Mt. Carlyle Lodge

Lucking into a hut trip I can actually afford is becoming an annual tradition. Last minute cancellations at high end backcountry lodges lead to perfect opportunities for the kind of people who are willing and able to drop everything and head for the hills. This year a text from Luke led to an incredible week of soul skiing at Mt. Carlyle Lodge near Kaslo, BC.

Though my I’ve modified the date of this posting to reflect the timing of the actual trip, I wrote this trip report in late spring. As such, the more specific memories it takes to write an in depth post have vanished. I’ve tried to let the photos do the talking.

The day before our flight into the lodge, Valerio and I were on the road. Valerio, visiting Canada for the first time from Switzerland was slightly taken aback by the distances between towns south of Revelstoke, proclaiming the ‘creepy forest’ to be a place in which we might star in our own horror movie. Despite his prediction, we arrived safely in Nelson, where we met Tea, one of the good people we would be sharing the week with. She kindly allowed a small army of ski bums to sleep all over her house that night, for which we can’t thank her enough.

A short few hours later, we were weighing in at the Kaslo ‘airport’ prior to a quick 15 minute jaunt to the front door of the lodge, courtesy of a Bell 206L Long Ranger (the only thing we actually paid for on this trip).

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I love helicopters, but rarely get to ride in them. I was stoked to snag the front seat on this bluebird morning.

We got everyone and everything off the bird and into the lodge. By the time the mandatory orientation speech was over, the entire group was out for an afternoon shred of a run by the name of Three Musketeers. We got up high enough for a good view of the area, which was helpful, as it would be our only bluebird ski day on the trip. From there, it all started to blend together. Luke, Kaitlin, Valerio and I grouped up and headed off to ski as much as we possibly could. Run after run of great snow, soulful slide path and pillow skiing mixed with laughter, stoked partners and great food. It doesn’t get much better.

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Kaitlin uptracks through perfectly spaced Kootenay trees.

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Luke downtracks through the same.

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Valerio gets after it. We turned this zone, called The Lumberyard into our own personal ski hill, leaving a pretty astounding number of tracks in it by the end of the trip.

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Kaitlin slashes through burnt forest on a magical 500m shot called The Ice Cream Cone.

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Trevor D: Method Man. This was one of the highlight lines of the trip for me, an alpine line from a summit, into a pillowy bench, followed by enough uninterrupted slide path skiing to set the quads on fire.

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Stood atop The Ice Cream Cone, waiting to drop in on the final run of the trip. The pillows across the valley weren’t filled in in a lean January, but when they are they must be unreal.

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Valerio takes his turn.

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There is nothing better than returning to a warm lodge full of delicious food.

Not only was it a trip for the ages in terms of great company and fantastic skiing, we also managed to crush some vert – something I am learning to truly enjoy. Over 11000m of pow during our six and a half ski days left us all pretty tired, but well set up for the season ahead. A special shout out to Kaitlin is in order here for her ability to keep up, despite almost every single day eclipsing her previous biggest day of ski touring.

Owner and Kootenay legend Brian Cross, aka the Bald Bomber has, in Carlyle, a lodge and tenure which nearly guarantee good times. I could easily spend another week there sampling the vast amount of terrain we never got a chance to touch. I can only hope that I get the chance.

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