Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Carlyle Lodge, the whole story

Last year I had my first ride in a helicopter out to Mystery Creek, and this year Paul and I got a last-minute chance to get the full fly-in experience. A group going into the Carlyle Lodge in the Kootenay Mountains had some cancellations, so Paul and I took two of the places. The group were three from Utah and the Benoit family who between three of them manage to live in Cape Cod, Idaho, Vermont, and Brazil. It says something about what BC has to offer that people come so far to play in the snow. For Paul and I it was a quick (?) seven hour drive across BC to Nelson, where I'd been once before in the summer, and then a short drive the next morning up to Kaslo where the helicopter would pick us up.

The great thing about getting flown in to wilderness is you can take all kinds of stuff with you... like this:

It took a few trips to get all of us and all the gear up to the lodge, and to ferry the last group back out again, but once we were all there we made ourselves at home... it was rather different to sitting in a hole in the snow and sleeping in a tent like we usually do.

Over the next seven days we skied on the Prospector, Carlyle, Pyramid, and Misty mountains that surrounded the lodge and also did tour over the pass between Misty and Prospector to the Carpenter area and out in the opposite direction to Heyland. Heyland was really spectacular and we got some sunshine, deep snow, and steep skiing down through the trees.

Despite having very tired legs after 6 days of skiing up and skiing down as much as we could, Paul and I decided on our last day it was time for some real ski-mountaineering. We skied up, then hiked the last part to the summits of Prospector and Carlyle, getting a run on Misty and a couple below the Pyramids on the way.

All in all, it was an amazing week of skiing in a fantastic place. Jeff, Leni, and Yukon the dog who run the lodge were really friendly and brought us the weather and snow stability report each morning, so there was no blinking at the computer screen at 5.30am for a change! The group all took turns cooking and some amazing culinary feats were pulled off in the lodge kitchen. The chocolate fondue Paul and I made went down particularly well... I have to thank Jasmin for that one as I stole the idea from him when he did it on a kayak trip last year. Finally, here are a couple more vanity photos of me skiing that Paul took with the fancy new camera. I'm even wearing a different jacket in each one... how stylish.

You can still see more of my photos here and Paul's photos here.