As summer fades into fall, Powder Guides are already thinking about cooling temperatures and the first snow of the upcoming season. While some people are grumpy about putting away their summer toys, we’re excited and anxious to tune and wax skis. Soon it will be time to wake up in the dark and check the snow report, as we sip coffee and plan the day. We’re already thinking about standing on top of Journeyman Peak shortly after sunrise and spending the day backcountry skiing through the Callaghan Valley. We offer single or multi-day guided backcountry ski touring trips, all winter long. Our trips can be as wild or as mild as you want them to be, but one thing is for certain you’ll have the experience of a lifetime ski touring Whistler.
The Callaghan Valley is always the first place we think of at the end of summer. The Valley is guaranteed to have deep fresh snow, and a longer than average skiing season due to it’s unique location, along the coastal snowbelt. Surrounded on 3 sides by glaciated terrain, the warm, moist air-vapor from the Pacific Ocean moves inland over the glaciers, which cools the air-vapor. To the east and north the air moves over Rainbow Mountain and the Pemberton Ice Cap, to the west the air moves over the Powder Mountains, Metal Dome and Brandy wine. When the air mass meets the mountains, it is pushed up and chilled to freezing, creating greater than average snowfall all winter long. As the vapor is cooled to freezing, snow crystals are formed. Each snowflake contains over 200 crystals and is a beautiful 6-sided flake, which makes for perfect skiing conditions. This unique and bountiful snowfall makes the Callaghan Valley the premier destination for Ski touring Whistler.
Our multi-day trips in the Callaghan Valley include lodging and accommodations at the Journeyman Lodge. Located in the heart of the Callaghan Valley, the Lodge provides an unforgettable experience for skiers with its majestic setting, views of the mountains and authentic hospitality. Hosts Jason and Michelle take care of the needs of all guests. Everyday we’ll have amazing food, handcrafted beer, hot showers, saunas and comfortable beds to sleep in. The lodge features large windows to enjoy the spectacular views from comfy chairs by the fireplace. It’s always the perfect end to the day to run through the cold to the sauna by the creek. After 30 minutes in the sauna you’ll be ready for a polar bear plunge in the creek or a quick roll in the snow before heading back to the fireplace.
The Valley is 90 minutes north of Vancouver and less than 30 minutes from Whistler Blackcomb. The lodge was hand built during the 80’s and is located in the heart of the wilderness at 1370 meters/4500 ft. In winter the Lodge is a true escape from the daily grind. Heavy snow makes the lodge accessible by ski, heli, snowmobile or snow-coach, which should give you an idea of how remote it is. Although they still have modern amenities. The Valley is a skiers’ playground, in addition to backcountry touring, you can x-country ski, snowshoe and toboggan, this area literally offers something for everyone.
Backcountry ski touring not only takes us off the beaten path, it makes us create our own path. Touring requires knowledge, experience and decision making skills all the time. The guides constantly assess the conditions; the weather, wind, snowfall and lay-up of the snowpack. Our guides navigate you through the wilderness; learning how to safely travel across glaciers and up mountains, requires more time and fitness than simply buying a lift ticket. The turns you earn backcountry ski touring are so much sweeter than any you’ll get at a ski resort.
From the lodge it takes about 90 minutes to skin up to the top of Journeyman Peak. 2130 meters/6993 ft. The magic of ski touring is that it allows you to become knowledgeable and intimate with the features of the mountains, while eventually attaining the summit. Your reward?… the steep chutes, tree runs, open slopes of deep powder. Oh, and this tour only takes up half of the morning, then we have the rest of the Valley to explore.
Ski Touring Lodge in Whistler Backcountry
Ski touring Whistler isn’t only about standing on top of mountains, dropping into alpine bowls or exploring the wilderness, it’s about adventure and mitigating risk. The backcountry gives us the freedom to be alone in the wilderness, pushing our limits and learning about ourselves as we navigate the day. Touring involves the dynamics of everyone in the group as well as the changing environment, and terrain. Powder Guides love touring everyday, as there are always new experiences, unique to every tour. Seeing our guests push themselves and explore the wilderness, learning avalanche and backcountry safety skills, while making fresh tracks, with ear splitting grins, makes everyday great. The experience of adventure in the backcountry builds character and camaraderie unlike any other. If you want to wake up early this winter and watch the sunrise from a mountaintop, call us, we’ll take you there.