Sunday, February 15, 2009

Magic at Sorcerer Lodge

I have a holiday hangover. You know, that all-over-post-holiday-come-down that hits you like a freight train? Phew. Me So Tired! It didn't stop me from heading out the door for my long run today, but let me tell you: it was ugly out there. I felt like a train wreck, but I was also a little giddy, happy and content with my all over fatigue.

Our holiday destination: Sorcerer Lodge (from the air)

Out the front window - Escargot aka. The Snail
To say my holiday was incredible is a bit of an understatement. I got to travel self-propelled, on my skis, for 6 fantastic days in the Selkirk Mountains! How cool is that? With access by helicopter only, the backcountry surrounding Sorcerer Lodge is epic: it's big, huge and wild.
Sorcerer Lodge is about 200km from Banff, in British Columbia. I had no great expectations, because the area hadn't received much snow this year. In fact, we were told by the owner that the snowpack was the most shallow that they had seen in 20 years! On most years, the lodge is usually buried by snow and it is a great place to go and get some powder turns. Within our group of 14, we were just keen to be getting out for some ski touring in some place new and different. But even with the lack of powder, we were blown away by the jaw dropping landscape of glaciers, rock, ice and snow.

Each day, we were led out into this landscape by 3 ACMG guides who took us on some amazing ski tours and kept us safe from the dangers of winter travel. I'm an experienced resort skiier, but a novice at ski touring. I've taken avalanche courses and am learning more about travelling in winter time with every trip that I do. I've never been on a glacier in winter, because I don't know the first thing about travelling on glaciers and crevasse rescue. All I can say is: Yay for professional Mountain Guides! With their help, our group got to travel across glaciers, climb to high mountain passes, peaks and ridges and enjoy a simply incredible week.

The group. Ready to Go!!

Each day, we were out the door and ready to go by 9:00 and then spent the entire day touring. On average, we were on our skis for the better part of 7 hours daily! Most days would start with a short descent and then would put on our skins and start climbing. And climbing. And climbing. Usually, we would cross a glacier along the way and sometimes the up track was really slick because of the lack of snow. It was challenging and it was awesome! The reward of course, was the ski back down. Considering the marginal snow, we also got in lots of good turns and even found some powder. Sometimes, you just have to look a little harder to find the snow!

It just worked out that each day was better than the previous day. By the end of the week we were a group of happy, exhausted, elated skiiers. We were all thrilled to try something new like travelling on a glacier, skinning on challenging slopes, making turns on a glacier and challenging ourselves physically. O.K, I was thrilled! I was impressed hugely by my friends, who endured some fairly long and challenging days and who were totally up for everything and anything. My husband was a star, with his weight loss of over 20 pounds since last winter, he was moving strongly, confidently and expending way less energy than this time last year. As always, he made the prettiest turns, kept everyone entertained and had waaay too much fun!
Keith and his Ladies
We skiied. We saw pretty places. We ate like kings and queens. We visited with our friends. We made some new ones. We slept like babies. It really was a magical week in a very special place.
We did a LOT of this:

With a side of this.......

And a whole lot of THIS!

My smile muscles are still sore.

I'm off to bed with dreams of a magical place of glaciers and snow, giddy, happy and content with my all over fatigue!


JeffO said...

Well, GEEZ! You guys had an adventure!!! That looks like fun. Even without much snow, those mountains are so beautiful!

Anonymous said...

geeeeeeez i think i live on the wrong side of the planet ;-)

What are you up to in 2 weeks???? Looks like my renovations are finally done next week and i could take off for a week....!!

Danni said...

AWESOME!!! Ok, so what are you wearing on your feet when you're carrying your skis? Are you wearing AT boots? Are they hard to hike in without skis? I am working on my basic downhills so someday I can tour. I want some AT bindings so I can skin up the 'Fish mountain but DANG that stuff is expensive! I'm so jealous of your badassery. And I can't wait to see you guys in April. Is Keith running the marathon or the 50 miler?

Matt Hart said...

i've heard of this place so it was awesome to read and see your photos of it leslie. thanks!

gtach said...

Spectacular!!! Hey, Orcas missed you and your craziness! Shooting Arthur in the lake just wasn't the same without you there too.

holly said...

Oh my goodness - SO beautiful! What an amazing vacation, indeed. But I'm glad you're back :)

Mike said...

Amazing photos Leslie. That third one is my favourite, looks like you and Keith had an awesome trip!

Backofpack said...


I don't know how you do it Leslie, but you are always one-upping yourself on your adventures. Amazing!

Journey to a Centum said...

Looks rocky, icy, and cold. Just add 14 fun loving adventure seekers and you convert it all to an epic event!

Leslie said...

Hey JeffO, Yep, it was great. The scenery was larger than life!

Hello Anna!
Of course, we'd love to see you. Just drop us an e-mail and we'll chat!

Why hello Ms. Danni.
Boot packing is O.K as long as you can kick some solid steps into the slope. When you can't, it's called "wallowing in the snow". My AT boots are like fuzzy bunny slippers. No blisters. But yeah, the gear is a small fortune for the newer stuff. My buddy here in town sells used gear online as a hobby! He usually has used stuff- Silvreta bingings for $100 and some fat skis for $100. Usually shovels, probes and beacons too!

My Keith will be running the marathon at Diablo, he plans on taking his time and enjoying the tour as I will be out there all day! Last year it took me 13+ hours to complete it!!

And yes, I'm a badass.

Hi Glen,
I imagine you enjoyed a great weekend at Orcas! I am very envious.

Helloooo Mike!
Ya, that's my fave, too. My photos of the glaciers didn't quite do them justice though...
I'll try to post them all to Picasa one of these days!

Hi Michelle and Eric-
How are you doing with all of the cumulative weekends of 50k MADNESS?? I was glad to take a week off of that silly sport we do....

Thanks for the comments y'all!

Deanna Stoppler said...


Leslie said...


Gretchen said...

I don't know, that skiing looks pretty awesome to me! You always have the most amazing photos.
Sad to report it's raining here today. Yuck!! Should turn to snow by Tuesday though, so I'm hoping for more good skiing here by next weekend! Until then...some wet running.

Leslie said...

Hi Gretchen!
Good to hear from you. When are we going to do the Banff - Truckee home exchange?? I love other peoples mountain towns, almost as much as my own!

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