Extremely Canadian: Whistler's Specialty Ski School
Have you ever gone to visit a friend at their home ski resort? It’s the best because your friend knows all the best runs and powder stashes on the mountain and they are enthusiastic about sharing them with you.
That’s what it is like to ski with Extremely Canadian. With over 25 years in operations at Whistler Blackcomb and a handpicked staff that embody stoke every day, you’re guaranteed to have an unforgettable time with this deeply rooted local company.
But wait, what’s Extremely Canadian?
Extremely Canadian is the specialty ski school brainchild of Peter Smart and Jill Dunnigan. In 1994 they learned that some guys from Vermont were bringing steep skiing clinics to Whistler and that didn’t sit right with Peter.
“We have plenty of local talent around here who can do that job, and they know the mountains,” he grumbled. Jill agreed and with the addition of Greg Dobbin and Wendy Brookbank the idea of Extremely Canadian began to take shape.
Peter, Greg and Wendy all had the same ability to ski long, big-mountain off-piste* lines and explain the nuances of this kind of skiing in simple achievable terms. Couple that with a ton of local knowledge and some of the biggest smiles on the mountains and you get a simple but extremely desirable concept – take a lesson without it feeling like a lesson. You are hiring an expert guide who just happens to know a lot about ski instruction.
When they started out they probably didn’t realize that they were redefining what ski school meant but that's exactly what they have done. Over the past 25 years Extremely Canadian has diversified their offerings but they have always kept the same guiding principles – sharing a love of mountains in a way that pushes the boundaries yet prioritizes safety and fun above all else.
The current Extremely Canadian offerings can be divided into 3 major categories – Inbounds, Backcountry and Winter Skills Courses.
Expand your boundaries, without leaving the resort
Within the boundaries of Whistler Blackcomb their clinics and camps are all about improving your off-piste technique while showing you all the best places on the mountains. The flagship product of 2 day Steep Skiing Clinics, one day on each mountain, has been augmented with a 1 day Wednesday option, as well as 2 day Snowboard Camps throughout the season.
Inbounds privates are also available every day of the season, these are great for groups of friends or families looking to shred together.
Take it outside - Backcountry experiences
If you’re looking to step outside of the comfort of the resort boundaries their ACMG (Association of Canadian Mountain Guides) staff will show you how to safely reap the benefits of backcountry skiing and boarding.
Climb up, then ski down. With no line-ups, chair lifts or trail signs, the possibilities are endless. It doesn’t matter if you’ve never set foot in the backcountry or you have a ton of days under your belt, Extremely Canadian has a backcountry offering to suit your needs – Introductory, Experienced and Private tours are available.
Digging the idea of fresh untouched powder and not a track in sight but feeling a little daunted by climbing all the way into the alpine? Check out Extremely Canadian’s latest offering; Heli Assisted Ski Touring. Start the day with a helicopter drop high in the mountains and enjoy a full day of guided backcountry skiing or splitboarding, then get picked up by Blackcomb Heli at the end of your epic day!
Once you’ve got the Backcountry bug it’s important to arm yourself with the knowledge to responsibly enjoy the outer reaches of the mountains.
Start with an Avalanche Skills Level 1+ course to gain an entry level decision making framework. Graduate to Avalanche Skills Level 2 course and take part in extensive practical field sessions and expand on the theories and principles learned in AST 1+ course.
The Crevasse Rescue / Glacier Travel Course is a must-do for ski touring and splitboarding in South Western British Columbia. Glacial travel is a reality of touring here.
Extremely Canadian will help you develop safe travel skills for glaciated ski traverses, bringing new lines within your reach. All courses can be accommodated as private groups.
Something for the kids
As their company grew so did their family. Peter and Jill love ripping around the mountains with their daughter Allie but there comes a time where every kid is ‘too cool’ to ski with their parents.
If your little ripper is ready to take the slopes by storm with their friends it’s highly recommended you set them up for success by enrolling them in one of Extremely Canadian’s Big Mountain Awareness Courses.
Created by Keith Reid (past president of the ACMG) and Mitch Sulkers who ran the Outdoor Recreational Leadership program for the school district, this course provides kids with strong situational awareness and imparts the knowledge and skills to ski and ride the alpine safely.
A Guaranteed Good Time
Whether you are a first time visitor or a longtime local Extremely Canadian guarantees they will show you the goods and improve your technique.
But don’t just take our word for it, see what previous clients are saying!
“Having never skied the mountain, spending the day with someone familiar with the local terrain was a must. Our guides, however, went far beyond just showing us around. They each provided helpful tips and chose great runs for the whole group to ski. For any advanced skier visiting, this program is a must-do. I have skied with instructors before, but never anyone with skills and knowledge like this.”
“Mandatory Attendance for Experienced Skiers visiting Whistler. If you think you’re a good skier this group will put that to the test, in a good way. For me, it was initially very humbling, but under their guidance, I quickly gained skills needed and was a much better skier after a couple of days with them. During that time we navigated the mountain like a pack of ninjas, skillfully selecting the lines appropriate for our group while pushing everybody’s comfort zone just a little bit.”
*Off-piste simply means ‘outside the ski run.' And that is how literal you should take it. This area is unsupervised, ungroomed and unmarked.