The Hut Life: Skiing the Selkirk Mountains of British Columbia
There is nothing quite like standing on an untouched mountain ridge surrounded by friends and looking down at untracked powder-laden rib lines that beckon for a descent.
Last week my team and I were embedded in the Esplanade range, less than a two-hour ski tour from a warm, large ski lodge, where no person had ever skied before and no other person was to be seen for miles around. We were alone in the vast expanse of the backcountry.
The Selkirk mountains, located in the interior of the province of British Columbia Canada, contain some of the most exquisite mountain ranges of the world. Lucky for many of us, there are numerous Canadian outfitters who have brought the experience closer to society with their helicopter accessed hut systems.
Our crew of athletes and professionals assembled in the town of Golden, BC. Our task was to film a ski touring episode and test the new Salomon touring binding for Salomon Freeski TV at two different huts in the Esplanade and Adamant ranges of the Selkirks, Sentry Lodge and Fairy Meadow Hut, respectively. Joining my Salomon teammates/ski film stars Chris Rubens and Elyse Saugstad were filmmaker Anthony Bonello of B4Apres Media, Bruno Long, a photographer based out of Revelstoke, BC, and Greg Franson, our logistics and beyond coordinator of BlueBird Guides.
Trips to these huts can be tailored however you choose but despite their simple luxuries, there can be still be some hearty elements involved. Compared to winter camping, the indoor night life is very comfortable but you still have outhouses, water hauling, community bunkrooms and other basic tasks with which to contend. However, after a long day ski touring, unwinding in a small rustic sauna room, cooking on a stove, and then crawling onto a stable bed surface is blissful for a tired body.
The weather, as on any trip, does as it chooses and it may “go blue” for your stay and allow for more high alpine ski tours or if it “clags” in then you are relegated to skiing in the trees for visibility and hopefully some deep powder skiing that can often come with the low hanging and damp cloud cover.
Throughout our ten days traveling on skis through these mountains we reached into the high alpine tackling peaks, couloirs, long ramps, cliffs, and faces, and then enjoyed a few days down low embracing the deep powder of the trees, thankful for the big storms that graced us with heavy snowfall for several nights.
To check-out this adventure (airs on the internet winter 2011-12) and several other episodes created by the storytellers of Switchback Entertainment, go to: http://www.salomonfreeski.com/us/freeski-tv.aspx.
My pack of choice for this trip: the Kode 38 and teammate Chris Ruben’s used the Variant.