5 - 6
FATMAP difficulty grade
This tour exposes you to complex and active avalanche terrain from a variety of aspects and start zones.
Despite the relative ease of the skiing, this is not a beginner tour and only those with experience of dealing with complex avalanche terrain should attempt it. This is a perfect route for accessing the rolling hills and many runs around Balu Pass in Glacier National Park.
To get to the north bowl, start at the Discovery Center and follow Connaught Creek to Balu Pass.
The route is well past the restricted zones, so you won't need to pick up a restricted permit.
However, if you don't have the annual restricted permit pass, it's a good idea to check in and make sure the Grizzly Shoulder and Ursus are open just in case you change plans.
It's also helpful to know if and when there is blasting happening.
The route leaves from the northern corner of the parking lot and passes behind the old Glacier Lodge, through scrub, and behind the radio tower.
A short road heads up the creek, eventually crosses a bridge, and continues over rolling terrain above the creek.
Keep with this for a few hundred meters before the skin track breaks out into the Connaught Valley.
From here it's an easy skin that gently ascends the valley.
You'll pass by Grizzly Bowl run out, Teddy Bear Trees, Frequent Flyers Gulley, Dispatch Bowl run out, Ursus Trees, then Hospital Gulley.
From here it's strait into the gentle rolling slopes of Balu Pass.
Spend a moment here scoping your lines.
There are multiple opens over rolling hills that offer some excellent quick yo-yo turns. As always, this route changes based on conditions.
Being a north-facing bowl, it's popular as things heat up later in March and April.
On the Avalanche Terrain Exposure Scale this area is rated Complex, and an Avalanche Skills Training 2 should be considered the minimum required experience to ski this route.
Parks Canada Provides a good overview of the Connaught Valley that is worth looking over.