Getting Up to Get Down: Backcountry Touring in Revelstoke
Revelstoke backcountry touring offers you a whole new way to experience the serenity of the mountains in winter: with two feet and a heartbeat. With some of the deepest, driest snow in the world and moderate winter temperatures, Revelstoke backcountry touring is second to none. It is a backcountry skiing mecca where you can go backcountry touring in the Monashees and the Selkirks in the same weekend! If you plan to go backcountry touring in Rogers Pass in Glacier National Park, be sure to stop at the Rogers Pass Discovery Centre or visit their website for the latest updates on closures and avalanche conditions and to pick up a permit. The permit system is mandatory, as are Parks Canada closure zones.
Easy: Before heading out for a day in the mountains, make sure you and your group have the appropriate equipment, knowledge, know-how, and information about the snowpack, avalanche conditions, and weather. We highly recommend hiring a professional guide to help you out! A good zone for first time backcountry enthusiasts is at Mount Macpherson. “The Fingers” are ideal for a shorter day or multiple descents. For access, park at the Nordic ski club lodge ($5) and follow the Main Loop to Mountain Climb Trail. Turn left – the cross country ski trail ends with a bridge crossing and the uphill track starts from there.
Intermediate: For those looking to advance their skills, an Avalanche Skills Training (AST) course provides a good base of knowledge. Once you’re in the know, Greely Trees (on the outskirts of Greely Bowl) is a great place to get some powder turns. Bring all your gear for out-of-bounds travel.
Difficult: Stop in at the Rogers Pass Discovery Centre in Glacier National Park to learn about the areas which are restricted or prohibited by the Park’s highway avalanche control program, and to get permits. Compliance with the permit system is essential to ensuring continued access to the park for winter recreation. You can also find out which areas are closed in real time here. If you have the fitness, the Seven Steps of Paradise are considered one of the 50 classic ski descents in North America!
Check out Revelstoke pro skier Chris Rubens on “Gettin’ Up to Get Down: Ski Touring in Rogers Pass”
You’re responsible for your own safety when you’re backcountry touring. Before you venture out for some Revelstoke backcountry touring, you need to read the avalanche forecast from Avalanche Canada, Canada’s national public avalanche safety organization which is based right here in Revelstoke. Their public avalanche forecasters write daily forecast for the regions around Revelstoke and beyond, and avalanche forecasters for Parks Canada write a daily forecast for Glacier National Park. Read the North Columbia forecast, the South Columbia forecast and the Glacier National Park forecast.
Want some background on why avalanche safety matters? Head to avalanche.ca for information about what you need to know and why.
Everyone in your group needs to carry avalanche safety equipment (transceiver, shovel and probe), and know how to use it. You also need to understand route finding in avalanche terrain. If you have never taken an avalanche skills training (AST) course, this is a great place to do so to get ready for Revelstoke backcountry touring.
Revelstoke Backcountry Touring FAQs:
Where do I find avalanche information?
Visit Avalanche Canada’s website for information on regional avalanche conditions, weather reports, AST information and much more. Know before you go.
Where else can I go?
If you’re unfamiliar with the area, consider hiring a ski guide to safely show you the goods. If you’re interested in Rogers Pass, make sure to check out Revelstoke resident Doug Sproul’s guide Rogers Pass: Uptracks, Bootpacks and Bushpacks.