East Kootenay Range, close to Mt. Shark, British Columbia, Canada
3 – 4 day ski touring trip in one of BC’s most scenic backcountry skiing destinations with helicopter access.
Talus Lodge Ski Touring Highlights
- 2 m / 7 ft average settled snowpack per year
- Up to 1,000 m / 3,300 ft vertical ski runs
- Breathtaking Rockies scenery
- Comfortable hut with sauna
- 1.5 hours from Calgary International Airport to staging area
- Optional Calgary airport shuttle
Join us for 3-4 days in this remote, scenic wilderness area: just our group and nothing else but mountain scenery, powder, fun skiing, and a lovely lodge.
The trip is based at Talus Lodge (2,300 m / 7,435 ft), a quick, scenic, 12-minute helicopter ride from the town of Canmore, AB or a 6-minute ride from Mt. Shark nordic ski area in Kananaskis. Talus Lodge straddles the BC-Alberta border, but the skiing is mostly on the BC side of the Divide with great views of Mt. Assiniboine, “the Matterhorn of the Rockies”.
The ski terrain is high alpine, with several open bowls and excellent tree skiing. Runs of 1,000 m / 3,300 ft with easy ascents allow for plenty of turns in the powdery Rockies snowpack. After your ski touring day with a light pack, you will come back to a cozy lodge, hot (and cold) drinks, delicious meals and a wood-fired sauna. It’s hard to beat!
Detail and Logistics
Two options: 1) Meet the evening before the first day of the trip at the OnTop Chalet in Canmore for a trip briefing and dinner with the group and guides. 2) On demand, we also offer organized van transport from Calgary Airport (YYC) to Canmore and Banff, Alberta. The staging area for Talus Lodge flights is at Alpine Helicopters in Canmore, Alta, a 5-minute drive from downtown Canmore. Departure time for the first helicopter shuttle to Talus Lodge is at 10:00 with a 09:15 meeting at the Alpine Helicopter helipad.
In the East Kootenay Range, late winter, (from February to March), when Talus Lodge operates, heavy snow fall at altitude can be frequent, allowing for excellent powder skiing. During a typical ski touring week, you should be prepared for moderate snowfall and temps from -10C (14F) to -20C (-4F). But of course, it can get as cold as -30C (-22F).
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: Guiding and instruction by an internationally (UIAGM / IFMGA / ACMG) certified mountain or ski guide, 3 and 4 night double room lodging in Talus Lodge, 3-4 multi-course dinners and breakfast (meals are professionally cooked by a Talus Lodge chef), lunch supplies, non-alcoholic beverages (juices, tea and electrolyte beverages), helicopter transfer to and from the lodge, equipment rental (harnesses, Barryvox Pulse transceivers), all trip organization.
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 or Banff.
Any Special Meal requests will incur an additional fee of $10 / day.
Any additional cost due to changes in the itinerary, may they be caused by weather, mountain conditions or personal preferences.
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!
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.
Alpine touring (or telemark*) skis and ski boots
Collapsible, lightweight ski poles
Climbing skins (stick-on), fitted to your skis
Ski crampons for March and April trips (rent these with rented skis, or purchase your own for your own skis)
*Only bring telemark skis if you are an advanced telemark skier with backcountry experience.
If you do not have one or more of the following items, you can rent them from the above retailers or from OnTop for $60 for all three for the trip. Please book in advance.
Avalanche transceiver (modern, 3-antenna, 475 Megahertz)
Lightweight snow shovel
Avalanche probe (two to three meters long)
Bring the following:
Two small or a medium size duffel bag, or backpack, to transport your things in the helicopter
Daypack for ski touring (30-45 liters)
Repair kit for your equipment (can be shared between several people)
Temperatures in the Western Canadian mountain ranges vary hugely. Between December and February, temperatures can be well below 0°C during the day and drop as low as –30°C overnight. Between March and May, it can be above freezing during the day with overnight lows not normally going below –10°C. Having several clothing layering options is important.
Wind and waterproof shell jacket with hood (Gore-Tex or similar)
Wind and waterproof over-pants (Gore-Tex or similar)
Ski touring pants (eg. lined Schoeller fabric or similar)
Thick fleece or wool pullover, or PrimaLoft jacket
Medium weight fleece shirt
Thin synthetic or wool underwear, top and bottoms
Two or more pairs of gloves (lightweight and heavier weight)
Scarf or neck gaiter (eg. Buff)
Socks (synthetic or wool, thick outer and thin liners)
Wool or fleece hat that covers your ears
Gaiters that fit over your ski boot (unless pants seal tightly to your boots)
Sun hat, preferably with a wide rim
Around the lodge
Space and weight on the helicopter are limited. Please keep personal items to a minimum.
Clothing for the hut and for sleeping
Extra underwear and socks
Light down jacket or vest
Light hut slippers or Crocs
Towel and sauna-wear (optional)
Games, books, etc. (optional)
Sunglasses with high UV protection
Ski goggles with high UV protection
Sunscreen and lip protection with high SPF
One-liter water bottle with insulator. Water bladders not recommended
Headlamp with spare battery
Snacks (eg. candy bars, dried fruit, nuts, etc.)
Personal first aid kit and other needs (eg. blister kit, prescription medicine, anti-inflammatory, contact lenses, prescription glasses, etc.)
Pocket knife or Leatherman (optional)
(Health) insurance documents
Ziploc bags to keep important items dry (optional)
Camera with spare batteries (optional)
Compass, maps, GPS (optional)
Ski wax / skin wax (optional)
- Intermediate skiing
- Good fitness required
- Light daypacks
- Some open terrain
- Mostly tree skiing
2018 / 2019 DATES
Individual and Small Group Bookings, 3 and 4 Day trips;
December 27, 2018 January 10, 2019
February 4, 2019 March 21, 2019
March 28, 2019 April 15, 2019
Custom Trips / Group Bookings:
Please contact us.
- CAD $ 1684.38
- 4 Nights Weekend Warrior Thursday through Monday
- CAD $ 1036.56
- Midweek Monday through Thursday
plus 5% GST
On request, we can quote you in your preferred currency
2 guides and guides’ expenses, 3 and 4 nights Talus Lodge, 3,4 x dinner, 3,4 x breakfast, lunch supplies & snacks, helicopter transfer, use of glacier and avalanche safety gear
Extra:transport to staging area (can be quoted separately), rental of ski equipment, rental of avalanche safety equipment