"You can use these things called Trekkers, which can fit into your Alpine bindings and give you the walking function needed for skinning. Renting a pair of these would provide you with a cheap option to see if you really enjoy BC."
- I suppose that is a guaranteed way to avoid a false positive (i.e., enjoy initial trial outing, but end up hating the real thing). However, that approach has a huge chance of generating a false negative, as any sensible person is going to hate using Alpine Day Wreckers.
Anyway, since you already know how to downhill ski, and you're fit enough for the suffer fest known as skate skiing, and you enjoy nordic touring away from groomed xc centers (correct?), then I don't how you could do anything other than fall in love with alpine touring. (I did all three of those before I got into alpine touring, and when I finally did, it was such a perfect combination of everything.)
"Heck, you could even check in with the local REI [...]"
- "REI" in Canadian translates into “MEC” which will carry everything you need. That same stretch of West Broadway has an amazing concentration of other outdoor shops, although all the ones I’ve stopped in seemed to be competing with MEC mainly on soft goods. (But I’ve been there only in early July, so maybe it was just hidden away for the summer.) Vancouver must have a locally owned ski shop with a big selection of AT gear . . . or is competing with MEC impossible?
- The retailer was right about a backcountry quiver. A range of skis is even more valuable than for resort skiing, since although wider skis perform better for winter-time unconsolidated snow, they also weigh more, and weight becomes a huge factor when skinning. You might want to start with something relatively wide for winter, then in the spring think about getting a lighter setup for more consolidated corn. (Budget approach: get some random used alpine or backcountry skis somewhere between 80mm to low 90s. The better your downhill skills, the more you can get away with narrower, lighter skis in difficult heavy unconsolidated snow.)
- The other issue is boots: you could get something like a Dynafit Titan, Scarpa Skookum, or BD Factor, with downhill performance that comes close to your resort boots, but once again, extra weight on the up. Or instead a Dynafit Zzero4, Scarpa Spirit 3 or 4, Garmont Radium, etc., as more of an all-around boot, i.e., compromising between the up & the down. (Budget approach: opt for the latter, used, since so many of these all-around boots are being sold off as people “upgrade” to the latest stiffer, heavier models.)
- The only easy part is bindings: either Dynafit ST or FT12 if you really need release setting > 12. Or I suppose the new G3 Meetu/Onyx if you want to be patriotic, eh? Anything else is like trying to skate ski on your nordic touring gear, i.e., possible, but much harder, with no benefits. (Budget approach: unfortunately, there is none.)
- That referenced guiding school (which seems to get a good review over at your ttips inquiry) is only a 100-meter walk from MEC. The course looks good, but the problem is that they even allow people in with Alpine Day Wreckers, so with your fitness level and new Dynafit setup, you might spend most of the time waiting up for everyone else. - Another approach is to first take your AST intro avy course: http://www.avalanche.ca/CAC_Training_Level1
. . . then see if any of your classmates are interesting in just hiring a guide for a weekend course of your devising. You can look up qualified guides here:
(You might even end up just taking both courses from that place near MEC, but assemble your own group of compatible partners for the touring course.)
- These seem to be the two relevant clubs for you:
- Meanwhile, read these two excellent books: