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Things to know about Whistler's backcountry

Uh oh, we said the B word.


Whistler is the largest ski resort in North America, offering over 8000 hectares of terrain in resort. There are powder bowls, tree runs and chutes to satisfy your adrenaline cravings. But what happens when you get an itch to go further afield, when you overhear stories in the bar of people bagging fresh powder a week after the last snowfall? Indeed, there is endless terrain to explore on skins from the top of both Whistler and Blackcomb, we are truly privileged to have some of the world's finest opportunities for backcountry exploration.

But with these opportunities comes a responsibility—to yourself, to your friends and to your loved ones to get proper avalanche training. Backcountry skiing is an inherently dangerous activity that requires experience and knowledge to travel safely. Though it is beautiful, the Canadian backcountry is remote and can be unpredictable, with severe weather and avalanches sitting as two of its primary hazards. For any backcountry travel, everyone in your group must be self-sufficient and properly trained. Can you identify slope angles above 30 degrees? Do you know what a cornice looks like? Have you read the Avalanche Bulletin and fully understood the avalanche conditions, including what aspects and elevations to avoid? If your friend triggers an avalanche and gets buried in front of you, do you know how to rescue them? Proper knowledge and sound judgement (especially knowing when to turn around) are undoubtedly your most important backcountry survival skills. 

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