Smithers | British Columbia

Backcountry Skiing at the Burnie Glacier Chalet

Skill level

Any level

Group size

1 – 5 people

Price range

$2050 per person

Season

December through May

Duration

8 days

Trip review

Read Lee Lau’s trip review from 2019 here

Backcountry ski in the northern terrain of British Columbia

Tempted by the big lines and adventure of backcountry skiing? At the Burnie Glacier Chalet in British Columbia, you’ll have tons of memories of incredible runs, wonderful food, and the magic of lodge living. Welcome to big mountain skiing.

There’ll be lots of cold, deep snow, and get ready for skiing in the trees. It’s not rare to have conditions that allow for some big alpine trips, too. The terrain appeals to stronger skiers as it has many demanding, glaciated lines, rugged peaks, and excellent tree skiing for stormy days. Big, stable snow packs are the norm from December through May.

After a day of backcountry ski mountaineering in Canada, pushing peaks and carving big turns through massive slopes of untouched powder, you will find yourself lounging around the beautiful dining table while wood crackles in the cookstove and a dinner simmers on top. Get ready to indulge in a gourmet meal or kick back with a cold beer in the cedar sauna at the Burnie Glacier Chalet.

Do you want stunning terrain? Lots of snow? Magnificent, empty country? And relatively easy travel? Northern BC has it all.

Lee Lau — Vancouver-based backcountry skier and mountain biker

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Need to know

About the chalet

IFMGA guide Christoph Dietzefelbinger and many of his friends built the mountain refuge in 2001. It is on the Kwees house territory of the Tsayu clan of the Wet’suwet’en, who graciously gave permission.

The lodge sleeps eleven guests, two guides, and one cook. It has two double rooms, one room with three, and one with four beds.

  • Two rooms with a double plus single bed (for couples or families or just two guests)
  • Two shared rooms
  • Sauna
  • Kitchen – where it all happens in the evenings
  • Wireless internet
  • Comfy beds & down duvets
  • Children & babysitters welcome
  • Equipment rentals

What's included?

  • Flight to and from the lodge
  • All meals and snacks
  • Your accommodation at the lodge
  • Bedding is provided
  • Harness (available)
  • 1 locking carabiner (available)
  • 1 normal carabiner
  • Transceiver, probe, shovel (available)
  • Light ice axe (available)

Not included in the price:

  • Airfare to Smithers, BC
  • Your stay in Smithers
  • Alcoholic beverages at the lodge
  • Your personal equipment
  • 12% Harmonized Sales Tax.

Equipment

  • Please leave your ski bags at the hangar or the hotel in Smithers. They take up a lot of space and are unnecessary
  • Large day backpack (at least 30 litres) and duffel
  • 2 sets ski underwear – merino or poly, no cotton
  • 2 pairs of socks
  • 2 light fleece sweaters
  • 1 pile or fleece jacket
  • 1 shell jacket with hood (water resistant and breathable, hard or soft shell)
  • Ski pants and gaiters if necessary
  • Light down jacket or puffy
  • Personal first aid kit and medications
  • Glacier sunglasses
  • Ski goggles
  • Warm hat or toque, balaclava
  • Sun hat, sun protection for skin and lips
  • Good warm ski gloves, thinner gloves for climbing, warm mitts
  • Thermos bottle
  • Map and compass (optional, 1: 50,000 93 L/5 Burnie Lake, a 1:25,000 map is available at the lodge and at Interior Stationery in Smithers)
  • Camera, toothbrush, sponge, soap etc.
    slippers or camp booties, snow boots
    headlamp
  • Casual clothes for wearing at the chalet
  • Skis, skins, ski crampons, ski strap (available)
  • Harness (available)
  • 1 locking carabiner (available)
  • 1 normal carabiner
  • Transceiver, probe, shovel (available)
  • Ski mountaineering boots
  • Light ice axe (available)

One more thing about equipment!

Rental skis, skins, ski crampons, beacons, probes and shovels are available, but we recommend you bring your own as we may not have your size.

We will weigh your luggage. It can’t be heavier than 15 kg (33 lb.), excluding skis, snowshoes, or snowboards. Bring ski clothing and a set of comfortable clothes to change into. See the equipment list below.

Avoid bringing a large ski bag with lots of stuff in it. Those bags are awkward to fit into the Dash-8 airplane that serves Smithers and will be the first to be left behind. Use a small ski bag only, or use Air Canada’s plastic wrap.

We recommend that you bring ski crampons, particularly if you come after the middle of March. We have some available, but not for all bindings and sizes.

Travel

Travel details
  • Daily flights from Vancouver on Air Canada Jazz
  • Passenger service on VIA Rail
  • Drive 4 hours from either Prince George or Prince Rupert on Highway 16
  • Check Air Canada’s schedules and fares well before you plan to travel
  • No need to rent a car when you get to Smithers. We get you from the airport to the Chalet!

It is just a short taxi ride across the town of Smithers to the Stork Nest Inn. It’s in easy walking distance of bars and restaurants. The Silver King Helicopters hangar is at the airport.

We recommend that you fly in the night before and stay in Smithers. In the event some of your luggage arrives late, there won’t be any problems. You can easily catch the evening flight out on the afternoon of your departure. The afternoon flight from Vancouver to Smithers is also easily reached if you come from overseas and arrive in Vancouver by early afternoon.

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