Guest Author - Carol Viau
Spring skiing is here. Whether you are an avid backcountry skier or not, there are spring skiing options for you! One of those options is the Icefall Lodge in Canada.
If you have plenty of backcountry experience and are comfortable with rescue systems for crevasses, the Icefall lodge will allow you to rent their location for self guided trips. The best part about this is you can also choose whether to have your week catered or not. I highly recommend paying the extra cost to have your trip catered. What better treat on a ski vacation than to have all your meals prepared for you, especially after a long day of ski touring! This will allow you to relax, shower, and enjoy the sauna without having to worry about cooking or cleaning! For those choosing not to cater, it can be tricky figuring out what and how much to pack for the trip.
If you are new to backcountry skiing, you will want to rent or buy the right equipment prior to arriving at the Icefall Lodge, as they do not rent equipment. Guided trips are also available and this is the best option for the relatively inexperienced. You can choose whether to have a long ski day or a short one. Also, a guided trip includes catered meals! Backcountry skiing can be challenging, but for advanced skiers it can also be a ton of fun.
The accessible terrain right outside the door of the Icefall Lodge is quite exciting. While the lodge itself sits at about 6,000 feet, the surrounding peaks are much higher. Mt. Kemmel stands at 10,300 feet and is a classic ski with amazing views. To access this you will traverse the Kemmel Glacier and skin right to the top via the southeast ridge. You even get to choose your steepness for the descent, moderate skiing, or a 45 degree slope.
There are several other great areas for touring including; Mt. La Cyltte, Tempest Glacier and Mount Lyell. When the weather changes and visibility is poor or conditions dangerous, there are other options. As the Icefall Lodge is just below tree line, it provides easy access to great tree skiing. While the lodge is situated in the Kemmel Valley, nearby Rostrum Valley can also be accessed for additional tree skiing options.
The nearest town to the Icefall lodge is Golden and it is three hours west of Calgary. Once at Golden, all guests are transported to and from the lodge via helicopter. While this lodge is strictly for touring and does not offer helicopter skiing, getting a heli ride in is still a good time.
If you prefer powder skiing, maybe you rather try this lodge in the winter months. Just remember that great ski touring conditions are most often available in the spring. The avalanche conditions are generally less hazardous as there is less snowfall. Also, with longer daylight hours you can get more skiing in. So get out and enjoy the corn skiing!