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10 things you need to know about…Western Canada’s backcountry ski lodges.

Champagne powder, gourmet cuisine and epic, untouched terrain make for unforgettable winter wilderness experiences.

02 October 2013
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Switch-backing up untracked mountainsides; carving graceful S-turns down pillows of fresh untracked champagne powder; soaking in a cedar sauna; sharing a gourmet meal; sleeping blissfully beneath a down duvet. Western Canada’s storied backcountry lodges offer wilderness luxury, sublime alpine settings and all the powder you can handle.

1.    Location, location: While Canada’s backcountry lodges are usually far off the beaten path and accessible only by ski or hike, they deliver access to hundreds of kilometres of pristine wilderness to explore with scarcely anyone in sight.

2.    No lift lineups: Western Canada’s backcountry lodges such as Talus Lodge on the British Columbia-Alberta border offer unique wilderness adventure experiences without the ski-resort crowds.

3.    Off the grid: Some lodges, such as historic Assiniboine Lodge (the first wilderness ski lodge in the Canadian Rockies) and Burnie Glacier Chalet (BC’s most northwesterly lodge) are only accessible by ski or helicopter.

4.    Living legends:Pioneers such as Skoki Lodge, built in 1930 in the high alpine of Banff National Park, offer access to challenging mountain ridges and snow-blanketed alpine lakes.

5.    Modern comforts: Nestled in southern BC’s Purcell Mountains, Powder Creek Lodge is a modern, luxurious high-country ski lodge situated in a remote and breathtakingly beautiful alpine basin.

6.    Ease of access: Selkirk Lodge, perched in the Alberta Icefields area east of Revelstoke, and Battle Abbey, a powder-skiers’ paradise also in the Selkirks, offer access to outstanding ski touring right outside your door.

7.    Safety first: Lodges such as Blanket Glacier Chalet in BC’s snowy Monashee Mountains offer both novice and more experienced backcountry skiers safe and easy access to long tree and glacier runs. Highly trained and professionally certified guides, who know their respective terrain better than anyone, lead all guided trips.

8.    More than just fuel: Return to a hearty gourmet meal and a nightcap round the fireplace at luxurious backcountry retreats such as Brewster's Shadow Lake Lodge, tucked amid glaciated peaks and high alpine meadows along the Continental Divide.

9.    Do it yourself or not: At many lodges, such as Valhalla Mountain Lodge near Nelson, BC, you can leave the tent, sleeping bag, cooking utensils and the dehydrated food at home or instead enjoy a fully catered, guided experience.

10.Don’t forget the summer months: Many lodges, such as Sundance Lodge near Banff, AB, and Sorcerer Lodge in the Selkirks, are also open during summer, when you can spend long days hiking, climbing, fishing, horseback riding, doing yoga, taking photos or painting stunningly beautiful landscapes.

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