Backcountry Lodge Review

Over the years, we’ve been able to work at a some of the numerous backcountry lodges in British Columbia.  We offer backcountry lodge trips! Here’s a candid backcountry lodge review of the terrain, the lodges and the overall experience we’ve had at the respective lodges we’ve visited. Lodges are listed in alphabetical order. Scoring is 1-5.

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Backcountry Lodge Review

Golden Alpine Holidays

Meadow Lodge

Situated at treeline (2200m) in the heart of the Esplanade Range, the Meadow Hut is well positioned for a mix of storm skiing and alpine adventure. The lodge doesn’t have wifi and is a bit on the rustic side, as there are no comfy couches, just a large table and private rooms—but hey, what more do you need? The kitchen is well appointed and the overall layout of the lodge is well thought out. You’ll also have to haul your water. There’s a drying room with plenty of space and the main part of the lodge is heated with wood. It also comes with a caretaker to keep the lodge on the up and up, so you can focus on the skiing and splitboarding. There’s a wood fired sauna for bathing and outhouses for answering nature’s call. There are a couple of downsides to Meadow. The first is that most of the storm skiing is down valley and there is significant exposure to overhead hazard on your way back to the lodge. The second is stronger groups may run out of terrain over the course of a week.

Overall Score

Accommodations 3.5

Terrain 3.5

Value 4

golden alpine holidays, backcountry lodge review
Cupola Mountain above Meadow Lodge

Sentry Lodge

Sentry Lodge is Golden Alpine Holidays’ flagship. It has the most terrain and the nicest accommodations of all the GAH lodges. Placed at treeline, it is easy to tour out the door in any conditions. Sentry features flush toilets, hot showers, running water, a spacious living room, private rooms, a dining area, a stretching space, wifi and a wood fired sauna. The terrain at Sentry is expensive and offers both storm skiing and alpine adventure. You won’t run out of terrain over the course of your week. A caretaker is also included in the package so you can focus on the riding. There aren’t many downsides to Sentry Lodge except for the lack of glaciated terrain, thus if your seeking out big glaciated alpine terrain, this isn’t the lodge for you.

Overall Score

Accommodations 5

Terrain 4

Value 4.5

conor hurley, wndr alpine , norrona
Esplanade Powder

 

Icefall Lodgesplitboarding, glacier

If you’re looking for big glaciated alpine terrain in the Canadian Rockies, look not further, Icefall Lodge is it. You’ll feel small at Icefall, very small. The lodge is big and we’ll thought out. However it is definitely on the rustic side—the cool part is a fair bit of the material was sourced from trees onsite. The lodge is powered by micro hydro and there are private rooms, plenty of space, outhouses, stretching areas and a sizeable kitchen/dining area, which also doubles as the hangout zone. The drying room is substantial with a separate boot/clothes drying room. The downside to Icefall is the severity of its terrain. If you happen to go there during a significant storm cycle, you will feel hemmed in due to exposure to complex avalanche terrain. The lodge is also built to house large groups, so if you’re looking for a small group experience, be ready to ante up for a large per person cost or look for another lodge.ski mountaineering, backcountry lodge review

Overall Score

Accommodations 4

Terrain 5 (good stability) 2.5 (poor stability)

Value 4

Canadian Rockies Ski Mountaineering
Topping out on Mt. Kemmel

Ice Creek Lodge

Positioned just outside of Valhalla Provincial Park at 1860m, Ice Creek Lodge is in some of the biggest terrain the Kootenays have to offer. Its still the Kootenays though, so the early season snowpack is thin (mid January) and by March you can expect elevated freezing levels and variable conditions. The good thing is the home drainage has primarily north aspect terrain. The lodge is set up for eight to ten close friends. It’s rustic, bunkhouse style living, with a dormitory sleeping loft and limited hangout space. The main lodge is heated with a wood stove and there is a small drying room that serves as the entryway to the lodge. There’s intermittent, limited, slow wifi, running water at a hand wash station, a rustic bucket shower, outhouses and a rustic wood fired sauna. There’s plenty of alpine terrain to keep a strong group with good stability busy. However there’s limited amounts of tree skiing and storm skiing. The Valhallas are also a bit short on glaciated terrain, so if you’re seeking out big glaciated terrain, you’ll want to look elsewhere. The price of this lodge is similar to lodges with much nicer accommodations and similar terrain.

Overall Score

Accommodations 3

Terrain 4

Value 3.5

Valhalla Powder

Purcell Mountain Lodge

Located on the Eastern boundary of Glacier National Park, Purcell Mountain Lodge provides guests with unparalleled views of Mt Sir Donald. It’s lodge is super plush too, with private rooms, wifi, running water, showers, sauna, a nice dining and living room area. There’s also a drying room and a smaller lodge for smaller groups. Lots of emphasis on comfort at PML. The skiing is quite mellow and the terrain is suitable for nordic skiers and snowshoers too. Stronger groups can access bigger terrain, but it is a long walk to get there. PML is a great place to go if you’re looking for a soft entrance into backcountry lodge trips. They also offer three, four and seven day trips.

Overall Score

Accommodations 5

Terrain 3

Value 4

Sol Mountain Touring

You won’t find nicer hosts. Aaron and Sabine Cooperman started this family business in the early 2000’s and have been full steam ahead ever since. Sol is a year-round full service backcountry lodge that offers skiing and splitboarding in the winter and hiking and mountain biking in the summer. The lodge is situated at approximately 1900m in the Southern Monashees, an area know for prolific snowfalls. Height of snow in April has been measured at over five meters. The lodge is super comfortable with private rooms, flush toilets, hot showers, plenty of hang out space, dining area, a drying room, stretching space, wifi and a wood fired sauna. The lodge is set up to house a large group or multiple small groups with multiple guides. If you’re looking for a lodge to transition into backcountry lodge life, Sol makes for a nice starting point with approachable terrain and the all the comforts of home. It does lack big alpine terrain, so if that’s what you’re after, you should look elsewhere. However Sol offers lots of different aspects to ski and excellent Monashee powder skiing. At times you’ll find yourself walking on the flats to get to the different zones. Sol also runs shorter trips, so if you don’t have a full week for a lodge trip it’s a great option.

Overall Score

Accommodations 5

Terrain 3.5

Value 4.5

Selkirk Lodgeselirk lodge, backcountry lodge review

Perched on a ridge at treeline, Selkirk Lodge faces the Justice glacier.  Honestly, its one of the nicest backcountry lodges out there.  The systems are dialed, the Devine’s are incredible hosts and the terrain is great.  It does share terrain with Selkirk Tangiers Heliskiing, so there is helicopter traffic in the area.  If you go in April, Tangiers is closed and the snowpack has had a chance to settle out, making for better travel conditions.  One of the fun aspects about Selkirk Lodge is the variety of loop tours you can do.  The terrain is huge too, which adds an amazing element to this lodge. A week of storm skiing or high hazard would be challenging at Selkirk Lodge as a lot of its prime terrain is the expansive alpine surrounding the lodge.  backcoutry lodge review

Overall Score

Accommodations 5

Terrain 5

Value 5backcountry lodge review

 

 

Sorcerer Lodgebackcountry lodge review

Located at treeline in the Northern Selkirks, Sorcerer Lodge has some great terrain. However the biggest downside is that it share’s its tenure with Great Canadian Heli Skiing. Not only will you see and hear helicopters and heli skiers, but you’ll also share runs such as the Perfect Glacier with them. The lodge itself is reasonably comfortable with a new addition last year, a sauna private rooms and dinning and hangout space. There’s also a drying room and outhouses. It can sleep nearly 18 guests, so it’s not the place for those who are seeking a small group experience. The upside is it has some expansive glaciated terrain, avalanche path skiing, some storm skiing directly below the hut, numerous drainages and aspects to explore. Vertigo Creek is also a bit of a cooler, thus you can find great skiing at Sorcerer well into late April. While Great Canadian Heli Skiing is operating, the serenity most backcountry lodge guests seek is adversely affected; thus if you’re looking for a quote backcountry lodge experience at Sorcerer, picking a week in April after Great Canadian Heli Skiing is closed is your best option.

Overall Score

Accommodations 4

Terrain 4.75 (2.5 when Great Canadian is operating near by.)

Value 4

Valkyr Adventures

Hilda Hut

Perched at 1900m in the Valkyr Range in the Southern Selkirks, Hilda Hut provides guests with great mid-winter skiing. It’s also quite comfortable. The cedar log chalet design is well laid out with private rooms and plenty of hangout space. Hilda Hut has a wood fired sauna, running water, hot showers, flush toilets, wifi (available with an additional charge) a drying room, a comfortable dining area and nice couches. The terrain at Hilda is great, there are multiple drainages to explore with a nice mix of Kootenay alpine, tree skiing and avalanche paths. During a storm cycle you can feel a bit hemmed in if you can’t make it out of the home drainage. Situated in the Kootenays it can suffer from a thin early season snowpack, elevated freezing levels and an abbreviated season. By early March it looses a lot of the epic powder skiing runs due to aspect orientation and latitude. It is also devoid of glaciated terrain. In terms of mid-winter pow smashing venues, it’s hard to beat.

Overall Score

Accommodations 5

Terrain 4

Value 4.5

hilda hut

LQ Outpost

The LQ Outpost is located at a treeline pass in the Valkyr Range. It has some of the best lodge based tree skiing in the Kootenays. It’s also quite comfortable with running water, hot showers, flush toilets, a sauna, private rooms plenty of drying space, a large living room, dinner table and wifi (available with an additional charge). There are also numerous drainages to explore, however you need good stability to access the western half of the tenure. Keep in mind the LQ Outpost is located in the Kootenays and can suffer from a thin early season snowpack, elevated freezing levels and an abbreviated season. By early March it looses a lot of the epic powder skiing runs due to aspect orientation and latitude. It is also devoid of glaciated terrain. In terms of mid-winter pow smashing venues, it’s hard to beat.

Overall Score

Accommodations 5

Terrain 4

Value 4.5

lq outpost, backcountry lodge review

Namulten Lodge

Namulten Lodge was the first of the three Valkyr lodges and is the western most lodge in the Valkyr Range. It’s a similar design to the other two and is quite comfortable and features with running water, hot showers, flush toilets, a sauna, private rooms plenty of drying space, a large living room, dinner table and wifi (available with an additional charge). There are also numerous drainages to explore, however the terrain is for the most part, quite mellow. You also have to walk a long way to get to the better skiing/bigger terrain. It’s located in the Kootenays and can suffer from a thin early season snowpack, elevated freezing levels and an abbreviated season. By early March it looses a lot of the epic powder skiing runs due to aspect orientation and latitude. It is also devoid of glaciated terrain. Namulten Lodge is a great place for those who seek a comfortable backcountry lodge experience in a beautiful setting with mellow terrain.

Overall Score

Accommodations 5

Terrain 3.5

Value 4

Valhalla Mountain Touring

Located in the Ruby Range at the north End of the Valhallas, Valhalla Mountain Touring provides a comfortable ski and splitboard experience. The terrain is typical Kootenay terrain with a mix of alpine, treeline and below treeline skiing and riding. It has a variety of drainages and aspects to explore. It’s located in the Kootenays and can suffer from a thin early season snowpack, elevated freezing levels and an abbreviated season. By early March it looses a lot of the powder runs due to aspect orientation and latitude. It is also devoid of glaciated terrain. The lodge is quite comfortable with a wood fired sauna, running water, hot showers, flush toilets, wifi, a drying room, a comfortable dining area and nice couches. It is a large group experience with up to fourteen guests per week. One of the bonuses of VMT is that is is accessed by a snow cat, so you don’t have to pack light.

Overall Score

Accommodations 5

Terrain 3.75

Value 4

backcountry ski, backcountry lodge review

Backcountry Lodges of BC

Avalanche Canada Mountain Weather Forecast