Storm Chase on the Powder Highway
The Destination: Looping through southeastern BC, the Powder Highway links some of the best skiing terrain on Earth. Not a specific set of destinations, more a suggestion of what’s possible, it includes resorts like Revelstoke, Fernie, Red, Kicking Horse and Whitewater, plenty of heli- and cat-skiing operations, backcountry huts and roadside playgrounds like Rogers Pass.
The Action: This is well-travelled country — they don’t call it a highway for nothing — but no one does it like veteran ACMG ski guide Scott Bellton. With a luxury RV as mothership, Bellton customizes itineraries to suit the group and to follow the storms, using more than a decade of experience to guide him to the best place each day.
The Details: Winter; prices vary with length of trip and itinerary; adrenalinedescents.com
Horsepack Banff (pictured)
The Destination: Banff may be our busiest national park, but head for a few hours into one of the networks of valleys leading into the eastern side of the park’s backcountry, and solitude, slate grey mountains, verdant forest, long ridges and windy passes will be your only companions.
The Action: Every summer for the past 91 years, the Trail Riders of the Canadian Rockies set up a camp in a different valley, always a full-day’s ride from the road. The location may change but the itinerary doesn’t. After riding in on mountain-bred quarter horses on the first day, five days are spent exploring the surrounding region with a cowboy at the lead. Back in camp, take a hot shower, chow on hearty meals, sing, play music and dance — then crash on a cot in a safari-style tent before doing it all again.
The Details: July and August departures; seven-day trips $1,800; trailridevacations.com
The Destination: Before the Sea to Sky Gondola opened in May, getting to the ice-climbing routes and backcountry skiing in the basin above Squamish, between Mount Habrich and Mount Sky Pilot, was a serious mission with big elevation gain. In other words — almost no one ever went.
The Action: With ACMG-certified staff from Whistler Alpine Guides leading the way, catch the first gondola in the morning and spend the better part of a day scaling abundant ice a short walk from the scenic unload or wandering further afield to earn turns in the coastal snowpack. Both remain relatively unexplored.
The Details: From December until April; from $125 for group day-trips and up to $600 for private guiding; whistlerguides.com