“Do one thing every day that scares you” is the advice written on the re-usable shopping bags you can spot around British Columbia. And, well, why not? You’re in B.C. You can dive into chutes and gullies so steep that you can touch the side of the run with your arm. You can fly across North America’s longest zipline. You can float above the clouds in a tandem paraglider. You can hack and claw your way up a vertical column of ice, or explore a white mountain world beyond the next ridge from the seat of a snowmobile. There are so many satisfying ways to tame B.C.’s raw mountain wilderness; here’s a quick guide to just five of those adventures.
Testing the Boundaries at Sun Peaks
As interest ramps up in adventure skiing of all kinds, demand has grown for guided backcountry ski instruction, especially at places where ski lifts deliver access to distant bowls and glades. At Sun Peaks Resort, certified Canadian Ski Guides deliver a safe, informative program that’s meant to introduce lift-area, or “frontside,” skiers to the basics of safe wilderness travel. All the special safety training is included in the rental, as well as high performance powder skis.
If you’re looking for a different kind of trail, Sun Peaks also offers fat biking throughout the winter months. Take in the panoramic views and crisp mountain air as you tour approximately four miles of trails that wind around the ski village.
Touring Around Whitewater
Maybe you think a mountain tour is a tame way to spend your time, or that the relatively small Whitewater Ski Resort doesn’t require a guide. That, friend, is a mistake, because the men and women who wear the blue and black Mountain Host jackets collectively have dozens of years of experience.
Spend a couple of hours carving through fresh snow between towering trees and following these knowledgeable hosts around the mountain, all the while discovering amazing turns and powder stashes. The best part? These tours are free.
High Flying at Panorama
They don’t call the vista from the summit of Panorama Mountain Resort the “View of a Thousand Peaks” for nothing. You’re staring straight into the Purcell Mountain Range, just one of the many sub-ranges that stretch from the U.S. border all the way to the Yukon and Alaska. There’s challenge a-plenty in the 2,975 acres of skiing and 4,000 plus feet of vertical drop, and the mountain silence is broken only by the beating rotor blades of incoming and outgoing helicopters.
Panorama is home to RK. Heliski, one of Canada’s longest-operating ski operators. The guides’ specialty is finding the best untracked powder snow within their territory. If you’re still itching to reach new heights, try tandem paragliding on for size. Soar from the top of Panorama and enjoy the rush of adrenaline as you drift past mountain peaks and dense trees.
Zipping Above Whistler’s Snow-Covered Rainforest
And now for something completely different. Among the many “firsts,” “greatests,” and “best-ofs” that Whistler boasts, there’s nothing like the churning in your stomach as you contemplate dropping from one of Ziptrek EcoTours’ treetop platforms and flying across the rushing waters of Fitzsimmons Creek. The Coast Range cedars, hemlocks, and fir trees look even more astounding when dusted by a fresh coat of snow. Choose from six different tours on 11 separate ziplines. You might need to stop for a drink in Whistler Village to calm your nerves after this ride!
Grooving with the Ghosts at Big White
You can only see a fraction of Big White Ski Resort’s skiable terrain when you’re in Village Center Mall. But as you ride the Gem Lake Express, Powder Chair, or Falcon Chair into the subalpine, the mountain’s signature feature (or features) comes into view. With each passing storm of champagne powder, the wizened pines act like a magnet for wind-driven snow and ice crystals. The accumulated weight of ice and snow bends the branches into haunting shapes which the locals call “snow ghosts.” (Try poking these ghosts with your ski pole—they’re rock-hard). Better yet, sign up for a lesson at Big White’s famous Ski & Board School and follow your instructor as he or she sweeps around these snow-clad towers.
Another must-try adrenaline-pumping activity is scaling the ice tower at Big White. The impressive 60-foot tower is located in Happy Valley Adventure Park and offers four sides with different levels of difficulty, which means a challenging climb for adventurers of all kinds.
There’s a minor catch to grabbing all you can from B.C.’s delectable menu of adventure offerings. Much like taking a late seating at your favorite restaurant, you might arrive and find that your dream trip is fully booked for the next two years—so be sure to start your planning early. To ignite your imagination and get inspired, check out the many skiing-related stories on the HelloBC website. Visit the resorts’ websites for up-to-the minute snow conditions and pursue your passion in B.C. this winter.
One Step Wilder in British Columbia
BC’s towering mountain ranges, varied terrain and picturesque resorts make it the perfect place to take your winter entertainment to the next level. No matter how advanced of a skier you are, you can always go one step wilder in BC.