ll get up close and personal with an epic piece of Mother Nature. 

What to know before you go 

Since Rogers Pass is located in the Glacier National Park, you will need a national park pass during winter. Areas in the pass can be open or closed depending on the current conditions. You will need a permit to ski in many of the areas. Regular visitors can apply for an annual permit, or get a daily winter permit at the Rogers Pass Information Center. The permit system in place allows rangers to control where skiers are located and the safety of the highway when performing avalanche control.

Rogers Pass has everything I’ve ever wanted as a backcountry skier — big vertical, deep powder and endless opportunity.

“Where to Find The Best Backcountry Skiing in Rogers Pass” by Greg Hill

Read full review

Rogers Pass - Good to Know

Skill level:

Advanced and expert skiers love it here

Terrain:

Couloirs, bowls, tree skiing, alpine — you name it

Elevation:

Consider elevation gains anywhere from 5900’/1800m (7 steps of Paradise) to 3770’/1160m (Perley Rock)

Backcountry access:

Great off-the-road adventures, as well as long valley slogs. Most approaches are longer than usual, but you’ll be rewarded

Snow:

Excellent, dry powder. Extreme weather conditions can close the pass, so plan accordingly

Guidebook:

Rogers Pass: Uptracks, Bootpacks & Bushwacks by Douglas Sproul is a must

Best season:

Late January through mid-March

Getting there

Depending on if you fly to Calgary or Kelowna, you can either stay in Revelstoke or Golden. Both areas are around 43 miles (70km) from the Pass.

British Columbia

2. Revelstoke

BIGGEST VERTICAL DROP
Cat-ski, heli-ski, backcountry ski - any way you ski here, you’ll find the stories are all true
Still not too crowded
The new Stellar Chair lift makes accessibility better for children
Mostly intermediate terrain
Nightlife isn’t as robust as it is in Whistler-Blackcomb

Get ready for the biggest vertical drop in North America at 5,620 feet (1,713m). Not nothing. The quality of the powder,  the relief of the mountains, and the endless skiing are why I chose to make Revelstoke home 20 years ago. The backcountry access off the Revelstoke Mountain Resort (RMR) leads to a variety of unforgettable terrain. I believe most advanced skiers will be stoked on the fantastic glade skiing, steep couloirs and summits. Skiing the south facing trees is another must, and I highly recommend it. Revelstoke is home to many backcountry guides and outfitters, so you can find plenty of options and local support for attaining new objectives. 

Big terrain. Big everything in Revelstoke

Revelstoke features one of the largest areas for off-piste skiing with 3,121 acres to shred. Like Whistler and Blackcomb, there’s great benefit in using RMR lifts to access some stunning backcountry spots. Be aware, all of the backcountry skiing here is for the intermediate and advanced skier. I recommend skiing with a guide or a super experienced partner who knows the terrain.

Revelstoke drops you in the epicenter of backcountry skiing

You’ll find plenty of hotels in and around Revelstoke Mountain Resort. Any one of these accommodations will get you plenty close to getting your day started in the backcountry.

Skiing the south facing trees is fantastic and highly recommended. Revelstoke is home to many backcountry guides and outfits, so there’s plenty of options for getting out and attaining new objectives.

Revelstoke - Good to Know

Skill level:

Mostly terrain for advanced and expert skiers

Terrain:

Glade skiing, big verticals, alpine terrain, bowls, big, bold chute skiing

Elevation:

2225 m (7300 ft). Consider elevation gains anywhere from 5250’/1600m (Mt. Macpherson – Summit via SE Face) to 565’/200m (Door Chutes via RMR Stoke Chair)

Backcountry access:

Good slackcountry access via RMR lifts, other spots require some serious effort

Snow:

The snow quality is excellent

Weather:

The weather here is ideal for powder, because it’s so far inland

Best season:

Dec to mid-April

Getting there

Revelstoke’s nearest airport is in Kelowna, BC (YLW), with about a 2.5-hour drive between the two. Once you’ve arrived, you can rent a car at the airport. Alternatively, you can take a bus or shuttle to the resort. If you’re not able to score a direct flight to Kelowna, consider Vancouver (YVR, 6-hour drive) and Calgary (4.5-hour drive) for transfer points.

British Columbia

3. Whistler Blackcomb

TOP ALL-AROUND SPOT
The expert terrain is gnarly for skilled backcountry skiers
The options for families and children are many and exceptional
Awesome terrain for skilled backcountry skiers
The apres at Whistler Blackcomb is world-class
Mountains can get crowded, especially on the weekends
Poor weather can make the area feel closed in
Expect higher prices, but you are at a iconic destination

Don’t confuse Blackcomb with Whistler! Yes, they’re side by side and practically related, but they’re still two very different mountains. This is where I cut my teeth getting into backcountry skiing, and I learned a lot from these mountains.

Whistler’s backcountry options for beginner and intermediate skiers

Skiers will find a little bit of everything at Whistler. While this ski area is known for its resort, you’ll find ample backcountry opportunities. With plenty of tree skiing and alpine meadows, you’ll find access for all skill levels, including fantastic beginner terrain just beyond the resort boundaries. It’s also worth mentioning that Whistler has stunning views on clear weather days, which makes for awesome bowl skiing. If there’s any precipitation, the area can feel closed in and small. Regardless, it’s an awesome place for beginner to intermediate skiers, with plenty of amenities in the area for downtime.

My favorite Whistler backcountry routes

Flute Backside is where you’ll find laid-back powder skiing. On the east flank of Oboe, you’ll come across The Apostle. Continue on to take in the classic lines at Cowboy Ridge. Here, the runs get a lot less traffic than other popular spots, and you’ll still be back in time for that after-ski beer. If you’re looking for something a little more complex, venture farther east to Fissile Peak and beyond where you’ll be rewarded with challenging, glaciated alpine terrain.  

Whistler Blackcomb skiing
Look forward to high-angled runs and lots, lots more!

Explore expert Blackcomb terrain with the backcountry experts 

Blackcomb’s backcountry access is relatively straightforward, but it gets real, really quickly! You should keep in mind that the terrain is mostly intermediate to advanced. Skilled skiers will find plenty of couloirs, glaciers and other large shredding objectives. 

You should have significant backcountry experience before heading out, or do yourself a favor, and hire a local guide to show you what the mountain has to offer. The terrain is alpine, complex, and very demanding. If you’re heading to this area, Backcountry Skiing Canada has a Whistler Blackcomb backcountry ski map and some additional info to help you plan your trip. 

Whistler ski tours feature backcountry huts and untracked powder

Whistler backcountry ski tours range from day trips to multi-day adventures, and the area is also known for its backcountry huts. You won’t want to miss the Kees and Claire Hut, a new backcountry hut featuring up to 38 bunks. If you’re looking for the best untracked powder in the area, there are plenty of Whistler backcountry ski guides that will get you there, such as Altus Mountain Guides and Whistler Ski Guides

Find ample accommodations for families in Whistler

There’s lots to do in Whistler and just as many places to stay. Be prepared though, accommodations can get pricey. If the resort-side accommodations don’t seem that budget friendly, consider an Airbnb or a backcountry hut tour. If you’re travelling with family, you’ll find everything you need in Whistler Village. There are no shortage of pubs and cool spots to hang out, and check out the Family Apres for the kids. 

The beauty of Whistler is the friendly competition between the two mountains — Whistler and Blackcomb. Yes, they’re side by side and practically related, but they offer very different backcountry skiing.

Whistler Blackcomb - Good to Know

Skill level:

Whistler: Beginner to intermediate skiers; Blackcomb: Intermediate to advanced skiers

Terrain:

Whistler: Tree skiing, couloirs and big alpine bowls; Blackcomb: Alpine and complex, with plenty of steep couloirs and glaciers

Whistler elevation:

Base, 7155’/2181m there’s vertical gains to be had from 590’/180m (Musical Bumps) to 4,593’/1,400m (Fissile)

Blackcomb elevation:

Base, 7,992’ (2,436m) consider vertical gains anywhere from 590’/180m (Disease Ridge) to 3800’/1150m (farther east at the NW face of Mt. Pattison via Blackcomb Glacier)

Backcountry access:

Plenty of lift options, but you really gotta work for the good stuff

Snow:

Plenty of snow, though can be on the wet side due to the maritime climate

Weather:

When weather isn’t ideal on Whistler, Blackcomb has more gladed runs

Guidebook:

Ski and Snowboard Guide to Whistler Blackcomb by Brian Finestone and Kevin Hodder

Best season:

Mid-January through March

Getting there

Transportation to Whistler is simple and well worth the drive. Fly into Vancouver International Airport (YVR). You can rent a car and drive the hour and a half north on the Sea to Sky Highway — one of the most beautiful coastal drives in the world. If you don’t drive, or don’t want to, shuttles to Whistler Blackcomb are direct, reliable and frequent.

British Columbia

4. Duffey Lake Road

TOP SPOT TO DITCH THE CROWDS
Ski powder just off the highway!
Quiet, secluded skiing
Classic, big mountain ski access steps from your car
Skiing off the highway
Route selection can be tricky if you’re new to the area
Out of cell service. Check road conditions before you go

Duffy Lake Road is a backcountry hot spot accessed from Whistler. “The Duffy,” as it’s known to most locals, is super rewarding, not too crowded and well worth the trip. From Whistler, drive north for about an hour and then head east towards Lillooet. You’ll gain 4000 feet on the road alone. You can find ample touring available directly from your car.Because of the proximity of the road to the terrain, you’ll get a pretty good idea of what kind of skiing awaits. 

 Keep in mind, inclement weather and avalanche safety are not to be underestimated here. You should be well-equipped to head onto this road. Note that conditions can get nasty, and there’s not much cell service.

What to know before you go to Duffy Lake

There’s plenty of tree skiing and great access to alpine terrain. Depending on objectives, there’s a great backcountry cabin accessible from this road called Cerise Creek Cabin. Check it out. Plus, there are plenty of options for accommodations in nearby Pemberton and Whistler.

Because of the proximity of the road and the terrain, you’ll get a pretty good idea of what kind of skiing awaits. All you have to do is park your car, pick an objective and head out.

Duffey Lake Road - Good to Know

Skill level:

Intermediate to advanced

Terrain:

Couloir, glaciers, tree skiing, bowls, high angle descents

Elevation:

Consider elevation gains anywhere from 2624’/800m (Rohr Ridge) to 3300’/1000m (Vantage Peak)

Backcountry access:

Drive your car. Park your car. Start your ascent.

Snow:

Duffy Lake is more inland, so the snow quality is excellent

Weather:

Can be difficult and dangerous in whiteout conditions. Plan accordingly

Guidebook:

Here’s a great map offered by Backcountry Skiing Canada

Best season

Mid-January through March

Getting there

You’ll need a car to get to The Duffy, which is a 2.5-hour drive from Vancouver International Airport (YVR). Located between Pemberton and Lillooet, Duffy Lake Road offers secluded ski spots just off road. 

Quebec

5. Chic-Chocs

EASTERN CANADA’S HIDDEN GEM
Remote location!
Stunning backdrop on the Saint Lawerence River
There’s plenty to ski: 25 peaks over 1000m
Location takes some time to get to

While many skiers don’t think of Quebec as a ski touring destination, in the Chic-Choc Mountains, backcountry skiing is as good as it gets in Eastern Canada. With amazing tree skiing, couloirs, and plenty of open glades, it’s an almost-western skiing experience in the east. Access is easy. You’ll find plenty of options for any skill set. Plus, you’ll be greeted by a culture and atmosphere totally unique to other Canadian destinations. 

The Chic-Chocs are worth the trek

The Chic-Chocs are some of the oldest mountains in Canada. With open bowls reminiscent of Colorado, tree glades that share a strikingly similar feel to BC, and snow that can hold its own against the best European spots, Chic-Choc ski touring is a definite must for anyone adventuring on the east coast. The views are truly amazing as they run dead parallel with the St. Lawrence River. This spot is out of the way (a seven-hour drive from Quebec city). The payoff is that Chic-Choc is far less crowded than other top backcountry ski spots. Look in and around Murdochville, Quebec, for places to stay. If you want to make it a truly epic backcountry trip, consider a lodge like the Chic-Choc Mountain Lodge.

While many skiers don’t think of Quebec when they think of backcountry skiing, the Chic Choc Mountains offer the best backcountry in Eastern Canada.

Chic-Chocs - Good to Know

Skill level:

Beginner to advanced, depending on location

Terrain:

Couloirs, glades and trees. Everything, really!

Elevation:

4,160’. Consider 1640’/500m (Vallieres-de-Saint-Real) or 1814’/553m (Mt. Albert)

Backcountry access:

Most runs require some effort, but a couple runs are more forgiving (Mount Lyall)

Best season:

January – March

Snow:

Continental pack. Light and dry

Weather:

Cold and can be a little damp due to proximity to the ocean and St. Lawrence

Chic Chocs guidebook:

Chic Chocs Backcountry Touring Guidebook by Avalanche Quebec

Getting there

This destination is Canada’s hidden gem. The Chic Chocs are located in Gaspé Peninsula, Quebec. Murdochville is about an hour away. Getting there takes some time. It’s a seven-hour drive (more or less) from Quebec City, but skiers who make the trip always say it’s worth the journey. Another option is to take a plane from Quebec City to Mont Joli Airport and rent a car from there.

British Columbia

6. Golden

EXCELLENT CHOICE FOR EXPERT AND ADVANCED SKIERS
Amazing terrain with easy access for expert and advanced skiers
Snowpack is deep and reliable
Amazing hut system for exploring all that Selkirk powder
Not as family friendly as some other locations
Nightlife and apres isn’t as lively as other locations
Less snowfall than Revelstoke and Rogers Pass

Located in Southeastern British Columbia’s Selkirk Mountains, Golden backcountry features access from Kicking Horse Mountain Resort. The area is mostly complex with alpine skiing. Although access is somewhat easy, the terrain and snowpack are serious and must be respected. You’ll discover some glade skiing, along with pillow lines and just about anything else you can anticipate. Golden sees slightly less snowfall than Revelstoke and Rogers Pass, but there’s less people too. All that space makes it an awesome spot to spend your time. 

Accommodations in Golden

There’s anything and everything in Golden to suit a variety of tastes. You just need to find what fits your needs and budget. Many skiers make the journey here during the high season, so there’s an abundance of accommodation options from fancy hotels to secluded lodges. You can also enjoy awesome hut-based skiing available here, depending on how you’re looking to spend your downtime.

Golden - Good to Know

Skill level:

Suited to advanced skiers

Terrain:

Deep chutes, big bowls, some tree skiing

Elevation:

Consider elevation gains anywhere from 1,640’ from G7 Corner (Reudi’s Ridge South) to 492’ (Ozone)

Backcountry access:

Easy from Kicking Horse Mountain Resort. Get a quick gondola boost to a serious 7545’

Snow:

Excellent dry, light powder

Weather:

With not too many off days, it’s kinda perfect

Best season:

Late January through early March

Getting there

There is the Golden Municipal Airport, but it has some aircraft restrictions. Most travelers will opt for flying into Calgary International Airport (YYC), which is about a 3-hour drive. Golden is a well known ski destination, so you’ll have many options to get from the airport to your hotel or rental.

Alberta

7. Sunshine Village

BEST POWDER NEAR BANFF
Widely considered to have the best powder in the Banff area
Serious skiing and steep angles
Great place for family skiing
Night life could be livelier
Opening dates might vary

Sunshine Village is famous for possessing Canada’s best snow, as well as three mountains each offering varied terrain. The Sunshine Village Ski Resort has some beginner terrain, but advanced skiers won’t want to miss Delirium Dive. The Dive is a controlled backcountry area in Alberta’s Banff National Park. You’ll discover serious skiing and steep angles. With plenty of alpine terrain in this zone, it is a great place for advanced skiers to test their mettle in the backcountry. Depending on the season, opening dates are subject to the resorts careful discretion. You gotta be sure to bring all your avy gear and a skiing partner too. It’ll be worth it.

Where to stay in Sunshine Village

Canadian lodges are most popular among guests, but you can choose from plenty of hotels and apartments, too.

With plenty of alpine terrain this zone is a great place for advanced skiers to test their mettle.

Sunshine Village - Good to Know

Skill level:

Intermediate to expert

Terrain:

Tree skiing, couloirs, steeps, cliffs, chutes

Elevation:

8,960’ a couple runs include 689’/210m (Rock Isle Lake Area) or 2,264’/690m (Delirium Dive)

Backcountry access:

Solid access from the resort

Snow:

Continental pack. Light and dry

Weather:

It’s definitely colder here. And snow keeps much longer after a storm

Guidebook:

Check out this Lake Louise, Sunshine and Banff Ski Touring Guide from Backcountry Canada

Best season:

February through April

Getting there

Calgary is your best bet, from there you can rent a car or take a bus or shuttle to Banff. Just like Lake Louise, you head west from there for about a half hour, where you’ll find tons of great advanced, off-piste skiing options. 

Alberta

8. Icefields Parkway

TOP CHOICE FOR SKIING RIGHT OFF THE HIGHWAY
No crowds (it's miles and miles of highway after all)
The highway makes for awesome access
Road conditions can be tough!
Have a backup plan in case of a whiteout
Sleepy apres scene

The Icefields Parkway, known as Highway 93 to most, links Lake Louise and Jasper, with Banff and Jasper National Parks at either end. You’ll find a continental snowpack here with solid skiing between January and May. This area boasts endless backcountry options whether you’re looking for tree skiing or huge alpine descents.

Plenty of eye-catching lines between Banff and Jasper

Either way, if you’re traveling between Banff and Jasper, you may find some lines to distract you mid-journey. Always be sure to be mindful of the weather and avalanche reports. Road conditions can be also tough, so check with the weather service before you go!

Accommodation and lodging 

There are just a handful of lodges along the Parkway. Consider accommodations in Jasper or Lake Louise. Then, plan your day trips accordingly.

The alpine terrain is definitely worth seeking out, but because of the complexity of the terrain and snow, you’ve got to be patient and carefully pick your lines.

Icefields Parkway - Good to Know

Skill level:

Intermediate to advanced

Terrain:

Depending your destination, there’s a bit of everything

Elevation:

6,788’ Depends on destination

Backcountry access:

All done the old fashioned way. Drive. Park. Skin to ski

Snow:

Light and dry

Weather:

The season is good, but colder than other hotspots

Guidebook:

Confessions of a Ski Bum: The Icefields Parkway Lake Louise to Bow Summit by Marcus Baranow

Best season:

Mid-December through April

Getting there

The Icefields are also known as Highway 93, and this parkway stretches 143 miles (230km) from Lake Louise to Jasper. Lake Louise is 40 minutes west of Banff and a little over 2-hour drive to Calgary International Airport (YYC). Highway 93.

Alberta

9. Lake Louise

TOP CHOICE FOR ALPINE BOWLS
Awesome for families as Banff National Park has tons to explore
Tricky, but rewarding terrain
Back bowls that go on and on and on
Doesn’t get a ton of powder
Sleepy apres scene

The backcountry access off the ski hill at Lake Louise Ski Resort is good but not extensive. You’ll find some tree skiing and plenty of alpine bowls, which is mostly what Lake Louise is known for. The alpine terrain is definitely worth seeking out. Because of the complexity of the terrain and snow, you’ve got to be patient and carefully pick your lines. The area has a continental snowpack that really depends on the season. I’ve always thought it best between February and April. You’ll also be able to select from plenty of cozy lodges and hotels outside of Banff National Park.

The alpine terrain is definitely worth seeking out, but because of the complexity of the terrain and snow, you’ve got to be patient and carefully pick your lines.

Lake Louise - Good to Know

Skill level:

Suited to advanced skiers, but there are options for all

Terrain:

Bowls for days, open slopes, tree glades

Elevation:

8,650’ Consider elevation gains anywhere from 3,117’ (Redoubt Bowl) to 2,461’ (Surprise Pass)

Backcountry access:

There’s lift access from the resort for skiing out

Snow:

Not the most quantity, but the powder is light and dry

Weather:

The season is good, but colder than other hotspots

Guidebook:

Not a book, but an awesome Backcountry Skiing Canada map!

Best season:

February through mid-April

Getting there

The closest town is Banff but most skiers travel from Calgary. Lake Louise is a well known ski destination, so you don’t have to rent a car at the airport (unless you want to, of course). You’ll find plenty of busses and shuttles, but if you do rent a car you’ll be able to explore other off-piste destinations like the Icefields. 

Alberta

10. Kananaskis Country

AWESOME SKIING FOR ADVANCED SKIERS
All those cars at the park entrance are mostly snowshoers
Wildlife! Keep your eyes open
Awesome skiing close to Calgary
Takes a little longer to get into the solitude of the backcountry

Welcome to Kananaskis Country — or K-Country — the closest backcountry skiing area to Calgary! You’ll find a wide variety of everything here from beginner to advanced, tree skiing to alpine bowls and mountain tops. And, the routes here are long. While it’s awesome to have skiing this close to Calgary, it takes a little longer to get into the solitude of the Kananaskis backcountry.

Peter Lougheed Provincial Park is located within the expansive Kananaskis area, just an hour and half west of Calgary and even closer to Canmore. It’s the perfect option for those looking to travel not that far. Keep in mind, Burstall North Pass is one of the shortest tours in the area, and consequently one of the busiest. It has a couple of options for routes.

Kananaskis accommodations 

Lodges are more popular than hotels in this area, so consider one and treat yourself to a private and cozy accommodation. There’s also plenty of top notch hotels in nearby Calgary.

You’ll find a wide variety of everything here, from beginner to advanced form tree skiing to alpine bowls and mountain tops.

Kananaskis Country - Good to Know

Skill level:

Intermediate to advanced

Terrain:

Glaciers, glades and trees, everything depending on destination

Elevation:

A couple runs include 900m/2952’ (French Glacier) or 548m/1800’ (Black Prince)

Backcountry access:

Most runs require a good hike, bootpack or skin

Snow:

Continental pack. Light and dry

Weather:

Cold, but the snowpack is what to look out for, not the storms

Guidebook:

Summits and Icefields 1 by Chic Scott and Mark Klassen

Best season:

February through April

Getting there

Calgary. All the way. From there, rent a car and you can be skiing before you know it.

British Columbia

11. Whitewater Ski Resort

TOP CHOICE FOR LIFT ACCESS BACKCOUNTRY
Laid back vibe and awesome value
Amazing tree skiing with 39 feet of snowfall annually. Need I say more?
Old school and no frills, which is oddly endearing!
Even with its epic powder, the crowds aren’t bad. At all.
Its laid back vibe may not be for everyone
Must obey strict backcountry rules

The Whitewater Ski Resort is just outside of Nelson, BC. Whitewater offers solid access to beginner and advanced terrain, all via lift access just outside of the resort. Here, you’ll find lots of tree skiing, burnt trees, and alpine features. It should be noted for those of you venturing out here that strict backcountry rules in place. Be aware and considerate when exploring the area. This particular region of the Selkirks boasts significant amounts of cold, dry snow. Even with its epic powder, the crowds aren’t bad — at all.

Whitewater Ski Resort accommodations

Accommodations in Whitewater are plentiful, although perhaps not as involved as others on this list. Regardless, there are creature comforts to be had on any budget.

The Whitewater Ski Resort just outside of Nelson, BC, offers solid access to beginner and advanced terrain, all via lift just outside of the resort.

Whitewater Ski Resort - Good to Know

Skill level:

Mostly suited to advanced skiers but options available for all

Terrain:

Tree skiing, alpine terrain, plenty of powder skiing

Elevation:

6,709’/2,045m consider elevation gains anywhere from 2200’/670m (First Choice) to 1300’/396m (Acidophilus)

Backcountry access:

Solid slackcountry access from the resort

Snow:

Excellent dry, powder

Weather:

Not too many off days here

Guidebook:

backcountryskiingcanada.com has a great map!

Best season:

Mid-January through early March

Getting there

Fly into either Vancouver or Calgary, then get a connecting flight to Cranbrook (YXC). Once you get to Cranbrook, plan on renting a car because shuttle service to Whitewater is minimal. If you don’t fly to Cranbrook, rent a car from the airport and make the journey. You need good driving skills though, it can be a challenging trek in winter conditions.

About the author

Greg Hill

Greg Hill

ACMG Ski Guide extraordinaire and emission free adventurer

Greg Hill is known far and wide for incredible first ascents and all around skiing prowess. He’s also a good friend of 57hours. His on mountain accomplishments are too many to list here, but he’s been known for skiing the odd 2,000,000’ in 2010; he skied 50,000’ in 24hrs because he can. Oh, yeah, he also climbed and skied 100km in the month of March, 2014. Not too shabby. Of late, Greg’s changing the world one adventure at a time with his Chevy Volt. Zero emission skiing and adventure.

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