There are several ways to access Cowboy Ridge. For backcountry skiers on the Spearhead Traverse, Cowboy Ridge represents the final downhill pitch of a marathon tour, the celebratory last few real turns in the alpine before skiing out via the Singing Pass Trail to Whistler Village. If a more relaxed slack-country day is what you’re after, it’s possible to access Cowboy Ridge from Whistler Mountain via Symphony Chair, Flute and Oboe summits, and then exit via Singing Pass or by climbing back up to Flute Bowl. And for anyone determined to have a strictly human-powered adventure, climbing up the 12-kilometer Singing Pass Trail is always an option, albeit a time- and energy-consuming one.
Cowboy Ridge and the surrounding area have a lot to offer in terms of skiing. If a casual day-trip suitable for intermediate backcountry skiers is the goal, a couple of laps down Cowboy Ridge and the Musical Bumps with chairlift-assisted access is a great option. Cowboy itself offers a sustained and moderately steep southwest-facing pitch that gets a lot of afternoon sun. With clear weather the ridge has incredible views of the massive glaciers on Castle Towers Mountain, Mount Davidson, and Mount Carr to the south, as well as the entire Spearhead Range to the west, north, and east. Fissile Peak in particular towers majestically over Cowboy Ridge, tempting skiers to climb a little farther with all of the skiable lines down its north face. When it’s time to head out, locate the Singing Pass Trail on the west side of the creek in the basin at the bottom of the ridge. The quick exit trail is almost entirely downhill, traversing the south side of Fitzsimmons Creek all the way to Whistler Village.
Traversing to Cowboy Ridge from Whistler Mountain is a good option for inexperienced backcountry skiers because it avoids all glaciers, and with some thoughtful route selection it’s possible to avoid all significant avalanche terrain as well. That being said, this is still backcountry skiing; there are hazards to be aware of, and all skiers should be prepared.
The Himmelsbach Hut on Russet Lake is close by for staging overnights to ski the classic lines near Cowboy Ridge.
Winter backcountry adventures can be dangerous outdoor activities that pose significant risks as conditions affecting safety (i.e. weather, snowpack stability, avalanche hazard) are constantly changing. Prior to engaging in these activities each individual should get the proper training to make safe decisions and be equipped to use avalanche safety resources and tools. Please visit our Backcountry Skiing and Avalanche Safety post to learn more.