Many people come up to me and ask, “What is your favourite backcountry ski touring lodge?” That is a difficult question to answer. I like different lodges for different reasons. In this article, I will try to explain what I like about each of the lodges. If I went into depth, the article would be too long, so I’ll just talk about the highlights when I think of all the lodges I have had the privilege to visit over the past 23 years!
If you look carefully, you can see the uptrack climbing high ground on the right. Hilda Peak is an obvious big mountain destination while at Hilda Lodge, but the options for other big fall line descents seem limitless in this tenure. Hilda is not a place for the meek. The ascents are also big, fairly steep, and involve complicated terrain choices.
The highlight of the Outpost for me is the intimacy of the building. Eight people fit comfortably in the one room chalet that includes kitchen, dining room, and beds. The newest of three lodges built in the Valkyr Range by Martin and Shelly Glasheen, this one gets back to the roots of simple lodges. The terrain is incredible too. There are so many options for treed and alpine zones. Make sure you have your avi savvy…you can go 50 metres from the front door and enter potential Size 3 avalanche terrain! The third lodge in the Valkyr Range is called Naumulten and has some great options for more Intermediate – Advanced skiers/boarders. Photo by Vince Hempsall.
Ahhh Kokanee! Backcountry skiers have been hanging out in the park for many years. We used to spend weeks at the Slocan Chief Cabin. I can’t believe 12 people fit in that little shack! But now we have the Kokanee Glacier Cabin, which is more like a chalet. The terrain is the same fantastic mix of runs in all directions from the cabin, including the big runs off Kokanee Glacier. In order to stay at the cabin, you or your friend will need to win the annual lottery to see who are the lucky few that get a week for the following winter. Photo by Kelvin Saldern.
SELKIRK MOUNTAIN EXPERIENCE
SME is the home of the Durrand Glacier Chalet and the place where long-time mountain guide Ruedi Beglinger runs his business. I took an avalanche and ski mountaineering course from Ruedi back in 1995. The highlight of the trip was meeting the chef, who eventually became my wife! Other reasons to go to SME are for the long climbs and descents, glaciated terrain, and beautiful scenery. Guided trips only. Photo from Jim Mosher.
MOUNT CARLYLE BACKCOUNTRY LODGE
KAC hasn’t been to Carlyle in a couple years, but we need to get back there. One of my favourite all time tours is the Circumnavigation of Mount Carlyle, a fantastic 5 run tour going all the way around the peak of Carlyle. The lodge is run by Brian (Bomber) Cross, a local Kootenay character that has found his nirvana seeking powder in the Selkirk Mountains of BC.
Well, I’m going to stop there so this blog doesn’t get too long, but there are many other British Columbia lodges that I have enjoyed over the years, including Powder Creek Lodge, Valhalla Mountain Lodge, Vista Lodge, Sol Mountain Lodge, Ymir Lodge, Sorcerer Lodge, Boulder Hut, Ripple Ridge Cabin, and the Asulkan Cabin. Although this sounds like a pretty good list, there are many worthy destinations I have yet to visit. Where’s your favourite place to ski? Feel free to comment here.