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People
1 Person
Date(s)
--
Duration
1 day
Guide(s)
Jeff Bullock, Alpine Air Adventures
  • For skiers of all levels, the Icefields Parkway is a 230-km-treasure trove of amazing ski touring opportunities. There’s rarely a winter day where you can’t find great powder skiing somewhere along its length. Let your guide introduce you to the magic of backcountry skiing as well as the best spots and peaks where you can easily become a true alpine adventurer. Learn to have fun on the snow while others keep you safe at all times in the Icefields backcountry!

    • What you get in this adventure:

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

      What’s not included:

      • Technical backcountry ski touring equipment
      • Trip insurance
      • Transportation and lodging
      • Food and meals
      • Fees for Banff or Japer National Park areas (entry and service fee)
    • In order to enjoy this backcountry adventure, you need to have a moderate level of fitness. You will be on your feet for a full day. You will need to manage controlled descents in variable conditions. All participants should feel comfortable on blue level resort runs and be able to carry a loaded daypack while skinning up variable degrees of terrain.

    • Backcountry skiing isn’t just for pros looking for the ultimate thrill ride. However, if you’ve never backcountry skied before, this terrain might not be the best for you as it requires certain skills. If you are an intermediate backcountry skier, heading out with a guide is your best bet. They’ll take care of the planning and teach you how to manage the terrain. They also have the experience and avalanche training to keep you safe.

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

      Ski rental locations are Ultimate Banff in Banff, AB, and GearUp Mountain Sports in Canmore, AB, 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.

    • Your backcountry ski tour will be fully customized to match your skill level and objectives. You and your guide will discuss route selection, skills development, and whatever else you’d like to focus on. From there, your guide will plan the perfect day tailored just for you taking into consideration factors such as weather and snow conditions.

      Depending on your objectives, full days may start earlier and end later, but in general, your day will look like this:

        • 8:00 am: Meet your guide at the guide’s recommended location
        • 8:30 am: Head to the location of your backcountry ski tour
        • 9:00 am – 3:30 pm: Gear up, go over safety considerations, and spend the day backcountry skiing on routes selected to best suit your group, stopping for lunch and breaks as needed
        • 3:30 pm: Back to the cars for debriefing and high fives
      • Everybody over the age of 18 is welcome to book this backcountry skiing adventure.
      • Minors may be permitted to join private tours on a case-by-case basis. If you plan to ski with anyone under the age of 18, please contact us prior to booking to make arrangements.
    • For this adventure, the max client to guide ratio is 6:1.

      The cost per person decreases as the group grows, so it’s the perfect opportunity to backcountry ski with friends and family.

      Ski touring in Icefields Parkway can be arranged for larger groups. Contact us to make arrangements.

    • Mitigating avalanche risk is paramount for any excursion in the backcountry — that’s why it’s best to tour with a guide! Rest assured, your guide will set objectives that are attainable for the weather conditions on that particular day. Of course, inclement weather can always get in the way of backcountry skiing, but your guide will know the best course of action to take if the weather takes a turn.

      On the rare occasion of truly bad weather, your guide will present you with suitable, safe alternatives. The most common practice is to move to a nearby location if it exists, or to reschedule your backcountry ski tour to a more favorable day.

      If backcountry skiing is not possible on your scheduled day and no options presented are viable, you will be issued a full refund.

    • We highly recommended that you cover all your bases with both emergency medical and travel insurance. With medical insurance, if you have an accident or medical emergency on or off the mountain, you’ll avoid paying out of pocket for costly expenses. This covers everything from hospital treatments to emergency air transportation and more.

      As we’ve recently seen, travel plans can be abruptly halted, so it’s a good idea to purchase travel insurance that covers cancelled flights, natural disasters and other scenarios that may interrupt your travel plans. For peace of mind, we suggest you consider both options of insurance.

      If you need assistance selecting the right insurance for your group, let us know and we will be happy to help!

    • To get to Icefields Parkway most people fly into Calgary International Airport or Edmonton International Airport depending on which side of the Parkway they plan on visiting. The Icefields Parkway is a 50-minute drive west of Banff, 2.5 hours away from Calgary along the Trans-Canada Highway 1, and 3.5 hours west of Edmonton along the Yellowhead Highway 16. The Icefields Parkway is also known as Highway 93. The Highway travels through Banff National Park for 122 kilometres. The rest of the Icefields Parkway stretches north for a total of 230 km, including the Columbia Icefield, situated near Jasper National Park, AB.

      Once you and your guide agree on the details of your itinerary, your guide will suggest the best place to meet, whether that’s at the guide shop or a predetermined location. From there, you’ll head to your tour. The guide will choose the appropriate terrain dependent on conditions and the ski ability of the group.

    • 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, guides and the communities they’re travelling to. For more information on COVID-19 measures in Icefields Parkway, please refer to the official Government of Alberta 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!

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