Valkyr Lodge Adventures Part 1 – Ski Touring Western Canada’s Powder Belt


Post by WildSnow.com blogger | February 21, 2018      

(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.

All you need to bring is your ski gear, clothes, a thirst for pow and personal alcohol if you don’t like what they offer.

All you need to bring is your ski gear, clothes, a thirst for pow and personal alcohol if you don’t like what they offer.

Valkyr Lodge looking E towards Naumulten Mtn

Valkyr Lodge looking east towards Naumulten Mountain./caption]

Availability of Valkyr Lodge is limited as backcountry skiing’s popularity has exploded so you won’t get in the lodge anytime in 2018. Be aware that you have to commit to dates at least a year in advance. There are different service levels with fully-guided, fully-catered turnkey adventures being the most expensive. Our self-guided, catered trip means that we have an on-site custodian staffer as well as a cook. For a benchmark price look to pay CAD $1450 per person for the bare bones self-guided self-catered trips. More rates are here (bottom of page).

A hint of the terrain

Valkyr Lodge also offers summer hiking and the alpine meadow shots certainly look amazing. However it’s for the winter pow that we come.

Sitting at 2210m the lodge’s location is about as high as it gets for BC backcountry lodges. Still even at that elevation (right at treeline), the terrain surrounds you. We were able to rip skins and ski back to the lodge almost every day which is a bonus! For some inexplicable reason the Valkyr Lodge area has a reputation for being more mellow and for more beginner-intermediates; a reputation we found was undeserved (more on that later). Instead we found that there is more than enough terrain to keep you occupied when there is no visibility, and when the skies clear there are plenty of alpine bowls to explore. Indeed, after seven days of touring found that we could have explored for a good deal longer before exhausting possibilities.

While we as a self-guided group found that we could unlock the massive potential of some of the more gnar terrain of the Grizzly, Viking and Rollins zones with some effort, we did notice in the hut log that many self-guided groups meandered around in the more mellow terrain. If your group is a tad more hesitant/less-willing to explore we’d suggest Zenith Guides (Evan Stevens). Lee and Evan of Zenith geeked out on maps and terrain before getting to the Naumulten area; an exercise that proved fruitful.

[caption id="attachment_24116" align="aligncenter" width="525"]At Naumulten Mountain contemplating possibilities At Naumulten Mountain contemplating possibilities

Sunset ski to Valkyr Lodge

Sunset ski to Valkyr Lodge

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.

Heli leaving after the drop-off

Heli leaving after the drop-off

Skinning back at end of day after an excursion down Fauquier Creek to the Lookout Zone

Skinning back at end of day after an excursion down Fauquier Creek to the Lookout Zone

Valkyr Terrain with labels courtesy of Valkyr Adventure.

Valkyr Terrain with labels courtesy of Valkyr Adventure. Click to enlarge. (Editor’s note, the WildSnow copyright ends up on all our images due to programmatic image processing we use in our workflow, in this case it applies to our compilation copyright, not to the original base map.

Terrain – the Naumulten and Heart Zone

Naumulten

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.

Sharon heading for a lap as the sun dips with the full inversion in effect over the lake

Sharon heading for a lap as the sun dips with the full inversion in effect over the lake

Greg and Zbo heading up for a sunset lap

Greg and Zbo heading up for a sunset lap

Chris in the Lookout Trees in the storm cycle

Chris in the Lookout Trees in the storm cycle

GQ launching pillows into more pillows

GQ launching pillows into more pillows

Sasha dropping into triple overhead

Sasha dropping into triple overhead

Heart

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.

Above the Heart Bypass

Above the Heart Bypass

On the Viking Ridge above the Heart Zone

On the Viking Ridge above the Heart Zone

Blower pow in the Heart Bowl

Blower pow in the Heart Bowl

Wind ripping off Mt Rollins - viewed from the Heart Zone

Wind ripping off Mt Rollins – viewed from the Heart Zone

Greg ridge-walking Mt Naumulten above the Heart Zone

Greg ridge-walking Mt Naumulten above the Heart Zone

Shar on Crie de Couer dropping into the Heart Zone

Shar on Crie de Couer dropping into the Heart Zone

Stoney

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)

Greg dropping in DogLeg

Greg dropping in DogLeg

Linda and Meg happy to be back at the top of Stoney before headlamps have to get used

Linda and Meg happy to be back at the top of Stoney before headlamps have to get used

Greg and Zbo back to Valkyr Lodge with headlamps - again!

Greg and Zbo back to Valkyr Lodge with headlamps – again!

Read Part 2 here.)



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[yuzo_related]

Comments

One Response to “Valkyr Lodge Adventures Part 1 – Ski Touring Western Canada’s Powder Belt”

  1. Douglas February 22nd, 2018 7:27 pm

    Valkyr Yoga!!! Looks like an awesome zone! Also, looks like you guys had a good trip! Thanks for the TR!





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