Fairy Meadow Guided Ski week

If you landed on this page via an internet search then please contact me for further information about the trip.

If you have already signed up for the trip please read this information package carefully. It should answer all your questions but if not you can contact me.

Click here if you are looking for a gear list.

If you get nothing else from this information package, please do the following:

  • Read the guiding waiver carefully ahead of time. You don’t need to sign the waiver now, you will do that once you arrive for the trip.

  • Have a look at the gear list here and make sure you are able to bring everything on the list.

Payment

Total trip price is C$2940.

A deposit of C$1050 is due upon booking and is required to hold a spot for you.

The final payment is due in September 2019 and I will remind you at that time.

This payment includes:

  • Two guides

  • Cook

  • Helicopter transfer in and out of the hut

  • Hut accommodation

  • Food

  • Powder skiing!

Important dates and times

All times are Mountain Standard Time (same as Calgary)

April 25, 10.30 AM

We will meet at the helicopter staging area at 11 AM. This is the same staging as for Sorcerer Lodge near Heather Mountain Lodge, off Hwy #1. Flights start at noon. Don’t be late!

The turn-off to staging is 54 kms W of Golden. Turn right off the highway at the Heather Mountain Lodge sign and immediately right again (away from the hotel). Go 800 metres down Rogers Road – towards the Rogers Pass Pusher Station and you will see parking on your right. The heli-pad is on the left just up the hill.

Google Maps directions.

At the staging area we will do a helicopter safety briefing and then start flying into the lodge. This will all take at least a couple of hours.

FOR THE FLIGHT YOU NEED TO BE DRESSED FOR SKIING INCLUDING SKI BOOTS.

Please bring a lunch on this day as we will be flying over the lunch hour.

Once arriving at the lodge we will move in, have lunch, and then participate in a ski safety briefing and rescue practice. We may be able to do a run before dinner depending on timing of the flights etc.

April 26-May 1

Skiing!

May 2

The first incoming flight should be coming in the morning and if all goes well we should all be out by mid-afternoon.

Delays

There is always the possibility of delays getting into or out of the hut. Be prepared for this, especially on the last day of the trip. I don’t recommend you try to make a flight out of Calgary that day!

Getting to Golden from Calgary

You can easily get to Golden from Calgary by renting a car. You may park your vehicle at staging for the week.

Google Maps directions from Calgary airport to Golden.

There are no public transport options.

Golden Accommodations

I can recommend the Kicking Horse River Lodge. They have shared dorm rooms, doubles and rooms for groups of 3 to 9. 

Their phone number is 1-250-439-1112.

There are many other hotels in town and a Google search will get you the best deals. 

Safety

Safety is our number one priority, from the time we start driving up to the helicopter staging area to the moment we all head our separate ways at the end of the trip. There are a variety of ways you can help me and the other staff make this a safe trip:

  • Listen to the guides’ instructions and if you are uncertain of what is expected of you please ask!

  • Take an avalanche course with me! Click here.

  • Take the online avalanche course at the Avalanche Canada website. Click here.

  • Practice with your avalanche beacon prior to the trip – at the very least understand all of its functions and how to use them.

  • Bring hand sanitizer to the lodge and use it often – this will help keep any bugs we bring into the lodge at bay and we will be able to keep skiing!

Skiing together as a group is all about trust. The more we trust each other the more fun we will have because that means that we can ski the most interesting terrain available to us with the current conditions. The more prepared you are, the more I will trust you and the more comfortable I will be to get us into the best terrain.

We have a lot of staff on this trip so there is plenty of back up in case of an incident.

Risk

It is important to understand that no matter how well prepared we are there is still an element of risk to backcountry skiing. To lower that risk, do the prep work I’ve outlined in the safety section. We will also do an intensive safety briefing and training session at the beginning of the week.

You will all need to sign a waiver that will make you well aware of that risk. Please have a look at the waiver so you understand what the risks are and what you will be signing when you get here.

Food and medical issues

If any of you have food allergies, medical conditions or specific food requests I need to know about, please let me know as soon as possible. We need to know food issues well ahead of time so we can plan the menu.

Mountain Rescue

In nearly thirty years of guiding we have only had three evacuations from the field for minor injuries or illness.

Mountain rescue in British Columbia may not be free. If a rescue is required it could cost many thousands of dollars. Rescue insurance is recommended.

Here are some options for coverage. Make sure to research options carefully to make sure they are appropriate for your situation:

  • American Alpine Club Global Rescue package. For the cost of a membership in the AAC (US$80) you get US$7,500 mountain rescue insurance. This would probably cover all or most of the cost for many incidents.

  • Global Rescue. US$500,000 coverage. You need to be more than 100 miles from your home for this to kick in so it is not appropriate for clients on Canadian trips who live in proximity to Alberta or British Columbia.

  • Tugo. This may be less expensive than the Global Rescue $500,000 package and may be appropriate for trips in Canada. You will need the optional adventure sport coverage.

The schedule

The schedule over the week is simple: eat, ski, eat, sleep!

I’ve outlined the schedule for the flight days already. The ski days generally start with breakfast at 8 AM and we try to be on our skis and traveling by 9 AM. We plan to be back at the lodge between 4 and 5 PM. Then there are après ski snacks, sauna time, dinner at 7 PM, and then hit the sack. This is a spring trip so we may be starting and finishing earlier to take advantage of colder mornings.

Ski trips may be a series of shorter runs through the trees or in the alpine, or longer trips over the glaciers and to summits. With two guides there are options to split the group if some folks want shorter days and others want a longer one. Often we can do this by part of the group going home early or we can also have two separate objectives. It will be up to the conditions we encounter over the week combined with what you would like to do.

The Hut

The Bill Putnam (Fairy Meadow) Hut is a beautiful two-story wooden building with a legendary 10-person wood fired sauna. It is a wet sauna, complete with a shower, so bring your environmentally friendly soap and shampoo.

The living area has built-in benches and tables and a large fireplace. The kitchen has another set of benches and tables, a propane stove, and two ovens, which are of normal household kitchen size. A two-burner Coleman white gas stove and lanterns, as well as green bottle propane stoves, are stored in the cabin entrance for use in the event of a complete propane failure. The kitchen is well supplied with dishes, cutlery, utensils, pots and pans, and bakeware to provide for a full hut (including roasting pans, cookie sheets, and bread and muffin tins).

The upstairs area sleeps 20 people comfortably on four-inch thick, covered foams. If your guests decide to bring pillows, please remember that bulky items are the biggest problem with the helicopter capacity. Encourage group members who want to bring pillows to bring small pillows.

Battery operated LED lights (batteries provided) are available for lighting in the kitchen over the kitchen tables and single wall lamps in the counter and sink areas. Double pendant propane lamps are available but should be used sparingly. Headlamps can be used upstairs in the sleeping area.

Communications from and to the lodge

We will have radio communications during the day between the guides, staff remaining in the hut, and local helicopter and guiding companies.  There is no internet available at the hut.

Satellite communicators like SPOT or InReach devices work well if you would like to keep in touch with your family.

In case of an emergency we will always be able to get word out by radio, satellite phone, or satellite text message. But all backcountry communications can be subject to disruptions so there is a chance your personal communications while at the lodge may be sporadic. It is best to tell your families “no news is good news”!

You can tell your families that in an emergency they can contact you via my base manager:

Margie Smith
1-403-763-8005
Margie.Smith@covenanthealth.ca

The staff

There will be two guided groups in the lodge. Ian Kirschner is leading one and myself the other. Between these two groups we will be sharing an apprentice guide. This means we have lots of options as to how the group skis. We are able to operate as two separate groups but if we are going to the same area we can also travel together. We are able to split into three groups as well, especially if some skiers want an easier day or to go home early.

As always, how it all works will depend on conditions and the desires of the group.

  • Charlotte Sit – Charlotte will be cooking. She is well known in the backcountry lodge scene. She lives in Revelstoke and has often worked with my groups over the past few years now.

  • Ian Kirschner is the other lead guide. He is an ACMG certified Ski Guide who lives in Golden.

  • Jay Chrysifidis is the ACMG Apprentice Ski Guide. He also works as an avalanche forecaster and he lives in Field, BC.

  • Mark Klassen – That’s me. I’ve been working as a ski patroller, avalanche forecaster and guide since the mid 80’s. In the summer I guide mountaineering and rock climbing. I’ve been a fully certified ACMG/IFMGA mountain guide since 1996.

Booze

You will need to organize beer, wine and other alcohol yourselves. Feel free to talk to each other to figure this out. Beer in cans works best.

Luggage

For your incoming luggage please try to keep things to three packages:

  • Your skis and poles (strapped together) . Two ski straps work best to keep skis and poles in one tidy package. No ski bags.

  • Your day pack with all your gear for the ski days.

  • As small a duffle bag you can get away with to put the rest of the gear into (or two small duffles). Small bags are easier to load into the helicopter.

Some pointers on packing:

  • Keep your ski pack and duffel (excluding your skis) to about 20 kg/45 lbs.

  • We will not accept very large duffels (like hockey bags) or bags/luggage with hard sides or wheels as they are too difficult or impossible to pack into the helicopter. You need to bring smaller, soft duffel bags.

  • No ski bags.

The bottom line

  • Read the guiding waiver carefully ahead of time. You don’t need to sign the waiver now, you will do that once you arrive for the trip.

  • Have a look at the gear list here and make sure you are able to bring everything on the list.

Questions?

If you have any questions let me know! Email me.