January Trip Report: Cold Smoke Powder At Valhalla Mountain Touring, B.C.

Pete B | BackcountryBackcountry | Trip ReportTrip Report
Idaho Peak at sunrise
The view down valley from the lodge.

Nestled deep in a secluded valley in the Valhalla mountain range of BC is a little slice of paradise known as Valhalla Mountain Touring. A beautiful post and beam lodge offers a temporary home for those that venture into this remote mountain wilderness, but despite the comforts found inside, the real treasure lies in the surrounding hills.

I was lucky enough to spend a week in this winter wonderland. While British Columbia was in the midst of an unseasonable drought, we enjoyed beautiful cold smoke powder turns all week long.

navigating terrain traps
Walking up a creek on the first day.

Our first day out we headed south and enjoyed fantastic views. Walking across a frozen lake, we were able to scope out the terrain we would ski that day, as well as days to come.

Shannon Lake
Walking across a frozen lake.
Walking through tree line.
Approaching the alpine.

The sunshine, unfortunately, did not last all week. The upside to this was that the snow was well preserved on all aspects.

Blower Pow
Kicking up some cold smoke.

Forest fires from the previous summer burned quite close to the lodge, which makes for excellent tree skiing and riding. The burned forest offers increased visibility for tree skiing and pretty incredible contrast for those who enjoy an aesthetic experience.

Going up blind
Ridge walking in a whiteout.

Low visibility was no excuse to stay home. We pushed our way across white out ridge tops and found some of the deepest powder turns of the week in some sheltered trees.

Scopin' lines
Checking out the run, Rugged Peak in the background.

Breaks in the cloud cover throughout the week offered ample opportunity to get out of the trees, and stability within the snowpack let us explore zones seldom visited.

Jug Boy drop in
Dropping in.
Touring back up
Walking back up the run.

The terrain in the Valhallas offers endless opportunity to those who venture there. We were lucky to see a lot of terrain that week, but it’s easy to see there is enough to keep one coming back for years to come.

Ridge runs
Scoping out the run to come.
Bottom of the run
A veritable playground.

Plenty of alpine, moraines, chutes, cliffs, pillow fields, burns, and mature timber; so many options for any skier/rider in any condition.

guides meeting
The guides planning out the descent.

We finished the week in the sun. While the solar aspects were starting to get cooked, the snow in more sheltered areas remained very shreddable.

Ripping skins
Transitioning before the ski down.
Lunchtime; views of the previous days runs in the background.

Valhalla Mountain Touring is a lodge-based ski touring operation. The main building was built in 1998 and features all the comforts of home including electricity, hot water on demand, wireless internet, flush toilets, and a full kitchen. It’s a spacious and very comfortable spot to hang out after a long day in the mountains, and even features a sauna outbuilding for those who like to be warmed to the core.

To learn more about the operation, be sure to check out their website. They offer catering and guiding but are already nearly fully booked for the 19/20 season.

All photos are by the author.  To see more pictures from my adventures, check out my Instagram page @pistol.pan.

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