Ski Tours around Whistler, BC
The backcountry skiing near Whistler and Blackcomb is among some of the finest ski touring in the world, ranging from open bowls and gladed tree runs, to seemingly endless glaciers and big north face alpine features. Here are a few of the classic backcountry ski areas, but keep in mind that this is big country and each of these ski touring destinations can provide an endless variety of ski runs all season long, from deep winter powder to excellent spring corn into May.
(suitable for all levels of ski ability and fitness)
The skiing here never ceases to amaze, with so many hidden stashes that even veteran locals get surprised with the runs they have never skied before! All the ski tours here are in Garibaldi Provincial Park, accessed from Whistler Mountain's lifts. These series of "Musical" peaks - Piccolo, Flute and Oboe - provide mainly north-facing bowls and gladed tree skiing. Starting with a hike up Flute, you will choose the best ski line down in to Oboe Basin, skiing 300m (1,000') as a warm up run. Skinning up the pleasant up-track through the glades to Oboe Summit allows you time to scope out the next run down from Oboe Summit. Repeat as necessary, until the sun is getting low, then a quick traverse back into the ski area gets you one final descent down the groomers into the Village.
(suitable for advanced skiers; excellent fitness required)
Fissile Peak dominates the skyline from the Whistler lifts and throughout the Musical Bumps. The North Face sports many classic big-mountain ski lines - Banana Chute, the Elevator Shaft and Saddle Chute among others. These are not for the faint of heart, requiring a long approach of at least 3+ hours of skinning to just gain the ridge crest, as well as a substantial amount of boot packing up the final steep slopes. The reward is well worth the effort though - the skiing off the north side is steep and sustained at 45 degrees or more, with runs up to 600m (2,000')!
As big mountain skiing goes, Fissile provides some of the finest to be had in the Whistler region, if conditions permit.
(suitable for intermediate or better skiers; good fitness required)
Boasting such classics as "9th Hole" and the "Finger Chutes", the ski runs off of Decker offer some of the best and most accessible backcountry skiing on the Blackcomb Mountain side of the valley. Whether you are looking for steep chutes off of the West Ridge or the big glacier ski runs on the north side, you will find some fine big mountain adrenaline! Access is up the Blackcomb Glacier through the East Col, or via the south side traverse from 7th Heaven.
(1 to 3 days; suitable for intermediate or better skiers; good fitness required)
The "Spearhead Traverse" from Blackcomb to Whistler is a classic West Coast backcountry ski tour for good reason. Often compared favourably with the Haute Route in the European Alps, this adventure starts at the top of Blackcomb Mountain as you head out through the East Col and into the Spearhead Range. Crossing 12 glaciers and staying above 2,000m (6,600') you will travel through some incredible terrain before you come out through the Musical Bumps and back to Whistler. While this can be done in one-day, a multi-day trip of 2-3 days allows you to fully enjoy the experience and get to ski a few of the glaciers and climb some of the summits along the way!