March 9-15, 2018
This winter I ran a ski camp out of Nirvana Pass. Located just a short distance from Mount Waddington, Nirvana is a hybrid between Coast and Chilcotin terrain. The glaciers are massive and tumbling, but the relief is not as severe as the neighboring peaks. And, while there’s a ton of snow, it’s not as intense and the weather is generally better than further west.
I was pleasantly surprised at the weather we had during the week. It was mild, ranging between -18°C and 0°C. A brief storm just before we flew in to the area gave enough snow to make for excellent powder skiing all week.
The reason this place is so perfect for ski mountaineering becomes obvious as soon as you fly over the pass. Rows of glaciers on either side of the valley are lined up one beside the other at varying degrees of steepness that are all perfect for skiing. The peaks are towering and rugged. I’ve been to some of the best ski lodges in the world, and I have to say Nirvana tops them all for terrain.
It certainly helped that we also had great snow stability. With the exception of a very small skier triggered slab avalanche on Day 1, there was very little activity. Later in the week as the sun started to get to the steep solars we had a few loose wet slides, but nothing surprising or menacing.
Winter camping has a bit of a reputation, but I think we really did it right this week. Using a Mountain Hardware “Space Station” dome tent, with a padded floor and propane space heaters made our pre-dawn breakfasts and our après-ski beers-and-appies super comfortable. Everyone slept double occupancy in spacious 3-man tents. It was great.
Video and Photos
Here is a fantastic little video introducing you to our amazing week at Nirvana Pass. Thanks to Daniel Fong (📷) and Michelle Cheng (editing).
And here’s a bunch of photos from our week: