Whistler Snowmobile Tours
Totally Awesome Adventures
We are Whistler's premier snowmobiling tour company servicing both Whistler and Pemberton. Our tours include riding up Rutherford Creek to the World Famous Pemberton Icecap, Meager Creek Hot Springs, Bralorne, Gold Bridge, Face mountain, Hope Creek, Noel Creek, Meager Creek, Salal Creek . We feature Bombardier Summit 600 ETEC snowmobiles. If you have tried the other snowmobile companies, come on a tour with us and you will see why are customers rate us above all the other tour operators! Totally Awesome Adventures is the only true Backcountry Mountain Snowmobile Tour Operator in Whistler. We will take you deeper into the backcountry than any other tour operator where you can see totally awesome ice caves, ice falls and shear ice walls. Carve up the powder, do some high marking, snow boarding , skiing, or just look at the awesome scenery that we have in beautiful British Columbia. If you are coming to Whistler to ski at Whistler or Blackcomb make sure you set aside a day to come ride with us! Not only do we take you where the locals ride, but we also can customize private tours to meet your specific needs! Pickups and drop offs in Whistler and Pemberton are no problem, or you can meet at our base or at the trailheads. Do you just need a guide to the area; we are the only tour operator that has Canadian Avalanche Association trained guides and use only the best avalanche gear featuring the brand new Pieps DSP and Voile shovels and probes.
Rated #1 by the Men's Journal in the Dec 2009 issue for best sled skiing!
Luke and Mike Lester from SnowTrax were out riding with us in January . Here is the you tube clip of the Pemberton Icecap that aired this month
Pemberton Ice Cap is a Full day tour. The earlier we hit the trail the farther back we can go! The Summit Rev’s were built for this kind of terrain. If you love snowmobiling make sure this tour is on your must do list. This is our most popular tour and with good reason. I could go on and on about the beauty but with permission from SnoWest Canada editor Lane Lindstrom I have copied his article about his trip to the Icecap in Snowest November 2003 Canada issue.
Discovering The Pemberton Ice Fields
Bigger than life
By Lane Lindstrom
It started out just like many of the other rides we’ve been on—except maybe that we were riding in May and most riding areas, especially in the U.S., had long lost their snow—that is, until we climbed the toe of the Appa Glacier and a great expanse of snow and ice unfolded in front of us.
The snow and mountains went on forever. And ever. The scene before us easily went on for as far as we could see.
Vast is the only way to describe what we saw—and rode. We were just about to experience the Pemberton Ice Fields, a collection of glaciers in southwest British Columbia not far from one of Canada’s biggest cities, Vancouver. In fact, it’s just a 150 km drive but you’re a world away from the
steel and glass skyscrapers that dominate the landscape of the lower mainland. The Ice Fields have a different kind of skyscraper—made of granite and snow and ice.
You might have heard of the Pemberton Ice Fields, but if you’ve never been to there, you simply can’t imagine how much riding area there is. You have to experience it. Pictures can’t show it. Words can barely describe it.
The Pemberton Ice Fields offer wide open, treeless riding. How wide open? Here’s an example. “We’ll head over there,” our guide told us, pointing across this valley. It didn’t look very far, so we took off and made it to
the other side of the glacier, we look down and we’d gone five miles—wide open. And that’s one of the smaller areas… That scene repeated itself over and over the entire time we rode the Ice Fields.
The hillclimbing is spectacular, technical and very challenging. And sometimes dangerous, but we’ll get to that later.
One of the most amazing things about riding the glaciers here is that you would crest a mountain or ride up to a saddle and there would be even more incredible riding beyond that. It’s no exaggeration to say it really does go on forever. Our only regret was that we only had one day to ride the Pemberton Ice Fields. We didn’t even come close to seeing much of it. That would be like
having about a half hour to experience all of Christmas Day.
Our brief itinerary the day we rode was unloading at the snowline, heading to the Pemberton Valley Snowmobile Club’s chalet and then making our way through a large meadow to the Appa Glacier, which is about a half-mile wide and five miles long. We played there, hillclimbing, boondocking and the like, before we headed south to the Longspur Glacier, a long chunk of ice that leads to Ryan Lake. We climbed out from Ryan Lake and then hit glacier after glacier before ascending a dome shaped mountain (about 8,000 feet) where we had unobstructed 360 degree views of the Coast Mountains. We had intentions of going to Harrison Hut, a small cabin way in the backcountry, but it was time to head back and storm clouds were forming. You definitely
The Appa Glacier is the first chunk of serious ice you hit when accessing the Pemberton Ice Fields from the Rutherford Creek Road. As fun as this area is, it only gets better as you explore more of the Ice Fields.
don’t want to be stuck anywhere out here during a storm. There are no trees to seek shelter in should you get caught in a storm.
Getting To The Glaciers
The Ice Fields are so big that the riding area can be accessed from three spots. Brandywine Falls and Callaghan Lake are the most popular starting points because they are closer to Vancouver. We accessed the Ice Fields off Highway 99 north of Whistler. We
had to drive up the Rutherford Creek Road—we did ride in May remember—but during the heart of the season you can leave your vehicle in the parking area off Highway 99 next to the Rutherford Creek bridge and sled in. It’s about a 25 kilometre ride to the Pemberton Valley Snowmobile Club chalet. The club grooms the trail during the season. Everyone who plans on spending any amount of time on the Ice Fields brings extra gas and leaves it at what the locals call the “gas drop,” which is near the top of the Appa Glacier. Don’t bring extra gas and you’ll be sorry, especially when the snow is deep and you have to cut your fun short because of low fuel.
You really need to have days here to fully appreciate what the Ice Fields have to offer. One day is better than nothing, but you’ll leave the area feeling cheated because there is so much country to ride. You could get to the Ice Fields from Brandywine or Callaghan Lake and play on that section of the glaciers for a while and then another day take the Rutherford Creek route in and experience that part of the Ice Fields.
The area receives upwards of 30 or
Talk about your serious cornices. This is just one of the reasons the Pemberton Ice Fields can be a dangerous place to ride. Be prepared, use common sense and you’ll have a great time.
|more feet of snow each winter so the season is long. And that means it can be dangerous, too. Avalanche danger can be high, so make sure you have all the safety equipment you need, such as a beacon and shovel. One of the best bits of advice we can give is that you really need to take someone along who knows the Ice Fields. Not only can they show you the area, but should be able to show you the dangers as well, such as where the large wind holes and dangerous crevasses are. These wind holes are not your ordinary tree well. These can be dozens of feet deep and be found in places you wouldn’t necessarily expect. A couple of times during our ride on||
the glaciers, our guide carefully took us around a couple of wind holes and a crevasse. The wind holes seem to drop off just like a cliff. If you survive a fall into one of the wind holes, it could take a while to get back out. However, if you’re willing to take a few precautions, you’ll have a great time. It seems like with all the really great things in life, there are a few risks. The Pemberton Ice Fields are like that.
One of the best attractions to the Ice Fields is that they can be as challenging as you want or as easy as you want. A good example of this is the area between the Pemberton club’s chalet and the toe of Appa Glacier.
Pemberton Ice Fields
Elevation - 2,000 - 8,030 feet
Prime Season Jan - May
Snowfall 360 inches
Kilometres of Groomed Trails 25.7
Location Southwest British Columbia
Full Service Town Full services are available in Pemberton, Whistler and Squamish
Nearest Airport Vancouver (150 km)
Information Pemberton & District Chamber of Commerce (604) 894-6477 or www.pemberton.net
Road Conditions www.th.gov.bc.ca
Getting There There are three access points to the Pemberton Ice Fields, one near Brandywine Falls, one near Callaghan Lake (both just south of Whistler) and the other by the Rutherford Creek bridge (between Whistler and Pemberton). All three are located off the Sea to Sky Corridor (Highway 99). Just know that now the Vancouver/Whistler area has won the bid to host the 2010 Winter Olympics, there will be plenty of road work going on on Highway 99, the only route from Vancouver to Whistler.
Bedding Down Whistler is a world class ski resort so there are thousands of hotel rooms in town. Pemberton is a cheaper, quieter choice with several lodging options. We stayed at the Mountain Retreat Hotel & Suites in Squamish (866-686-7387 or www.mountainretreathotel.com). It’s a very nice hotel with an indoor pool and slide. Again, it’s a less expensive alternative to Whistler.
Eating Out There are almost as many restaurant options as there are lodging options in this area. Whistler is known for its nightlife. Again, Pemberton and Squamish are quieter alternatives. However, there is something for every taste imaginable between Squamish and Pemberton.
When we say the mountains and snow go forever on the Pemberton Ice Fields, we aren’t kidding. Just about any direction you look, you’ll see scenes like this. So much snow, so little time.
There is a big, wide open meadow where beginning-to-average riders can hone their boondocking skills (watch out for the creek, especially in the spring when things begin to melt). As your skills improve, you can head up to the Ice Fields and find some of the most hardcore riding you’ll find anywhere. The hillclimbing can be especially challenging for those who like to
|point and shoot. And there’s every kind of riding in between. The Pemberton Ice Fields are also a favourite among the backcountry ski/snowboard crowd, which likes to sled in with skis or a snowboard and hit the slopes. The day we rode the Ice Fields, we saw far more of this crowd than we did those strictly snowmobiling. In fact we talked to some of the||
boarder crowd and they didn’t mind that we were there and we didn’t mind that they were there. On the Ice Fields there is more than plenty of room for everyone.
We figured out a lot of things after our day of riding the Pemberton Ice Fields. Things like the scenery is awesome—some of the best we’ve ever seen—and the riding is to die for.
Pemberton Snowmobile Tours
Hurley to Bralorne - Come ride with us on a leisurely ride to Bralorne BC, a historic mining town. Have lunch and get warmed up at the Mine Shaft Pub. Stick to the forestry road or venture off into one of the many play areas. There's a ride for every experience level. Want to do an overnighter in Bralorne, there's the Mine Shaft Motel and several B&B's. Lets us arrange your perfect weekend.
To book your adventure or for more info
phone Ray @ 604-894-5565 cell 604-902-1199 or email
Whistler Snowmobiling at it best!!