Looking to up the anti on your next ski adventure? If the answer is yes, then a ride (or two) down Banff Sunshine’s Delirium Dive is a must.
The famed Delirium Dive, is an extreme riders paradise. The steep, expert only, terrain boats slopes that are near vertical. Which is no exaggeration. Delirium Dive, asserts slopes upwards of 50 degrees.
Delirium Dive is not for the faint of heart, or skill. The free ride zone is ripe with cliffs, chutes, changing snow conditions, and unmarked features. In fact, although Banff Sunshine is 90 years young, the Dive was only opened to the public in 1999. In the years leading up to the new millennia, Delirium Dive was simply considered to dangerous to ski.
Before you can even access the dive, you’ll need to have a riding buddy picked out and your avalanche gear fitted, and tested. Access to Delirium Dive is controlled by a beacon gate.
On first ascent up the the 200 meter hiking trail. Excitement runs through your veins as you fantasize over the powder waiting for you on the steep bowls of Delirium Dive. Once you submit the drop in zone, you’ll find your self forced into a cloak of bravado as your legs shake, and you question your sanity.
From there, comes decision time. My advice, is to not over think it. As scary as the Dive looks, the hardest part of the run is dropping in. As a newby, to Delirium Dive, you’re choices are:
- Drop into Brex (my go to)
- Take the stares, and drop in on Delirium Proper
- Hike the Ridge
As I said before, despite the steep slope below, the hardest most terrifying aspect of Delirium Dive is dropping in. So take your time.
Once in the Dive, savour the surge of adrenaline as you scout your line. The area of Delirium Dive is massive. There are countless run variations to explore. In the top section, the chutes are steep. You’ll definitely feel your legs work as you fight to control your speed. Take it easy.
Once you’re out of the “Steel Pipe,” you’ll arrive into the sweet spot. It’s time for the hardest decision on your ski day. The options are: Fat Boy, Sugar Bowl, Hayes Hill, Java Hill, and Sweet and Low.
My go to is a toss up between Java Hill, Sugar Bowl, and Fat Boy- obviously depending on the day. The snow in the lower bowls of Delirium Dive, is magical. It’s lighter, fluffier, finer, and deeper than any snow you’ve ever ridden. The secret, temperamental winds stockpiling powder and a north facing slope protecting the free ride zone.
If you’re like me, as you lean in and slash the pow, you’ll question if “this” is as close to heaven as I’ll ever get. Savour every turn.
As you make your way down, and out of the dive, you’ll arrive in Delirium Meadows glowing. Post Dive, you’re first thought will be “AGAIN!”