Coast Mountain Backcountry Skiing Access
Some of the finest backcountry ski terrain in Southwestern BC lies east of Pemberton where Highway 99 climbs through the Cayoosh Range and runs past Duffey Lake. The highway gives easy access to numerous avalanche paths, open ridges, meadows, glaciers, and attractive alpine basins that offer superb mid-winter backcountry skiing. Ski trips start at higher elevations from the paved highway and range from sleuthing for powder near the road to high-alpine ski ascents. Many descents offer long rewarding runs of up to 1,200m. Most trips are one or two days.
Spectacular Skiing & Mountaineering
Deep in the heart of the Coast Mountains, the area drained by the Birkenhead River offers superb backcountry skiing and ski mountaineering. High alpine basins, small glaciers, long avalanche paths, and subalpine glades are reasons to come here. With a huge vertical rise above the surrounding valleys, these alpine areas are typically more difficult to reach than in the adjacent Duffey Lake area. Most trips require several days and are typically best in March or April. Highlights range from a week of powder skiing at McGillivray Pass Lodge to a weekend ski ascent of Birkenhead Mountain to a delightful four or five days on the Owl-Tenquille Traverse.
Huts at popular backcountry ski destinations:
- Wendy Thompson Hut: At Marriott Basin, off Duffey Lake Road, operated by the Alpine Club of Canada, Whistler Section. Get directions >
- Keith’s Hut: At Cerise Creek, off Duffey Lake Road, operated by Keith Flavelle’s family and friends
- Brian Waddington Hut: By Birkenhead Provincial Park, operated by the Varsity Outdoor Club
- North Creek Hut: Near Bralorne but winter access is from Pemberton, operated by the BC Mountaineering Club