| UNTRACKED celebrates the places you may, or may not, be aware of. The places where snow falls in abundance and crowds are rare. Want to ride pow? Here’s where to go. |
Deep in the Coast Mountains of British Columbia is a place where riding powder must be as close to guaranteed as pretty much anywhere on the Planet. McGillivray Pass Lodge is the home of Whitecap Alpine. Nestled in the mountains to the north of Pemberton, it boasts prime touring terrain that’s usually covered in a deep snowpack, topped off with blower pow.
The secret to Whitecap’s powder potential lies, as ever, in the combination of snow and terrain. There are many places in the Coast Range with that receive substantially bigger snowfall totals than Whitecap, but not many that posses such a sweet spot of precipitation and temperature.
The mountains surrounding Whitecap are situated right where the huge, wet Pacific storms meet the cold, dry interior. The result is pow, and lots of it. Crucially though, it also means the area often has better visibility than zones further west. Fewer all out storm days means better conditions for touring.
Then there’s the terrain. This is classic BC skiing; big, open alpine terrain with chutes, couloirs, bowls and beautiful faces. The sub alpine and tree skiing is just as awesome and perfect for retreating to on storm days. If the weather and stability is good then hit the alpine. When a storm rolls through, retreat to the trees and deep protected pow.
McGillivray Pass Lodge has been welcoming backcountry skiers and snowboarders since the 1970s. These days Lars Andrews runs the place. Lars is a fully qualified IFMGA guide himself and spends season after season showing guests around the local spots in this beautiful part of the immense Coast Range. After spending the past 20 winters there, the Andrews family have a special connection to the lodge and surrounding mountains.
The Lodge itself looks like it strikes a nice balance between comfort and the kind of rustic charm that BC does so well. Hot showers, a sauna and a full-time chef guarantee recovery after big days in the mountains. The vibe looks relaxed though; this is a place for riders who are more concerned with scoring powder and soaking up the mountains than some overblown 5 star heli lodge experience.
In recent times Whitecap have expanded their remit to include summer trips to the lodge, along with guided trips elsewhere in the world. Japan, Norway and the Alps are all on the menu, as are forays into Interior BC and other zones within the Coast Mountains. Check out the full low down over on the Whitecap Alpine website.
All images – Bruno Long
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