Once upon a time, information about ski touring in the Canadian Rockies was treated like gold to be hoarded by the grizzled few brave enough to face wallowing in facets and -30C temperatures for those sweet few hundred meters of bullet hard wind slab. Stories were shared and beta was sprayed over pints of lucky lager at the Georgetown Inn. Dare you make an attempt to cozy up to these war-hardened veterans with your fancy Patagonia street line of outerwear, you would risk certain humiliation by a cumulative ego surpassing Kanye West at the Grammy’s.
Times have, fortunately, changed for the better.
These days, there is a ton of high-quality information out there to help you find your way, and sharing mistakes and beta is more likely to find you solid friends & partners than shame and
No matter what, your first stop must be https://avalanche.ca to get the most up to date avalanche conditions for the area you are preparing to venture into.
Once you’ve done that, here are some high-quality resources to help you navigate the complex web of shitty snow, tight trees, ping-pong-ball visibility, and un-avoidable avalanche danger that make skiing in the Canadian Rockies so “special”.
In This Guide
Overview guide to Ski Touring in the Canadian Rockies
Weather Trends and Overview
Ski Touring Resources (You are here)
Ski uphill is a ski touring and trail running store located in Canmore, Alberta. It is a great resource to get you outfitted with both equipment and beta for your next outing. The staff there spend most of their winter season in these zones and offer you a free Latte just for stopping by to chat. Seriously.
Confessions of a Ski Bum
Marcus Baranow has a reputation for being both the most loved and the most hated character in the Canadian Rockies ski touring scene. He has produced 2 (so far) extremely high-quality guidebooks encompassing a range from Kicking Horse Pass north to Bow Summit with more guidebooks in the works. He is credited with being one of the more reliable sources for information and Beta in the Rockies and also blamed for singlehandedly “ruining” ski touring for grumpy old gatekeepers.
Be sure to pick up his guidebooks and check out his blog so you too can “ruin ski touring” by pissing off salty old dogs. In all seriousness, Marcus is a stellar dude, and has established himself as one of the best backcountry skiing resources in the Canadian Rockies and is one of the nicest guys you’ll ever have the pleasure of running into.
Vertical addiction is a long-running outdoor gear shop in Canmore, Alberta. It is your best source for picking up the latest guidebooks and maps for skiing in the Canadian Rockies, as well as getting outfitted with the latest gear for climbing, alpinism, ski mountaineering and any other method you wish to access the backcountry with. They also offer a wide selection of navigation and safety gear. Much like Ski Uphill, you will find friendly, knowledgable staff, and an awesome selection to choose from. Forget groceries this month, support your local ski & climbing shop!
Perpetual Ski / Trevor Sexsmith
Trevor Sexsmith (RIP September 26, 2016) was a legend within the Canadian Rockies backcountry skiing community. Pushing out further and pioneering new lines and areas was his specialty, such as his historic solo descent of Mt. Bryce’s massive North Face. His blog (maintained by his family) is a wealthy of beta for big lines and unique places that have seen few repeats or attempts since Trevor’s passing. Trevor passed away in an avalanche that swept him over a cliff while retreating from an attempt to ski the Sickle on Mt. Victoria.
Story of a Ski Tour
Jasper Johnson is a staple of the Bow Valley ski touring scene, and has helped create Story of a Ski Tour. Another awesome resource full of beta, information, and stoke to help you get up and out into the backcountry.
Backcountry beta is an excellent resource for cold hard facts on many of the most popular ski touring destinations in the Canadian Rockies. Offering a high-quality browsable map, search, and tons of photo and information resources, this is a great starting point to get you started.
Matt is another cornerstone of the Canadian Rockies’ ski touring scene, and has an amazing blog featuring a ton of useful information on popular and more obscure routes around the Rockies.
Be sure to check out Matt’s phenomenal film South Of Summer from Matt Ruta on Vimeo.
Mountain Wagon is the blog by Phil Tomlinson. This site features a ton of awesome, useful beta on some of the more interesting features and ski tours in the Canadian Rockies, as well as some phenomenal, high-quality photography.
Backcountry Skiing Canada
This site hasn’t seen a lot of additional content in the past few years, however, it is still a great resource for backcountry skiing information in the Canadian Rockies. Definitely worth checking out and digging up a few gems.