Michael Shynkaryk is an ACMG Ski Guide based in Squamish, BC and has been chasing winters for over 15 years. You’ll find him delivering memorable powder turns between New Zealand’s South Island and Canada’s McGillivray Pass Lodge. Fun fact: when he’s not guiding, Michael works as a Geotechnical Engineer. Michael has been helping Whitecap spearhead the Peaks of Pemberton program, so we wanted to pick his brain about his favourite aspects of our tailor made heli-access touring trips .
What do you like most about the Whitecap Peaks of Pemberton program?
The opportunity to ski with guests for three days, build a backcountry program around their interests/abilities, and encourage them to travel into terrain that is rarely ridden. In addition, the helicopter is a great way to access terrain and it saves the morning and late afternoon slog for guests. However, if the weather is poor then highway trailhead skiing off the Duffy or around Pemberton has some of the best backcountry skiing in Sea to Sky. I also enjoy sharing some local knowledge with interested folks and encouraging all backcountry skiers to ride to the conditions.
What type of skiers/ snowboarders do you think it is best suited for?
The PoP program is best suited for skiers/snowboards who have backcountry experience and taken their AST 1/2 course. Ideally, they are comfortable with their gear and able to ride black runs at the resort, able to ride untracked powder snow, and have a base fitness level to travel uphill for a few hours in a day.
What is your favourite run in the Peaks of Pemberton Tenure?
It depends on the day and the group’s objective. Peaks of Pemberton has 10+ zones to ski in and have not found a favourite run yet. Last year a stand out run was really Apéritif, in the Fowl Lakes area. It has a great alpine bowl which connects to open tree glades below.
What is the approximate vertical?
Runs vertical changes based on the objective but can range for 300 m to 1000 m in the tenure.
Approximately how long of a day is it?
Generally it’s a full day with the flight in and out, but depends on how many laps guests feel up for, and the touring conditions. Can ski steeper if avalanche danger is reasonable. Recommend finishing on a run to the north called Digestive.
Which Peaks of Pemberton zone are you hoping to explore next (bucket list zone)?
I’m hoping to explore Place Glacier Range and steep north facing alpine terrain in the Fowl Lakes zone.