Intro to Backcountry Ski Touring
Looking to take your skiing out of resort and get your first real taste of the backcountry? This action-packed week will introduce you to basic avalanche rescue, have you mastering kick-turns, and skiing the freshest lines in some of the finest backcountry terrain in the world. All topped off with 3 days at a heli-accessed remote backcountry lodge.
This trip is for the resort powder skier looking to turn it up to the next level. Starting in the backcountry powder mecca of Whistler BC and moving to a remote backcountry lodge, this trip will change your skiing game forever.
Over 7 days of skiing, you will go from backcountry beginner to seasoned ski tourer under the guidance of professional ACMG ski guides and in the company of your fellow crew of 8 – who will all be in the same boat. Starting off in Whistler, you'll have a warm-up day in resort with your guide to get your ski legs going, before two introductory ski touring days in Whistler's backcountry. Take a ski day at leisure, or choose to spend the day getting pampered, before heading into the remote backcountry for the ultimate Canadian experience. You'll fly out to McGillivray Pass Lodge by helicopter, over sparkling lakes and thick forests, before landing in the peaceful valley surrounded by nothing but snow. Spend three days touring backcountry bowls, skiing fresh lines and tucking into incredible food – an and for those looking to unwind there's a wood-burning sauna waiting for you at the end of the day.
Flying into Vancouver, the skiing starts in Mabey Ski's hometown of Whistler, BC – 1.5 hours north of Vancouver. After 5 nights in Whistler you will be transferred 1.5 hours north of Whistler where you'll take a private helicopter into the remote and magical McGillivray Pass for your final 4 days.
We have created this new backcountry trip for skiers and snowboarders comfortable on black runs in varied conditions that are looking to start ski touring. A basic level of fitness is required, but you don't need to be superman!
This trip will run from 4 – 12 April, 2022.
Arriving into Vancouver International Airport, you will be picked up and driven to Whistler whilst soaking in the mind-blowing scenery of the aptly named Sea-to-Sky Highway. Check into Nita Lake Lodge for 5 nights, our favourite place to unwind and rest your head after a day of skiing with chilled après, the best spa in town and set on the beautoful Nita Lake. Time to kick off the week properly with team drinks and dinner, ready for the days ahead.
On your first full day, your guide will meet you after breakfast and introduce you to the secret powder stashes of Whistler Blackcomb’s resort and spend the day easing your ski legs back into the swing of things. Back to the hotel with the crew to showcase the best photos and cheers to a warm up day well spent.
You’ll spend the next day learning the ins and outs of backcountry ski touring; avalanche safety, how to put on skins and ascend the mountain safely and efficiently. Most importantly, you’ll be doing this whilst skiing some of the best terrain in the world under the experienced eyes of local ACMG ski guides. We guarantee this will be the most fun you’ve ever had on an educational day – how many work seminars have you been to that take place on the side of a mountain and end with skiing untouched powder?
The following day will be a guided day in the backcountry, accessed either from the side of Whistler Blackcomb resort or driving to a different local area – depending on where has the best conditions – where you’ll put your new skills into action.
We’ll debrief at the end of each day by the fire with a drink in hand and take the all-important vote on ‘jerry of the day’.
Tak a day at leisure – choose to explore Whistler Blackcomb a little further on skis, or perhaps you’d prefer to unwind with a massage and spend the afternoon by the heated pool looking out over Nita Lake. We’ll re-group at the end of the day to discuss the logistics for the following day, but this day is yours to enjoy as you please.
With an early alarm set, you can leave any luggage in secure storage at Mabey Ski HQ, before we make our way up to Pemberton, a small and vibrant mountain community north of Whistler. Here you will take a private helicopter to the lodge – this will feel more like a spectacular sightseeing tour than a transfer – but on this trip there is no option but to arrive in style. Freshly made snacks and gourmet sandwiches will be ready on arrival, and your host will show you around and let you get familiar with your new cozy cabin.
After an avalanche rescue refresher, it’s time to strap on your skis for an afternoon of ski touring – there’s no hanging around here. Spend the afternoon skiing laps of your new “backyard” before tucking into home-made appetizers and pouring yourself a beer from the honesty bar back at the lodge. Chill out in the cozy living area by the fire, head to the sauna to loosen up your muscles or sit outside on one of the deckchairs watching the sun go down. Soon it will be time for round 2 – an incredible home-cooked meal followed by dessert to make sure you’re fully refuelled for the day ahead. Time to hit the hay in your basic-but-cozy backcountry sleeping quarters.
After waking up in the tranquil paradise of BC’s backcountry the smell of breakfast, freshly prepared by your in-house chef, lures you into the main lodge. Your guide takes you through the plan for the day and does a last-minute gear check. Time for a quick stretch to limber up before heading out into the magnificent peaks surrounding your new home. These next 2 days will likely be the highlight of your trip (or perhaps your entire ski experience to date) – you will explore some of the best and most beautiful backcountry terrain BC has to offer, and ski and tour nothing but untracked powder all day, under the safe and watchful eye of your professional ACMG guide.
We’ll organise a wine tasting evening to showcase some of British Columbia’s incredible wines (one of BC’s many well-kept secrets) and local brews will be available on tap from the honesty bar. The wood-burning sauna is the icing on the cake at this lodge and goes rather nicely with a roll around in the abundant fresh powder outside.
The food at the lodge is a real highlight – we guarantee you’ll be wanting to recreate some of these recipes at home and will hotly anticipate seeing what new creations have been thrown up on the chalkboard menu of the day. With a private chef, the lodge can of course cater to any dietary requirements you may have. Time to sit back and enjoy your final meal of the week over wine and local craft beers, sharing highlights of the week with your crew.
On the final morning you’ll hear the chopper bearing into the lodge to fly you out over the spectacular mountains below and back to Whistler to collect the rest of your luggage. It’s time to head back home, but you’ll be taking some of the best memories in your ski career with you, and a new-found love for the backcountry.
Starting at CAD$5,00 per person
Included for this price:
- 5 nights at Nita Lake Lodge
- 3 nights at McGillivray Pass Lodge
- Private helicopter transfers to/from the lodge
- 1 day in-resort guiding with professional AMCG guide
- 2 days’ backcountry guiding with professional AMCG guide from Whistler
- 3 days’ backcountry guiding with professional AMCG guide from McGillivray Pass Lodge
- Drinks reception and welcome dinner in Whistler
- Daily breakfast
- Packed lunch and dinner whilst at the lodge
- BC wine tasting
- 3-day lift pass for Whistler Blackcomb
The following are not included, but can be added on at an additional cost:
- Transfers to and from Whistler/Vancouver
- Touring setup (skis/splitboard, skins & poles), tech boots, avalanche safety equipment (transceiver, shovel & probe) and day-packs
- Additional days in Vancouver or Whistler
- Additional lift pass days
- Sleeping bag for 3 nights at McGillivray Pass Lodge
Legal: The McGillivray Pass Lodge portion of this trip is operated in partnership with crown land tenure holder Whitecap Alpine Adventures Ltd.
All backcountry guiding is provided by professional certified ski guides.