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This is Canada’s Most Famous Mountain Ski Traverse

The Wapta Traverse follows big glaciers and offers world class huts to sleep in

The Wapta Traverse is one of North America’s most iconic. The five-day trip will take you to one of the most scenic backcountry ski destinations in Canada. All huts are located high up on the spectacular Wapta and Waputik Icefields along the continental divide. There are a number of premier ski touring summits at each of the hut’s doorstep.

The peaks you can climb along the way rise up to 3,300 meters. You start at Peyto Lake, off the world-famous Icefields Parkway which connects Banff and Jasper National Parks, and will finish on the Trans-Canada Highway just west of Lake Louise.

Since you have to bring your own food and sleeping bag, you should be prepared for a lot of work and bring a big pack. Day one you ski to the Peyto Hut, day two you ski to the Bow Hut, day three you ski to the Balfour Hut, day four you ski to the Scott Duncan Hut and day five you ski out.

If you don’t have excellent navigation and crevasse-rescue skills, then don’t consider doing the Wapta Traverse. While the skiing is not difficult, you should be comfortable on powder and wind crust.

When it comes to the fastest time skiing it, 0n May 11, 2014, Peter Knight and Travis Brown made the traverse in six hours and 34 minutes. They had great skiing conditions and perfect weather. Brown wrote on his blog, “Overall it was a great day, and snow conditions were almost perfect. As always though, when you finish something big, you always see room for improvement. With the right group and more skintracks in I think it could go in under six hours.”

A 2022 Traverse

“All together the travers covers 30 miles of Canadian scenic beauty with about 8,000 feet of climbing,” said said Danny Bryson, who recently skied the Wapta.

“We considered doing it in a day but I was unaware of the Canadian’s propensity for generosity and was worried we wouldn’t be able to hitch a ride back to our car in the dark. So we spent a very uncomfortable night at the Duncan hut with nothing but our hopes and dreams to keep us warm. When we did reach the road we were instantly picked up and quickly got two rides back to our car. Canada is awesome.”