Detail and Logistics
Two options: 1) Meet the evening before the first day of the trip at 5PM in Parsons or Golden, BC at our preferred Inn/Hotel for a trip briefing and dinner with the group and guides. 2) On Demand, we also offer organized van transport from Calgary Airport or Canmore and Banff, AB to Parsons or Golden BC. From there, we will all drive together to the staging area, which is located just a couple of kilometers east of Heather Mountain Lodge at the Trans-Canada Highway (Hwy 1), about 30 min or 55km west of the town of Golden, BC or 20 min northeast of Rogers Pass. Departure time for the first helicopter shuttle to Sorcerer Lodge is scheduled for 7.45am on Saturday morning.
The Selkirk Range in BC’s Columbia Ranges are primarily influenced by a moist, maritime climate (very much in contrast to Canadian Rockies) with moderate winter temps. During a typical ski touring week, you should be prepared for heavy snowfall and temps from -1C (30F) to -15C (5F). But of course, it can get as cold as -30C (-22F) in a cold mid-winter week and as warm as 10C (50F) during a warm, spring skiing week in May.
For spring skiing weeks, powder snow (dry, cold snow) usually preserves well on the many northerly aspects even if it hasn’t snowed in days. At the same time, the southerly aspects will start to corn up (melt-freeze cycle) with sunny weather, which yields nice spring skiing, if the descents are well timed with the day time heating. Unfortunately, as with any backcountry skiing, we can’t exclude (but do our best to avoid) the “in-between stages” of powder and corn: Crud a.k.a breakable crusts!
Services Included in the Total Price:
Regular trip package: 8 days guiding and instruction by an internationally (UIAGM / IFMGA / ACMG) certified mountain or ski guide, 7 nights bunk bed lodging in the Sorcerer Lodge, 7 multi-course dinners and breakfast (meals are professionally precooked and will be prepared with assistance of the group members in the hut), lunch sandwich supplies, non-alcoholic beverages (juices, tea and electrolyte beverages), helicopter transfer to and from the lodge, equipment rental (harnesses, Orthovox F-1 transceivers), all trip organisation.
Not Included in the Total Price Are:
Airfare, Ski touring equipment (can be rented),Snacks, Alcoholic beverages (should be purchased by each participant individually), optional single room supplement for Pre / Post trip package in Canmore, Parson or Golden.
Additional lodging / transport package from Calgary ("Pre / Post Trip Package"):
Two nights double room in Canmore, Parson or Golden, 1 post trip dinner home cooked at the Wilz House or in a restaurant in Canmore, airport transfer from Calgary airport to Canmore or Golden and return, van transport from Canmore or golden to the helicopter staging area and return. Please email us for pricing on this additional package.
Can I Do It?
Strenuous backcountry ski tour in alpine, mostly glaciated terrain. You need to be at least an intermediate skier, who can safely and controlled descend even in difficult snow conditions with a day touring backpack! You need to be in good physical and mental condition, ready to be on your feet for about 7-8 hrs each day. However, on some days, there will be an option for shorter days with relax time at the hut! If in doubt, give us a call!
Equipment?:You need either sturdy telemark equipment or (more common in Canada) alpine touring equipment - either is available for rental at our base in Canmore, Banff or Golden, BC. Please call ahead, so we can advice you and set you up with the right equipment for you. As with all our trips, we will provide you with a detailed equipment list with your booking confirmation.
1. Technical Equipment:
All items marked with ‘*’ can be rented from a rental shop locally. Best to reserve any equipment well ahead of your arrival.
All items marked with ‘**’ can be rented from OnTop. Best to bring your own equipment, if you have it.
Telemark or Alpine Touring skis*: (Only bring your telemark skis if you are at least an advanced/intermediate telemark skier with backcountry experience.)
Telemark or alpine touring boots*
Collapsible ski poles*, **
Climbing skins (stick-on) that fit your telemark or alpine touring skis*
Avalanche transceiver (457 Megahertz)*, **
Lightweight snow shovel*, **
Avalanche probe*, **
Backpack or duffle bag to pack your stuff for heli-transport
Day-touring backpack (30 - 45 liters)**
Climbing harness for glacier travel**
One locking carabiner**
Crevasse rescue equipment, if you are familiar with it (optional). (Prusik slings, webbing, pulleys, auto-locking device). Your guide(s) will bring a full set.
Ski crampons* (obligatory for any spring trips. Usually rented with a ski touring set – renting ski crampons for your own skis is problematic as rental shops only carry those that are compatible with the binding models they carry)
Repair kit for your skis (can be shared between 2 people)
Temperatures in the Western Canadian mountain ranges vary hugely. Early season (December – February) temps can drop as low as –30C, whereas in spring (mid-March – May) it can warm up to above freezing temps and overnight lows are not usually below –10C. The list is meant as a guide line, but we realize that our guests have their clothing priorities and substituting certain items with other equivalent pieces of clothing might be a valid alternative. If you do so, you should discuss it with your guide in the pre-trip briefing.
Wind and waterproof (Gore Tex or similar) shell jacket with hood
Wind and waterproof (Gore Tex or similar) over pants
Ski touring pants (preferably Schoeller fabric or similar)
Fleece or wool pullover or jacket
Medium weight fleece shirt
Polypro, fleece or wool underwear, top and bottoms
2 Pairs of gloves (lightweight and heavier weight)
Scarf or neck gaiter
Socks: thick (wool) outer and thinner liners
Wool or fleece hat, covering the ears
Gaiters (unless pants lock tightly to your boots)
Sun hat, preferably with wide rim
Clothing for the hut – keep to a minimum
Sleeping bag (three-season bag sufficient – some lodges supply bedding)
Large and small towel for sauna
Spare underwear, socks
Swim trunks (optional) for sauna
Down vest or light insulated jacket (optional)
Very light hut slippers / down booties
Ear plugs (optional)
Games / books etc (optional)
4. Other items:
Sun Glasses (with very good UV protection, extra pair is a good idea)
Sun screen and lip protection
Water bottle, preferably insulated, minimum volume: 1 liter or camelbak (if too cold, bladder tube might freeze up!)
Head lamp with spare battery and bulb
Blister kit (optional)
Snacks (candy bars, dried fruit, sandwiches, nuts, etc.)
Personal items (Prescription medicine, extra contact lenses and maintenance equipment, extra pair of prescription glasses etc.)
Pocket knife or leatherman tool
(Health) insurance documents
Zip-lock bag for wallet and documents to keep them dry (recommended)
Camera, spare batteries (optional)
Compass, maps and GPS (optional)
Ski wax / skin wax (optional)