Banff Ski Mountaineering

Traversing the Canadian Rockies in Winter: That’s Ski Mountaineering

Ski mountaineering: the ultimate winter sport in Banff National Park and the Canadian Rockies.There is mountaineering, and then there is skiing – we’ve got both here in Banff, Alberta and the Canadian Rockies, of course. We’ve also got a combination of these two things: what you call ski mountaineering.

Ski mountaineering is just what it sounds like: a sport that combines the skills and techniques of skiing – Nordic, downhill and telemark – with those of mountaineering. Ski mountaineers are typically willing to tackle any sort of surface they may come across on the mountain – snow, of course, but not just powder; rock and ice. This is what distinguishes the sport from ski touring.

Yamnuska: your guides for every Canadian Rockies adventure.In fact ski mountaineers may also use the equipment used in traditional mountaineering when they’re not on skis: crampons, ice axes, protection, and ropes. Most of the time they are on skis – these skis and boots typically have binding that allows the heel to lift similar to Nordic skis and boots — but the mountaineering equipment may come out of the pack when skiers come across the an otherwise inaccessible part of the mountain.

It’s a great way to see the alpine beauty of the Canadian Rockies and Western Canada in winter. And there is no better chance to see wildlife during the winter months than out in the backcountry wilderness.

Sound like fun? Sound like a challenge? Then come to Banff, Alberta and try ski mountaineering on for size. Many tour companies can provide you with guides and equipment rental. There is always traditional cross-country or backcountry skiing and hut-to-hut traverses, if ski mountaineering sounds like it might be too much.

Yamnuska Mountain Adventures offers a number of tours, programs and packages for your Canadian Rockies backcountry ski trip. These include instruction courses for both backcountry/cross-country skiing and ski mountaineering, as well as avalanche safety.
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