4 - 5
FATMAP difficulty grade
The Vista Bowl loop offers excellent moderate skiing in a stunning setting.
Most ski touring from the Blackcomb gate will involve some travel in glaciated terrain.
This route is specifically designed to avoid the glaciers whilst still offering a big mountain experience.
As with many Blackcomb ski tours, this route begins at the backcountry gate on Blackcomb Glacier.
After passing through the resort boundary, your first ascent will take you south east, up to a saddle named 'East Col'.
Transition here and enjoy a pleasant descent down the back side of Blackcomb peak, ending up on Circle Lake.
The top of this run can be a bit rocky at the best of times so take care entering the line.
From Circle Lake you will take a route called 'The Wrap Around'.
This contouring ascent heads north east, gradually gaining elevation.
Take caution as you traverse below the steep overhead terrain around Cham Chutes.
You should gain the Spearhead shoulder at around 2270m.
Be careful here as you will eventually be above a large cornice that guards the entrance to Vista Bowl.
This feature can be easily avoided by briefly trending north onto the Spearhead shoulder.
You can skirt around the cornice to the north and enter Vista Bowl via a mellow saddle at around 2240m. Vista Bowl is predominately south east facing and so the upper section is typically a little wind affected.
As you descend from ridge top however, the terrain becomes more sheltered and you will enjoy some great skiing on the open slopes below.
The views of Decker Glacier with the Spearhead range as a backdrop aren't bad either! Continue descending for around 500m vertical, all the way down into Wedge Creek.
In good stability there is the option to exit the bowl directly to Decker Lake via a bench at around 2000m.
From Wedge Creek, ascend west towards Decker Lake.
Continue west across the lake and gradually ascend slopes towards the Decker/Disease Ridge col.
Be aware that you need to maintain appropriate spacing between you and the steep slopes of Deckers north face.
There are some ridges and moraine features that you can use as terrain barriers.
After exiting the wind scoured col at the base of Decker keep your skins on and continue your westerly traverse around the south side of Disease Ridge.
If your angle is correct, you should pop out on top of Lower Disease Ridge at around 2100m.
From here you have many options to ski back out to the resort.
With favourable stability, find a place to enter the north face of Lower Disease, avoiding the large cornices.
If that proves challenging, simply ski down the west facing shoulder and back into the resort via 7th heaven.