Valhalla Backcountry Skiing
Conditions were prime and I had a couple of days for some recreational skiing. What do you do when you’re over forty and are looking for a mod-week ski touring partner? Hit up your twenty-something year old friends!
After a quick chat with Axle, the plan was set, a quick overnight in the Valhallas. At 0600 we met in Slocan and headed into the Little Slocan Valley. While just outside of town, it gives an immediate sense of remoteness.
20 minutes up the resource road, we parked the truck and jumped on the snowmobile. In the early morning light and a half hour later we were putting on our skins and contemplating the 1100m ascent to get to our first run. Perfect melt freeze forms made for tacky skinning to the col. After a short bootpack we were strapping in and getting ready for a hot pow lap on some perfect spring snow.
Softened by the morning light the run provided carvable cream into the Mulvey Basin. A quick tour up to the north brought us upto the base of the NE face of Mt Asgard, a 1400m run into Gwillim Creek. The steep tooth above beckoned for tracks and so a boot top boot pack to the top of the knife edged ridge ensued. Wind rippled settled powder made for predictable turns down the hanging feature.
Turn after turn of buckle deep settled spring pow drew us to valley bottom. While the early afternoon sun urged us to take a break, the cold north aspect pow beckoned us to go for another lap. Up it was, another 1400m brought us to the top of a glaciated bowl, the NW aspect of Mt Gladsheim. With the steep rock walls and the crevassed glacier, the ambiance was distinctly alpine. A cruise descent dropped us into a bivy at treeline.
The next morning we climbed back up to a different col on the North aspec of Gladsheim to access another glaciated run. A bootpack through moraine gave way to steep switchbacks on the final glaciated roll. The view to the south was amazing!
Pristine powder turns down the glacier and through the norrain chute led to more fantastic spring riding conditions down to 1400m.
1000m and some steep subalpine terrain granted us passage to our final col. However the bonus pitch at the top was too good to resist. A quick lap down to the lakes ensued😀
North aspect powder transitioned to south aspect corn for our last descent back to the snowmobile.
In the end, I it was just a taste of the excellent skiing to be had in the Valhallas. If I did it again, I’d go back with a heavier pack and a bigger appetite for remote powder skiing and splitboarding. There are some advantages going somewhere a helicopter can’t drop you off—a sense of wilderness, fresh tracks and incredible terrain.
Check out Ski Traverses and Basecamps program if you’re interested in a trip like this.