Tuesday, January 27, 2015

In Search of the Ultimate Backcountry Ski Lodge (on Snowshoes)

I’m fortunate to live a short hour outside the park gates of Banff National Park where opportunities for both skiing and snowshoeing are abundant. Backcountry lodges are also plentiful for multi-day trips but tend to cater to skiers who will either ski in to the lodge (and maybe explore the area further on snowshoes once settled in) or else will fly in via helicopter and spend their days seeking out turns in the high alpine. Meanwhile, options are slim for those of us wanting to access backcountry cabins and lodges on snowshoes via an easy to moderate winter hiking trail.

In search of the ultimate backcountry ski lodge - on snowshoes

Most of the lodges I’ve looked at in the Canadian Rockies encourage visitors to either ski or snowshoe in. Further research however would reveal that nobody really chooses to snowshoe unless there’s a limiting factor. For example, friends have told me of trips taken on snowshoes because a party member didn’t know how to ski in the backcountry, and I once took my mother into a lodge on snowshoes because I knew there was no way she’d be skiing up and over a mountain pass without breaking a leg.

Choosing to snowshoe to a backcountry ski lodge in Banff National Park

Devout skiers will still disagree with me, but I have found a backcountry lodge in the Canadian Rockies that I actually find pleasant to reach on snowshoes. Sure, it’s not as fast without skis (that’s a given), but the scenery en route to the lodge is drop-dead beautiful and you’ll be hiking on an honest to goodness trail (the same trail that summer visitors hike in fact.) You will climb over two mountain passes and across the middle of a large alpine lake as you travel to this lodge, and you will work for that afternoon tea waiting for you upon your arrival.

Reaching an awesome backcountry ski lodge -  on snowshoes

To read more, please continue to my newest story for Snowshoe Magazine:  In Search of the Ultimate Backcountry Ski Lodge (on snowshoes)

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