Break away from the crowds, free yourself from lift-lines and step into Whistler’s Back-Country. Imagine the feeling of hundreds and thousands of acres of wilderness sprawling before you. Whistler’s Back-Country is high alpine terrain featuring glaciers, frozen lakes, rivers, bowls and gladed valleys all ready to be explored. With some of the most abundant snow fall in the world, here are 5 ways to sink your skis (or shoes) into Whistler’s Back-Country.
Spend a day or a week touring through the backwoods of Whistler. Take the lifts to the top of Whistler Blackcomb and enter the snow fields of Garibaldi Provincial Park. Intermediates will enjoy areas around Black Tusk and Garibaldi Lake and experts will relish in the more challenging routes such as the McBride Range. Two popular tours are the Spearhead Traverse and the Garibaldi Neve Traverse. Both can be done in 3-5 days with stops at alpine huts along the way. The Callaghan Valley and is another great spot to access blissful back-country terrain.
Did you know 90 percent of the world’s heli-skiing is done in British Columbia, much of that around Whistler? And there’s a pretty good reason for it. Nowhere else in the world can you find such expansive mountain ranges veiled with such abundant snowfall year-round. Imagine terrain over 100 times the size of Whistler Blackcomb but with only 50 skiers on average a day? It gives a new meaning to first-tracks. Heli-skiing is the ultimate ski and snowboard experience and is something that must be experienced once in a lifetime (at least). Blackcomb Aviation has been offering heli-skiing tours out of Whistler since 1989 and is a great option for your Whistler Back-Country heli-skiing adventure.
Snow shoeing is a fabulous way to explore the winter wonderland that is Whistler. There are numerous trails around Whistler that are great for snow-shoeing, many of which hardly get tread. The Flank Trail runs the length of Whistler Valley and is usually best tackled in small chunks. The Sea to Sky Trail is 33 kilometers long and runs between Brandywine Falls Provincial Park and just north of Green Lake. The Parkhurst Ghost town is a fascinating part of the Sea to Sky Trail situated along the far side of Green Lake. The Train Wreck next to Cheakamus River near Function Junction as well as the Whistler Bungee trail are great for all levels of snow-shoers.
How about some horse-power to throttle your journey into unchartered terrain? Snow-mobiling through Whistler’s Back-Country is an adrenaline packed way to navigate the acres of off-piste powder on the extremities of Whistler Blackcomb. Canadian Wilderness Adventures offers full day tours of the Callaghan Valley through giant old growth forests, open meadows and vast snowfields. The Pemberton Icefields, only 20 minutes north of Whistler, is a snow-mobilers paradise and features a collection of glaciers a world-away from it all.
Cross Country Skiing
The Callaghan Valley, just south of Whistler, is the perfect cross country ski destination. The Callaghan features 130 kilometers of terrain to explore in the form of groomed runs, and wilderness back-country trails. Venture away from civilization to boutique lodges and cabins nestled in the back-country and accessible via cross-country ski or snow shoe. Feel worlds away from it all, surrounded by some of the most stunning mountain vistas imaginable.
Inspired to push your limits, ditch the crowds and venture into the back-country surrounding Whistler? Why not pick one of these ways to experience Whistler’s Back-Country and try it this year? Make sure while you are in Whistler to get your hands on a Whistler Adventure Passport. Your ultimate travel companion and ticket to great discounts on Whistler tours, attractions, dining and retail.