Today I did three Burnie runs I’d never done before — Mystery Rib Left and Right, and Thataway Far Right — so now I think I can say, after almost 15 years, I’ve skied every line on the sunny side of Tom George! We got them — mostly — before the sun did.
At Burnie Glacier Chalet, or anywhere for that matter, what’s better than tree skiing on a powder day? Well, nothing, but a very close second is tree skiing in the sun the day after a powder day.
This happy fellow welcomed us to his home but warned us of the heavy trail breaking
John Baldwin calls it “a ski tour on the upper edge of classic”. Today, my guests — who have been visiting all of the very best backcountry ski lodge for over thirty years together — called Loft Peak one of the very best days of ski touring ever. 1400 m of perfect snow from the alpine down to the old growth first at Burnie Lake elevation. Blue skies didn’t hurt.
Craig coming up for air on Thataway 3.
That was my best powder day in years. We hit Tom George hard. Heavy trail breaking slowed things down but the ski quality… wow. Deep dry powder in -15° temps meant face shots every turn top to bottom. Nothing like 700 m tree runs with a beautiful lodge to warm up and refuel in between.
Yesterday a temperature inversion meant +1°C. This morning we woke to more snow and -4°C. Throughout the day the temperature has been dropping and by the time we returned from our day of skiing it was -14° with 10 cm new fluffy snow on the ground and still falling! Today we skied up the ultra classic Solitaire Ski Peak, which offers a 1200 m run directly back to the hut. Half the group, despite the challenging visibility, decided to do a hot lap on The Pinörkel, which one of the guests noticed strongly resembles the run down from Sapphire Col at Rogers Pass. Of course here there are no crowds, and no tracks in this vast wilderness apart from those left by our own group of 13. Another 20-30 cm in the forecast for tonight and tomorrow. Let it snow!
(Molly welcoming us home to dinner. I love the light at this time of the year.)
Everyone arrived and luggage accounted for last night. The standard late dinner at Boston Pizza, and a good night’s sleep at the Stork Nest Inn. The weather cleared for an uneventful flight into the Chalet. Well not quite uneventful — after takeoff the passenger door on the A-Star popped open twice so we had to return for a quick repair.
An inversion today meant -6° in a Smithers and +1° at the Chalet. Moist snow is forecast to freeze into a thin crust with tonight’s colder temperatures, -10° by breakfast!
So good to be back at my favorite backcountry ski lodge after this past year’s rough ride of surgeries and rehab.
Today I’m flying to to Smithers for two weeks of skiing. In the past two weeks they’ve got well over 200 cm of storm snow and it’s forecast to keep coming down hard this week. High Avalanche hazard, storm, crazy amounts of snow! But I’m stoked, I’ve worked Burnie in all conditions and the beauty of the area is that it has always delivered a good week of skiing, every time. That’s saying something — I’ve skied and guided there almost every winter since 2004.
This week I’m guessing we’ll get to know Tom George mountain and Solitaire Meadows well — the awesome and safe tree skiing out the door of the chalet — while we bide our time waiting for the weather window that makes skiing on the glaciers worthwhile!
The long term forecast suggests a weakening in the storms in about a week… Fingers crossed for the Colorado crew flying in next. They earned it, after weathering the clag and warm temperatures they had at Burnie last year!
Meanwhile… Let it snow! ❄️❄️❄️