email a friend iconprinter friendly iconThe Big Trip: Hut-to-Hut Skiing
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5. Alberta & British Columbia
Conquer the Banff Backcountry

A traverse of the Wapta Icefields in Banff and Yoho National Parks feeds every fantasy a backcountry ski mountaineer could conjure: vast tracts of pure treeless whiteness, deeply crevassed glaciers, and countless peaks to bag. The six-day, 29-mile Wapta Traverse isn’t for everyone. Skiers will need telemark or alpine gear and intermediate skills—and the potential for whiteouts is strong. But what a reward for the risk. The trail climbs 2,200 feet in 5.5 miles to the Peyto Hut, surrounded by glaciers. Day five ascends the 10,000-foot Balfour Col for a glorious panorama of ice fields, summits, the Waputik Glacier—and your destination hut, waiting quietly three miles below.

Vitals: Wapta’s four huts fill up fast, so book ahead ($31 per person, plus $8 wilderness pass; alpineclubofcanada.ca). Yamnuska Mountain Adventures leads six-day Wapta Traverse trips ($1,115; yamnuska.com).

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