The Best Out-of-Bounds Skiing

Where to go off the beaten path this winter

Nov 1, 2013
Outside Magazine
British Columbia Whistler mathieu richard people sunset things

mattyrichard skis sunny powder on blackcomb mountain whistler british columbia    Photo: Blake Jorgenson

These days everybody wants to head out of bounds. The obsession with all things back-country led to an 85 percent increase in sales of alpine touring gear in the past year, and resorts are doing everything in their power to capitalize on the surge. In January, California’s Squaw Valley, one of the last major resorts to stubbornly keep its boundaries closed, finally began offering backcountry access.

Squaw Valley

The new gate, reached via the famous KT-22 chairlift, drops you into hundreds of acres of wide-open bowls off the rim of the Pacific Crest. Plus, you can traverse over to neighboring Alpine Meadows; the newly merged resorts offer a total of 6,000 acres of skiable terrain. Jackson Hole, Wyoming, has allowed skiers and riders to venture into the Tetons since 2000. Now, each year starting in December, it will offer guided backcountry tours down the high-alpine steeps off Cody Peak or through the face-shot-worthy glades of Rock Springs (from $440). You can also take one of the resort’s four-day backcountry camps ($1,255), which mix classroom safety lessons with unfettered exploration.

Jackson Hole

This year, Whistler Blackcomb, in British Columbia, has partnered with outfitter Extremely Canadian to launch a one-day guided backcountry program that leads guests straight from the gondola into the resort’s vast Coast Range. Keith Reid, president of the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides, will teach you avalanche safety, smart backcountry navigation, and uphill skinning techniques. Put them to use on everything from white-knuckle chutes in Bodybag Bowl to low-angle powder runs in Mother’s Line (from US $199).

Filed To: Travel, Snow Sports, Skiing and Snowboarding
From Outside Magazine, Dec 2013

More at Outside

Elsewhere on the Web


Not Now

What You Missed

Our most important headlines, sent to you every Saturday.

Thank you!