Valhalla Ski Traverse

Valhalla Ski Traverse

We’ve had an incredible stretch of skiing in April this year. Cool temps and intermittent precipitation have provided great conditions. As my guiding season was starting to wind down, I was beginning to feel the itch for some personal mountain time. A perfectly timed omega block was a call to action for a quick hit in the Valhallas.

Valhalla Ski Traverse
Looking east towards Asgard and Midgard

I got a hold of an old friend, Andrew McNab, who’s got a real penchant for this type of trip. After a bit of planning, we decided to meet Thursday morning in Hills and drop a vehicle on the Shannon Creek FSR and then head into the Valhallas from the south end of the range.

Valhalla Ski Traverse
Bootpacking up a little chute to gain access to Hoder Creek

It was a casual start 10 am start by the time we left the truck 42 km up the North Bannock FSR. The first climb of the trip cruised by and was followed by a short descent. The melt freeze conditions on solar aspects and the 10cm of settled pow on norths made for perfect travel conditions. Before long we gliding through the meadows of Drinnon Pass en route to Lucifer Col.

Valhalla Ski Traverse
Valhalla Ski Traverse
Heading for Lucifer Col

Another smooth ascent in the afternoon light transitioned into nice powder skiing on the north. We decided to keep rolling and head over one more pass to get to Ice Creek by dark. It was a solid day of walking with 2700m and 24km. After building an improvised shelter, we jumped into our sleeping bags ate dinner and crashed.

Valhalla Ski Traverse
Cresting Lucifer Col
Valhalla Ski Traverse
Heading north
Valhalla Ski Traverse
Andrew gaining Urd Col
Valhalla Ski Traverse
Easing into camp for the night.
Deluxe accommodations

Following a good night’s sleep, a casual morning of melting snow and fuelling up for the day we hit the skis at 0800. The crisp morning air and variable winds carried us up to our next pass and tasty descent.

Valhalla Ski Traverse
Morning pack up
The Valhalla Ski Traverse-Our route for the day—all the way to the north end of the Valhalla Range
Fun turns

Once you drop into Beatrice Creek, you’re in the heart of the Valhallas. Steep, deep valleys, unfettered by logging, trails or roads, you feel the remoteness embrace you. This took us down to the lowest point on our trip and required of below treeline bootpacking to gain access to a col that would lead us into Snow Creek.

Not as glamorous as alpine bootpacking
Looking south towards our first run of the day
Creamy low angle pow

A northwards slide down Snow Creek brought us up to another steep forested climb to get back into the park. A quick descent, a meander through a sub-alpine valley and then a traversing descent brought us to one of the cruxes of the trip-—Mt Meers. Fortunately for us, the cool temps and wind made perfect conditions to move up the big south aspect.

Mt Meers
Pow pow on the west face of Mt Meers

It was tough to walk by it, but we wanted to finish the trip that day, so we kept heading north. The descent off of Mt Meers was excellent.

Pow to the lake and perfect skating across it

We took a solid break at the bottom of the run and drank a bunch of water from the creek. It took us eight and a half hours to get there and it would probably take us five more to get to the car. But the big climbs were done for the day, so on we went.

Valhalla Ski Traverse
Looking north from Mt Meers
Valhalla Ski Traverse
Another bootpack
Valhalla Ski Traverse
The headwaters of Caribou Creek
Valhalla Ski Traverse
Evening light and sun ripened crusts.
Valhalla Ski Traverse
More evening light
Valhalla Ski Traverse
Second to last run of the trip
Valhalla Ski Traverse
Moonlit pow turns

We dropped into that run at 8pm. The bright moonlight cast our shadows on the firm snow as we boot packed our way up to the Vingolf Col.

Valhalla Ski Traverse
The run down to Shannon Lake

The Valhalla Ski Traverse was almost complete; with headlamps on, we slid down to Shannon Lake and out the creek to the Shannon FSR. A couple of refrozen wet slides interrupted our descent, but at 945pm we made it to the car. The total for the day was ~ 3700m and 43km. I always have mixed emotions about running through the mountains, as it feels like you’re speeding through the places you want to be. But trips like these always fuel future adventures-—

Click here, if  you’re looking for a guided ski traverse.

Here is a look at the gear I use for these trips.

If you’re looking for skis this trip, check out WNDR Alpine.  This code will get you 20% off FF20-CONORH

Folkrm poles will give you 20% off with this code ARCTOS20

Raide Packs will give you $50 a pack with this code arctos-50-off

Norrona will give you 5% off with this code PROCONORH

If you’d like to buy a GPX or KML file for the route for $11.50 CAD, email us below:


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