About a week prior to heading to Whistler I booked two back country guides through Extremely Canadian.
I can't say enough positive things about the guides and our experience. There were 9 of us in total, 4 who had never toured before and didn't have there own gear. Extremely Canadian has demo gear that they were able to use vs. having to rent, and they were wonderful in taking the time to show how the gear works and provide assistance on the tour as needed. Little did we know we would be taking our skins on and off several times through out the day and everyone was a pro with the gear by the end.
We expressed to our guides that we wanted minimal uphill time and max downhill time. While that wasn't how it worked out in the end everyone was pretty pumped with the fresh lines we got to ski. Our day began meeting our guides at the base, packing packs with avi gear (which they provided) pre made lunches we ordered from them ahead of time and then heading to mid mountain for lessons in using our beacons, probes and shovels. After about 45 minutes of learning our route began at the top of Blackcomb Glacier, traversing across the top of the bowl to the back country gate. From here we began our climb into the back country abyss.
The scenery and views kept us in awe the entire trek. With a group of 9 we moved at a comfortable pace for everyone. We had plenty of time to rest when our main guide, Les, took off his ski and packed down every turn for us on the mountain so we didn't have to do kick turns. Thank you, Les. Your incredible hard work on each turn made our group comfortable on the mountain and our day that much better. I've done kick turns on a steep slope once before and it was one of the most terrifying things. With every turn I felt like I would lose my balance and fall down the slope! While the kick turns weren't necessary as we could take small steps in the packed down area to turn, I took advantage of the space and practiced some kick turns a few times. Chelsea, our guide bringing up the rear, was encouraging and helpful with technique.
Our guide Les had the plan of heading over to Decker Glacier. Unsure if our large group of 9 would make it to the top, once we began getting close everyone had their sites set on reaching it and luckily enough we were moving a a pace that would allow it.
Right after we all rounded this turn pictured above, we were in sight of Decker Mountain summit!
Breathtaking views for miles, the weather sure was in our favor this day. We took a break on the summit, finished our lunches, snapped a few pictures then headed down the glacier in the most perfect champagne powder.
Once we got down, after what were arguably the best turns of the trip, it was time to slap back on the skins and head out of the bowl. Les led us back up to the top of "body bag bowl" were we skied back into the resort entering around the 7th Heaven area.
My watch started and stopped a few times so my recordings were not accurate. We estimated we did about 3-4 miles of skinning. An exhausting day for all, we ended the day celebrating our accomplishments with pitches of beer.