Chickadee Valley...what a gem! Some are turned off by the long approach but few places offer such good skiing on both sides of the valley, north and south facing. If you're keen, 1400m runs aren't out of the question. From the first big snowfall, skiing is usually really good up here, and some years I've had my first turns and last turns of the season on the exact same run.
The north face of Mt. Whymper along with the X Couloir are the main reason to ski up this valley. Whymper can be skied on many aspects, but the true high alpine descent that the north face offers is unforgettable. If you are after a big day, combining a run on the north face with a trip up the X couloir could be a defining day in your ski career. You'll need a rope for the X.
My buddy, John B., absolutely loves this place. He’s skied every conceivable line in the valley, and he comes back for more, again and again. He’s the guy in the photo at the top of this page, with the ski touring dog, Amiga. Even though you’re skiing from Highway 93S, a traverse through the end of this valley can link you all the way to Consolation Lakes and Moraine Lake, in Banff National Park. This valley is also home to the ever popular “Chick-a-Boom” loop, a tour where you ski up Chickadee Valley, and over to Boom Lake and out a parallel valley. Want to know what’s cool about that? John and his dog have done both! Also, on this tour, you start your day in BC, and end in AB…now that’s pretty unique!
Though access is usually good early, I find skiing best here late in the year. Most years, snow depths will get well above 200cm (thick for the Rockies) and when the sun dips behind the peaks, the valley uptrack will get just icy enough to let you fly back to the car, heels unlocked. The late season skiing is excellent in this neck of the woods, and even if the conditions don’t cooperate early in the season, you know you’ll get it good around Easter when the sun is high in the sky and the chocolate eggs are melting in your backpack.