Ski/Snowboard Mountaineering - 
Climb the peaks, then carve your turns into vast, remote terrain: that's ski mountaineering!

Transfer your ski-lift technique to the steep and deep. The mountain ranges of north central British Columbia rate alongside some of the great mountain ranges of the planet - Mount Cronin, the Galleon, Howson Range...Heli-ski a glacier or climb-and-ski the ridges of your choice. The length and steepness of runs are comparable to the Alps, yet crowds are non-existent and there is plenty of wildlife.

Try the great King Louis run down the front of Hudson Bay Mountain in the beautiful Bulkley Valley - 1800 vertical metres at a constant 34 degrees, from peak to pavement in Glacier Gulch.

Climb the Babines and ski the steeps on local glaciers.

The spring snow is magnificent in the Howson Range, where large glaciers loom above deep forests of hemlock and fir.

You should be an advanced skier in reasonable shape to try this. Guided trips range from one-day adventures to two-week expeditions in the St. Elias Mountains. Equipment is included at no extra charge for all courses and trips.

BEGINNER & ADVANCED COURSES

  • use of skins, route selection
  • avalanche skills
  • living in a winter environment

See Course Schedule


The Burnie Glacier Chalet - 
Backcountry skiing and mountaineering from a remote, comfortable, and beautiful mountain lodge - that's what the Burnie Glacier Chalet in the Howson Range is all about. Lots of snow, the best backcountry ski terrain, an experienced ACMG/ UIAGM mountain guide, fantastic tree runs and glacier runs, high icy peaks - just step out the door and find yourself in the northern Coast Mountains of British Columbia, Canada, 50 km from Smithers, as the helicopter flies.

Built in the summer of 2001, this 7x7m (24x24 ft) ski lodge sleeps 10 guests and two staff on three stories. Guests sleep in two bedrooms with two beds and one bedroom with seven beds. There is bedding and duvets - no need to bring a sleeping bag. The main floor is the kitchen and dining area, seating 14. The basement is for storage and for drying gear. The ski hut is heated with a large wood cookstove and a heater in the basement. Water is carried from a nearby creek. There are no showers, and the sanitary facilities consist of a three-seater composting outhouse. Lighting is by propane and generator.

The food will be simple and wholesome. We will prepare it and ask for your help with bringing water as well as the dishes. The ski hut has a liquor licence and beer and wine will be available.

Hut Rental

Groups who are responsible with the hut and in the backcountry can rent it on a weekly base. The price for a week for a group of ten is $7,500, for a weekend (Friday to Sunday) $5000.  For smaller groups, the rental can be arranged at $45 per person and day, and $350 per person for the helicopter flight. We regret to have to raise the helicopter rates because fuel and insurance cost increases have driven our cost up dramatically.

A damage deposit of $1,000 is required and will be
refunded after inspection. The hut rental includes the flight in and out, use of the hut (without the guide's room), firewood and lighting.

The flights are included, but the food is your responsibility. You are also responsible for your own safety in the backcountry. Renters are responsible for any damage they cause to the hut.

How to get here

Early in the winter, access is by helicopter. Part of the group will start at the Canadian Helicopters hangar in Smithers (near the district forestry office) and another will drive up the Telkwa River Road to a staging area near Milk Creek. Later in the winter, we will use a ski plane that starts from the Smithers airport and lands on Burnie Lake. It is an easy 5 km ski to the hut from there.

Communications and emergencies

The hut has a radio telephone that allows both outgoing and incoming calls. It depends on electrical power, which depends on a generator, and cannot always be relied on. If you have to be evacuated, there is usually communication available. However, the cost for the evacuation is your responsibility. If you have to leave early or come late for a week, budget $800 for an extra flight

The Terrain

Tree runs from 400 to 700 vertical meters, corn runs up to 1100 meters, and long ascents over intricate glaciers topped with icy ridges and faces: you pick your ski terrain. There is a great variety that allows good backcountry skiing in most conditions. In poor visibility, the tree skiing is excellent, while the higher and longer alpine ski touring trips require somewhat better conditions. For very stormy days, you can set a cross country ski track in the meadows toward the lake or read by the warm stove.

Ability level

You must be a competent skier or snowboarder. On most trips, there are pitches as steep as a double black diamond on a ski hill. Conditions can be difficult: windblown or crusty snow can be encountered any day. You must be able to climb 1200 m or 4000 feet in a day, even for the easier trips. We will, of course, make allowance for slower skiers.

What to bring

Rental skis, skins, ski crampons, beacons, probes and shovels are available, but we re-commend you bring your own. Your luggage will be weighed and cannot be heavier than 15 kg (33 lb.). Bring ski clothing and a set of comfortable clothes to change into.

  • Large day backpack and duffel
  • ski underwear
  • 2 pairs of socks
  • 2 light fleece sweaters
  • 1 pile or fleece jacket
  • 1 shell
  • ski pants and gaiters if necessary
  • light down jacket (optional)
  • beacon, probe, shovel (available)
  • personal first aid kit and medications
  • glacier sunglasses
  • ski goggles
  • warm hat or toque
  • sun hat
  • sun protection for skin and lips
  • good ski gloves
  • thermos bottle
  • map and compass (optional, 1: 50,000 93 L/5 Burnie Lake)
  • camera and film
  • toothbrush, towel, sponge, soap etc.
  • slippers or camp booties
  • headlamp or flashlight
  • casual clothes for wearing at the hut
  • skis, skins, ski crampons (available)
  • harness, prusik slings, locking carabiner (available)
  • ski mountaineering boots

See Course Schedule

 

 

 

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