Whistler / Squamish Guides Archives -


6 Must-Visit Travel Destinations in British

Thursday, 27th February 2020  /  By Oliver Hooper
Water Fall British Columbia Canada

 If you are thinking about touring Canada, then the Western province of British Columbia is the best destiny. This province has lots of offers for its visitors. Apart from it being home to attractive parks and stunning cities, it also houses wineries, remarkable towns of North America, and some top ski resorts in the continent. This place is also a habitat for many huge grizzly bears and several beautiful birds. It provides you with a break from city life, the traffic jams, car horns, and noise giving you a relaxed jungle feeling that helps calm your body and mind.  Here are some of the best places you should ensure you set foot on when touring British Columbia....


Guest Post – The 5 Most Unique Experiences In Whistler, BC

Thursday, 16th January 2020  /  By Oliver Hooper
Spearhead Traverse - Skiing Day 2

Whistler Mountain Scenery Whistler is undeniably a wonderful all-year-round resort destination. Since serving as the Host Mountain Resort of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics, Whistler has attracted even more winter sports enthusiasts to its 2 scenic mountains. Every year, over 2 million visitors descend on Whistler to experience alpine skiing, snowboarding, and mountain biking. However, you don’t have to love skiing to enjoy your stay in Whistler. There are many other fun activities for you and all your family this winter.Image by ArtTower from Pixabay SnowmobilingIf you enjoy the exhilaration of motorcycling in summer, you should try ...


Guest Post – Top 5 Winter Activities you can do in Whistler, BC

Monday, 13th January 2020  /  By Oliver Hooper
Capilano suspension bridge - British Columbia

There are few better-known ski resorts in the world than Canada’s Whistler, and it’s no surprise really. With world class facilities, you can see why the Winter Olympics were held here in 2010. However, it’s a year-round destination with amazing fun to be had in spring and summer too. If you’re planning a trip to Whistler this year, let us help you out.In this post, we’ll take a look at the top 5 activities you can do in Whistler. Hopefully, it’ll make it easy to plan your trip and really make the most of your vacation in one of the world’s best winter sports destinations! Here are also some of the top vacation rentals in Whistler, BC Canada for you to s...


The Psychology of Fear & Adventure

Wednesday, 10th July 2019  /  By Dan O'Keefe

When things get a little scary, they also get more fun! Up to a point. Some people have trouble knowing where that line lies, but most of us have a healthy sense of self-preservation. If you can just press yourself to move into the fear a little, you’ll probably find that you get an extra hit of adrenaline. The heightened adrenaline gives you the ability to do things you might have believed were outside your ability and helps to fix your memories more firmly.[caption id="attachment_6375" align="alignleft" width="1024"] Climbing past your fears[/caption] We are hardwired to remember events that come with an emotional kick, whether that is joy, fear, sadness, excit...


Weekender’s Guide to Summer in the Sea to Sky

Wednesday, 5th June 2019  /  By Dan O'Keefe
Mountain skill academy via ferrata Daniel-OKeefejpg

The weekend is coming up, there’s sun in the forecast, but you have no plans! What are you going to do? The Sea to Sky corridor from North Vancouver to Whistler is filled with adventures for the timid to thrill-seekers. Let’s say it’s a long weekend and you want to fill it with the most amazing, unique memories to hold you until the next long weekend. Here’s what you might get up to...[caption id="attachment_6335" align="alignleft" width="1024"] Climbing to Whistler Peak on the Via Ferrata[/caption]Day 1 - Britannia & SquamishYou’ve left Vancouver and are heading up the gorgeous Sea to Sky Highway. The first totally unique stop is at the Britanni...


Keep Your Avalanche Skills Sharp This Winter

Wednesday, 23rd January 2019  /  By Vince Shuley
avalanche safety AST1 Companion Rescue Skills Whistler

One of the first things that new winter backcountry travellers learn about avalanche education is that it's lifelong. Courses and certificates represent certain milestones, yes. But veteran avalanche forecasters are constantly combing weather reports, gathering snowpack data and retraining their rescue skills on a daily basis. As recreationists touring on weekends and days off, we can't expect to spend as much time with our heads buried in the snow as the guides and industry professionals.   However, avalanche knowledge and rescue skills are in the "use it or lose it" category, meaning you have to keep it fresh if you want to be on your game in the winter backcou...

Categories:Tags: ,

Big snow dumps mean big, dangerous tree wells

Thursday, 13th December 2018  /  By Vince Shuley
tree well Whistler snow safety

Whistler and the whole of the Pacific Northwest is rejoicing this week after winter broke down the door with well over a meter of snow on the slopes and more in the forecast. What a time to be alive!  But while everyone is busy ditching work getting faceshots, there remains a life threatening hazard at every turn, and I'm not talking about avalanches.Photo credits: Deep days are when SIS accidents are most likely. Vince Shuley PhotoSnow Immersion Suffocation (SIS) can happen when a skier or snowboarder falls into a tree well or deep, loose snow - usually headfirst. If the victim is inverted, they can become immobilized and unable to self-rescue, causing them to su...

Categories:Tags: ,

Best Fall Hikes in the Sea to Sky

Sunday, 9th September 2018  /  By Vince Shuley
whistler hiking fall

Summer in British Columbia is always over too soon, but that doesn't mean we can't make the most of the transition season before winter arrives. The fall can be bittersweet; lake dipping temperatures are gone, replaced by toques and puffy jackets. Sunsets hide behind cloud cover before heading to bed early. Crowds thin out to a trickle as school resumes. While weather can be cold and sometimes wet, beautiful bug-free sunny days do make an appearance. So with that in mind, gear up for hiking this month and hit the trails. Here are a few of our favourite fall hikes in Whistler, Squamish and the Sea to Sky Corridor.For more information on our guided hikes, head over to our...


5 Reasons to try Via Ferrata

Saturday, 28th July 2018  /  By Vince Shuley
via ferrata

Updated: 7/28/2018: Click here for all of our rock climbing activities: Summer has been poking her head out quite a bit recently in British Columbia, which means that hiking and climbing season is not far away. But have you ever considered a hybrid version of these two alpine activities? Via Ferrata, a form of vertical climbing assisted by metal rungs embedded in the rock, blends the two experiences seamlessly. Begin by hiking in the fresh alpine air. Clip your harness into the cable safety system. Ascend a steep rock face with the ease of climbing a ladder. Soak up the views of the surrounding mountainous terrain.At Mountain Skills Academy we are positive that you'll l...

Categories:Tags: , , , ,

An Ode to the Glacier Walk

Wednesday, 25th July 2018  /  By Vince Shuley
Glacier walk

Hiking through the mountains of British Columbia, sooner or later you'll need to cross a glacier. These ancient remnants of our last ice age elicit both awe and curiosity and come in every possible shape, size and thickness. They may require specialized equipment to traverse or climb them. But for the non-polar explorers, the so called "glacier walk" lets people experience the sensation of travelling over ice and snow in without committing to an arduous mountaineering trip.Click here for our guided hiking tours, if your looking for a traditional wilderness hiking experience.[caption id="attachment_3139" align="alignnone" width="710"] At 77km long, the Fedchenko Glacie...

Categories:Tags: , ,

Best Rock Climbing Spots in Vancouver and Sea to Sky

Friday, 13th July 2018  /  By Vince Shuley
Rock climbing spots in Vancouver Sea to Sky

With climbing season in full swing, there's no better time to start checking off routes on your rock climbing To-Do list. And as much as we're fans of frequenting our local stomping grounds here at Mountain Skills Academy, we like to switch up our spots for a change of scenery every now and then. We'll be taking a look at some great road trip options across B.C. and the Rockies in the next couple of weeks, until then, let's warm up on some climbs closer to home. Here's the best rock climbing spots in Vancouver and Sea to Sky region.Don't forget to check out our rock climbing activities in Whistler & Squamish[caption id="attachment_3240" align="alignnone" width...

Categories:Tags: , , , ,

Canada Day Long Weekend Sale! 50% Off

Wednesday, 27th June 2018  /  By Dan O'Keefe
Whistler Sky Walk - whistler's number one family activity

For the Canada Day Sale this long weekend we are offering 50% off on 2 tours! Celebrate the grand opening of our newest tour called the Whistler Sky Walk. The Sky Walk is a hike up to and along the edge of Whistler Mountain overlooking amazing mountain and valley views. You clip into a cable to safely cross small suspended bridges and cliff-edge features. This is a stunning guided 2-3 hour hike that is great for wide range of ages and abilities.[caption id="attachment_4687" align="alignnone" width="300"] Family climbing the via ferrata in Squamish[/caption] Enjoy 50% off the Squamish Via Ferrata tour at the Sea to Sky Gondola too. The sun is out and summer is her...

Categories:Tags: , ,

Rock Climbing 101: A Beginner’s Guide

Friday, 8th June 2018  /  By Vince Shuley
Rock Climbing Course- girl looking up the rock climbing slope

The Coast Mountains and Rockies have some of the best rock climbing in the world. For that reason alone it's worth trying your hand at this truly exhilarating sport. But for those who've never attempted to scale a wall - whether at a gym or at an outdoor climbing centre - the prospect of hanging off elevated hand holds and foot holds can be a little intimidating.Yet even the most experienced rock climbers all had to start somewhere. In this Rock Climbing 101 guide, we’ll hopefully dispel some of the perceived barriers to the sport and show that with a bit of perseverance, anyone can do it.[caption id="attachment_5187" align="alignnone" width="710"] Rock cl...


The Experiential Benefit of Backcountry Huts and Lodges

Monday, 5th March 2018  /  By Vince Shuley
Whistler backcountry huts Rockies

Camping in the winter backcountry takes some motivation. It’s cold, there’s a lot of gear and supplies to carry and there is just a thin sheet of nylon between your sleeping bag and the outside elements. But there’s an alternative to roughing it in the snow in the form of backcountry huts and lodges. Usually positioned around treeline elevation a few hours hike from the trailhead, these structures allow backcountry enthusiasts to carry in food and sleeping gear from their vehicles then ski tour, unhindered, for the rest of their trip. No cold tents and sleepless nights. No long retreat back to civilization. Just wake up, eat your oatmeal and get an express start to ...

Categories:Tags: ,

A Day in the Life of a Backcountry Ski Guide

Saturday, 20th January 2018  /  By Vince Shuley
backcountry ski guide Whistler Rockies

The day in the life of a backcountry ski guide might seem like it’s all sunshine and powder turns, but the truth is that it’s a lot more work than that. These men and women rise early, stay late and are always surveying the landscape for potential hazards and safety concerns. It takes quite a few years to achieve accredited guide status with the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides (ACMG) when you add up all the courses, exams, practicums, trips and filling out of log books. Then there’s all the work that goes into a single day trip; hauling heavy packs with everything inside from ropes to a sizable first aid kit, planning routes with multiple alternatives, analy...

Categories:Tags: , ,

Sky Pilot: A Hiker’s Mountaineering Trip

Wednesday, 23rd August 2017  /  By Vince Shuley
sky pilot squamish mountaineering Mountain Skills Academy

There comes a time when an experienced hiker will look for the next challenge. That may entail hiking further from civilization, gaining higher summits or tackling more technical routes. But for those who want to take the next step in vertical, the slow and steady transition towards mountaineering doesn't have to necessarily involve high altitude climbing or risky routes. Sky Pilot (2031m), a peak accessed from the Sea to Sky Gondola in Squamish, is the perfect introduction to "mountaineering lite" in the Vancouver/Sea to Sky region.[caption id="attachment_4478" align="alignnone" width="710"] The best way to by pass an arduous approach and knee-breaking descent[/caption...

Categories:Tags: , , , ,

MSAA to partner with Whistler Hiatus as official guiding bureau

Monday, 26th June 2017  /  By Vince Shuley
hiking Whistler hiatus

Whistler and the surrounding Sea to Sky Corridor is one of the most beautiful areas to hike in Canada. Through a new partnership, Whistler Hiatus and Mountain Skills Academy & Adventures (MSAA) are here to help you get the most out of your summer hiking season.Trails permeate these valleys in all directions, from low-lying forested walks to all-day and multi-day expeditions into alpine elevations. There are natural attractions such as waterfalls, lakes and old growth trees that date back over a thousand years. There are man-made attractions too, like suspension bridges over gushing rivers, abandoned logging camps and even the remnants of a decades-old train derailme...

Categories:Tags: ,

Glissading: A Different Kind of Snow Sliding

Friday, 26th May 2017  /  By Vince Shuley

With the recent spike of warm weather on the Coast it's the perfect condition to cool off by walking on an ancient glacier. And just in time, our Whistler Mountaintop Tours are now open for the 2017 summer! We've waxed poetic about the Glacier Walk experience before, but after the high alpine snow levels in the early summer 2016 we noticed a particular offshoot activity gaining popularity on our Whistler Mountaintop via ferrata and glacier tours: glissading.[caption id="attachment_4124" align="aligncenter" width="550"] Roped up and ready for ascent.[/caption]According to the the knowledge bank Wikipedia, glissading is described as " the act of descending a steep snow ...

Categories:Tags: , , , ,

8 Benefits of Hiring a Backcountry Ski Guide

Monday, 20th February 2017  /  By Vince Shuley
backcountry ski guide

Skiing in the backcountry is awesome. There's way less tracks, it's a great workout and there's no real noise except your own. But the best thing? It's free. Even though many folks choose to enter the backcountry via the lift system of ski resorts, there's usually a way to access that public land without having to fork out for a lift ticket. Why then, would you pay to have someone guide you in the backcountry? Well, since Mountain Skills Academy & Adventures has been guiding since 1991, we've accumulated more than a few reasons as to why it puts more smiles on more guests' faces. And in case you were on the fence about signing up for a backcountry freeride tour, h...

Categories:Tags: , , , , ,

The Weekender’s Guide to the Whistler Backcountry

Monday, 12th December 2016  /  By Vince Shuley
Whistler backcountry in 48 hours

When the weekend comes around and the weather looks good, there's no better place to spend your time than in the Whistler backcountry. Escaping the crowds and noise of the ski resort - if only for a few hours - gives the classic ski weekend a whole new meaning. You can spend the day ski touring in peaceful tranquility, then spend the evening celebrating the nightlife and resting in comfortable accommodations. To make sure you get the most out of your 48 hours in Whistler, here's our weekender's guide to the Whistler Backcountry. Note: Before embarking on your weekend in the backcountry, make sure to check the Avalanche Bulletin for the Sea to Sky Region and the Whistler ...

Categories:Tags: , ,

Spearhead Huts: 5 Reasons We Love the Project

Saturday, 22nd October 2016  /  By Vince Shuley
Spearhead Huts ski touring

If you're a frequent visitor to the Whistler backcountry, or any backcountry skiing area in British Columbia for that matter, you've probably heard about the Spearhead Huts Project. For those not familiar, the Spearhead Traverse is a horseshoe-shaped 35km route over 13 glaciers in Garibaldi Provincial Park adjacent to Whistler Blackcomb. The only structure that currently exists on the traverse is the Himmelsbach Hut on the edge of Russet Lake, built in the '60s and in dire need of replacement.The Spearhead Huts Project (which has its annual Soiree fundraiser on November 22 in North Vancouver) not only aims to build a new backcountry hut at the Russet Lake site, but will...

Categories:Tags: , , , ,

5 Reasons to go Fall Hiking in Whistler

Tuesday, 20th September 2016  /  By Vince Shuley
Glacier walk

Updated: 7/16/2018 Don't forget to visit our Whistler hiking page for our guided hikes.The unmistakable scent of fall is in the air here in Whistler. Leaves are falling, grassy fields turn white with morning frost and bears are coming out to top up their bellies. Winter may be on its way, but there's still plenty of outdoor adventure to be had between now and when the snow flies. One activity that's by far the most accessible to the most people is fall hiking. July and August are the months when Canadians are the most likely to get outside, and  while summer may get all the glitz and glamour, the best season for hiking is actually during September and early October...

Categories:Tags: , , ,

Level Up with a Rock Climbing Course

Friday, 19th August 2016  /  By Vince Shuley
rock climbing course

Like many sports, rock climbing has a steep learning curve when starting out. Many aspiring rock climbers begin their journey in an indoor climbing gym before trying their hand (and feet) at outdoor rock. Some climbers take to outdoor walls quickly, rapidly developing the skills and strength required for more difficult routes and are soon ready to attempt their first lead climb. But for each significant step to becoming an accomplished rock climber, the more skills are required to keep the climber and their partner safe. That's when it's worth investing in some training from a professional with a rock climbing course. I'm ready to climb outside As great as climbing gyms a...

Categories:Tags: , ,

An Alternative Peak Experience with Whistler Via Ferrata

Wednesday, 8th June 2016  /  By Vince Shuley
whistler via ferrata

Sightseeing is officially open on Whistler Mountain. Plenty of people heading up to the alpine to ride the Peak 2 Peak gondola and witness winter's melting snow blanket. The white stuff is still very much present this time of year, as evidenced by the towering snow walls near Whistler Peak. The Peak Chair and the surrounding hiking trails were yet to open, but there's a more exciting way to the reach the top - the Whistler Via Ferrata. If you're unfamiliar with the via ferrata experience, check out these 5 reasons why you should go.[caption id="attachment_3153" align="alignnone" width="710"] A short break for water walking over the sun baked glacier[/caption] Taking an...

Categories:Tags: , , ,

Beginner’s Guide to Rock Climbing

Tuesday, 17th May 2016  /  By Vince Shuley
Performance Alpine Clinic Rock Climbing Canada

Of all the mountain pursuits, rock climbing can be one of the most intimidating. Watching videos of professional athletes ascend impossible-looking vertical walls with nothing but tiny ledges for grip, it's not hard to see why it can be perceived elitist-only sport. But like every experienced rock climber, the pros had to start somewhere. In this Beginner's Guide to Rock Climbing, we'll hopefully dispel some of the perceived barriers to the sport and show that with a bit of perseverance, anyone can do it. Step 1: Own the Fear While those with acrophobia (fear of heights) would likely be the last to try rock climbing, you may be surprised how many climbers have to learned ...

Categories:Tags: , ,

Crevasse Rescue Training for Skiers

Sunday, 13th March 2016  /  By Vince Shuley
crevasse rescue training

Ski touring takes us to some amazing places in the mountains. But those mountains can be fraught with dangers such as avalanches. But lurking ounder the snow surface is another  another hidden hazard - gaping cracks in snow and ice that can swallow people whole, also known as crevasses. For this reason, every backcountry skier or boarder travelling over glaciated terrain - particularly in the early winter and spring months - should take some form of crevasse rescue training.[caption id="attachment_2960" align="alignnone" width="710"] Indoor (dryland) crevasse rescue training is a great way to introduce the technique, but training on snow is essential[/caption] Resc...

Categories:Tags: ,

Spearhead Traverse – Whistler’s backcountry rite of passage

Wednesday, 17th February 2016  /  By Vince Shuley
Spearhead Traverse Whistler - Backcountry Ski Guiding

In the world's most popular ski destinations there's a classic, multi-day backcountry trip considered a rite of passage by the local ski touring community. In the Alps it's the Haute Route from Chamonix, France to Zermatt, Switzerland. In the Canadian Rockies it's the hut-to-hut journey through the Wapta Icefields. In Whistler, it's the Spearhead Traverse.While it may be one of the most well-travelled backcountry areas in North America, only a small percentage of touring travellers actually head out with the goal of completing the entire Spearhead Traverse. Starting from the glacier boundary gate on Blackcomb Mountain, the route encompasses 13 glaciers (all over 2,000m ...

Categories:Tags: , ,

Ski Mountaineering at Jim Haberl Hut, Tantalus Range

Monday, 1st February 2016  /  By Vince Shuley
Jim Haberl Hut Tantalus

Once every season or two, backcountry skiers and snowboarders develop an appetite for a special kind of trip. It may involve travelling half way across the world or simply finding a yet to be discovered corner of our own backyard, but more often than not it involves spending a few nights at a secluded location. One of our favourite such locations is the Jim Haberl Hut, a comfortable backcountry refuge nestled in the heart of the Tantalus Range.A quick helicopter flight from Squamish Airport, Jim Haberl Hut was built 10 years ago in memory of climber Jim Haberl, one of the two Canadians to first summit K2. Haberl died while attempting Alaska's Ultima Thule in 1999. The ...

Categories:Tags: , , , , ,

Backcountry Skiing Freeride Tours on Decker Mountain

Saturday, 12th December 2015  /  By Vince Shuley
Backcountry Skiing Whistler

Photos by Vince ShuleyIt's been snowing hard all week here in Whistler with 150cm falling in the last seven days. Freezing levels are settling down with more of the white stuff on the way this week. Hopefully you got a chance to make it up here, but if you missed this storm, fret not. When the resort turns to moguls and hardpack groomers, powder can be found in the world class Whistler backcountry.Commonly labelled “slackcountry” or “side-country,” backcountry skiing areas adjacent to resort boundaries areas have little or no avalanche control and therefore require skills, equipment and guidance to ski them safely. That means taking an avalanche course and na...

Categories:Tags: , , ,

AST 1 Avalanche Course (FAQs)

Wednesday, 25th November 2015  /  By Vince Shuley
Powder Skiing Rogers Pass

The motivation to travel beyond the ski resort boundary rope has never been bigger. Ski and snowboard touring equipment is lighter, stronger and stiffer than ever before. Tracks fill out resorts on powder days in less time than it takes to cook pasta. People are yearning for fresh terrain, fresh tracks and fresh experiences. The prerequisite? Getting educated with an avalanche course. To help bring you up to speed on this essential piece of mountain education, we've answered some Frequently Asked Questions. Where do I Start? If you're an advanced freerider looking to shred backcountry lines and haven't taken an avalanche course yet, the Avalanche Skills Training Level 1 (...

Categories:Tags: , ,