Valhalla Mountain Lodge – Jan 2021 & Feb 2022

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Valhalla Mountain Lodge

January 23-30, 2021 | February 5-12, 2022

Vallhalla Mountain Lodge was established in 1987, before most other backcountry lodges in the “Koots” were even imagined. As a result they were able pick the best terrain in the area. Best terrain combined with epic snow fall and perfect temperatures = nothing short of heavenly conditions.

With 10 skiable basins just a short ski from the front door there is terrain for every ability, novice to extreme.

We will helicopter in to the lodge on morning of Saturday (Day 1) and fly back out the following Saturday (Day 8). During our stay we will have two fully certified ACMG guides leading the groups on day trips from the hut each day. Each evening we will return to the lodge to enjoy the sauna followed by a delicious meal prepared by the cook.

Valhalla Mountain Lodge sits high at an elevation of 6900 feet on a large granite slab. The lodge accommodates 11 guests in five separate bedrooms.  The lodge is heated by a wood stove keeping the lodge nice and warm after a long day in deep powder. When the body needs recovering, relax in our cedar log sauna.

Dates: January 23-30, 2021 | February 5-12, 2022

Price: 2020 (SOLD OUT) and 2021: $3095/person CAD + 5% GST
Foreign rates currently: $2,383 USD / €2,154 / £1,843.

2022: $3195/person CAD + 5% GST
Foreign rates currently: $2,534 USD / €2,222 / £1,901.

Included: Breakfast at Arrow Lakes Tavern Saturday morning (Day 1), helicopter flights, accommodation at Valhalla Mountain Lodge, Guiding by fully certified ACMG and/or IFMGA guides, Cook, all meals at the Lodge. See other tabs for details.

Not included: Dinner at Arrow Lakes Tavern on Friday evening, transportation to/from Nakusp and heli staging, hotel in Nakusp, alcoholic beverages, personal ski touring equipment. See other tabs for details.

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Logistics

Getting to Nakuskp, Meeting Place, Staging Info

If you are flying from out of town the most convenient international airport is Castlegar, a 2 hour drive away. However, be forewarned that it has the nickname “Cancelgar” for a reason. Creston is a lot more reliable, and not much further away (2h30). Either way you’ll need to rent a car to get to Nakusp.

If you’re driving in from Vancouver it’s about a 9h30 drive whether you route through Revelstoke (Hwy 1), Kelowna, or Hwy 3. From Calgary it’s about 8 hours whether via the Trans Canada or via the southern route (the south route avoids the possibility of a road closure through Rogers Pass).

Let’s have dinner together at the Arrow Lakes Tavern at 6:30 pm on Saturday night. At that time we’ll discuss the logistics of the next day in detail. Saturday morning at 7:00 am breakfast is on us, again at the Arrow Lakes Tavern.

Accommodation in Nakusp

There’s plenty of options for an overnight stay in Nakusp. Here’s a few that I have experience with and can recommend:

The Lodge at Arrow Lakes — this is a fine hotel and where the heliski guests stay and right downtown. The restaurant is great and is our meeting place for our optional dinner Friday evening and our mandatory breakfast/waiver signing on Saturday morning. (250) 265-3618

Selkirk Inn — basic hotel in a convenient downtown location; clean, well run, and less than three blocks to the Lodge on Arrow Lakes. (250) 265-3666

Canyon Court Motel — comfortable budget motel located on the north end of town about one kilometer from the downtown area.  (888) 509-4499

Meeting in Nakusp

Friday night we’ll all get together at Arrow Lakes Tavern in Nakusp for a group dinner at 6:30 pm (not included in trip fee) — hopefully you can make it in time to join us!

On Saturday morning you must be present at Arrow Lakes Tavern for breakfast and our pre-trip meeting at 7:00 am sharp. During this meeting your group will be given paper waivers to sign (click to view) which are a little different than the one you’re signing online, specific to Valhalla Mountain Lodge. The guides will guide you to the heli staging area. Your group is expected to be at the heli staging by 09:00 am.  The guides  will organize the helicopter logistics. Once you arrive at the lodge you will be given an orientation in regards to the use of the facilities.

Heli staging

Driving to staging: After our breakfast meeting we will all make our way to Burton, a 30 minute drive south of Nakusp on Hwy # 23. Once everyone is rallied at this point we will proceed to the exact staging location together.

Staging location: From Burthon we’ll continue together, in convoy, to the staging area, but just in case you somehow make a wrong turn here’s the directions. As you’re driving south through Burton head left (east) on McCormack Road which winds and twists and heads generally south. Drive to the road’s end (~5+ km) where you will merge with the  Snow Creek Forestry Road. Stay straight and continue another 2km’s keep an eye out for our staging area (hard to miss) .

Before your flight to Valhalla Mountain Lodge

It is very important you are punctual and completely organized for the flights. There may only be a short weather window to allow for the flights, and if you are not organized, time will be lost and this may mean you might not make it in. It also creates a rushed situation, which could support a mishap.
The helicopter is scheduled to land at the staging area at 09:45 hrs. You should be dressed as for a day of skiing with your ski boots on and your daypack packed for a day of skiing. Do not load your daypack with anything else other than what you would take for a day of skiing. Shovels, waterbottles, etc. in your pack. No loose objects. Your skis including straps and cables should be strapped or taped together.

Your poles should be kept separate from your skis but also strapped together. No ski bags. Your daypack, skis and poles will be part of your passenger flight. A separate sling load of gear will be weighed out and prepared for the helicopter.  One pair of skis per person. We recommend you carry insurance for yourself and equipment.

Helicopter type:

Bell 206 Long Ranger, 4 passengers. Company: Highland Helicopters Ltd. 250-265-3434

Difficulty

Difficulty

  • Day trips, hut-based
  • Hut elevation 2160 m (7200 ft)
  • Classic Pace (1400 to 1600 m/day) with early return options usually available.
  • Non-glaciated alpine terrain
  • Tree skiing
  • Powder skiing

What to expect

A typical day during this “Relaxed Pace” Valhalla week will go something like this:

  • 6:30 am wakeup
  • 7:30 am breakfast
  • 9:00 am leave the lodge for a day of ski touring
  • 3:00-4:00 pm return to the lodge for apres ski snacks and drinks, sauna, relaxing
  • 6:30 pm Dinner
  • 9:00 pm lights out, quiet time

Be prepared to spend the whole day out with the group. There may be options for returning to the lodge with an early group but not necessarily. The guides will make every effort to accommodate each individual but also try to set a pace and choose objectives that work for the whole group — which could mean that the pace might not be quite perfect for each individual. We ask guests likewise to make an effort to accommodate the group’s needs, and to try to be as organized and punctual as possible so that we can get out the door on time and have a smooth and efficient day.

Equipment List

Valhalla Mountain Lodge Ski Touring Equipment List

Clothing

  •  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)
  •  Shovel
  •  Probe (2.4m or longer preferred)

Travel Equipment

  •  Skis or split board
  •  Ski strap
  •  Ski or snowboard boots
  •  Poles
  •  Climbing skins
  •  Skin wax (or a candle)
  •  Ski crampons (optional; if you had them might as well bring them)
  •  Binding repair kit to fix your personal travel setup
  •  Ski helmet (optional)

Personal Equipment

  • Pack (30-40 litres)
  • Reusable lunch containers (for sandwiches, etc.)
  • 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)

Hut Gear

  • Duffle bag for flying into the lodge
  • Shoes, slippers or sandals for inside the hut
  • Winter boots for travel to the outhouse (boots at the hut for you to use as well if you prefer)
  • Hut clothing
  • 2 Towels (one for shower, one to sit on in sauna) and swimsuit (optional) for sauna
  • Personal medications and toiletries
  • Ear plugs
  • Reading material
  • Chargers for electronic devices (normal AC power is available).
  • Note that pillows and duvets are supplied at the lodge

Group Gear (supplied by the guides)

  • Altimeter
  • Map and compass
  • GPS
  • Snow study kit
  • Snow and/or bush saw
  • First aid kit
  • Emergency tarp
  • Emergency toboggan
  • Group repair kit
  • Radio & satellite phone

Misc

  • Beer, wine, liquor
Print it

Booking

Registration and Waivers

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 twolfe@sawback.com asap.

Valhalla Lodge asks you to sign an additional waiver upon arrival, this is found here. Please take the time to look through it, read it, and understand it before proceeding with your registration.

Payment, Booking Conditions

The fee for the week is $2775 CAD + 5% GST. A $1000 deposit to secure your place is due upon booking. Final payment of the balance is due September 15th, 2019. You will be invoiced for your payments after you have confirmed your interest in the trip by completing our Waiver and Application Forms. Please note that deposits are absolutely non-refundable, and final payments are non-refundable after the September 15th payment deadline. Get your cancellation insurance if you’re at all worried about our strict cancellation policy!

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.

If you wish to pay with a credit card in USD, EUR or GBP this must be done via a PayPal transfer request initated by us. No exceptions. Our rates (see above) are constantly updated and reflects both the exchange rate and our costs for converting your funds. This will be different from the posted exchange rate you see on xe.com, Google, etc. If you can get a better rate, then you have the option of paying your fees in CAD.

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 twolfe@sawback.com. We do not charge a fee to receive Canadian E-transfers.

PayPal P2P Payments (Canadian and Foreign clients): If you wish to do a bank to bank transfer of funds using PayPal’s P2P scheme then you’ll pay just $2.99 (or less) on your end for the transfer. You can use P2P to transfer CAD, USD, EUR or GBP according to the fee rates quoted above. We do not charge an additional fee to receive PayPayl P2P transfers.

Mailing address: If you must send a cheque, please direct it to Thomas Wolfe, 234 Grizzly Cr, Canmore, AB T1W1B5, Canada. Again, use the fee rates quoted above. We only receive CAD and USD by cheque, and do not charge a fee for this form of payment.

Kootenay Pow

Into the Heart of Kootenay Powder Skiing

Valhalla Lodge is in the heart of the Kootenays, BC’s snowbelt. Expect a lot of snow. Last time we had 140 cm dump on us during week. Early March temperatures could range anywhere from -20°C to +5°C though so come prepared for anything!

Other Info

Packing & Misc

Allowable gear weight per person excluding skis: 45 lbs. per person
Weigh all your gear prior to arrival to ensure you are not over the allowable. If you are over the allowable gear weight, we will have to make an extra flight, the cost for this is $400.00 CAD (cash only) and payable prior to the flight. If you are overweight, or just want to take in extra gear, please notify the office prior to your flight, so we can inform the pilot.

Pack your “stuff” directly into your ski pack and a small to medium sized duffle bag, 60 litres max. Please avoid using the large duffle bags/packs and anything with wheels or hard sides, as they are awkward to handle and difficult to load into the helicopter.

We do not provide any alcoholic beverages, however you are welcome to bring some along with you. Bring beer in cans. Small kegs are fine – no giants. We suggest that you pack your alcohol separately from your duffle to avoid any possible spills during transport.

We supply all bedding linen, pillows and quilts so you don’t need a sleeping bag. Please bring two towels for the sauna/shower — one to sit on in the shower, the other to dry yourself after your shower.

Skis are best strapped together with your poles but please leave ski bags behind for the flight into the lodge.

Shovels and probes should be inside your ski pack both for the flight and for day to day ski touring. Everyone is advised to dress for skiing when they get on the helicopter so you should have your ski boots on and all other footwear packed safely in your duffle bags. It’s too easy to lose a single boot in all the powder that will be blowing around and you want to start out with dry feet.

Amenities at Valhalla Mountain Lodge: drying area, 110 VAC electricity, outhouses, maps, running water, satellite radio, wood-fired sauna, water closet, wood heat

Valhalla also supplies: All toilet paper and soaps for dishes, general hygiene, shampoo etc.

Workshop: There are ample tools for any necessary equipment repairs.

Tunes: There is a BOSE Bluetooth player ( no batteries needed).

Power: We have ample power so you can power your chargers for your, radios, cameras and headlamps, etc. We have a generator which we will run as necessary in the evenings. In the name of conservation we try to organize as much charging as possible at one time. Bring a quick charger for batteries if possible.

Guides

Photos of this trip’s guides can be found on our Guides and Partners page.

Guides

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.

Lila Jansma (Ski Guide ACMG) became one of the youngest persons to ever earn her full ski guide certification at the tender age of 22. That makes sense: she grew up at Valhalla Mountain Lodge learning the trade from her father Leo. Lila is calm, strong, and patient with an intimate knowledge of the Valhalla ski terrain and snowpack. We are fortunate to have her with us again for our 2020 Valhalla Mountain Lodge trip!

Finally, your week at Valhalla includes superb meals. These are prepared by Valhalla’s in-house chef who consistently amaze guests with her beautiful, tasty, and abundant food. We are happy to accommodate special diets as needed (additional fee applies).

Our goal is to provide you with the best skiing possible from the comfort and ease of a fully catered backcountry chalet.