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SHAMES MOUNTAIN

To share any info you have on backcountry skiing at Shames, or to get the lowdown from others, check out our backcountry skiing forums on the region. It’s one source for good, current intel.

The Shames Mountain ski area is 35 km (22mi) west of Terrace, BC. Most routes described here are to the north of the resort, with a few to the east and west as well. Access for some routes is lift assisted. Note that Shames Mountain doesn’t provide one-rides so you’ll have to buy a day pass if you want to take a lift. The area is known for its massive snowfall and boasts an average of 1,200 cms (that’s about 475”). It’s in the Coastal Range so it gets the big precip. It’s far enough north that the snow is dryer like in the Selkirks. May be the best of both worlds…As you’ll see from the images and map, the Shames backcountry is also massive and offers terrain for many different levels of skiers.

To get the latest avalanche reports on the area from the Canadian Avalanche Association, check out the Northwest BC bulletin.  Local snow stability information is shared on the Canadian Avalanche Association (CAA) Skeena/Babine mountain trip talk discussion forum. Note that many of the backcountry ski tours featured here are very remote. In other words, play it safe and smart.

In the illustrated map featuring the entire Shames Backcountry area, we have provided numbers and outlined the terrain included within 26 distinct touring areas. To get a better idea of the potential ups and downs, look at the photos for each of the 26 areas where you can see individual routes within the different areas (they’re even named!). Dotted black lines indicate suggested up-routes and red lines/arrows indicate down-routes. This is big mountain skiing so be equipped and ready to use your route finding skills.

All routes listed here provided by Rod Gee, CAA Pro Memeber. If we have missed anything please let us know?

(This map is not meant to be used as a navigational aid but rather a visual indication of the route description.)



AREAS/ROUTES:
1. Ptarmigan Couloir
2. East Ridge/Mystic Valley
3. Mystic Valley Trees
4. Fay-Zurs
5. North Bowl
6. The Zymacord
7. No Name Bowl
8. Powder 8's
9. Fish Bowl
10. Blue Boy
11.Duncan's Bowl
12. Hidden Lake
13. Tree Triangle
14. Cherry Bowl
15. Geronimo Bowl
16. In-tent-City
17. Cold Sweat
18. Iron Curtain
19. No Dogs!
20. cats!
21. Thunder  Bowl
22. Permagrin Bowl
23. The Flutes
24. Super Bowl
25. Valley of Certain Doom
26. Happy Valley

 

For a full listing of backcountry huts, cabins and lodges check out the Coast Mountain cabins/huts/lodges page over here. If you are looking for maps and guides to the area then check out the following publications in our Backcountry Skiing Canada Store:

Backcountry-Shames-Map Backcountry Shames Map: $15.95

 

 

 


Backcountry skiing is an inherently dangerous activity that requires experience and knowledge to travel safely. Any of the routes on this site may be dangerous depending on conditions. You are responsible for your own safety in the backcounty—the team behind backcountryskiingcanada.com disclaim any responsibility for any injury resulting from people travelling on routes described on this site.  To read our Terms of Use and get all the details, read HERE.

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PTARMIGAN COULOIR
The Cornice Ridge terrain is to the east of the ski area and features an assortment of lines off the ridge with steeper, more open lines skier’s right when descending. Avoid “DNR” as it dumps you deep in the trees.

ROUTE: #1
1. No Name Gully
3. Cornice Ridge
4. D.N.R. (Definitely Not Recommended - this is not just a name!)

ACCESS: From base area, cross creek near rope tow bottom station. Ascend through forest onto ridge.
MAP: 103/I
TIME: 3-4 hours
ELEVATION GAIN: 980m/3215'
ATES RATING: Complex (3)

submitted by: Rod Gee

 

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EAST RIDGE / MYSTIC VALLEY
The East Ridge area is just north of Cornice Ridge, with somewhat trickier access. Enjoy open bowl skiing off the top of the ridge, as well as avy paths and tree skiing lower down.

ROUTE: #2
1. Waterfall/Big Bunny Trees

ACCESS: Top of t-bar, follow standard route to the Dome. Descend east side of Dome and continue along East Ridge. Return same way, via Mystic Valley or Waterfall area. East Ridge route is the access to No Name Bowl.
MAP: 103/I
TIME: 1/2 - full day
ELEVATION GAIN: 500m/1640'
ATES RATING: Challenging (2)

submitted by: Rod Gee

 

 

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MYSTIC VALLEY TREES
At just an hour away from the top of the T-Bar, the Waterfall routes can be a quick lap into the backcountry if you don’t have a lot of time.

ROUTE: #3
2. Waterfall Trees
3. The Waterfall
4. Lower Waterfall Trees (to Big Bunny) 
ACCESS: Generally used as an exit route from the Zymacord trees, No-Name bowl and the East Ridge, but can be accessed by traversing across the top of the Fay-Zurs below "Memorial Rock". Exit down the Waterfall Creek and onto trail that ends at bottom of Terminator run.
MAP:
103/I
TIME: 1 hour from the top of the T-bar
ELEVATION GAIN:
TBD
ATES RATING:
Challenging (2)

submitted by: Rod Gee

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FAY-ZURS
This is another easy access and quick backcountry lap offering up great tree skiing with a couple chutes (if you can find them).

ROUTE: #4
ACCESS: From the top of the T-bar follow the route to the Dome. Exit via the "V" onto trail that goes out to Terminator run.
MAP:
103/I
TIME: 5 hours
ELEVATION GAIN:
TBD
ATES RATING:
Challenging (2)

submitted by: Rod Gee

 

 

 

 

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NORTH BOWL
Immediately to the north of Faye-Zurs, North Bowl routes are entirely alpine. If you are feeling bold and prepared, ski the chutes. You can also link up with Powder 8’s terrain from here for a little variety.

ROUTE: #5
1. North bowl
2.Over 40
ACCESS: Top of t-bar
MAP:
103/I
TIME: 1/2 day
ELEVATION GAIN: 250m/820'
ATES RATING:
Challenging (2)

submitted by: Rod Gee

 

 

 

 

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THE ZYMACORD
Northeast of the North Bowl terrain, you’ll find Zymacord. This is a full day tour and well worth it. If you have limited time, you can just ski Zymacord trees. For the full Monty, tour to Zymacord Bowl and Zymbuktu.

ROUTE: #6
1. dark side
2.Zymacord Trees
3.Dome Couloir
4.Zymacord col
5.Little Man Couloir
6.Zymbuk-one
8.Zymbuktu
9.Zymbuk-three

ACCESS: Top of t-bar to the top of Dome via either North Bowl and Zymbuk1 or Zymbuk2, or by following East Ridge route to east side of Dome.
MAP:
103/I
TIME: full day
ELEVATION GAIN: 750m/2460'
ATES RATING: Complex (3)

submitted by: Rod Gee

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NO NAME BOWL
Just east of The Zymacord, you’ll find the No Name Bowl for another full-day of touring through various alpine terrain. For a little variety, some of these routes can be combined with Zymacord Trees with a short uptrack

ROUTE: #7
ACCESS: Top of t-bar, follow standard route to the Dome. Descend east side of Dome and continue along East Ridge. Return same way, via Mystic Valley or Waterfall area.
MAP:
103/I
TIME: full day
ELEVATION GAIN: 600m/1970'
ATES RATING: Complex (3)

submitted by: Rod Gee

 

 

 

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POWDER 8'S
Named after the classic “one-piece” powder skiing comp, Powder 8`s, on a good day, delivers the goods. The ATES rating here is complex, so be sure to read the terrain features wisely and stay out of trouble.

ROUTE: #8
ACCESS: Top of t-bar via North Bowl.
MAP:
103/I
TIME: 1/2 day
ELEVATION GAIN: 250m/820' (Including north bowl)
ATES RATING: Complex (3)

submitted by: Rod Gee

 

 

 

 

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FISH BOWL
The Fish Bowl offers up some great backcountry skiing but you can only get to it if conditions are right. It’s nestled in between Powder 8`s and Blue Boy.

ROUTE: #9
ACCESS: Access is stability-dependent. Gain Zymacord ridge from the Dome, crossing the North Bowl.
MAP:
103/I
TIME: 1 hour from the top of the t-bar
ELEVATION GAIN:
TBD
ATES RATING:
Challenging (2)

 

 

 

 

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BLUE BOY
One over from Fish Bowl, you’ll find Blue Boy. This is sketchy, avalanche prone and super steep. Only consider it if you are on top of your game and the conditions are right.

ROUTE: #10
ACCESS: Zymacord ridge from either the Dome or via No Dogs/Emotional Blackmail ridge, leave the ridgetop on the long flat section of the ridge across from Duncan's Bowl.
MAP:
103/I
TIME: 1.5 hours
ELEVATION GAIN:
TBD
ATES RATING: Complex (3)

submitted by: Rod Gee

 

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DUNCAN'S BOWL
Duncan’s Bowl is one of the more challenging slopes in the whole area and it’s also avalanche prone. In other words, only consider it if conditions are right and ideally, with someone who has skied it before.

ROUTE: #11
ACCESS: Follow Zymacord ridge from North Bowl.
MAP:
103/I
TIME: full day
ELEVATION GAIN: 600m/1970'        (not including access route)
ATES RATING: Complex (3)

submitted by: Rod Gee

 

 

 

 

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HIDDEN LAKE
This is one of the northernmost areas within the Shames backcountry. More open bowl skiing with some chutes. If you see the lake at the bottom, you know you are in the right place.

ROUTE: #12
1. Hidden Lake Trees
2. "No Name" gully
7. Hidden Lake
ACCESS: Follow Zymacord ridge from North Bowl.
MAP:
103/I
TIME: full day
ELEVATION GAIN: 600m/1970'        (not including access route)
ATES RATING:
Complex (3)

submitted by: Rod Gee

 

 

 

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TREE TRIANGLE
This area feature exposed terrain for the first 1/3 of the descent, followed by some well- spaced trees.


ROUTE: #13
ACCESS:  Zymacord ridge from either the Dome or via No Dogs/Emotional Blackmail ridge. Follow ridge to top of Tree Triangle.
MAP:
103/I
TIME: 1/2 day
ELEVATION GAIN: 400m/1310'        (not including access route)
ATES RATING:
Complex (3)

submitted by: Rod Gee

 

 

 

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CHERRY BOWL
Just west of Hidden Lake, sits Cherry Bowl, and a full day tour. As a well as some colourful route names, this bowl offers a mind-blowing variety of skiable terrain.

ROUTE: #14
1. G-spot right
2. G-spot
4. down-the-uproute
6. First Tracks
9. Cherry Trees
10. The Orchard
ACCESS: Follow Zymacord ridge from North Bowl.
MAP:
103/I
TIME: full day
ELEVATION GAIN: 650m/2130'        (not including access route)
ATES RATING:
Complex (3)

submitted by: Rod Gee

 

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GERONIMO BOWL
Geronimo Bowl can be found between Cherry Bowl and the resort. As you can see from the photo, the routes in the middle are the most challenging. Ski with caution and — Geronimo!

ROUTE: #15
1. Geronimo Ridge
2. Geronimo Bowl
6. Men-who-pause

ACCESS: Zymacord ridge from either North Bowl or via No Dogs/Emotional Blackmail ridge.
MAP:
103/I
TIME: 1/2 to full day
ELEVATION GAIN: 450m/1475'        (not including access route)
ATES RATING:
Complex (3)

submitted by: Rod Gee

 

 

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IN-TENT-CITY
Get it? … We promise, you’ll feel nothing like you are in a tent on this tour. We included one suggested descent here. There are definitely routes to avoid so try and ski down the middle spine here.

ROUTE: #16
1. In-Tent-City
ACCESS: Zymacord ridge from either North Bowl or via No Dogs/Emotional Blackmail ridge. Entrance is at top of Geronimo skier's right ridge.
MAP:
103/I
TIME: 1/2 day
ELEVATION GAIN: 425m/1395'        (not including access route)
ATES RATING: Complex (3)

submitted by: Rod Gee

 

 

 

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COLD SWEAT
Cold Sweat is just west of In-tent-city and offers up some great lines off Emotional Blackmail Ridge. Climber’s right for open terrain, climber’s left for trees.

ROUTE: #17
1. Iron Curtain
2. Cold Sweat
3. In-tent-city
4. Geronimo Bowl
ACCESS: Follow Emotional Blackmail ridge from Geronimo Bowl.
MAP:
103/I
TIME: 1/2 day
ELEVATION GAIN: 375m/1230'
ATES RATING: Complex (3)

submitted by: Rod Gee

 

 

 

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IRON CURTAIN
Various options (E-mail us your route description today!)

ROUTE: #18
1. Iron Curtain
2. Cold Sweat
3. In-tent-city
4. Geronimo
ACCESS: The steep top pitch is accessed either from the ridge just down from the Cold Sweat entrance, or by traversing in from the top of No Socks. To exit, cross the creek and use the steeper Deliverance ascent trail aka "Viagra Boys" or the more mellow  "Grateful Dead", both of which take you to the Deliverance cat track, which takes you back to the bottom of the t-bar.
MAP:
103/I
TIME: 2 hours from the top of the t-bar
ELEVATION GAIN:
TBD
ATES RATING: Complex (3)

submitted by: Rod Gee

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NO DOGS!
This is classic tree skiing. Consider hitting this area on low visibility or high avy risk days. Woof.

ROUTE: #19
ACCESS: Ski to Deliverance valley bottom from t-bar runs, cross creek for ascent up No Dogs (climber's left of the "Diagonal Gully". No Socks is the area between Diagonal Gully and Iron Curtain.)
MAP:
103/I
TIME: 1/2 day
ELEVATION GAIN: 300m/985'
ATES RATING: Challenging (2)

submitted by: Rod Gee

 

 

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CATS!
Cats are allowed in this area, just adjacent to No Dogs! Like its canine-related neighbour, Cats is relatively low-angle and may be the call on low viz days.

ROUTE: #20
1. Cats: tree skiing on the backside of No Dogs.
2. Emotional Blackmail: the area above Cats. Emotional Blackmail ridge is shared with the tops of No Socks, Cold Sweat and Geronimo Bowl.
ACCESS: Ascend No Dogs, then cross ridge to Cats. Also accessed from Emotional Blackmail.
MAP:
103/I
TIME: 1/2 day
ELEVATION GAIN: 200m/660'          (not including access route)
ATES RATING: Challenging (2)

submitted by: Rod Gee

 

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THUNDER BOWL
West of Cats, you’ll find Thunder Bowl and multiple options off the ridge. The eponymous Thunder Bowl route in this area offers the longest vertical descent to the bowl’s bottom.

ROUTE: #21
1. Cat can't scratch it: gully leading from Thunder Bowl west ridge to Valley of Certain Doom
3. Thunder Bowl: various lines and aspects
5. Thunder Bowl tree triangle: poor viz line sometimes used as ascent route from Cats
8. Emotional Blackmail
ACCESS: Follow  Zymacord ridge from North Bowl
MAP:
103/I
TIME: full day
ELEVATION GAIN: 500m/1640'        (not including access route)
ATES RATING:
Complex (3)

submitted by: Rod Gee

 

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PERMAGRIN BOWL
What are you smiling at? On a good day in Permagrin, it’s an easy answer. If you are feeling bold and conditions are right, consider skiing off the peak for maximum thrills.

ROUTE: #22
ACCESS: Follow  Zymacord ridge from North Bowl
MAP:
103/I
TIME: full day
ELEVATION GAIN: 900m/2950'
ATES RATING:
Complex (3)

submitted by: Rod Gee



 

 

 

 

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THE FLUTES
Northwest of Permagrin, and further away from the resort, The Flutes await. This area is described as a full-day tour because of the access. If you have the energy, combine it with another tour (or leg of a tour) on your way home.

ROUTE: #23
ACCESS: Minor ridge from bottom of Super Bowl. Exit via Permagrin Bowl.
MAP:
103/I
TIME: full day
ELEVATION GAIN: 450m/1475'           (not including access route)
ATES RATING:
Complex (3)

submitted by: Rod Gee

 

 

 

 

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SUPER BOWL
It’s a super tour to Super Bowl. Carefully select your own route for descending or follow one of the three we suggest. Avoid heading too far skier’s right—there are drops and cliff bands that may take you by surprise.


ROUTE: #24
ACCESS: Follow Zymacord ridge from North Bowl to top of Thunder Bowl, down to Wolverine Lake and then ascent trending up climber's right side of Super Bowl.
MAP:
103/I
TIME: full day
ELEVATION GAIN: 1500m/4920'
ATES RATING:
Complex (3)

submitted by: Rod Gee

 

 

 

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VALLEY OF CERTAIN DOOM
If the name doesn’t bother you, this can be an excellent day tour.

ROUTE: #25
1. Happy Doom Traverse: Ascend Valley of Certain Doom to the "Pedastal of Doom", then turn south to Happy-Doom col. Descend Happy Valley and cross Shames River to return to access route.

ACCESS: From Shames road switchback, drop to valley bottom via old logging road. Ascend valley on true left bank, crossing several large avalanche paths.
MAP:
103/I
TIME: full day
ELEVATION GAIN: 1100m/3600'
ATES RATING:
Complex (3)

submitted by: Rod Gee

 

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HAPPY VALLEY
Happy Valley, and #25 above, are the only two routes to the west of the resort. There isn’t a lot of beta on this terrain so plan—and tread—with caution. You are far away from any help.

ROUTE: #26
1. Happy Valley south side:Follow Valley of Certain Death route from road switchback and cross Shames River at Happy Valley. Ascend forested route on south side of Happy Valley into alpine, follow climber's left side of alpine basin to ridge line. Return by same route.
ACCESS: From Shames road switchback, drop to valley bottom via old logging road. Ascend valley on true left bank, crossing several large avalanche paths.
MAP:
103/I
TIME: full day
ELEVATION GAIN: 1100m/3600'
ATES RATING:
Complex (3)

submitted by: Rod Gee

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