In my opinion, British Columbia’s heli-accessed lodges provide some of the best backcountry skiing bang for your buck. A helicopter drops you, your gear, your food, your apres beverages of choice, and around 12-14 other people (including guides and a cook) at a lodge, usually located right around tree line, then buzzes off for a week. And then, there you are with enough terrain to keep hundreds of people busy for weeks, but it’s just you and a small group, essentially in the middle of nowhere.
For the last 10 years, I’ve been exploring one or two of these lodges each year. This year, we traveled to Meadow Lodge, one of Golden Alpine Holiday’s four lodges located within the Esplanade Range of the Selkirk Mountains. I love exploring the different lodges because they each have their own character, and the terrain surrounding them all is also unique. Meadow is known for its abundant pillows located literally right out the front door of the lodge! I also really appreciated Meadow’s level of rustic-ness – propane lanterns, water fetched from the lake, and no power (meaning no internet!). These lodges are such a great place to unplug and enjoy some solitude and mountain living.
With no internet or cell service, I always download the maps of the region ahead of time on Mountain Hub so I can then use them to navigate or just track my routes each day. I can also use Mountain Hub to track snowpack observations during the week, which is helpful for me to document and track the changes in the snowpack. No internet also means no avalanche bulletin, so keeping records of the snowpack observations is important to pass along to the next group coming into the hut, and hopefully the group before you did the same. Additionally, once I’m back in service all this information automatically gets uploaded and shared with the broad mountain community.
I’ve already got Ice Creek Lodge booked in the Kootenay mountains near Valhalla Provincial Park for next year with a couple spots still open. Contact Graybird Guiding for more information about a week you won’t regret.