Golden, BC: Vista Lodge
Now booking for 2022

superb spring skiing in the esplanades, selkirk mountains

Vista lodge is located in the middle of a beautiful alpine meadow at the edge of Vista Lake . Vista has five drainages to ski offering a myriad of terrain choices. Vista is also the portal to the big alpine zones off Cherub Glacier to the west. Strategically located at the center of the Esplanade Range, Vista is equally famous for its amazing spring skiing.

Vista lodge is set in the middle of a beautiful alpine meadow at the edge of Vista Lake near the source of Schlicting Creek. Vista has five drainages to ski offering a myriad of terrain choices. Vista is also the portal to the big alpine zones off Cherub Glacier to the west. Strategically located at the center of the Esplanade Range combo’d with it’s epic Alpine runs, Vista is famous for its ridiculous spring skiing. It’s a two-story building that sleeps up 12 guests plus guides and a professional chef.

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Fantastic skiing, close to home

One of the best features of Vista Lodge is how easy it is to get to. Staging is just a few metres off the Trans Canada Highway 20 minutes from Golden, BC. For those of you coming from Alberta and eastern BC — there’s no easier lodge to get to.

And of course there’s the skiing. One of the closest tenures to the world-famous Rogers Pass, Vista is home to some great Selkirk skiing — minus the crowds! You can expect lots of alpine and treed lines here, with everything from gentle open slopes to steep pillow lines.

  • Guided and Catered Occupancy: 12 people + GAH staff
  • Elevation: 7050 ft / 2150m
  • Building: 2 story wood frame with separate Sauna building
  • Bedrooms: 7 rooms with dual occupancy + staff quarters
  • Bathrooms: Two outhouses
  • Heat: Wood & propane
  • Water Source: Vista Lake
  • Power Source: Solar, generator & propane lights
  • Communication: Radio and limited cell coverage

The lodge is equipped with AC power but does not have WiFi/internet access at all. It also has a wonderful sauna for the end of the day. Beer and wine are not provided, but feel free to bring your own.

Dates: April 2-9, 2022

Price: $2,800 CAD (About $2,216 USD / €1,840 / £1,585) + 5% GST

Deposit: $500 payment secures your booking. Remainder of 50% deposit is due 1 November 2022. Balance of payment is due 90 days in advance of the trip start date. See Payment and Booking Conditions tab for details.

Difficulty: Classic and Relaxed Pace options available

What’s included: Guiding, professional cook, meals, helicopter transfers

What’s not included: Transportation to Golden & the staging area; alcoholic beverages (BYOB); gratuitites

Getting to Golden, BC, Meeting Place, Staging Info

If you are flying from out of town the most convenient international airport is Calgary, about 3 hours east Golden.

Other options for flying include Kelowna (about 4 hours drive west of Golden) or Cranbrook (2h45 south of Golden). Driving from Vancouver to Golden takes about 7h30, from Spokane the drive is around 6 hours. There is a regional airport in Golden but it only handles very small charter aircraft.

Kicking Horse River Lodge is a great place to stay the Friday night before the trip. They can handle a group with room rates that start from around $40/night. Sawback clients get a discount but in order to get that you must phone them directly. They cannot offer this if you book through an agency such as booking.com. It’s a nice timber frame building on the Kicking Horse River. We meet here Friday night and breakfast is here Saturday morning so it is convenient. If you choose to stay here please book early. It fills quickly. http://www.khrl.com/aw  1-250-439-1112

The meeting place for your trip is at the Golden Alpine Holidays office  at 104, 806 – 9th Street North. Your meeting time is Saturday morning at 7:00 am Mountain Standard Time (MST). You are expected to sign your waiver at this time.

Flights to GAH lodges take place at our Helicopter Staging Facility  west of Golden. Guests are required to get themselves to GAH Staging.

  • Relaxed and Classic Pace options
  • Day trips, hut-based
  • Hut elevation 2200 m with 1100-1300 m/day on average (Relaxed pace)
  • Non-glaciated alpine and treeline terrain
  • Powder skiing in trees

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 (mandatory)
  •  Binding repair kit to fix your personal travel setup
  •  Ski helmet (optional)

Personal Equipment

  •  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)

Hut Gear

  •  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 if 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:

  •   Pillows and duvets supplied at the lodge

Misc

  •  Beer, wine, liquor

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
  •  Ropes for glacier travel
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Risk-free quick booking

Our booking form takes about 60 seconds to complete. We will hold your spot until we contact you to answer any questions you might have. This is your opportunity to figure out for sure if this trip is for you, without obligation. Then we’ll get you to complete our Online Waiver and Application Forms before paying your deposit.

After you complete your Application we will hold your spot for seven days to give you time to make your deposit payment.

Before signing through these documents read through them carefully and make sure you are comfortable with what you’re signing up for, and have a look through the booking “fine print” below. If you have any questions at any time do not hesitate to contact us.

Payment and booking conditions

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.

Payment Currency

All of our trips are billed in Canadian Dollars. The approximate exchange rate is given for your convenience on each trip information page.

You will receive your invoice via Flywire, an online payment and foreign exchange service, after we review your booking application.

Foreign clients: You will have various options of payment by credit card or bank transfer and the exact rates you will be charged in your local currency will be described to you before you submit your payment. These exchange rates are competitive and offer good value compared with other options like bank transfers. There is no additional fee for credit card payments as this is wrapped into the rate offered (previously credit card payments were levied a 3.5% fee).

Canadian clients: Flywire offers an online banking portal for some of the more common Canadian banks. If you bank is not in the list of options, please consider paying by E-transfer via your bank’s online banking system. If you pay your deposit by credit card there will be an additional 2% processing fee added to your invoice for your final payment.

Bank Transfers (domestic or foreign): If you prefer to pay by bank transfer please contact us. Note we may charge an additional fee to handle third party transfers, in addition to any fees your bank may charge you directly. Please consider the options described above carfully as typically they offer good value compared with a bank transfer, not to mention the convenience.

Booking Conditions Fine Print

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 twolfe@sawback.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 Application Form and Waiver. CONFIRMATION / TRIP INFORMATION: Upon receipt of this registration form we confirm your booking and you agree to pay your deposit within 7 days. Each trip we offer has a detailed trip information page (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 you complete your registration, 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. We strongly urge you to read our Insurance Information page carefully before booking your trip. 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. We will not be deemed to be in default for any delay or failure to perform our obligations under this Agreement resulting from acts of God, the elements, war, acts of government, civil or military authorities, natural calamities, catastrophe, fire, flood, accidents, epidemics, shortage of transportation, or any other like events beyond our reasonable control. 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.

It begins in September when cool moisture laden clouds stack up along the west edge of the Selkirk Mountain Range. Snow starts piling up as clouds are forced up and over the crests of the 3000 meter and higher elevations.  At GAH which operates in the Esplanade Range in British Columbia, major storm tracks help to funnel in the powder. Another key to the quality of the snow is proximity to the colder/dryer areas near the Rocky Mountain Trench which means more sun and lighter powder than the western portions of the province which tend to receive much more rain.

Meteorological data gathered over 6 seasons show that day time temperatures in the Esplanade Range are very stable and rarely if ever rise above zero during the winter season. Spring skiing extends into May with the Vista being the very best of the lodges for epic spring shredding.

The Esplanade range has a typical settled, mid winter snow pack depth of 4 meters (over 50 meters cumulative snowfall) and a 200+ day season

Blog Post

Here’s a link to a blog about a recent trip to Sunrise Lodge to give you a better idea of what to expect:

http://biglines.com/categories/ski/backcountry-problem-solving-volkl-crew-sunrise-lodge/

Videos

Numerous feature length movies and media projects have been shot over the past few years at Golden Alpine Holidays. Here are some samples:

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.

Rob Coppolillo – Rob brings his US guests across the border to experience the amazing powder skiing Canada has to offer. This trip will be a 50-50 mix of Tom’s and Rob’s clients; the meeting of two worlds. Rob runs Vetta Mountain Guides out of Boulder , CO and is the author of The Mountain Guide Manual.

Finally, your week at Sunrise includes superb meals. These are prepared by our gracious chef, Michelle Heerschop, who consistently amaze guests with her beautiful, tasty, and abundant food. We are happy to accommodate special diets (additional fee applies).

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

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