Register


A password will be e-mailed to you.

Backcountry Problem Solving with the Volkl Crew at Sunrise Lodge

-All photos by Adam Clark ***

High up in BC’s Selkirk mountains at Sunrise Lodge, fire blazing as we sat down to a dinner of homemade pizza and salad after a full day of hiking and skiing waist-deep powder, a growing sense of unease crept over our group of eleven as we realized the unavoidable truth.  Only three days into a week-long hut trip, we were nearly out of beer.  Buried surface hoar we could deal with.  But this?  This was unacceptable.

Sunrise Lodge, Esplanade Range, BC, Canada photo:Adam Clark

A hearty, if uneasy, cheers with the dwindling beer supply.

The Sunrise Hut sits on the edge of, uh, Sunrise Lake, near treeline, 2150 meters up in the Esplanade Range near Rogers Pass.  At first glance, when Christina Lustenberger, myself, and my husband Jim flew in on an overcast Sunday, the terrain appeared rolly and fun…some treed lumps with mini golf above the lake and a ridge extending into the clouds to the east.

We joined a day behind the rest of our Volkl freeski crew—Stian Hagen, Austin Ross, Ian McIntosh, filmer Fred Arne Wergeland, photographer Adam Clark, marketing manager Jean-Claude Pedrolini, and guide Kevin Hjertaas—to test and film the new BMT 122 skis and the revolutionary Kingpin bindings.  We quickly ate lunch and toured out to Panorama Ridge to join them.

Sunrise Lodge, Esplanade Range, BC, Canada photo:Adam Clark

Pretty solid posse of shredders…

The avalanche conditions necessitated mellow tree runs. Fortunately Sunrise Hut is literally surrounded with perfectly spaced, featured tree runs with nice runouts.  We sessioned the ridge and the Poop Chutes—short, fun lines beneath the hut’s outhouses—until dark.

Stian Hagen, Sunrise Lodge, Esplanade Range, BC, Canada photo:Adam Clark

Stian Hagen, sniffin’ through the snowpack for surface hoors…

Christina Lusti, Sunsrise Lodge, Esplanade Range, BC, Canada photo:Adam Clark

Christina Lusti, keeping it safe, smooth and snowy in the Sunrise trees…

Austin Ross, Sunrise Lodge, Esplanade Range, BC, Canada photo:Adam Clark

Austin Ross, product testing in the sweet cherry pow.

Christina led the charge on the skin track and in the kitchen, an impressive effort including homemade apple and berry crisps every night, fresh rosti and french toast in the morning. She also whipped up curries, Mexican yam wraps, and steaks for dinner.  The hut itself is downright luxurious: separate sleeping rooms upstairs, a fully appointed kitchen, solar-powered lights, and a wood-fired sauna and shower.

Sunrise Lodge, Esplanade Range, BC, Canada photo:Adam Clark

Reflections in paradise…

Austin Ross, Sunrise Lodge, Esplanade Range, BC, Canada photo:Adam Clark

Golden Alpine Holidays’ Sunrise Lodge…From luxury to radness in roughly 200 steps.

The Kingpins proved to be like the terrain surrounding the hut.  Both were super intuitive right from the beginning; we stepped out the door into instantaneously awesome skiing, and the more familiarity we gained, the better the enjoyment.

Sunrise Lodge, Esplanade Range, BC, Canada photo:Adam Clark

Wake up, mount up and roll out…..self-propelled skiing in one of its finest forms.

For the first few days, it snowed on and off and we lapped the trees blissfully, finding small pillows, Austin and Ian built kickers, and no one got caught in any avalanches.

It felt like a dream come true—Stian even mentioned wanting to move in.  Then we discovered the beer problem, and panic set in.

Stian Hagen, Sunrise Lodge, Esplanade Range, BC, Canada photo:Adam Clark

Stian Hagen, lost amongst the offerings of the Esplanade Range.

Ian McIntosh, Sunrise Lodge, Esplanade Rage, BC, Canada photo:Adam Clark

Classic hard-charging McIntosh.

Ian McIntosh, Sunrise Lodge, Esplanade Rage, BC, Canada photo:Adam Clark

(See above caption.)

Ingrid Backstrom, Sunrise Lodge, Esplanade Range, BC, Canada photo:Adam Clark

Ingrid, trying to distract herself from the crisis unfolding back at the lodge.

Luckily, our hutmaster, a badass Canadian skier named Martin Lefebvre, lives in Golden and has good connections at Biglines, purveyors of all things good.  Within a day, while we were out shredding, he had arranged a heli drop (the bird was already on its way to a nearby lodge) of beer, Creamo, and cheddar cheese…just the necessities, of course.  We relaxed and settled into full enjoyment of our surroundings.

Sunrise Lodge, Esplanade Range, BC, Canada photo:Adam Clark

Hey that better be Pilsner eh!

Wednesday, the sun rose to partially clear skies, and we skinned up into the alpine in hopes of a full clearing.  The higher we got, the more the skies opened, and the full magnitude of the mountains knocked us upside our heads.

The splendour was shocking, even to people who spend most of their lives in the mountains.  The sea of clouds below on the Columbia Valley, the Rockies in the distance, and the early winter light stunned us into uncharacteristic silence.

Stian Hagen, Sunrise Lodge, Esplanade Range, BC, Canada photo:Adam Clark

“The sea of clouds below on the Columbia Valley, the Rockies in the distance, and the early winter light stunned us into uncharacteristic silence.”

Ingrid Backstrom, Sunrise Lodge, Esplanade Range, BC, Canada photo:Adam Clark

Ingrid Backstrom, matching natural beauty with timeless style.

We were tiptoeing due to the avalanche conditions, skiing low-angle slopes, but the scenery was so gorgeous it didn’t even matter.

Sunrise Lodge, Esplanade Range, BC, Canada photo:Adam Clark

When ranges collide…

That night we skinned up a few hundred feet in jeans under the full moon for Kevin’s birthday, howling and dancing before skiing silky pow back to the hut in walk mode (at Kevin’s insistence).

Sunrise Lodge, Esplanade Range, BC, Canada photo:Adam Clark

Night falls on Sunrise…

Another partially clear day allowed us to session the mini-golf benches above the lake, and our last day we woke with tired legs to a thick fog.  Austin entertained us with guitar songs and a bizarre routine involving his hands down his long underwear.

Sunrise Lodge, Esplanade Range, BC, Canada photo:Adam Clark

“I’m so fancy. You already know.”

Austin Ross, Sunrise Lodge, Esplanade Range, BC, Canada photo:Adam Clark

When planning hut trips, it’s always a good plan to invite Austin Ross. Not only can he play guitar, he’s also really good at fetching water and telling jokes. And skiing! He’s also pretty good at skiing.

And then by late morning, we finally motivated to push up into the fog and get some turns.  Suddenly the call came from Ian up ahead on the radio.

“It’s amazing up here you guys—the most unbelievable sea of clouds.”

Sunrise Lodge, Esplanade Range, BC, Canada photo:Adam Clark

Esplanade X-treme.

Christina Lusti, Sunsrise Lodge, Esplanade Range, BC, Canada photo:Adam Clark

Esplanade relaX-o.

Ingrid Backstrom, Sunrise Lodge, Esplanade Range, BC, Canada photo:Adam Clark

Ingrid, sailing the sea of clouds…

Ingrid Backstrom, Sunrise Lodge, Esplanade Range, BC, Canada photo:Adam Clark

…on a vessel of silky Selkirk pow.

We finished our lap in the trees and eagerly pushed upwards, above the lower layer into the glorious alpine.  Some skied a couloir, others enjoyed a long lunch on Corn Peak, and Stian, Christina, and Martin set off to summit nearby Cupola Peak, the highest in the range.

Christina Lusti, Sunsrise Lodge, Esplanade Range, BC, Canada photo:Adam Clark

Lusti managed to nab a little high alpine tube…

 

Christina Lusti, Sunsrise Lodge, Esplanade Range, BC, Canada photo:Adam Clark

…and draw some nice lines in the sun.

Christina Lusti, Sunsrise Lodge, Esplanade Range, BC, Canada photo:Adam Clark

Yew!

Stian Hagen, Sunrise Lodge, Esplanade Range, BC, Canada photo:Adam Clark

Sunrise to sunset.

In every direction, all we could see were peaks, sky, and the cloud layer.  The layer lifted for just a minute, and we glimpsed the hut way down below: our own little temporary home in paradise, one long powder run away from a fresh supply of cold beer.

Sunrise Lodge, Esplanade Range, BC, Canada photo:Adam Clark

“We told him Pilsner, right?”

Find out more about the Kingpins and BMT 122’s at http://www.volkl.com/

And check out Golden Alpine Holidays at http://www.goldenalpineholidays.com/

Ingrid’s got a cool website: http://ingridbackstrom.com/

And so does Adam Clark: http://www.adamclarkphoto.com/

Austin Ross too! He’s got more tasty pics from the trip ahttp://www.austinross.ca/

Comments

comments

Related Posts