Western Canada is home to some of the world's greatest skiing. Huge heli-ski tenures, cat skiing operations, and more resorts than you can count. Sure, working at CMH allows me to get out and experience the best skiing I could ever imagine... But where do I ski when I am not getting choppered up to the top? Here are a few of my "must ski" ski runs from Western Canada. No helicopter needed.
Although I could write an entire blog about my favorite runs at Big White, I forced myself to only choose one. My home mountain has provided me with some of the best turns I have ever had on skis. And the Cliff, though maybe not as impressive as the rest of the runs on my list, has provided me with the best turns ever. Now, to put this into perspective, think of your favorite run at your local ski resort. It has probably provided you with the best turns you have ever had on skis, simply because you have skied it more than anything else in the world.
The best time to ski the cliff? 9:00 AM New Years Day. Big White is known to have some of the most epic New Years Parties in the B.C. Interior and, as you can imagine, the skier turnout for first chair the next morning is pretty low. If you are able to suck up the pain from the night before, you will definitely be rewarded by skiing some of the greatest untracked snow you can experience. -Picture: Me, chest deep. New years 2008
Roller Coaster- Panorama B.C.
Strap on your G.S. skis and hold on tight! Since I grew up ski racing in the heart of B.C., I have to include at least one rippin’ groomer to the list, right? Early or late season, when the man-made snow shows its face and the grooming is perfected; this run is a fantastic way to get up some speed to wake you up in the morning. The main thing to watch out for here is the “non-skiing folk” who are slip-sliding their way down because they realized that this was not the run for them. Probably one of the most rippin’ runs in the world.
ER3 - Lake Louise Ski Resort
Take a left off of the top of the Paradise Chair and skate along the ridge. Once you get over the hump, duck under the “avalanche caution” rope (not actually closed) and let your tips hang over the edge. Because this is a relatively large bowl, there are several line options. My favorite is to make a couple of turns off the top, launch the rock band in the middle, cut right, launch the big rock to the right, turn some more, and finish off by launching the last rock to the right. 3 good airs, lots of steep turns, and all in full view of the chairlift… Great for GNAR points. -Picture: Looking down through your tips to find the best line
North Bowl- Revelstoke Mountain Resort
The real fun of North Bowl comes when you hike 20 minutes from the top of the Stoke chair over to the back side. This is where you can start to get some vertical that resembles heli-skiing, and it makes sense! Revelstoke Mountain Resort is surrounded to the south and west by the CMH Revelstoke tenure, and just up the valley you will find the Gothics, Adamants, and Monashees.
This isn’t so much of a run as just a massive area of terrain. In fact, the resort has several “runs” that descend the bowl on their trail map… But like you are going to stick to those! Just point your skis to where you think the best turns will be had, and you will not be disappointed. Rock chutes, wind drifts, treed glades, it is all fun and games in North Bowl. -Picture: My sister having a blast down North Bowl
Cockalorum- Whistler B.C.
I guess a list of my favorite runs in Western Canada wouldn’t be complete without a run from Whistler. Now I must admit, I have put in more days skiing whistler during the summer than the winter, but for some reason I just can’t put the Horstman Glacier on this list… Sure, awesome skiing for July… But compare it to anything mid-winter, and it sucks.
Cockalorum off of the peak chair is one of those classic big vertical whistler runs. Hit it on a good snow day and you will have hundreds of amazing turns. Plus the peak chair is almost as much of a rush going up as it is coming down!
I am sure that my favorites are not your favorites... So feel free to share yours in the comments section! What else am I missing that I need to ski?!?