In the local tongue of the Tsimshian, the Coast Mountain Range surrounding Terrace is known as Ganeeks Laxha, or the “stairway to heaven.” It’s not difficult to see why the First Nations stewards of this land named the area such – especially when you’re deep in the back country, staring at mountains and mountains of sterling powder.
A 22-mile drive from the rustic city of Terrace is the indomitable Shames Mountain, home to My Mountain Co-Op and 1,600 vertical feet of powder in one of Canada’s premiere back country ski destinations. Less than 60-miles from the coast, Shames receives more than 40 feet of snow every winter –even in March, when I stood on the rim of an epic bowl looking out over what seemed to be the whole of the Coast Mountain Range, all I could see was soft powder in every direction. My tour group was led into the back country by local guides Sean Fraser and Hatha Callis of Hyland Backcountry Services for one of the most fantastic mountain experiences I have ever enjoyed. One of the most alluring aspects of skiing the Shames back country is that you don’t have to go far to experience it – we rode lifts to the main back country access points, which meant that we didn’t have to spend all day climbing before getting a crack at fresh powder.
Sean walked our group through an Avalanche Safety Briefing, which helped all of us feel more comfortable in our surroundings, before we took off on a full day of touring the pristine Canadian wilderness.