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Backcountry Alpine Adventure
Forget the crowds and lift lines.
The Squamish area offers an incomparable backcountry mountain experience that is a true alpine adventure. Discover backcountry ski and splitboard touring at its best as you explore ancient forests to reach destinations like the Elfin Lakes or Red Heather huts in the Diamond Head area of gorgeous Garibaldi Provincial Park or explore the terrain around Sky Pilot, Co Pilot and Goat Ridge accessed via the Sea to Sky Gondola. Or, tour around Brohm Ridge, Cloudburst Mountain or the Tricouni areas of the Squamish/Cheakamus Divide. You may never visit a ski resort again.
A local favourite backcountry challenge is the traverse of the Garibaldi Neve which brings you from Diamond Head to Garibaldi Lake.
Sea to Sky Gondola
New for winter 2014/15 is the access to excellent new backcountry terrain that the Sea to Sky Gondola provides. With the top of the gondola at 885 metres above sea level, there is lots of ski touring potential in the alpine and sub-alpine areas above in the Shannon Creek basin.
The terrain around and on Sky Pilot Mountain, Co Pilot, Skyline Ridge and Goat Ridge is not for the beginner or inexperienced ski tourer. This is big terrain, complex in nature with lots of steeps, alpine bowls, first growth forests, pillow lines, extreme couloirs and all the goodies AND the associated risks you would expect to find in a complex alpine terrain environment. The Shannon Creek watershed offers over 1300 hectares (+3000 acres) of new terrain. With up to 1100m of vertical and four alpine bowls, there is no shortage of terrain to explore.
Garibaldi Provincial Park
Raising over 2600m from sea level directly behind Squamish, Mt Garibaldi is the namesake for Garibaldi Provincial Park. Skiing in the park has been popular since the 1940's. The best access to the park from Squamish is via the Diamond Head area which is 4km north of Squamish off of Mamquam Road. Follow the gravel road for 16km to a parking lot. The road is plowed in winter however snow tires with chains or 4WD is required. We also recommend you check the Garibaldi Park website for updates on the area.
The most popular spot to ski in this section of the park is called Paul Ridge. It is a remarkable area of rolling alpine meadows and gentle peaks at the southern end of the park. From the parking lot the ski route follows a road for approximately 5 km to the Red Heather shelter (comfortable day use shelter with wood stove). The "winter route" begins from Red Heather and take you along Paul Ridge up to Round Mtn and finally to Elfin Lakes shelter (large comfortable overnight mountain hut with propane stoves, bunks, sinks and picnic tables) 6km up the trail.
*If you plan to ski tour or mountaineer in the Squamish area or anywhere in the Coast Mountains we recommend the following guide book by John Baldwin: Exploring the Coast Mountains on Skis.
For the most up to date avalanche conditions please check Avalanche Canada's website here.