Banff’s Sunshine Village has officially opened the Wild West freeride zone.

With 79 cm (2 ft. 7 in) of snow falling in the area this past week coupled with a solid 178 cm (5 ft. 10 in) base, conditions are ideal to open the big mountain terrain.

The Wild West features some of the most extreme in-bounds terrain available in North America. Located on Goat’s Eye Mountain, the Wild West can be seen as you near the mid-point of the gondola. Like Delirium Dive, the Wild West is recognized globally for its steepness. It features three major rock-walled couloirs, steep crevices, and a series of cliffs – some reaching more than 30 metres.

Skiers and boarders must be comfortable with expert terrain and entry into the area is only permitted for those with an avalanche shovel, probe, transceiver and partner. Daily opening of the Wild West is always subject to weather conditions.

Meanwhile at the Lake Louise Ski Resort, the famous back bowls offer an incredible array of runs. The wide open steep bowl in Boomerang, tight terrain in ER3, technical features in ER7 plus an expansive selection of gladed tree runs will keep your heart racing. Additional areas are undergoing avalanche control work and will further expand the expert level options once open. Backcountry equipment is not required, but advanced off-piste skills are necessary. Helmets and other protective gear is recommended. The back side of The Lake Louise Ski Resort can also be accessed by beginner and intermediate rated trails.

Mt. Norquay continues to offer advanced and expert terrain via the North American Chair. The runs accessible from the chair not only offer incredible views over the town of Banff, but thigh-burning moguls and steeps that challenge even the most advanced skiers and boarders. This season the resort has featured full moon night skiing from the North American chair for expert level skiers and boarders.

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Photo of Sunshine’s Wild West by Dan Hudson courtesy of SkiBig3

SnowOnline Editor: Lori Knowles