Snow Mobiling in Backcountry Paradise Whistler’s Sled Tours
The pristine, untouched blanket of snow and vastness that is hard to comprehend. The shimmer of the sun on freshly fallen flakes and the crisp mountain air. Seemingly infinite opportunity, terrain and adventure. Thinking of snow mobiling Whistler’s backcountry? You got it.
Whistler’s backcountry is becoming ever more popular, with seven percent of skiers and sixteen percent of snowboarders reporting that they venture into the terrain. The backcountry is not an adventure for the faint of heart, but with proper precaution can be the most wonderful experience you’ll ever have in the snow.
Want to experience the backcountry for yourself? Snow mobiling is one of the most fun, exciting ways to do so. Plus, you don’t need any experience when you go with trained, professional guides. Whistler snow mobile tours are plentiful, with a little something for everyone.
Why is Whistler’s Backcountry Made for Snowmobiling?
The unparalleled beauty and a surreal feeling of peace come from the stillness and perfection of the backcountry.
Unlimited powder that you don’t have to fight for. Your photos will look like paintings. You won’t believe that the mountains could get even more magical. Panoramic views sprinkled with sparkling white snow are the ultimate way to connect with nature.
In Whistler, we are incredibly lucky to be able to access the backcountry relatively easily. The Callaghan Valley is 15 minutes south of Whistler and Cougar Mountain 15 minutes north. If you have your own sled, the playground is always open. Once you try it, you’ll never want to wait in lift lines again.
The Adventure Group Tours
See for yourself with tours geared to everyone. Whistler snow mobiling tours range in price from $189.99 per driver ($99.99 for a passenger) to well over $500 for expert tours that pull all the stops.
The Adventure Group is a tour operating company that knows and loves all the best things to do in Whistler, and snow mobiling is right up there.
Local’s Tip: Each year, TAG organizes a “fam” tour to give locals a free experience snow mobiling. Watch their Facebook page to learn how to score one.
They offer a wide variety of tours to suit everyone’s needs.
- Family Tours: Be the first to hit the fresh tracks of the backcountry. You need to be at least 16 years old with a driver’s licence to drive, but kids will get a chance to try out mini snowmobiles on the family tours. (Note: children must be four feet or taller). Snowmobiles for touring companies are equipped with automatic transmission to make them easy for anyone with a license. Hit the tracks early or head out after lunch.
- Wilderness Tours: Take you to the most magical places of Whistler’s backcountry. The tours allow you to dip your feet into what the backcountry is like and how snow mobiling feels. You can choose a beginner tour, specifically for those who’ve never done it before, or intermediate. The terrain will be curated to the level of the tour so everyone is comfortable.
Want to experience the ultimate day? TAG offers discounted packages that let you do it all. You can choose three epic activities (including snow mobiling), or stick with two major adrenaline picks by pairing ziplining and snow mobiling with the fly and ride combo.
Blackcomb Snowmobile Tours
Family owned and operated, Blackcomb Snowmobiles wants to make sure you love Whistler’s backcountry as much as they do.
- Scenic Tours: Tours specifically designed for those who want to get out in the fresh air, experience a new landscape and be stress-free. A slower pace, this is great for the beginner, the photographer or someone who just likes to take it slow.
- Wilderness Tours: From frozen glacial lakes to alpine bowls, the most popular tours give you nearly three hours of ride time to explore the beautiful backcountry.
- Private Tours: Want to do exactly what you want, go at precisely your pace, and have the entire tour tailored to you and your crew? A private tour will do just that. Perfect for a family, a special event or a gift experience.
- Extreme Tours: Not for the first-timers, this tour requires experience. Get off the groomers and learn how to cut through untouched powder with excellent, professional guides. Take your game to the next level.
You can even choose to do a 6 PM tour under the stars, great date night idea.
Important: Blackcomb Snowmobile requires drivers to be 19 years of age.
Canadian Wilderness Tours
Ready to really explore the backcountry? You can find the standard scenic, wilderness and beginner tours here, but you can also kick it up a notch or five.
- Mountain Explorer: Some experience is recommended for this moderate terrain. The dusk tour allows you to savour the fading lights and see the landscape in a whole different light (pun intended).
Already got your turns under control and know a thing or two about the backcountry? These tours are perfect to improve your skills and meet like-minded people. You could be on your way to meeting your new backcountry buddy.
- Backcountry X: The first step in pushing your limits. Start to gain avalanche awareness and be dazzled by your surroundings.
- The Powderhound: The name says it all. Hillside riding, climbing steep terrain and carving the Callaghan. You know they mean business when an avalanche safety kit comes with you on the tour. Confidence and experience are a must.
- Bralorne Expedition: A full day trip, adventure to a completely different world. Formerly one of the most prominent gold rush towns in North America in the ’70s, explore a forgotten town with over 60km of snowmobiling. Epic!
What to Expect Snow Mobiling Around Whistler
Regardless of what tour you choose, your professional guide will get you suited up (helmet, anything you’ve forgotten to stay warm) and give you a run down of how to use all the switches and handles.
They’ll teach you how to turn your machine on and off, steer and stop. They’ll demonstrate signals that they’ll use throughout the ride and how to communicate. Their job is to make sure you are 100% comfortable and confident, it’s your tour to enjoy.
Keep in mind, snow mobiling is not easy for everyone. Often likened to ATVing or off-roading, many find the machinery to be a bit more difficult to handle. A typical snowmobile weighs about 500 pounds and can reflect this weight when you’re steering. Manoeuvring may not be effortless, so a basic level of fitness and confidence is an asset.
What to Bring Snowmobiling in Whistler’s Backcountry
Get dressed like you’re going skiing, but wear normal winter boots. Dress in layers and be prepared for the cold. Mittens or gloves, snow pants and a warm jacket and a hat are essential. Bring your goggles, your camera, and your selfie stick. Companies will provide approved helmets for your use.
Backcountry With Your Buddies
Once you’ve gotten a taste of the backcountry, it’s hard to think about anything else. Owning your gear, even your sled, is the dream. No lift lines, unlimited fresh powder all the time and unlimited terrain to discover. Sounds pretty epic, doesn’t it? It’s completely attainable too, but there are a lot of very important factors to consider.
Once you start experiencing the backcountry you’ll hear this crucial mandate over and over: never go into the backcountry alone. Always plan ahead of time and let someone at home know your plans. Carry proper gear, backups and emergency supplies.
Gear, Training and Eligibility
Anyone who has any interest in the backcountry will know you must have proper avalanche training and knowledge, proper, up-to-date gear, and a buddy you’re confident in. Avalanche risk rises exponentially as you venture into the backcountry, but preparation can mitigate risks. Avalanche training courses are great for everyone, but a must for backcountry explorers.
Operators of snowmobiles must be 16 years of age or older, have a valid driver’s license, wear a helmet, and possess insurance. Always make sure to check with local laws, protected areas and government parks to ensure your respect and safety for everyone.
Head Into the Backcountry to Find Never-ending Opportunities
Are you looking to experience more of the backcountry this winter? Read up on what to know before skiing the backcountry or taking on the backcountry on a snowboard. If trekking uphill while wearing skis doesn’t exactly sound fun to you, check out touring the backcountry on a snowcat. Still not convinced? Check out Whistler local’s favourite parts of the backcountry for inspiration.
The backcountry is a special part of Whistler. It’s unlimited possibilities. It can be intimidating to tackle, which is why a snowmobile tour led by experts is a great way to test the (frozen) waters. When you decide you’re ready for the backcountry, it will be waiting. When you inevitably fall in love with Whistler and decide to live here, you’ll want to give these winter adventures a try as well.