(This post sponsored by our publishing partner Cripple Creek Backcountry. Valkyr Adventures provided Lee and Sharon with accommodations. Valkyr neither reviewed nor pre-approved contents before publication. All images used by permission of Lee Lau.)
A group of us reserve huts for trips once a year. This time we booked Valkyr Lodge on Naumulten Mountain in the Valkyr group of the Selkirk Mountains. Valkyr Adventures is a local family run collection of ski touring lodges; Valkyr Lodge, Hilda Lodge and the LQ Outpost.
Valkyr Lodge is a deluxe accommodation lodge for ski touring. It has the coveted and rare luxury of an INDOOR toilet and shower and separate 2 person rooms sleeping a total of 12 (no dorm style here!). Included also is bedding, electricity, running water in-lodge (hot and cold), on-demand hot showers, a sauna, Internet, and with options for catered and guided trips. It also has bags and bags of skiable terrain and copious amounts of powder. Our trip in late January 2018 encountered close to a settled two meter deep snowpack.
Staging and getting there
Valkyr stages out of Burton, a small town just south of Nakusp in the centre of southern B.C. You can drive there through Vernon or via Revelstoke via relatively civilized paved roads. We arrived at the Burton staging at 8:00am. Hilda Hut, the sister hut to Valkyr, also stages out of Burton so flights and loading are managed by Valkyr staff; and as it always seems with helicopters you should be prepared to wait your turn. Change-over day was problem-free and we were all at the lodge by early noon giving us a half-day to explore.
Our awesome cook Sarah and custodian Zoe gave us a run down of the lodge, we had some snacks and then we were off on a short exploratory tour of the area. Temps on on our fly in day were warm. Freezing levels for our first two days were 3000 meters. As the week went on the temps cooled to -10 C, we had consistent snowfall and enough wind transport to refresh the area.
Terrain – the Naumulten and Heart Zone
This zone is the closest to Valkyr Lodge and presents the easiest terrain to access with aspects above the lodge with S, W, N and NW aspects. It was always used as the way to access and return to the lodge due to its location and presents mellow scenic options. It’s from this zone that you can venture forth to access other areas. In storm conditions the Lookout Trees and the Arnie’s/Einra areas also serve as short, interesting laps with lots of cheap air potential.
The Heart Zone is also easily reached being a short skin via the obvious Heart Bypass then picking south facing shots off the Prow into solar aspects into Heart Bowl. Then another simple skin up towards the Heart-Rollins Ridge sets you up for W or NW-facing runs on simple terrain. If touring ridgeline walks along the Viking-Heart divide and into the bowls by Crie De Couer would also afford lots of terrain choices and views of acceptable quality. Judging from the run logs, it’s another crowd favorite with runs and bowls that can swallow groups.
Stoney is another crowd favourites. It’s somewhat circumscribed by the inconveniently steep Dragon cliff feature that bounds its eastern end. Trees in the middle of the zone also can impede fall-line but it’s entirely possible to link the two main benches of Stoney into satisfying shots. Its trees also seem to hold pow as we found when looking for cold Kootenay smoke after the prevailing SW winds dropped storm snow into Stoney’s NW facing slopes. Access to the zone from Valkyr Lodge is also idiot-proof as a broad uncomplicated ridgeline north of the lodge logically drops you off into the main Stoney Bowl that then feeds other runs.
From Stoney it’s also possible to take Dogleg and Middle Entrance into the Grizzly Zone. Getting out though is another story (more on that later)