This trip is now fully booked. Contact us to enquire about our waiting list.
Dates: Friday, March 22 to Friday, March 29 2019
Price: $2,550 CAD/person (Currently $2,009 USD / €1,779 / £1,581) + 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)
- Glaciated terrain
- Powder skiing and ski mountaineering
Videos of Burnie!
Click on the tabs to view each one. I have to point out that Burnie does have running water, despite the bucket carrying scene in the first video...
360 degrees of Burnie
Use the controller in the top left to look around as this video plays.
Burnie Glacier 2015 Promo Video
I'm not a big fan of drones but I have to admit I like this video.
The best kept secret in BC ski lodges
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!
- Day trips, hut-based
- Hut elevation 1030 m
- Normal Pace: experienced group, 1500-1800 m/day climbing
- Glaciated terrain
- Steep treed skiing
- Powder skiing and ski mountaineering
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
Burnie Glacier Chalet Equipment List
- Wool or synthetic socks and liner socks
- Long underwear top – synthetic or wool
- Light fleece or wool sweater
- Wind shell – nylon or ‘Schoeller’ type jacket
- Waterproof breathable jacket
- Warm insulated jacket – down or synthetic
- Long underwear bottoms – synthetic or wool
- Multipurpose stretch nylon or ‘Schoeller’ type pants
- Waterproof breathable pants
- Warm hat – wool or synthetic
- Brimmed cap for sun protection
- Face warmer – scarf, neck tube or balaclava (optional)
- Light gloves – wool, synthetic or leather
- Insulated gloves or mitts with waterproof outer shell
- Spare gloves or mitts
- Handkerchief for blocking the sun (optional)
- Snow Safety Equipment
- Avalanche beacon with good batteries (and spares)
- Probe (2.4m or longer preferred)
- Skis or split board
- Ski strap
- Ski or snowboard boots
- Climbing skins
- Skin wax (or a candle)
- Ski crampons (mandatory)
- Binding repair kit to fix your personal travel setup
- Ski helmet (optional)
- Pack (30-40 litres)
- Sunglasses (both orange and dark lenses help a lot for travel in all conditions)
- Goggles (orange lenses)
- Sunscreen and lip cream (SPF 30+)
- Head lamp with good batteries
- Insulated water bottle or thermos (1-2 L)
- Lunch bag or container
- Personal blister kit (i.e: Leukotape-P and Compeed/Second Skin blister pads)
- Pocket knife (optional)
- Camera (optional)
- Harness – fitted for over your ski clothing
- Locking carabiners (x2)
- Non-locking carabiners (x2)
- Prussik cord – 5m x 6mm (optional)
- Sewn sling – 120cm (optional)
- Lightweight ice axe (optional, don’t bring if you don’t have one or don’t like steep skiing)
- Duffle bag for flying into the lodge
- Shoes or sandals
- Winter boots for travel to the outhouse (boots at the hut for you to use as well
- f you prefer)
- Hut clothing
- 1-2 Towels and swimsuit for sauna
- Personal medications and toiletries
- Ear plugs
- Reading material
- Chargers for electronic devices (normal AC power is available via micro-hydro)
- Note the following are provided:
- * Beer and wine are available to purchase at the lodge at a reasonable price
- * Pillows and duvets supplied at the lodge
Group Gear (supplied by the guides)
- Map and compass
- Snow study kit
- Snow and/or bush saw
- First aid kit
- Emergency tarp
- Emergency toboggan
- Group repair kit
- Radio & satellite phone
- Ropes for glacier travel
Booking & Payment
Payment and booking conditions fine print
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 unless specified otherwise on the trip information page and/or your invoice. 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 email@example.com. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. There is a 4% charge to receive PayPal payments unless you send funds using the “P2P” a.k.a. “Friends and Family” method, which may cost the sender a small fee but does not cost us anything on our end, so no fee.
- 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, GBP, USD) at the rate listed on the trip information page on our website on the date of your booking.
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.
Many of our trips are in remote locations. If you are injured or develop an emergency medical condition that requires evacuation, significant costs may be involved. We cannot be liable for the costs of emergency evacuation and so you are therefore encouraged to sign up for third party rescue insurance. The most robust plan we know if is through Global Rescue Services which services all areas we run trips to including Svalbard. You may choose to go with another but be warned that there are often exclusions that will render your insurance worthless when you need it. Global Rescue membership is $119 USD for a one-week trip — and it will cover you.
You must sign our Waiver of Liability in order to register for participation in our trips. You can view a printable copy the waiver here: English Waiver and translated into several other languages (German, French and Japanese) here: Translated Waivers. If you have any questions about the waiver please talk to your lawyer and/or let me know prior to registration so I can help you.
The application form collects personal information which I use to make sure that I provide you with the best possible trip experience. If you do not want to answer any of the questions or you are unsure about anything leave it blank and/or contact me for clarification.
READ CAREFULLY – BOOKING, RESERVATION, DEPOSIT: A deposit of 50% of the total price or private guiding fee is due with your booking unless otherwise indicated. Please provide us with your credit card details, do a bank transfer (account information on demand), send an E-transfer to email@example.com or mail me a personal cheque payable to Thomas Wolfe. Final payments are due 90 days before your trip starts. If you wish to pay in a currency other than what our trips are quoted in, please inquire with us for a quote in your preferred denomination. Euro payments are only accepted by bank transfers in Euro denomination. We also accept bookings from minors; however we do require the signature of BOTH parents or ALL legal guardians on both, reservation form and liability waiver. CONFIRMATION / TRIP INFORMATION: Upon receipt of the booking form with your check or credit card details we confirm your booking. Each Backountry Ski Trip we offer has a detailed Information Package (available on our website) with the trip details, equipment list, proposed itinerary and logistics, etc. Read through this carefully before completing your registration. TRIP (CANCELLATION / MEDICAL / EVACUATION / THEFT) INSURANCE: Once we confirm your booking, we enter into financial obligations on our side and we cannot refund payments or release you from your contractual obligations. Therefore, we highly recommend buying cancellation insurance to cover your losses for the case that you can’t participate or have to interrupt your trip “for any reason”. Also, all participants need to have internationally accepted health insurance for all activities pertaining to the trip, including coverage for emergency rescue and evacuation. If you already have insurance, please make sure that you will be covered for “roped travel” booking a technical trip including “Via Ferrata” trips. We gladly refer you to a travel insurance provider who offers “adventure travel insurance packages” and with whom our clients have had positive claims experiences in the past. Generally, you will receive the best benefits if you buy your insurance within 10 days of our booking confirmation. CANCELLATIONS: If you need to cancel a reservation, please do so in writing (best by e-mail). Please see the trip information package for details on your trip’s Cancellation Policy. CANCELLED PROGRAMS: Once we confirm your booking, we guarantee your trip departure. However, we do reserve the right to change guides, particular lodging or the itinerary should unforeseen circumstances (guide sickness, hut or route closing etc.) force us to do so or should the physical condition of the participants (see below), weather or mountain conditions make a continuation as planned too risky. PERSONAL FITNESS and GROUP TRAVEL: Our programs rely heavily on the integrity of each individual to assess his or her skill level and physical condition accurately. It is the responsibility of each participant to be aware of the necessary skill and fitness level for a particular trip. When in doubt, please call and discuss this with us! For the protection of yourself and other group members, we reserve the right to deny participation to any unprepared participant at any time of the trip, in which case we cannot offer a refund! In order to accommodate diverse levels of ability and ambition as well as diverse personalities, the decision making of the guide has to be geared towards safety and finding a consensus within the whole group, which may not please each individual participant at all times.
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.