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Possible Charge of $6.00 to access backcountry from Whistler Olympic Park #2085
Back To Discussion List Written: 2008.11.13 by: Robin Tivy

John Baldwin has sent me a note regarding some possible plans to charge backcountry users $6.00 for "Backcountry Access Permits" from this road. Here's what was in John's email:

--------------- Apparently the Whistler Olympic Park (WOP), the new Callaghan Nordic centre, is planning to charge $6.00 each per day for the privilege of skiing a 100 - 200 meters through their tenure area for backcountry skiers wishing to get to the backcountry beyond their CRA. To our knowledge this would be the only place in B.C. to charge a fee for backcountry skiers to cross/ exit the CRA of a commercial operator. Talks with VANOC through John Aalberg have been completely futile. The FMCBC are planning to apply under section 57 of the Forest and Range act for a designated access. Apparently WOP/VANOC do not actually have a tenure at the moment. Their permanent tenure is being considered now apparently without any public comment period. Their original application apparently included and promoted improved access to adjacent recreation areas. The Whistler ACC is sending the attached letter to ILMB opposing the tenure unless free access to the backcountry is entrenched in the tenure. Apparently it is a condition of Callaghan Country's tenure that they provide free access to Callaghan Lake Provincial Park. So this would be consistent with that.
  The significance of this is that there are 2 areas that are readily accessible from the new WOP parking areas with only a short 5-10 minute ski through the WOP to get into the adjacent backcountry and then access the Hanging Lake- Rainbow Lake/Mtn areas and the Beverly Creek area. See the attached map. Existing public trails are purple, backcountry trails are red. The red trail up Beverley Creek also provides public access to Madeley Lake via an existing section of the Rainbow Madeley Trail.

There aren't any fees to exit any areas in B.C. The same situation exists at Cypress and there is no charge for the free backcountry access permit. It is strictly for liability reasons. The backcountry access at Cypress goes right through the busiest part of the ski area and it is free. The distance is about the same as at WOP. Other ski areas provide free backountry access - Mt Washington, Mt Seymour, Manning Park, Shames Mtn (Terrace), Ski Smithers, Mt Baker. --------------------

The person who is considering giving them the tenure at the government is:

 Valerie Lowther
 Project Manager Integrated Land Management Bureau
 South Coast Service Centre
 phone: (604) 586-4433

I have phoned Valerie Lowther at 604 586 4433 and left a message on behalf of the Canadian Mountain Encyclopedia, asking for a complete explanation for our members. Perhaps it would be good if a few other people made their own inquiries. Her email address is



#1155 - 2009.01.26 Scott Nelson - Callaghan Country trails are no longer free for BC skiers.
Same policy as Whistler Olympic Park now applies - $6 to use the groomed trail, free if you don't use the groomed trail. In either case, please pick up a ticket (for the liability waiver) from the office.

#1126 - 2008.12.23 Scott Nelson - Use of ski jump access road now prohibited
Use of the cat road going up past the ski jump has been prohibited by WOP for safety reasons. Please use the access route starting from the Biathlon Range to access Hanging Lake. Just east of the biathlon shooting range is a small storage building. An old road starts here and parallels the outer most XC ski trails, then starts switchbacking uphill. After a couple switchbacks head right and up into the Hanging Lake drainage. For full details of the Whistler Olympic Park BC access policy see here

#1108 - 2008.11.21 Scott Nelson - Early Arrival
One more thing to add. If you show up early and the gate is open but the day lodge is not staffed, please just leave a note on your dash with your destination and head out without using the XC trails.

#1102 - 2008.11.19 Scott Nelson - People to thank
A lot of people in the FMCBC have been working on this issue. Special thanks go out to them and everyone else who wrote a letter or made a phone call.

Bryce Leigh, Monica Bittel, John Baldwin, Matt Gunn, Robin Tivy, Leslie Bohm

#1101 - 2008.11.19 Paul Kubik - Thanks Scott
That seems to cover it except for the route marking you're organizing. It seems reasonable and pretty similar to what's in place at Cypress Mountain except for the parking pass. I think I can live with the compromise.

#1100 - 2008.11.18 Scott Nelson - Update from Whistler Olympic Park
I got an update yesterday from John Aalberg, the director of the Whistler Olympic Park.

1. All backcountry skiing or snowshoeing parties must register at the new Day Lodge in the morning to get a special parking pass. This pass will allow you to park overnight, and/or leave through the gate after normal hours. The parking pass is free.

2. There is a $6 per person fee if you want to use the XC trails for backcountry access. To qualify you must be on AT or Tele gear (no skinny XC skis). For safety, you must follow the same rules as XC skiers on one way trails. If you want to ski the backcountry around Madeley Lake, this is the best way to get there.

3. If you want to access the backcountry without using the groomed XC trails, there is no fee. However, you still have to sign a waiver and get the parking pass. Please be careful when crossing XC ski trails and always yield to XC skiers. There are 3 suggested BC access routes that minimize XC trail crossings: from the daylodge climb the hill north of the ski jump to Hanging Lake or Sproatt, from the biathlon parking skirt the XC trails heading east to Hanging Lake, or from the biathlon parking drop down a short hill to the west and turn up Beverley Creek. I'll be working on signage for these routes during the winter, but for now there is nothing (contact me if you want to help). During competitive events, one or more of these routes may be closed. Be sure to check with staff at the Day Lodge when you get your ticket.

4. The XC ski trails and the 21 mile creek watershed (Rainbow Lake) are closed to dogs. This closure includes the ski touring loop from Hanging Lake over to Beverley Creek and ascents of Rainbow Mountain from the south and west.

Please follow the above rules or we may lose access priveledges. In particular, don't get caught skiing on an XC trail without the $6 ticket. If you really want to use the trail, $6 isn't much to ask.

#1095 - 2008.11.13 Robin Tivy - Ministry of Agriculture and Lands is looking into it
Caroline McAndrews from the Ministry of Agriculture and Land got my message, and phoned back to the offices of the "Canadian Mountain Encyclopedia" ( I read to her most of the original email, and gave her some other details as well. She will put me in touch with whoever is involved, and provide me with more information within 2 days. She was quite friendly, and she is now making inquiries.

So it seems that my inquiries have had some effect, and hopefully will be helpful. The "Integrated Land Management Bureau (ILMB) is part of the Ministry of Agriculture and Lands (MAL). (I'll try and use the full names of these departments since there are so many acronymns around.)