The gondola is a gateway to a number of different backcountry experiences for mountain enthusiasts.
Please read this page before accessing the backcountry. Be aware that this terrain is in the backcountry and is not patrolled by anyone from Sea to Sky Gondola.
Early access is available to those heading out into the backcountry: upload at 9:30am on days we are open.
The easy access to the upper Shannon Creek watershed, Goat Ridge, Mount Habrich, and Sky Pilot Mountain provides significant recreational value in both the summer and the winter for backcountry enthusiasts.
Sea to Sky Gondola does not do snow safety assessments and does not rate the avalanche hazard in the backcountry. All information shared on the website and social media sites is via Avalanche Canada.
Supported by local Search and Rescue Services, the Sea to Sky Gondola has adopted a policy in which skis and snowboards will not be loaded on the gondola on days in which Avalanche Canada, in their public avalanche advisory, deems the zone known as 'South Coast' to be rated as 'high' or 'extreme'. Visit http://www.avalanche.ca/map/forecasts/south-coast for all of the details.
Every backcountry user MUST be well prepared and travel with other experienced backcountry users. When entering the backcountry every member of your group should be wearing a transceiver (and know how to use it), carry an avalanche probe, and a shovel.
Squamish Search & Rescue advises that backcountry rescue is not always immediately possible, and is dictated by hazard assessment of current conditions.
YOU and ONLY you are responsible for yourself and your companions in this terrain. Proper equipment and knowledge is a given if you want to travel out here. You are responsible to read the Exclusion of Liability and Assumption of Risk, Jurisdiction waiver on the reverse of each ticket and posted throughout our operation.
A few tips to remember when entering the backcountry are:
- Never travel alone and advise friends and family of your destination and expected time of arrival back (make a Trip Plan online with AdventureSmart)
- Always be aware of the current conditions and the associated risks that go with them
- Always bring communications equipment eg. cell phone or radio or emergency locator or all three!
- Always have a first aid kit
- Be aware of the terrain and if your skill level matches it
- Pack clothing, equipment, water and food in case you have to stay overnight
- Be aware of dangerous wildlife in the area
- Be aware of current avalanche conditions (see http://www.avalanche.ca/forecasts/south-coast)
- Pack a shovel, transceiver and probe during the winter months if skiing or snowshoeing.
- Never travel in the backcountry on the day after a big storm. Allow the snowpack to settle for at least 24 hours.
- Don't assume a slope is safe because there are tracks going across it. Wind, sun, and temperature changes are constantly altering snowpack stability. What was safe yesterday (or this morning) could not be this afternoon. Further, when you cross a slope, you apply stress to the snowpack, which can cause it to slide.
- Never allow your judgment to be clouded by the desire to ride the steepest pitch or get the freshest snow. Staying alive is much more important!
- Never hesitate to voice concerns or fears. No one is going to criticize you for wanting to be safe in the backcountry.
Machine-Groomed Backcountry Routes (Winter 2016/17)
See red-marked sections of the map below for machine-groomed backcountry snow trails.