Anyone who has spent time in British Columbia’s winter backcountry has no doubt heard of the ski touring in Rogers Pass. The infamous mountain road that links the Trans Canada Highway between Revelstoke and Golden is the most avalanche-prone area in the country. That can mean frequent road closures during storms while government avalanche control workers fire howitzers from the road side and drop explosives in the alpine. But when the avalanche danger subsides, ski touring in Rogers Pass is some of the best in the world. Here’s four reasons why.
Nestled in B.C.’s Selkirk MountainS, Rogers Pass has some of the most attractive ski terrain on the continent visible right from the highway.
“It’s high elevation, there’s big peaks and it has a really good mix of ski mountaineering, glacier skiing and old growth tree skiing,”says MSA owner and lead guide Eric Dumerac. “It’s some of the most accessible, prime terrain in North America and the variety means there’s something to ski in all weather conditions.”
The Selkirk Mountains not only has the variety of terrain for all weather and conditions, but is geographically situated for exceptional snowfall. The Selkirks reap the rewards of the high intensity coastal storms but with lower water content such as that of the Canadian Rockies. Getting the best of both worlds is not easy, but ski touring Rogers Pass is probably getting as close as you can get.
“There’s a lot more snow than the Rockies and it’s a more moderate temperature so we don’t get the same kind of snow faceting when ski touring at Rogers Pass,” says Dumerac. “It’s also drier snow than the coast, so the quality of the powder is typically best.”
There are hundreds of thousands of acres of great ski terrain in the Selkirks, but much of it is only accessible by helicopter. The beauty of Rogers Pass is the terrain begins just a few kilometers from parking lots adjacent to the highway. This unrivalled accessibility is complemented by a series of backcountry huts in the area, allowing ski tourers to bed down in the area in relative comfort after big days of ski touring.
“One of the issues when skiing in Rogers Pass is that they can close the highway for avalanche control,” says Dumerac. “But once you’re based out of the hut, you’re already there and don’t have to worry about getting stranded. The Wheeler Hut is just 1.5 kilometers from the road and it has propane, stoves, cooking utensils and mattress pads. All the amenities you need.”
4. Crossing it off the bucket list
As one of the most iconic ski touring areas in Canada and North America, Rogers Pass clearly sits at the top of many a bucket list of aspiring backcountry travellers. The place can be intimidating for sure, but if you feel you are still accumulating the skills and experience to safely travel in the area, hiring a guide let’s you enjoy the skiing stress-free. Mountain Skills Academy & Adventures offers guided trips in the area ranging from two-day weekend adventures to the three-day Rogers Pass Ski the Steeps.
Ski touring Rogers Pass – it’s time.