The Ymir Backcountry Ski Touring Lodge is located 1 hour north of the U.S. – Canada border from Spokane, WA. Ski Tourers from Calgary, Vancouver and Kelowna in Canada and Montana, Oregon and Washington in the U.S. find our location within a day’s drive and the closest backcountry ski lodge. Skiers from the East Coast of the U.S. and international travelers typically fly into the Spokane Airport and rent a vehicle. Skiers from East Coast of Canada fly into Calgary, Cranbrook or Castlegar.
We meet in Nelson at 8am on Monday or Friday and 12 noon on Saturday at Kootenay Valley Helicopters (KVH 250-505-2150) down at the airport next to terminal building. The pilot will conduct a helicopter safety briefing and sign waivers. The first group will depart from Nelson and the rest of the group will follow KVH staff 15 minutes drive south to Hall Siding to complete the transfer. We all do our best to make this transfer safe and enjoyable. Please assist by being on time and by understanding that poor visibility or high wind can delay departures at either end. Most of the time this might involve an hour or so delay however once or twice a year it can mean a delay of 24 hours, in this case we neither compensate the group in Nelson nor bill the group at the lodge.
Pre Trip Planning
You should check weather and avalanche information at http://www.avalanche.ca/forecasts/kootenay-boundary
Equipment List – avalanche gear ( transceiver, shovel, probe ), ski gear ( splitboard/skis, poles, skins, boots ), clothing ( base layer, fleece layer, outwear, down vest/jacket, hut clothing ( jeans/shirt, socks/slippers etc ), first aid kit/repair kit, headlamp, emergency shelter, water bottle, map/compass/gps, eye/sun protection. We have a small amount of rental equipment available including transceivers, shovels, probes, splitboards and touring skis. More equipment is also available at ROAM shop in Nelson. Weight limit for gear is 50lbs per person and add 50lbs per person for food for self-catered groups. Space is also at a premium in the helicopter so pack tightly and avoid bulky items.
Large size laminated map at Lodge. Click here for hi-resolution digital file suitable for printing. Do you like Google Earth – this file is for you!
Communication – there is cell phone reception from most of the ridges around the lodge. 911 is the emergency number. Satellite phone at the lodge.
Self Catered Trips – Bring all your own meals. There is a basic supply of standard spices and condiments including milk powder, coffee, salt/pepper, cinnamon etc. Be aware of Canadian border restrictions on bringing some fresh food items. There is a basic grocery store in Salmo and large grocery stores in Nelson. Please bring cans of beer rather than bottles, or preferably liquor as it’s quicker ( and lighter ).
What else is here?
The Selkirks and the West Kootenay’s and specifically the Nelson region are well known for incredible powder skiing. I also offer ski touring services from New Denver from Glacier View Cabins base with fully self contained cabins with kitchen, running water – shower/toilet etc. There is some awesome ski touring options within 10 to 30 minutes drive for access. I can co-ordinate huge vertical helicopter drops and snowmobile access at very reasonable rates. In the summer I offer guided or self-directed hiking, scrambling and mountain biking adventures. More information at www.offthecouchadventures.blogspot.com
Downhill ski resorts in the area include Whitewater, Red Mountain, Fernie and Revelstoke. In Washington, USA – 49 North and Schweitzer. Nelson is home to tons of restaurants, outdoor gear stores and lots of rental equipment is available.
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