Dates: Friday, March 22 to Friday, March 29 2019
Price: $2,500 CAD/person (Currently $2,000 USD / €1,690 / £1,507) + 5% GST
Deposit: 50% payment secures your booking. Balance of payment is due 9 November 2018. See Payment and Booking Conditions tab for details.
Day trips, hut-based
Hut elevation 1030 m with 1500-1800 m/day on average (Experienced group)
Powder skiing and ski mountaineering
Burnie Glacier Chalet is located near Smithers in northern British Columbia. It has spectacular, rugged alpine terrain with beautiful ski runs that range in nature from gentle glacier runs that can be done in most conditions to steep tree runs for high hazard days, to incredible ski mountaineering trips high into the alpine.
The Chalet is a simple but beautiful timber frame building, warmed by a beautiful wood burning kitchen stove with spectacular views of the towering Hut Peak, Burnie Glacier, Solitaire Ski Peaks and Lakehead Peak. It was built by Christoph Dietzfelbinger and a team of friends in the early 2000s. There are four bedrooms, each sleeping from 2 to 4 guests and including two double beds if there are any couples in the group. Pillows, sheets, and duvets are provided. You are encouraged to bring a couple of your own towels (one for using in the sauna, the other for drying off after your shower), although towels are available at the lodge in case you forget.
Burnie Glacier Chalet is perfectly situated for ski touring below the Burnie and Solitaire Glaciers and offers quick access to 700 m tree runs and 1400 m glacier runs that rise directly from the Chalet. In fact most of the runs ski right back to the Chalet with no uphill travel at the end of the day!
Getting to Smithers
Simplest and easiest way to get to Burnie is to fly in and out of Smithers, BC. I recommend getting there the day before to allow time for your baggage to catch up to you in case it gets bumped. It’s tempting to try to arrive on the 9:30 am Friday flight, stroll across the tarmac and get into the helicopter to Burnie at 10:30 am, but it’s very risky!
The airlines that service Smithers are Air Canada (Jazz) and Central Mountain Air. If you are flying out of Vancouver you might find that CMA offers the best rates and availability. You might also find you can get cheap points tickets to Vancouver, and then add a CMA flight for your last leg. For some reason flights to Smithers have just been getting more and more expensive over the years.
You can also consider flying in and out of Terrace, BC which is a 2.5 hour drive from Smithers. Tickets to Terrace are often hundreds of dollars cheaper than to Smithers. You would need to rent a car, either as a one-way drop off twice or for the whole week — the costs work out to be about the same either way.
If you choose to drive to Smithers from your home be aware that it’s a long, lonely 2-lane highway and while it’s well maintained for a northern BC road it’s quite a long haul and in a winter storm your pace could slow to a crawl. So check the weather and give yourself enough time.
Free Burnie Airport Shuttle Service
We provide a free shuttle service between the airport and hotel before the trip (Thursday evening and Friday morning) as well as after the trip (Friday afternoon). Please let us know if you would like to take advantage of this service well in advance.
Pre-post trip accommodation
I recommend you stay the night at the Stork Nest Inn Thursday night. The Stork Nest includes an excellent breakfast the next morning and also provides free storage area for any luggage, ski bags, etc. you want to leave in town.
We are scheduled to meet at the Silver King hangar (next to the airport, tel: 250-877-1989) in Smithers, BC at 10:30 am on Friday to fly into the Burnie Glacier. If this changes I will let you know as soon as possible. If you plan to stay at the Stork Nest Inn in Smithers we will send a taxi to pick you up at about 10:00 am. If you have made arrangements to stay elsewhere please let me know so that we can arrange to have you picked up at the correct time. We plan to be back in Smithers by 17:00 on the following Friday at the very latest but usually as early as 14:00. If you choose to book a flight out of Smithers earlier than 18:00 (Central Mountain Air offers a flight out of Smithers at 14:30) check with me first, and be sure to get the appropriate insurance to cover you in case of weather delays out of Burnie.
Please do not transport your skis/poles in ski bags. Leave your ski bags at the Stork’s nest. The helicopters have limited space and ski bags take up too much room. Don’t worry, we’ll be gentle loading them!
A gear list for the week is attached below. Despite being a mid winter trip you should bring ski crampons. They can make a big difference even on a powder skiing week at times. If you have any difficulty obtaining these please let me know. I have some spares and can likely set you up with a pair. You will need a climbing harness with several locking carabiners. Please ensure that it fits comfortably over your ski clothes. A light weight ice axe may be useful for some of the lines in the area, especially late season (late March-April-May) but if you don’t have one or aren’t interested in that kind of skiing then don’t worry about bringing one. We have extras at the lodge in any case.
The lodge is equipped with 110 VAC power and does have limited Wi-Fi internet access. It has a great ski repair area and several sets of high quality skis if you would like to try something different during the week. It also has a wonderful sauna for the end of the day, and beer and wine are available to purchase at the lodge
Booking & Payment
Payment, Booking Conditions
Please use our Online Registration Form before proceeding with any payment. It’s a two-step process, requiring you to read through and sign the waiver first, and then collects your personal information securely. If you have any questions or do not understand anything to do with the waiver or application form please contact me at email@example.com.
A deposit (typically 50%; see the trip description for the exact amount) to secure your place is due upon booking. Final payment of balance is due 3 months in advance of your trip start date. You will be invoiced for your payments after you have confirmed your interest in the trip. Please note that deposits are absolutely non-refundable, and final payments (the remainder) are non-refundable after the final payment date.
Credit Card payments are encouraged, especially if you have a card with trip cancellation insurance! Charges are made in CAD (foreign payments are converted to your local currency at your card company’s rate). We charge an additional 3.5% fee for card transactions. If your credit card provides you with cancellation insurance for this trip indicate this on your registration form and we will lower the convenience fee to 2%. Cancelled trips that have cancellation insurance are much less of a headache for everyone. Please consider this option. It could be a very affordable way to protect yourself. But look carefully into your credit card’s fine print to make sure this trip is covered.
Non Credit Card Payments from Canadian clients: If you do not wish to pay by credit card we ask that you pay by E-transfer, sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. There is no additional fee for Canadian E-transfers.
Non Credit Card Payments from outside Canada (US, Europe, other countries):
- Third party electronic transfer: You will need to fill out an agreement with our currency broker, Ken Fukami from Payline in Canmore, that includes your banking information to coordinate an electronic transfer (SEPA, EFT, etc.) There is no charge for this service and it is $50-100 cheaper than all other methods of payment from foreign clients. Contact us, or visit Payline’s website for details.
- PayPal: send money via PayPal to email@example.com. No charge to receive PayPal payments so long as they are complete and in CAD funds.
- Wire draft (bank to bank): Your bank wires our bank the money in CAD. We charge a $20 CAD fee for receiving these payments.
- Cheque: in either CAD or in your local currency (e.g. EUR or USD) at a rate that we agree on (see Royal Bank of Canada’s Currency Conversion for current rates used). No additional fee for cheque payments.
Mailing address: Please send cheques in CAD to Thomas Wolfe, 234 Grizzly Cr, Canmore, AB T1W1B5, Canada
All fees paid are 100% non-refundable. We cannot be held liable for cancellations of any kind. Therefore we strongly recommend that you purchase trip cancellation and evacuation insurance to protect you in the event that you need to cancel or there is an emergency during your trip. The Alpine Club of Canada and Lifetstyle Financial (BCLBC Plan) both offer plans for trips like this that might interest you although we can’t personally vouch for them. Note that many credit cards carry this insurance for trips paid with the credit card — contact your credit card company to be sure.
We have an online Waiver of Liability that you will need to sign in order to register for participation in the ski trip. You can view a printable copy the waiver here: English Waiver and translated into several other languages (German, French and Japanese) here: http://acmg.ca/03public/resources/waiver.asp. If you have any questions about the waiver please talk to your lawyer or let me know prior to registration so that I can either answer your questions or put you in touch with someone who can answer them.
Snow & Climate
Snowpack and Climate
This is NW Interior skiing, a bit colder and drier than the coast but it still dumps! On the ice Burnie has a 4+ m snowpack mid-winter. The lodge, at 1030 m ASL, is at by far the lowest elevation of any of the Canadian backcountry ski lodges. However, its northern latitude ensures a cool climate and great skiing into June. Temperatures in January average -20C to -10C, and in March -12C to -3C at the lodge.
Some great photos from past trips (click links to view):
Here’s a great little video put together by some stoked guests (click link to view):
Although this information package is comprehensive and specific to this trip, Christoph provides some general information on his Bear Mountaineering websitethat might prove useful to you as well
Tom Wolfe (Mountain Guide ACMG/IFMGA) has been guiding since moving to Canmore in 1995, the place he calls home with wife, son and daughter. He guides year around, with winters being a mix of ski guiding at lodges, heli-ski operations, and remote backcountry destinations throughout western Canada. He has skied and guided many weeks at Burnie since 2004.
Ian Kirschner (Ski GUide, ACMG) has been ski guiding out of Golden for about 15 years. Ian mixes his time between guiding and working as a professional avalanche forecaster with BC Highways. Tom and Ian met during their guides’ exams and did many trips and courses together!
Christoph Dietzfelbinger (Mountain Guide, ACMG/IFMGA) is the owner of the Burnie Glacier Chalet. He is the one who has developed the area for both winter and summer use and it is first and foremost Christoph whom we can thank for being able to spend a week of skiing in such a wonderful facility.
Finally, life at Burnie includes superb meals. These are prepared by one of our two gracious in-house chefs, Molly and Monika, who consistently amaze guests with their beautiful, tasty, and abundant food. We are happy to accommodate special diets.
Our goal is to provide you with the best skiing possible in the comfort and ease of a fully catered backcountry chalet.